USA International Speedway, Lakeland, FL., Saturday, October 21, 2000. Only 36 laps remained for Rock Hill native B.J. Mackey to capture his 4th 2000 Season NASCAR Goody's Dash Touring Series victory, when series champion and current points...
USA International Speedway, Lakeland, FL., Saturday, October 21, 2000.
Only 36 laps remained for Rock Hill native B.J. Mackey to capture his 4th 2000 Season NASCAR Goody's Dash Touring Series victory, when series champion and current points leader Robert Huffman, tainted the opportunity. Some referred to it as a "gutsy move" while others referred to it as simply a "foolish attempt." Mackey, driver of the Daly Racing, LLC #84 Van Camp's/Horton Homes Pontiac, captured the race lead on lap 88 and was once again displaying a dominance that is becoming common place for Mackey. Mackey literally ran away from the field and it appeared that no one could mount a serious challenge. Unfortunately for Mackey, on lap 106, the #65 Wynn's/Precision Engine Service Pontiac driven by Winsboro, SC native Justin Hobgood spun off the banking in turn 2, making heavy contact with the inside retaining wall to end the night for the #65car.
On lap 114 with Mackey on the point, the field was packed closely for a restart. As the green flag dropped signaling the restart, Huffman must have decided it was now or never as he drove his #37 White House Apple Juice Pontiac hard and deep in to turn one. With a nose under Mackey's left rear tire, Huffman struggled to keep his hard charging Pontiac tucked low, but it appeared that he may have driven too hard into the corner. In non-championship style, Huffman slipped up the track and made contact with Mackey's #84, sending him into a wild spin through turn 2. Huffman checked-up his #37 Pontiac in an attempt to avoid Mackey as he spun through the turn and in so doing ended up in an unceremonious spin of his own. With no place to go, the #99 car of Bob Dayton literally climbed across the side of Huffman's Pontiac and the two came to rest with Dayton's car sitting squarely on top the left rear quarter panel of Huffman's #37. Huffman's strategy to capture the lead had ended with disastrous results for himself and several other unhappy drivers.
When asked after the race about the contact between he and Huffman, Mackey stated, "Well, I guess one could call it racing, then again....." Mackey stopped short in his comment and left the interpretation to those who had witnessed the exciting challenge. "I guess we were a little more fortunate than Robert (Huffman) after the contact," stated Mackey. Mackey was able to drive away from the fracas with only a partial tire mark on the left rear quarter panel of the #84 Van Camp's/Horton Homes Pontiac.
When racing resumed, Ricky Bryant in his #5 Pontiac had the point with #64 Jake Hodgood following closely in second. On lap 123 Hodgood challenged Bryant in turn 2 and took to the point, leaving Bryant running second. From deep in the field and with laps rapidly clicking away, Mackey charged back toward the front of the pack and within a few laps found himself running in third place close behind Bryant. With the checkered flag only a few laps away, the #64 car of Hobgood developed a severe oil leak from the rear end and was laying down a sheet of oil which collected heavily on the windshields of Bryant and Mackey. NASCAR's failure to detect the dangerous oil leak allowed Hobgood to keep Bryant and Mackey at bay, as they struggled to maintain control of their cars on the now, oil slick track surface. From this point, Hobgood cruised to his first victory of the 2000 season.
An obviously upset Bryant expressed his dissatisfaction with NASCAR's failure to heed repeated warnings from drivers who had reported the oil leaks. "That was a very dangerous situation. NASCAR racing has witnessed several tragic accidents already this year which resulted in the death of the drivers. When these types of problems develop on the track, officials need to properly respond and tonight they did not." Viewing Bryant's and Mackey's oil soaked windshield at the end of the race gave credence to Bryant's concern. Stated Mackey, "I first thought the oil was coming from Ricky's (Bryant) car. I later learned it was Jake. I knew the track conditions had deteriorated to a point that it was too dangerous to attempt to pass anyone. I just tried to hang on and maintain the position that we had."
Post race inspection showed that several bolts had worked loose on the #64 car's rear end allowing gear oil to escape the housing. "We knew we had a problem," stated Hobgood, "But, we had no intentions of stopping unless NASCAR told us we had to." Fortunately for Hobgood, it appeared that the officials erred in his favor.
Finishing behind Hobgood in second was Rick Bryant followed closely by B.J. Mackey in third, Keith Roggen in fourth and Jimmy Britts in the fifth place spot. Rounding out the top ten finishers were Edward Howell, Johnny Chapman, Derrick Kelley, Ned Combs and Joey Miller.
The final season's event will be Saturday, October 28, 2000 at Lanier National Speedway in Braselton, GA. Mackey hopes to bring home a victory from the final race to post his 4th win of the season and 6th career win. "We have had a wonderful 2000 racing season," stated Mackey. "It would be thrilling to end our year with one more win. What a way to thank our car owners (Daly Racing, LLC) and our wonderful sponsors Van Camp's Beans and Horton Homes," smiled Mackey.
Daly Racing, LLC