Daytona Race Story II

ELDER NOTCHES DAYTONA VICTORY DAYTON BEACH, FLA. (Feb. 12)-In a race that saw a record, 15 lead changes among ten drivers, Christian Elder, in the No. 21 Great Clips for Hair Pontiac Sunfire held off the challenges from 1998 Goody's Dash...


DAYTON BEACH, FLA. (Feb. 12)-In a race that saw a record, 15 lead changes among ten drivers, Christian Elder, in the No. 21 Great Clips for Hair Pontiac Sunfire held off the challenges from 1998 Goody's Dash Series champion, Robert Huffman of Claremont, N.C. to claim his second career Goody's Dash Series victory and his first ever win at "The Birthplace of Speed", the Daytona International Speedway. The Minneapolis, Minn. native led 51 of the 80 laps that made up the 21st Annual Discount Auto Parts 200 Presented by AC Delco Rapidfire including the halfway lap making him the first Gatorade Front Runner Award winner of 1999. But more importantly, he managed to stay ahead of the six incidents that slowed the field for 26 laps and brought out three red flags. Cumulatively, the incidents eliminated 15 of the 42 starters in the event and left many more damaged, but still able to continue. "We were very fortunate to be in front of most of the incidents all day," said Elder. "The 22 car (Ernie Yarborough) shredded a tire right in front of me there at one point. He went up the racetrack, down the racetrack and then back up the racetrack, I had all kinds of debris bouncing off the windshield…and that was kind of scary, but everything else was behind me so I got to watch most of it in the mirror." When asked if he had held on to anything for the end, Elder replied, "I still had some left. On the second restart from the last I wanted to see what he (Huffman) had left. I knew he was going to try and team up on me with whoever he had behind him and he did. He held back just a touch at the restart and then came up on me on the backstretch and tried to draft by me. So I did a little shaking the car and moved some wind on him to slow him down. I knew what he had at that point and it wasn't enough." Scott Weaver of Shelby, N.C. brought the field to the green to start the 200-mile event after qualifying his Weaver Race Cars / Edelbrock Pontiac on the Bud Pole for the second time in his 15-year Dash Series career. Weaver's good fortune was short lived though, as he was quickly involved in a seven car melee on lap 11 coming to the short chute at the exit of the Tri-oval that ultimately ended with a jarring collision between himself and George Crenshaw of Lakeland, Fla. Three drivers had to be transported to Halifax Medical Center following the incident. Weaver and Crenshaw both received leg injuries in the incident and Danny Snell of Riddleville, Ga. was examined and released after complaining of back and neck discomfort. Both Weaver and Crenshaw were reported in good condition and were expected to be released soon. Thirteen Napa Filters Rookie of the Year candidates qualified for this event led by Justin Hobgood, of Winnsboro, S.C. who was able to qualify his Wynn's / Precision Engine Pontiac on the outside of the third row. Justin, the younger brother of Series regular, Jake Hobgood and the son of 1994 Goody's Dash Series champion, Will Hobgood, shortened up both, his day and his racecar when he became involved in an incident on lap 19, triggered when Jimmy Foster, Scott Krehling and Derrick Kelley went three deep at the exit of turn two. The tangle that ensued touched off a grinding incident that collected nine more drivers before it was over and brought out the second red flag of the day. When the smoke cleared, five of the thirteen 1999 NAPA Filters Rookie of the Year candidates and three other drivers were through for the day, all victims of the backstretch mishap. The 1992 Goody's Dash Series Rookie of the Year, Danny Bagwell of Cordova, Ala. running third, with just five laps remaining in the event, brought out the final and longest red flag interruption of the day when his Ford ZX2 went on a wild, tumbling ride down the front stretch coming to rest just short of the start-finish line. Bagwell immediately scrambled from the skeleton of rollbars that protected him, stunned, but otherwise uninjured. When the checkered flag was displayed to the field on lap 80, Elder was a full, three seconds ahead of second place, Huffman who was nursing his White House Apple Juice Pontiac home with a tire going down. Huffman, struggled to the line, getting there just in front of Winston Racing Series ace, Joe Buford of Nashville, Tenn. in the Dean Combs owned, Stoogies Ford ZX2. Buford had come all the way from his 34th starting spot to eventually finish third. Greg Goodell of Easley, S.C. finished in the fourth spot and the Napa Filters Rookie of the Race, Jimmy Britts of Orange Park, Fla. recovered from a late race "spin and go" to round out the top five. The next event for the Goody's Dash Series is scheduled for April 24, 1999 at Hickory Motor Speedway in Hickory, N.C.

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Drivers Christian Elder , Joe Buford , Robert Huffman , Justin Hobgood