Bishop proves to be late model survivor at Greenville Pickens GREENVILLE, SC (March 31, 2001)- Donnie Bishop's most fortunate move in Saturday's True Value 35 lap Late Model race at Greenville Pickens Speedway was probably turning fast time of...
Bishop proves to be late model survivor at Greenville Pickens
GREENVILLE, SC (March 31, 2001)- Donnie Bishop's most fortunate move in Saturday's True Value 35 lap Late Model race at Greenville Pickens Speedway was probably turning fast time of 20.77 in qualifying to capture the pole position. That put the six time track champion at the head of the pack and allowed him to avoid two early race frontstretch melees that ended up involving most of the field and ended the night for several of the competitors. Bishop jumped to an early lead as the green flag fell, with outside pole sitter Pete Silva of Asheville following close behind. The first sign of trouble came on lap number 6, when Powdersville's Bob Mangum got caught up in a John Ferguson spin. On the restart, Silva tried to get the outside jump on Bishop, but his Chevrolet Monte Carlo begin to nose down the track and spin just as the pair crossed the start-finish stripe. Bishop was able to dive low and avoid Silva, but the rest of the full throttled field barreled down the frontstretch and in to the huge pile of twisted sheet metal and wreckage. The spectacular crash involved almost three-fourths of the field, and sent officials and crews scrambling to pull apart the wreckage and clear the track. Gary Greenwood Jr. and Greg Nix sustained the heaviest damage and could not return, however, several competitors who were involved did manage to strip damaged sheet metal from their racers and make fast adjustments to return after a 20 minute delay. Defending track champion Gene Morgan, Simpsonville's David Roberts, Hot Springs NC's Stephen Gahagan, Liberty's Kenneth Headen, and Columbia's Dan Shumaker all took heavy damage, but were able to return their damaged racers to the track after the long delay. But an undamaged Donnie Bishop would not be threatened in the remaining 29 circuits, as a crippled field of taped up and stripped down Late Models fought for second best behind Bishop as he cruised to his second season Late Model victory. Greenville's Fred Phillips, who was one of the fortunate few to escape damage, placed a distance second behind Bishop, and Silva, whose lap six frontstretch spin set off the melee, fought his way back to place third. Central's Jay White was fourth, and Morgan managed a respectable fifth place finish in his damaged Ford Taurus. Headen, Mangum, Gahagan, Brandon McCarson, and John McAbee rounded out the sixth through tenth place positions.
"It's good to be up front, and it's the best place to be if you can be there," Bishop said after the race in victory lane. "You are at someone else's mercy when something goes wrong up front. I just thank the Good Lord that I was up front tonight." The win was Bishop's second consecutive Late Model win of the season, and gives the Greenville native an early points lead with three races completed.
Greenville's Phillip Lynch and Ken Guthrie wrestled for an early lead in the 15 lap Super Stock event, with Lynch getting the advantage and holding off two time winner Robby Robbins of Greenville in the final circuits to claim his first season win. Robbins settled for second, and Easley's Randy Ballew scored his best season finish by placing third. Guthrie fell to fourth, and Scott Mote rounded out the top five.
Dacusville's Red Ables made a daring final lap pass of race long leader Daryl Culbertson of Travelers Rest to claim the 15 lap Street Stock checkers. Greenville's Tim Sams moved around Culbertson to edge out a narrow second place finish. Culbertson settled for third, and Easley's Billy Lusk was fourth. Last week's winner Chris Meinders of Liberty placed fifth. Greenville's Travis Hardin was declared the winner of the Charger I 10 lap event, after apparent winner Roger Knight of Travelers Rest failed to pass technical inspection. Easley's Kennith Powell was second and P.J. Sparks of Travelers Rest was third. Greenville's Robert Horton bested Bryan Davis and Jimmy Henson in the Charger II race to claim his second season victory.