Goody's Dash Series drivers thrill the fans at Oglethorpe. SAVANNAH, GA (April 6, 2004) - It was billed as an historic event and an interesting concept, taking the Goody's Dash Series, NASCAR Touring to a dirt track for the first time since its...
Goody's Dash Series drivers thrill the fans at Oglethorpe.
SAVANNAH, GA (April 6, 2004) - It was billed as an historic event and an interesting concept, taking the Goody's Dash Series, NASCAR Touring to a dirt track for the first time since its inception in 1975. And, in the end the fans were obviously thrilled with what they saw. No doubt, depending on the outcome, some drivers enjoyed it and others didn't. But, that is the same after any race, whether dirt or asphalt.
One of the most noticeable differences was how soiled the driver's faces and suits were after the race. Scott Haller was seen drenching his face with a hose immediately after the race. It was definitely reminiscent of the early days of stock car racing, when drivers showed the after effects of running a grueling event. Nowadays, in most instances they climb from the car, put on their sponsor's hat and smile for the camera looking almost as good as they did at the beginning of the event.
Rain threatened the event late in the day. But the track crew worked to get the track back into shape and by race time it was very hard with two racing grooves, just as they had promised.
On hand for the event were syndicated radio stars John Boy and Billy. "We really like the Goody's Dash Series, It's great to be here," they said. John Boy and Billy participated in the pre-race festivities as well as sponsoring a tailgate party in the infield.
The 1992 Series' Champion, Mickey York served as the Honorary Starter.
The 2002 Defending Series Champion, Jake Hobgood from Winnsboro, SC qualified on the Bud Pole for the Lucas Oil "150" at Oglethorpe Speedway Park, with a speed of 77.922 mph.
Hobgood was sporting a new ride, showing off his Germain Automotive Toyota Celica by leading the first 30 laps. On lap 29 most of the leaders took advantage of one of the many cautions to come to pit road for fuel. Eric Wilson stayed on the track along with T. J. Majors. Wilson held the lead for several laps until he drove into turn three too hard. His car went high and got into the marbles. He stood on the gas and tried to power slide his way out of trouble, but instead he ended up disappearing into no man's land. Majors assumed the top spot. Wilson rejoined the field without losing a lap.
On lap 49 Ray Paprota looped his machine at the flag stand. Ned Combs had no where to go and slammed into Paprota. The leaders were right on top of the incident and Majors was collected by the fray as well. He was able to continue but lost a lap making repairs. Combs and Paprota climbed from their cars with no injuries.
Pole sitter Jake Hobgood continued to have problems. His car had been damaged on the previous lap when he and Bagwell bumped causing Bagwell to do a 360 on the front stretch. Four-time Series' Champion Robert Huffman took over the lead on lap 49. The track was getting tighter and faster by the mid-stages of the event, and the drivers were getting racier every lap. There were several spins and as many near misses for the lead pack of cars. On lap 102 Huffman slid high in turn one and two laps later Jay Godley followed suit, yielding the lead to Danny Bagwell.
This would set up a mad dash to the finish. Though Bagwell was dominant, his victory remained in doubt until the very last lap. Justin Hobgood dogged his rear bumper lap after lap. "Bagwell was good," said Justin. "But he was making mistakes. I just wasn't where I needed to be to take advantage. We used up our tires way too early and I just couldn't get underneath him to make a pass. Jay Godley raced me hard. He got into me a couple of times, but it was clean hard racing. I will return the favor someday."
Jake Hobgood was making his way back into the mix when he drove too hard into turn one. He slid way off the track and had a rare encounter with a tree. He was okay, but his car had to be towed back to the pits.
Bagwell drove his heart out handing Tommy Torbert his first victory as a sponsor. Torbert's companies, Torbert Trucking and Five Brothers Produce have been involved in the Goody's Dash Series for twelve years. Figuring this may be his last, he opted to sponsor Bagwell's efforts along with Sterling Casino Lines. And emotional Torbert visited victory lane and was doused with champagne by the happy driver. "What a race," said Bagwell. "The only thing that even comes close is like getting into a fight during a football game. The dirt track was a lot of fun, I will tell you that. I think it would be fun to do it again."
Robert Huffman talked about his misfortune, "We were sitting in the cat bird's seat until we messed it up. We cut a tire down during one of the incidents on the front stretch and it also knocked the front end out of line. I am happy to finish fourth after all of that. I know a shower will sure feel good tonight."
Jay Godley was ecstatic with his third place finish. "We had a really good car. Track position was essential. I was a lot faster than Justin or Danny there at the end. I kept making runs at both of them, but I just couldn't get the grip I needed to get by them."
Zach Brewer wasn't as happy with the outcome of the race. "I prepared for this race by playing dirt track racing games on the Play Station. And it helped a bunch. We had a good hot rod tonight. We made it up to fourth when we got caught up in an accident caused by one of the lapped cars. We got into the fence and messed up the right side suspension. We made a pit stop and fixed the problem and did the best we could to get back into it. I am proud to be with this team and the Goody's Dash Series. We were able to keep up our streak of no DNFs We will head to Charlotte and give it our best shot to run well there."
Scott Weaver had a top five in hand when he ran low on fuel causing him to lose two laps right at the end of the event.
Scott Haller commented that he was having a lot of fun. "We had a really fast car. We had some ignition problems early in the race and we lost several laps. If it hadn't been for that I feel we would have had something for them at the end."
Following Daytona, Haller joined forces with Randy Humphrey racing. "He put together a good deal for us. This is a good team and we are looking forward to the rest of the season as we make our bid for the Rookie of the Year title."
Joey Miller came home in fifth place. "That was a wild ride. I went from fifth to fifteenth, from fourth back to eighth, and then ended up fifth. We got lucky that Scotty ran out of gas right there at the end. We had trouble with our right rear tire wearing out. We are happy that the car is in one piece and we got a top five. Can't ask for much more after a race like that."
Randy Humphrey worked his way up to a sixth place finish. "It was different racing without walls around most of the track. It was hard establishing reference points. But we are happy with where we ended up." Humphrey's car was sporting an American Flag with a slogan supporting the troops in Iraq. "We support our president and the troops. We are praying for their safety and that they will return home soon."
Arlene Pittman put together a great show for the local fans at Oglethorpe Speedway Park. Victor Fernandez from the Savannah Morning News was on hand reporting on the event. He joined a group in the media booth that equally expressed their approval of the event. The electricity of the enthusiastic fans was felt throughout the complex. The end result had most saying, "What a race!"
Next up for the Goody's Dash Series is Lowe's Motor Speedway on May 17, 2003. The race will be held in conjunction with the annual running of "The Winston All Star race" for the NASCAR Winston Cup teams.