DirtNews Digest Your Online News Source for Late Model Dirt Track Racing "Get Some Dirt On Your Computer!" Todd Turner, editor Email address: DirtNews@aol.com Web site: ...
DirtNews Digest Your Online News Source for Late Model Dirt Track Racing "Get Some Dirt On Your Computer!" Todd Turner, editor
Email address: DirtNews@aol.com Web site: http://members.aol.com/dirtnews/digest =================================== CONTENTS: May 25 results (published May 25) SHOW-ME 100: Aukland wins $31,000 at West Plains, Mo. =================================== UNSANCTIONED Fifth annual Show-Me 100
WEST PLAINS, Mo. (Sunday) It took two days for the sun to shine at West Plains Motor Speedway. When it finally did, polesitter Rick Aukland was the benefactor, basking in the sun's glow with a $31,000 winner's purse after an afternoon of uncustomary one-groove racing at the fifth annual Show-Me 100
Winning the biggest race of his career, Aukland led flag-to-flag to capture the rain-delayed race, the nation's most lucrative unsanctioned dirt late model event. Scott Bloomquist, along with Aukland a recent convert to C.J. Rayburn-built cars, finished second, followed by Wendell Wallace, Billy Moyer and Mark Miner. Ronnie Johnson, Bob Pierce, Donnie Barnhart, David Gibson and Mike Jewell finished sixth through 10th.
"There's so many good cars here, you just do the best you can do and hope you come out on top, and that's what we did and got lucky this time," said Aukland, who captured his first dirt late model biggie. "It feels good to finally knock one of them off."
The long weekend ended considerably better than it started for Aukland, who was only 61st among 107 qualifiers at the 3/8-mile oval.
"We qualified miserable," Aukland said. "I think we know what we did wrong there and as soon as we switched it around in the heat race the car ran real good." Aukland roared from his fifth-row starting position in Friday's heat race to take the lead by the 12th of 20 laps, and because the first three rows of the feature lineup were inverted according to time trial, he earned the Show-Me 100 pole position.
When heavy rain showers Saturday night postponed the race until Sunday afternoon, his starting position became even more valuable as the sun appeared by feature time, dried the track and limited racing to mostly single file.
Bloomquist seriously challenge Aukland only a few times over the 100 laps, and the only driver to make any progress among the top cars was Wallace, who started sixth and ended up third.
"It was kinda tough," said Wallace, the weekend's fast qualifier. "I felt like we had a race car to win the race, but the track just kinda got to where it was real hard to pass. Once we got past Moyer (on lap 37) I was going to try and save my tires for the end and race them guys, then I was worried about not having enough at the end so we just rode."
"If it would've stayed cloudy it would've been a good race," Wallace said. "But when the sun come out there, it was just a regular daytime race. The track takes rubber and it just gets kinda hard to pass."
Wallace's best chance to get up front came on the 81st lap when Bloomquist slipped high between Turns 1 and 2, allowing Wallace to get past Bloomquist's yin-yang car for a clear shot at Aukland. However, fifth-place runner John Gill had a flat tire and stopped in Turn 4 to bring out the caution, returning Bloomquist to his second position when the field was reset.
"I really think Wendell would've won the race ... if that yellow wouldn't have fell right then," said Moyer, who also got past Bloomquist before the caution. "Because Rick was getting way loose and Wendell I think had a good shot at him."
Moyer, a three-time winner of the race, said the difference between racing at night and in the afternoon was, well, "like night and day." The moisture and coolness of the evening typically provides a surface that supports two- and three-wide racing at West Plains, but Saturday night's rain -- and a forecast for more rain Sunday night -- forced the race to be run in the afternoon.
"(Don Gibson) does a heck of a job preparing the track for the afternoon with no dust and everything, that way it was good. But you just can't run dirt in the afternoon," Moyer said. "You get that one little rubber streak in it and everybody runs it and pretty much from the start of the race. You run 10 laps and let everybody get in a single line, and that's how you're going to finish pretty much. I don't know if there's an answer for it except don't run in the afternoon."
Aukland's main scare came in the final laps as the lapped car of Shawn Toczek caused him to slow slightly, allowing Bloomquist to slice a 15-length lead to just a few lengths. Coming out of Turn 4 and heading for the checkered flag, Toczek and and a slower James Huff were blocking Aukland, so he made his No. 12 as wide as possible to beat Bloomquist across the finish line.
