(South Boston, VA) Woody Howard came to race at Big Daddy's South Boston Speedway this year hoping to be able to win a race or two. The former SMS champ not only won several races during the 2003 season, but was able to pull off the biggest win...
(South Boston, VA) Woody Howard came to race at Big Daddy's South Boston Speedway this year hoping to be able to win a race or two. The former SMS champ not only won several races during the 2003 season, but was able to pull off the biggest win of his career today with a win in the Bailey's 300. The $15,000 payday for Woody rivals any other Late Model event and is Woody's largest payday of his short but brilliant career. "This is definitely my biggest race, being a TV race on Speed and everything," said an exuberant Howard in victory circle. This is only the fourth year in a Late Model Stock Car for the Chesapeake native.
At the drop of the green Denny Hamlin, outside pole sitter, took the early lead and ran very strong until around lap 90 when Howard began to catch Hamlin and eventually pass him on lap 94. Within a few more laps, smoke was appearing from Hamlin's car and was forced to park on lap 134.
At halfway, Howard was in the lead with the other front-runners being Peyton Sellers, Deac McCaskill, Eddie Johnson and Timothy Peters. NASCAR's Weekly National champion Mark McFarland started in thirty second and worked his way up into the top five until he had to pit late in the race for unknown reasons.
At the start of the second half of the race, Howard set a blistering pace as battles raged behind him between almost every other top position. The battle for the second through fifth spots heated up when McCaskill touched the second place car of Peyton Sellers forcing McCaskill across the track and slamming into the fourth place car of Eddie Johnson. A huge wreck ensued involving McCaskill, Johnson, Timothy Peters and Jamey Caudill, this year's Taco Bell winner. All cars were able to continue.
Last year's winner, Frank Deiny was also moving up to the front when his engine apparently blew forcing him to park on lap 183. In his post race interview Deiny said "I am glad that Howard could win today because he is an under funded team and needs a big break like this. He just doesn't have the funds that many of us have."
With three laps to go another caution flew forcing a green-white-checkered situation. On the restart, Dean Ward tried to make his move to the lead, but did not have the car to make the pass. Ward, the winner of today's best appearing car, presented by RaceRap.com finished second. This year's track champion Phillip Morris rounded out the top 3.
In today's last chance race, Richard Bailey had to fight off a hard charging Mark McFarland that decided to race for his starting spot in the Bailey's 300 rather than use the provisional that he had. Ronald Hill and Tink Reedy started the race on the front row, but Reedy, who also had a provisional spot elected to drop back to the last spot. Reedy ran a few laps then parked. Most assumed McFarland would do the same thing. McFarland started next to last. After the first caution, a wreck between Roger Crowe and Roger Williams on lap 2 nearly took out McFarland, the crowd was amazed that he stayed on the track and did not pit to take his provisional. Mark stayed out and started passing cars, narrowly avoiding other cautions until late in the race taking over the second spot from pole sitter Hill.
Mark made a huge run on Bailey, but could not catch him in the final laps of the last chance race. Those drivers to transfer to the main event where: Bailey, McFarland, Hill, Quakenbush, Williams and Tink Reedy.