Greenville-Pickens season opener report

Bishop cruises in GPS opener GREENVILLE, SC (March 16, 2002)- It was not Turn Back the Clock night at Greenville-Pickens Speedway Saturday night. But anyone watching Donnie Bishop start from the outside pole position and lead the entire race ...

Bishop cruises in GPS opener

GREENVILLE, SC (March 16, 2002)- It was not Turn Back the Clock night at Greenville-Pickens Speedway Saturday night. But anyone watching Donnie Bishop start from the outside pole position and lead the entire race would think so.

While GPS has been quiet the past five months, Bishop and defending track champion Pete Silva appeared to make time stand still.

Silva led the first lap of the season in the opening heat, and Bishop repeated the feat in the second heat.

When the green flag fell in the main event, Bishop took control from the outside front row and was never threatened.

Silva started inside, dropped to second quickly, and stayed there for the evening.

Marty Ward was steady in third, with Gary Greenwood, Jr. taking fourth and David Roberts grabbing fifth. Dennis Southerlin and Gene Morgan were sixth and seventh, with R.A. Brown, Jay White, and Jeff Oakley rounding out the top 10.

Bishop, Silva, Ward, Southerlin, and Morgan are former track champions.

And Bishop wasn't even in a shiny new race car. It looked new, but, "We had this car last year, and put a new body on it," Bishop said.

"We went through everything and set it up the way we always do. We have a very strong engine this year, and the night went right for us." He also stressed that since he had won the first race of the season, and is the points leader, he still does not intend to run for the points title this season.

"I found myself in the national championship race last year, and it was just too much. Things sort of got out of control. We are going to run a limited schedule this year, pick our races, and not worry about the points. We just want to come out and race and not worry about the points," Bishop said.

Silva, who edged Bishop for the points title last season, said he went down into the first turn on the first lap and buzzed his tires, and that was pretty much the end of his race. "Once we heated up the tires, we never were able to run up and catch Bishop," Silva said.

Ward, who provided the main difference in appearance from last season with a new paint scheme on his racer, said he was happy to finish third.

"We came out here this afternoon loose, and we worked on the car all day and we are still loose. We never did get it tightened up enough to race. We are happy with third, that we kept the fenders on it, and that we made our goal of finishing in the top five."

In Saturday night's Super Sports main even, Greg Dodgens of Easley held off Robby Robbins to win in a caution flag-filled race. Greer's Ted Somero was third, followed by Ken Guthrie of Easley and Jon Martin of Mountville.

Chris Meinders of Liberty was on the front row when the green flag fell in Street Stock and he quickly established control. Tim Sams of Greenville was second, while Easley's Greg Jarrett came up from seventh to take third. Jimmy Mann, Jr., of Greenville, who graduated to Street Stock at the end of last season, was fifth.

In the Charger features, Shane Gentry overtook Robert Jackson in the final circuits and held on to take the checkered flag. Jackson settled for second, with Johnny Taylor Jr. in third. In the second Charger feature, Dacusville's Donny Lockaby held off Joel Cox and Jamie Passmore to score an opening night win.

-gps-

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Series Stock car
Drivers David Roberts