After the finish, contact with one of the lapped cars flattened the right rear on Aukland's car, but the tire probably didn't have much life left anyway, Aukland said.
"At the end I was outta tire," he said. "I was worried I had it all blistered up and spinning, hanging on there at the end. I think it was the right tire, it was real good for most of the race. Had it been 200 laps I don't think I'd be standing here (in victory lane)."
Aukland jumped out to an early lead and was lapping cars by the 13th lap. He separated himself from Bloomquist and Moyer and built a half straightaway lead by the 15th lap.
At lap 22, Aukland had to wait on a group of slower cars -- including Freddy Smith, Rex Richey, James Huff, Mark Barber and Leslie Essary -- and Bloomquist and Moyer caught up. After Aukland made his way through the crowd, Bloomquist suffered some cosmetic damage on the front when he hit Smith before moving around the pack on the backstretch, and Moyer took the low route to get past.
The first caution appeared when Clint Smith stopped on the backstretch on the 24th lap, filtering several of the lapped cars among the leaders on the restart. Aukland again jumped out to a quick lead, picking up his left-front tire as he accelerated off the corners. After another caution when O'Neal hit the Turn 2 wall at the same time Skip Arp was stopping on the backstretch, Aukland jumped out again with Bloomquist, Moyer, Wallace and Gill giving chase.
Wallace began peeking inside Moyer coming out of Turn 4 on the 34th lap. After Bloomquist checked up a bit in Turn 2 a lap later, Wallace switched to the outside when Moyer lost momentum in braking because of Bloomquist. On the 37th lap Wallace got around the outside of Moyer and held the third spot when a caution appeared on lap 40 for Marshall Green.
Another caution when Dennis Erb Jr. hit the Turn-3 wall slowed Aukland's progress on the 49th lap, but he comfortably led again for the next 31 laps during the longest green-flag stretch in the race that ended with the yellow for Gill's flat tire.
Before that caution, the leaders appeared to be stymied behind the single-line slower traffic of Greg Williams, Donnie Barnhart, David Gibson and Mike Jewell, but the yellow relieved Aukland of the problem and gave him a clear racetrack until the final laps.
CAR COUNT: 107 late models.
FAST QUALIFIER: Wendell Wallace (6m), Batesville, Ark., 15.151 seconds.
FRIDAY'S HEAT WINNERS (full results in previous report): Wendell Wallace, C.J. Rayburn, John Gill, Scott Bloomquist, Billy Moyer, Rick Aukland.
SUNDAY'S MANUFACTURERS DASH (six laps): Wendell Wallace (GRT), Mark Miner (MasterSbilt), Terry Muskrat (American Made), Greg Williams (Barry Wright), Stacy Taylor (Larry Shaw), Dennis Erb. Jr. (Rayburn).
SUNDAY'S FIRST CONSOLATION (20 laps; top two advance to feature): Clint Smith, David Gibson, Dale McDowell, Terry Phillips, Bill Frye, Rex McCroskey, Tony Cardin, Al Purkey, Billy Romans, Johnny Stokes, John Logue, Dan Sturgeon, Brian Rickman, Jason Bodenhammer, Dusty Johnston, Steve Morgan, Troy Withers, Mike Koch, Chad Lyle, Stacy Taylor (Kenny Shelton Jr. and Dan Leatherman scratched).
SUNDAY'S SECOND CONSOLATION: Rex Richey, Skip Arp, Stan Lewis, Brandon Ball, Randle Chupp, Jim Curry, Keith Flurry, Randy Floyd, Michael Coleman, David Turner, Alan Vaughn, Blake Lane, Stewart Pringle, Steve Walters, Tony Izzo Jr., Rick Rickman, Terry Muskrat, Mark Noble, Dale Harris, Rick Michael, Waylon Bullard (John Kocsis scratched).
SUNDAY'S THIRD CONSOLATION: Don O'Neal, Mark Barber, Kevin Weaver, Ray Cook, Jeff Floyd, Howard Willis, Steve Russell, Robbie Starnes, Brett Davis, Gar Dickson, Ken Essary, Jason Snodgrass, Don Marsh, Eddie Rickman, Carmon Vincent, Randy McGraw, Dennis Erb Sr., Stan Amacher, Trey Beene, Shorty Acker, Glenn Morris.
