NASCAR GOODY'S DASH SERIES FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE NOVEMBER 11, 1997 CHAMPION, MIKE SWAIM JR. TO RECEIVE MULTIPLE NASCAR GOODY'S DASH SERIES HONORS Mike Swaim Jr. of High Point, N.C. was crowned the 1997 NASCAR Goody's Dash Series ...
NASCAR GOODY'S DASH SERIES FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE NOVEMBER 11, 1997
CHAMPION, MIKE SWAIM JR. TO RECEIVE MULTIPLE NASCAR GOODY'S DASH SERIES HONORS
Mike Swaim Jr. of High Point, N.C. was crowned the 1997 NASCAR Goody's Dash Series Champion following the running of the Homestead 50 at the Metro-Dade Homestead Motorsports Complex in Florida on Sunday, Nov. 9. Swaim ended the 1997 season with a 134 point advantage over Brian Sockwell of Brown Summit, N.C. to claim the Series title in only his third year with the Series.
Swaim, a second generation champion, follows in the footsteps of his father, Mike Swaim Sr. who was himself, a two time Dash Series Champion in 1984 and 1985. Together they become the first father and son to be honored as champions of a NASCAR Touring Series since Richard Petty won his first championship in 1964, following his father, Lee Petty's reign.
Sockwell, after his season opening victory at Daytona International Speedway in February, was just never able to fully capitalize on his Series leading, five wins and his 17 top ten finishes. But, the S.C.C. Race Team will, no doubt, be well remembered for their emotion charged and inspirational battle for the championship throughout the entire season.
Swaim Jr.'s push toward the Series championship began to take shape during his incredible four race win streak just prior to the midway point of the schedule. His impressive four consecutive victories beginning at Lanier National Speedway in Braselton, Ga., and ending at Florence Motor Speedway in Florence, S.C. quickly became known as "Mikes Miracle Month of May", and vaulted him from fourth, to first in Series points. Along the way, Mike also picked up May wins from the pole at Caraway Speedway in Asheboro, N.C. and Tri-County Motor Speedway in Hudson, N.C.
Swaim is no stranger to that coveted inside front row starting position. Five times in 1997, the Busch Pole Award was presented to Mike Swaim Jr. making him the 1997 Busch Pole Award winner. Four of those five poles for the Racing Images / Mahoning Lumber Center Pontiac Sunfire established new track records. But the five poles alone, were not enough to clinch this year's honors. Swaim's competition in this category was substantially closer than it was for the point championship and his closest competitor was the same Brown Summit, N.C. native, Brian Sockwell. In fact, Swaim and Sockwell tied for the number of poles won (5 each) and NASCAR officials had to go to the number of second place starting positions before declaring Swaim the Busch Pole Award winner.
Swaim was also the recipient of the Gatorade Front Runner Award for his laps completed percentage at the mid-way point of the schedule. And, will receive further recognition for his incredible, year ending, 98.8% laps completed rating over the entire season.
Swaim's consistency in finishing races and finishing up front, is as much due to the team's meticulous preparation, as it is to driver talent. For that, Swaim is quick to acknowledge the talents and hard work of his crew chief, Ronald Fox and all the crew members of the Falcon Racing Team. The old axiom about first, finishing, before you can finish first was obviously part of this team's strategy for 1997. Fox and the crew not only kept Swaim on the race track to complete almost 99% of the laps run, but they were able to put strong enough equipment under him to allow him to finish in the top ten, 18 times in the 21 race schedule.
Another team and driver that was able to put together some very impressive statistics for 1997 was the Alibi's race team with Rookie of the Year Charles Powell III of Goose Creek, S.C. at the wheel. Piloting his Jazzy Power Chairs Pontiac Sunfire, the former Winston Racing Series Track Champion picked up a Busch Pole and a win at the tough, Greenville-Pickens Speedway (S.C.) on his way to clinching the NASCAR Goody's Dash Series Rookie of the Year crown. The year-long battle that began at Daytona International Speedway in Florida with 16 rookie drivers signed up to compete for the freshman honors, eventually boiled down to a six horse race with Powell taking the insurmountable lead following the Concord Motorsports Complex event in early November. Powell's 14 top ten finishes allowed him to finish an impressive sixth in overall points, and his seven Rookie of the Race honors earned him a total of 171 rookie points. That was enough to give him a 10 point cushion over first runner-up in the Rookie race, Ricky Bryant of Linwood, N.C., in the Racing USA Pontiac. Powell and team owners, Christina and Sue Martin plan to return in 1998, possibly fielding a second car in a concerted drive towards the Series Championship.
Former Rookie of the Year and 1994 NASCAR Goody's Dash Series Champion, Will Hobgood, of Winnsboro, S.C. finished the season third in overall points, driving his Wynn's / Grease Monkey entry to two wins and 15 top ten finishes. Hobgood's Cedar Creek Race Team Pontiac Sunfire was right there at the front in nearly every race this year, as indicated by his Series high, 477 laps lead.
Robert Huffman of Claremont, N.C. also put up a valiant fight for the championship picking up three wins, 13 top ten finishes and a Busch Pole in his White House Apple Juice Pontiac to finish fourth in the overall point standings.
Rounding out the top five in the final point standings, was another second generation driver, Jake Hobgood, also a Winnsboro, S.C. native. The younger Hobgood won the prestigious Goody's Mid-Season Consistency Award for his laps completed percentage following the Bristol Motor Speedway event, and after 14 top ten finishes, eventually managed to bring his Wynn's / Precision Engine / Cogdill Carpet Pontiac Sunfire home third, just behind his father, Will Hobgood, in the total laps completed statistic.
The top NASCAR Goody's Dash Series drivers, teams and sponsors will gather one more time this year on Nov. 29, for the annual NASCAR Goody's Dash Series Awards Banquet. The Charlotte University Hilton in Charlotte, N.C. will once again host the event to celebrate the teams' many accomplishments over the course of the 1997 season. -30-