South Boston race report 2002-10-19

Beach lands his first win amid a sea of cautions in "Little Trees" 200. (South Boston, VA) Festive atmosphere abounded in the glow of the Halifax County Fair, as the USAC Mini Indy Midgets roared to the life in the "Little Trees" 200 at Big ...

Beach lands his first win amid a sea of cautions in "Little Trees" 200.

(South Boston, VA) Festive atmosphere abounded in the glow of the Halifax County Fair, as the USAC Mini Indy Midgets roared to the life in the "Little Trees" 200 at Big Daddy's South Boston Speedway. Dave Steele (#29 Tampa, FL) bested the Midget Track Record set last year by Tony Stewart with a lap of 14.628 (98.441 mph) in "Little Trees" qualifying. Winston Cup Points Leader Tony Stewart signed autographs, toured with the pace car, then gave the command to fire up the engines for a quick paced main event. Teddy Beach blazed to victory in the USAC main feature, posting his first ever USAC National victory. ARCA race winner Ken Schrader, ALLTEL driver Ryan Newman, Virginia Lottery steerman Hermie Sadler with tagteam partner NWO/WCW star Marcus "Buff Daddy" Bagwell, legendary car owner Junie Donlavey, and 2000 Winston Cup Champion Bobby Labonte were all in attendance for racing activities at "America's Hometown Track".

In the first heat, last year's main feature runner-up Bobby East (#19 Indianapolis, IN) took the lead on lap two and charged to victory in the 10 lap qualifier. Teammate J.J. Yeley (#91 Phoenix, AZ) finished second in his Team ASE Ford. A.J. Fike (#69 Galesburg, IL) launched to victory in the second 10 lap heat, with Ron Gregory (#22 Noblesville, IN) finishing in the runner-up slot. In the final heat, Teddy Beach (#125 Donnellsville, OH) pulled to an early lead and cruised to victory over Richey Jacobs (#114 Fort Wayne, IN). John Nervo (#21 Akron, OH) powered from the pole, but Billy Wease (#12 Noblesville, IN) rolled out front and captured victory in the Semi-Final 10 lap qualifier to set the 50 lap main event field. Nervo finished second.

With a melee on the first lap, a full course restart was on tap, as Teddy Beach (#125 Donnellsville, OH) took the early lead from the pole. As door-to-door scuffles ensued, Brad Paris (#36 Brownsburg, IN) dropped fluids on the track causing a six car slippin' slide in turn three. Hard charger, Bobby East, lost control and sustained damage in the lap seven tussle. After a red flag period, the restart brought another big incident as Justin Overfelt (#78 Crawfordsville, IN) took a hard hit in turn one. With only eight laps completed, USAC officials determined to shorten the race to 40 laps, due to a fuel concerns. Two yellow flags flew before lap nine was completed. Four amber rags and a red flag flew before the lap ten. With ten cars eliminated in the early going, Yeley tried to track down Beach, as the Top 5 pulled away from the rest of the field. The leaders caught lap traffic on lap 27, as Yeley began to close the gap. As Beach cleared the traffic, he cleared the way for his first USAC National win, but not before a late lap caution slowed the top runners. With only two laps to go, Yeley got another shot at Beach with Aaron Fike (#32 Galesburg, IL) and Tracy Hines (#110 New Castle, IN) showing on the leaderboard. With the white flag ready to wave, another caution ensued bunching the final dash to the finish. Bobby East (#19) blasted on the leaderboard for a green-white-checkered finish, as Teddy Beach posted the win followed by Jeley, Fike, and East.

In SCALE Racing League action Mike Hawkins Jr. (#37 Battlefield Ford) took the PRO MOD Truck victory, with James Aurentz (#83 Beckley Honda) picking up the win in Mini Cup action.

Lehigh Valley Quarter Midgets had Tyler Labonte (#18) finishing second in his event, while Chase Mattioli (#54) captured victory in his second start at the speedway. Tyler Labonte is the son of 2000 Winston Cup Champion Bobby Labonte and Chase Mattioli is the son of Speedway President Joe Mattioli.

The "Little Trees" 200 will be broadcast on ESPN2 on November 3rd at 5:30 p.m.

In a gesture of good will and true character for potential Winston Cup Champion Tony Stewart, Midget driver Dave Darland's father passed away from a heart attack on Friday night and Stewart provided his plane to fly Darland and his wife home to Indiana to be with family. Darland was the current USAC Midget Series point leader going into the South Boston event. Due to this sudden loss, he was unable to compete. The thoughts and prayers of the South Boston Speedway Family go out to David Darland and his family.

The 2002 season finale at Big Daddy's South Boston Speedway will be the Bailey's 300 on November 9th. The Bailey's 300 is the largest proving grounds with at national audience for Late Model Stock Car drivers to date. With SPEED Channel coverage broadcasting the event on November 23rd at 2p.m. and November 25th at 5p.m., the Bailey's 300 Hometown Challenge is the Late Model national audition for tomorrow's NASCAR superstars.

The Bailey's 300 traditionally attracts the best Late Model Stock Car competitors from up and down the East Coast and beyond. Last year South Boston's Track Champion and NASCAR Regional Champion, Brandon Butler, drove his Bailey's sponsored mount to victory. The November 9th Bailey's 300, at Big Daddy's South Boston Speedway, will be broadcast on Speed Channel on a taped delayed basis. The airdate for the Bailey's 300 will be announced in October.

Time trials, heat races and a last chance qualifier will be used to determine the 36 car-starting field. Grandstand gates are scheduled to open at 9am, with time trials at 10am and the Bailey's 300 at 3pm.

Reserved seats are $30 in advance and $35 at the gate. Adult general admission tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the gate. General admission for young adults (10-15) is only $10 with children 9 and under admitted free. A limited number of $15 back straight seats will be available for purchase the on race day. Tickets for the Bailey's 300 are available on line via tickets.com. Telephone credit card orders can be placed by calling, toll free, 1-877-440-1540.

-www.southbostonspeedway.com

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About this article
Series Midget , USAC
Drivers Bobby Labonte , Tony Stewart , Ken Schrader , Hermie Sadler , John Nervo , Dave Darland , J.J. Yeley , Tracy Hines , Dave Steele , Aaron Fike , Bobby East , Teddy Beach , A.J. Fike , Ron Gregory , Richey Jacobs , Justin Overfelt , Brad Paris , Chase Mattioli