SUNDAY'S SHOW-ME 100 (Pos., driver, car no., hometown, chassis, purse) 1. Rick Aukland (12), Fargo, N.D., Rayburn, $31,000 2. Scott Bloomquist (0), Mooresburg, Tenn., Rayburn, $17,000 3. Wendell Wallace (6m), Batesville, Ark., GRT, $12,200 4. Billy Moyer (21), Batesville, Ark., MasterSbilt, $8,100 5. Mark Miner (7), Stockbridge, Ga., MasterSbilt, $7,100 6. Ronnie Johnson (5), Chattanooga, Tenn., MasterSbilt, $6,100 7. Bob Pierce (32), Danville, Ill., MasterSbilt, $5,600 8. Donnie Barnhart (11), North Little Rock, Ark., GRT, $5,100 9. David Gibson (G2), Ash Flat, Ark., GRT, $4,600 10. Mike Jewell (9), Scottsburg, Ind., MasterSbilt, $4,500 11. John Gill (75), Mitchell, Ind., MasterSbilt, $4,400 12. Rex Richey (87), Ringgold, Ga., Larry Shaw, $4,300 13. Leslie Essary (5), Crane, Mo., Rayburn, $4,200 14. Greg Williams (17), Haubstadt, Ind., Barry Wright, $4,100 15. Shawn Toczek (55), Griffith, Ind., Rayburn, $4,000 16.. James Huff (5), Milton, Ky., Rayburn, $3,900 17. Freddy Smith (00), Knoxville, Tenn., GRT, $3,800 18. Marshall Green (89), Dalton, Ga., Warrior, $3,700 19. C.J. Rayburn (1cj), Whiteland, Ind., Rayburn, $3,600 20. Dennis Erb Jr., (28), Carpentersville, Ill., Rayburn, $3,500 21. Clint Smith (1), Griffin, Ga., GRT, $3,400 22. Mark Barber (00), North Vernon, Ind., Rayburn, $3,300 23. Skip Arp (31), Georgetown, Tenn., GRT, $3,200 24. Don O'Neal (71), Martinsville, Ind., MasterSbilt, $3,100
FEATURE AND CONSOLATION NOTES: The feature began about 2:30 and ended about 3:20 p.m. .... David Gibson was the first car on the track for the feature, but he was recalled to the pits to check on his fuel load .... with eight Hoosiers in the feature, Indiana had the most drivers in the feature, following by Arkansas, Tennessee and Georgia with four drivers apiece .... likewise, Indiana chassis builders were well represented with eight C.J. Rayburn-built cars and seven MasterSbilt cars in the feature. GRT had six entries while Larry Shaw, Barry Wright and Warrior had one car apiece .... Bill Frye fought his way from 11th to fifth in the first consy .... Terry Muskrat started on the pole of the second consolation but faded badly before getting out of shape, colliding with John Logue and spinning on the frontstretch on the 16th lap .... Randle Chupp was running third in the second consy but got way out of the groove on a restart and fell back .... a brief rain shower about 12:50 p.m. early in the third consolation caused a delay of about 40 minutes while the track was reworked .... Kevin Weaver led at the rain delay, but Mark Barber got past Weaver on the restart and Don O'Neal passed Weaver four laps later.
AND OTHER NOTES: GRT driver Wendell Wallace won $500 in the late model manufacturers dash, a six-lap race among the top qualifiers of six chassis builders .... because of the threat of afternoon rain, six consolation races were cut to three. The top two finishers advanced to the Show-Me 100 and purse money was doubled, including $2,000 for the third-place finishers in the consolations .... other speed-up procedures were time limits on the modified consolation and feature, and any modified causing a caution was asked to leave the track .... Todd Livingston, 22, of Tyler, Texas, a crew member with the Michael Coleman-Howard Willis team, suffered second-degree burns to his lower torso and legs in the pits Sunday morning. Willis was trying to get a little fuel in the carburetor when the engine backfired, and Willis threw a cup of ignited gasoline, not realizing Livingston was standing behind him. Livingston was taken away by ambulance and airlifted to a Springfield., Mo., hospital .... among drivers departing and giving up consolation starting spots were Gary Webb, Brian Birkhofer, Randy Sellars, Jack Simmons, Gregg Herron, Willy Kraft and Johnny Johnson .... Kenny Shelton Jr., damaged the driver's side of his car when he hit Turn 3 in hot laps trying to avoid a spin by Al Purkey and missed his consolation race.
CREDIT: Todd Turner <DirtNews@aol.com> of DirtNews Digest. -------------------------------------------------------------