Lakeland race story 97-10-04

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE OCTOBER 5, 1997 HUTTO WINS NASCAR INAUGURAL David Hutto, of Rock Hill, S.C. took his No. 16 Love Chevrolet / Irmo Grading / Red Line Graphics Chevrolet Cavalier to victory lane Saturday night, in the very ...

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE OCTOBER 5, 1997

HUTTO WINS NASCAR INAUGURAL

David Hutto, of Rock Hill, S.C. took his No. 16 Love Chevrolet / Irmo Grading / Red Line Graphics Chevrolet Cavalier to victory lane Saturday night, in the very first NASCAR sanctioned event ever held at the USA International Speedway in Lakeland, Florida. Hutto's win here, in the Discount Auto Parts / Quaker State 150 for the NASCAR Goody's Dash Series marked the second victory for the 20 year old driver in only four attempts with the Series this year.. Rookie point leader, Charles Powell III, of Goose Creek, S.C. put his No. 72, Jazzy Power Chairs / Ocean Conversions and Mobility Pontiac Sunfire on the pole for this event, blistering the 3/4 mile oval with a 22.339 second lap at 120.864 mph. But Hutto was right there beside Powell when the field was put on the grid, posting a qualifying time of 22.373 seconds to earn him the outside front row starting spot. Powell lead the first 5 laps, but the hard charging Hutto, overhauled Powell on lap six and managed to hold the advantage for the next 45 laps. Powell's chances for victory went away totally, just prior to the mid way point when a right front wheel bearing failure sent him to the garage area for lengthy repairs . He eventually, finished 22nd in the event, but still managed to hold on to his lead in the Rookie points race over Ricky Bryant of Linwood, N.C. Hutto continued to lead until lap 50, when a strong Robert Huffman, of Claremont, N.C. made his move to take the lead. Battling in lapped traffic on a lap 50 restart, Huffman drove his No. 37 White House Apple Juice sponsored Pontiac to the bottom of the race track as the field thundered down the long back stretch. From his third place position, Huffman was able to pass both, B.J. Mackey in second and Hutto to take the advantage going into turn three. Mackey, also a Rock Hill, S.C. native, remained a strong contender for the first half of this event. Eventually, he too, was able to get around Hutto and the youngster set off to chase down the leader, Huffman. But wheel bearing problems also struck his No.71 Pontiac forcing him to the garage for repairs and eventually, dropping him to 23rd in the final standings. With Huffman on the point, caution on lap 85 for a spin in turn four involving "Doc" Brewer and Robert Lucadoo evolved into a red flag when the No.11 Discount Auto Parts Ford of Shane Sawyer erupted in flames on the back stretch. Fire crews quickly extinguished the blaze and the No.11 later rejoined the fray. But the slow down was a good opportunity for the leaders to stop for some much needed fuel. When racing continued on lap 92, Donny Duchesne, of Riverview, Fl. led the field through turns one and two before getting tangled up in a major exchange of sheetmetal on the back stretch. As the field scattered to try to avoid the incident, car after car, most of them lead lap competitors, were being caught up in the action. When the crashing was over, no less than eight cars, including those of Duchesne, Huffman and Hutto were involved. Although most of the competitors were able to make repairs and return, Danny Bagwell's Mountain Machine / Ricker Trucking Pontiac had to be scratched from the event after the Cordova, Al. driver got the No.30 up on it's side for a long slide down the back stretch wall. The car finally righted itself and Bagwell climbed from battered racer unhurt. The restart found local favorite, George Crenshaw, of Lakeland, Fl. on the point. But Crenshaw's Bad Frog Beer sponsored Pontiac's advantage lasted only until turn one, where he turned the 07 car around after contact with a lapped car of Ken Bellamy of Michigan City, Indiana. Crenshaw was able to refire and continue on the lead lap. No caution flag was displayed. Crenshaw eventually finished just outside the top five, in sixth position. Crenshaw's spin was the last break the "Rock Hill Rocket", David Hutto needed as he grabbed the lead and went on to claim his second victory in only four starts with the Series this year. This win, coming on the heels of his win at Hickory Motor Speedway two weeks ago, is a true indication that the 1995 Series Champion never lost a beat in his absence from the Series. Rookie of the Year contender, Christian Elder of Minneapolis, Minn. gave Hutto a strong challenge for the win in the closing laps, but eventually had to drop back to conserve enough of the Elder Jones / Silver Bay Premium Cola Pontiac race car to hold on to his runner up spot. Mike Swaim Jr. of High Point, N.C. brought his Mahoning Lumber Center / Visual Images Pontiac back from an early, unscheduled pit stop to finish third, to further pad his Series point lead over Brian Sockwell of Brown Summit, North Carolina. Sockwell's race came to an early end on lap 46, when a head gasket gave up on his No.54 Cleaver Brooks / C&C Boiler Pontiac. Ricky Bryant came from the 14th starting spot to bring his Racing USA entry home in the fourth position and Homestead, Florida's, Bobby Dayton also drove an excellent race, coming from his 27th starting slot to round out the top five in his 5 Brothers Produce / Torbet Trucking Pontiac. The teams have about three weeks to get ready for their next date, a 200 lap feature event at the Concord Motorsports Complex in Concord, N.C.

-30- For More Information, Contact; NASCAR Public Relations, Tim Myers at 919-552-5823. tm

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About this article
Series NASCAR
Drivers Christian Elder , Robert Huffman , Brian Sockwell