SHORT TRACK ROUNDUP 5/6 MOBILE, AL - RIS - It was another busy weekend on the short tracks around the nation, and as more and more of the northern tracks start to open it can only get busier. Rain was a big player...
SHORT TRACK ROUNDUP 5/6
MOBILE, AL - RIS - It was another busy weekend on the short tracks around the nation, and as more and more of the northern tracks start to open it can only get busier. Rain was a big player this weekend, especially in the eastern half of the country with many tracks and races canceled, postponed and delayed due to the wet stuff. I believe that Crossville Speedway in Tennessee is the track with the worst luck of all, having had four straight rainouts and even the one week they ran earlier in the year saw the Hav-A-Tampa race cut short by a natural spring popping through the racing surface in turn two.
On to this weeks action, and the biggest races on the short track scene were held in the south as the ASA ACDelco Challenge Series made its first ever visit to historic Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida. Lots of controversy in this surrounding the tires on Mike Garvey's car during qualification time trials. ASA officials deemed they had been "doctored" and disqualified Garvey and he was forced to use a provisional to get into the race. Not that it slowed him down as he quickly came to the front and claimed the win. Kevin Cywin-win-winski was second with Joe Nott taking third and ending what has been a long running string of bad luck. I talked to several well known practitioners of tire "soaking" and all of them agreed that if Garvey had really wanted to gain an advantage he would NOT have been caught. Garvey himself admitted that he could have treated the tires without getting caught if he was really interested in gaining an edge. Besides, how much of an edge does 2 points on the softness scale give you? Virtually none!
Cywinski took over the points lead and now holds a 17 point lead over Steve Carlson with Dave Sensiba 38 points further back in third.
The other big race this weekend was at Southern National Speedway in Kenly, NC, where Scott Sutherland claimed the victory in the NASCAR All-Pro Series Austin 200. Hal Goodson and Dan Matthews followed him across the line. Scott made an early pit stop, then took the lead with 20 laps to go when he passed Steve Christian, the polesitter, and went on to the win. The victory came nearly four years after his last All-Pro win and was a tribute to perseverance.
Nipper Alsup is holding on to the points lead in the chase for the All-Pro title with Derrick Gilchrist and Mike Harmon chasing him hard.
The NASCAR Busch North Series was at Jennerstown, PA and Tom Bolles led flag-to-flag to claim the win from Andy Santerre and Kelly Moore. Another NASCAR short track series, The Featherlite Southwest tour made a visit to the road course at Sears Point and Craig Raudman took the win with Jim Inglebright and Steve Portenga rounding out the top three. The Goodies Dash series visited Lanier Speedway near Gainesville, GA and Mike Swaim Jr. took the winner's share of the purse home with him.
In NASCAR Winston Racing Series action at Nashville Speedway USA Andy Kirby was the victor in the Late Models, his first ever win there, and Ricky Sanford took laurels in the truck race. Stay tuned to TNN for more short track racing from this track in the future as there are two more dates scheduled to be aired on Motor Madness.
In the Auto Value Parts Store 100 at Barre, VT, Brian Hoard took the win for the Late Model Stocks Division while at Auburndale, FL the feature win went to Jeff McGraw in the Late Model Sportsman class. St Augustine, Florida saw Ivedent Lloyd visit victory lane in the Late Model feature. Ivedent was scheduled to start on the second row of the National Late Model Sportsman race in Dublin, GA, which had been postponed a week due to rain, but when the race was once again set back due to a deluge, Ivedent unloaded his dirt car, loaded up his asphalt racer and headed for St Augustine. Lloyd is the reigning champion of the NLMS series and is quickly becoming a force to reckon with on both dirt and pavement. Look for some big things from him in the future. For all the distaff fans, Ivedent just got married and is now immersed in home life and having a lot of fun trying to get the algae out of his swimming pool. Six bags of chlorine ought to have done the trick!
Speaking of the dirt tracks, the Hav-A-Tampa series was in Meridian, MS where 61 cars showed up to try and make the field. Donnie Moran emerged the winner in a wire- to-wire run. Meanwhile at Cherokee Speedway in Gaffney, SC only 28 Late Models were on hand for the STARS race won by Tim Hitt. Southern All Stars Late Models were in action at North Georgia Speedway in Chatsworth, GA and there were 41 cars on hand for that race which saw another wire-to-wire winner in Mark Miner. I guarantee you will not see numbers like that show up for asphalt races, unless its a Snowball Derby or Martinsville.
The Stoops Freightliner USAC Sprint cars were on the high banks of Winchester Speedway in Indiana and Chet Fillup took home the win, while the Frigidaire All Star Sprints were in Selinsgrove, PA and local boy Keith Kauffman snookered the tourers by grabbing the checkered flag and the winners purse. At Lincoln Speedway it was Lance Dewease who took the win in the All Stars race, and Todd Schaffer took the win at Williams Grove. Out west the California Sprint Car Civil Wars Series went to Placerville, CA and it was Ray Rust who was the winner. Glen Boune is the series points leader. at San Jose Speedway they honored 65 year young Howard Kaeding who has been racing for 44 straight years and was making his NARC debut for 1997. Fittingly it was his son Brent who won the feature and took over the point lead in the "King of California" chase. The Budweiser Sprint Car Shootout at Calistoga was won by Bobby McMahan, and the Western States Sprint cars visited Kings Speedway and Ricci Faria was the victor there.
The USAC midgets were hit hard by weather in the midwest but out in California the Western States Midgets went to El Cajon and Scott Hansen was the winner.
The Florida Pro Series had two races over the weekend at Orlando Speedworld and New Smyrna Beach Speedway, but only one winner as Jimmy Cope continued to dominate the Florida short tracks with two more wins. Interesting development out of Orlando when Randy Fox was involved in a wreck and mercury spilled from the car and onto the track and pit road as the car was towed in. EPA officials were called and the cleanup is going to cost around $30,000, with Fox being responsible for the bill! What kind of device was in that Late Model that needed 30 plus pounds of mercury to function?
ARTGO cars are going to be faster as series officials have put them on a diet and pared the weight down fifty pounds to 2750. In addition the cars will run softer tires in the form of Hoosier F-35's. Going to be a record breaking year for this series.
That's about it for the past weekend, but if you are looking for some short track action try Dells Motor Speedway in Wisconsin where the ARTGO Series will make its 1997 debut. 1996 Champion Steve Carlson is sitting in second place in ASA points, but with that series off this weekend he may well be at the Dells. The National Late Model Sportsman will take its Southern Dirt Tour into Brunswick, Georgia and the action at Golden Isle Speedway will be fast and furious. This is one of the most competitive series in the southeast with 28 different winners in 32 events. The Hav-A-Tampa Series will be at Fayetteville Motor Speedway in Georgia for a $15,000-to-win race while out on the west coast the NOR-CAL Motorsports Series will be at Ukiah Speedway, California. Yet another series that will be found in Georgia is the Southern All Stars asphalt Series who will be at Peach State Speedway. Down in Texas, the Texas International Drivers Association will run their third event of the season at Longhorn Speedway in Austin. And for the North Carolina fans the USAR ProCup cars will be in Kenly at Southern National Speedway. As usual there will be plenty of Sprint Car and Midget racing at various locales around the midwest and in California and up in the Northeast the DIRT Modifieds are really getting cranked up as more tracks open their gates for the year. Wherever you are there is plenty of action on the short tracks and it is the best racing to be found. Don't miss out!
John Kaiser, Racing Information Systems