Bristol race report

BRISTOL, TN. (August 23, 2000) - Cam Strader looked to have the car to beat early in the Pabst Blue Ribbon 150 last Wednesday at the Bristol Motor Speedway. Strader started from the pole position and motored away from the field, leading the first...

BRISTOL, TN. (August 23, 2000) - Cam Strader looked to have the car to beat early in the Pabst Blue Ribbon 150 last Wednesday at the Bristol Motor Speedway. Strader started from the pole position and motored away from the field, leading the first 49 laps of the event.

B. J. Mackey won his first Bud pole of the 2000 season, turning a fast lap of 16.264 seconds for 117.978 mph, but moved back to the inside of row three for the start. The series uses a pre-race draw technique that put Strader at the point for the start.

As the field took the caution flag for the third time, a number of cars stayed on the track to gain track position including Greg Goodell with his Van Camp's Beanee Weenee Pontiac. Goodell took the point for the first time in 2000 and led for the next 14 laps.

On lap 64, Strader flexed the muscle in the Wesson Cooking Oil machine and went back to the lead and maintained that position through lap 92. In doing so, Strader led the most laps and received the Gatorade Front Runner Award for the event.

"We were strong tonight," said the Wilson, NC native. "Barry Owen and this Wesson crew had a great car under me. It's just a shame that we had an equipment failure on the night our sponsors were in town to see us race," Strader said. "We've been very fortunate not to have any more mechanical problems than what we've had this season. We had a right rear wheel bearing seizing up, and it just wasn't safe for me to continue."

"I'm sure glad to see that Roger Sawyer won this race. He's a good guy and a tough racer. Our condolences go out to his family, and I can't think of any team that's more deserving than them," Strader explained.

Vermont native Roger Sawyer, who now calls Orlando, Fl. home, held off a hard charging Johnny Chapman to win the Goody's Dash Series event on the high-banks of the Bristol Speedway.

Sawyer's win added to the record books of the famed .533-mile oval as he became the fourth different driver to win from the backstretch at Bristol after he had to use a provisional starting position to make the field. He started 28th in the 30-car field.

Also adding to the record books was Sawyer's Crew Chief his mom Pat making her the first female Crew Chief to win an event at Bristol.

The event, scheduled for 150 laps, ran an additional 13 circuits when cars started running out of gas over the final stages of the event. The lead changed three times in the final stages of the event, and fourteen of the original field of 30 cars, were running at the end.

Finishing behind Sawyer's Orlando Orange County Auto Auction Pontiac was Chapman in his Old Milwaukee Non-Alcoholic Pontiac, Keith Roggen in his Ten Brink Underground/Dallas Auto Pontiac, Edward Howell in the Environmental Energy Fuels Pontiac and Shane Hmiel with his J. D. Wilkins Company Pontiac.

"First of all I want to dedicate this win tonight to my brother-in-law Jim McConnell, my wife's brother who passed away on August 1 2000. He was in the U.S. Navy stationed in Japan, and was only 25 years old. I know he is looking down on us tonight and we miss him," Sawyer said.

"We really missed the set-up in qualifying," said Sawyer during his post-race interview. "This is a family operation, and after qualifying we all sat down and figured our race strategy. We had no idea about winning tonight, but we wanted to have a good showing. Racing here is important."

"Then when we got a lap down early in the race, we knew we were really in trouble," continued Sawyer. "I just kept working, and my mom told me to drive deeper in the corners. She really knows her stuff, in fact she made the call not to pit for fuel when everyone else pitted during that third caution."

"When the 95-car was leading I figured we could get our lap back," stated Sawyer. "Once we got back on the lead lap it was just a matter of staying out of trouble and improving our position."

He received lots of help improving his position as the race was slowed by nine cautions for 47 laps during the event. Sawyer got his lap back on the restart of the fourth caution on lap 60.

Hmiel, son of former Winston Cup crew chief Steve Hmiel, took the lead from Goodell on lap 93 going low in turn one to make the pass. He had all heads turned, in only his third career series start, as he looked very strong opening a ¼ track lead on the second place car. But mechanical problems forced the youngster to the pits handing the lead to Chapman.

One incident that allowed Chapman to close the gap on Hmiel was when series points leader Robert Huffman and second place in points Ricky Bryant were racing for position coming off turn two. The two cars got together and spun taking them out of contention for the win.

With Chapman at the point and trying for his third win of 2000, things really got wild after another spin on the backstretch which sent the event into extra laps (the series doesn't end under caution in most races.)

On the restart on lap 152, while leading the race Chapman ran out of gas which gave the lead to Brewer, last year's winner. Brewer led down the backstretch and tried to pass slower traffic, but his car and the number 94 of Keith Roggen touched sending Brewer's machine spinning and up against the outside retaining wall in turns three and four bring out yet another caution flag.

So if anything else could happen it did!! Roggen's car ran out of gas under caution and Sawyer inherited the lead.

With Sawyer looking for his first win, Chapman charged in to second and then made one final charge for the win. But Sawyer was equal to the pressure, and protected the low side of the track to preserve the victory.

Rounding out the top ten positions were Goodell, with his best finish of the 2000 campaign, Eric Van Cleef, with his best finish of the season and for Toyota this year, Ricky Woodward, with his best run of the year, Huffman and Bobby Dayton.

The next event for the Goody's Dash Series, NASCAR Touring will be the ETS Payphones 150 on September 2, 2000 at Lanier National Speedway in Gainesville, Ga.

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Drivers Shane Hmiel , Cam Strader , Robert Huffman , Johnny Chapman