Memphis: Race report

Danny Bagwell does well in bagging win at Memphis Motorsports Park. MEMPHIS, TN (June 23, 2002) - Danny Bagwell is from Cordova, Alabama. He is known as the comedy guy on the Goody's Dash Series, NASCAR Touring. You may remember him best for a...

Danny Bagwell does well in bagging win at Memphis Motorsports Park.

MEMPHIS, TN (June 23, 2002) - Danny Bagwell is from Cordova, Alabama. He is known as the comedy guy on the Goody's Dash Series, NASCAR Touring. You may remember him best for a tumble he took at Daytona a few years ago. (Something he remembers all to well.) Danny always has a good joke to share. One of the first times I encountered his humor, he asked me if I had seen Elvis lately. This has become an interesting conversation piece over the years. After he flipped his machine at Daytona, he crawled out of the roof of the car, fixed his hair, and then hugged the track rescue person.

He was a little dazed from flipping eleven times. When I asked him if he had seen Elvis, those around thought I was a little inappropriate. But, Danny smiled and immediately his senses returned. He knew.

This Elvis issue came up as we were leaving Kentucky just a week ago. It seemed fitting since we were heading to Memphis, the site of Elvis' Graceland. Danny not only went to victory lane, but did so 'his way.'

The temperatures were in the high 90's and it was very humid. The fact the Bagwell is from Alabama may have helped him deal with the heat. The conditions were reminiscent of those hot and humid mid-summer days in central Alabama.

This event was a two-day show. The Goody's Dash Series shared the stage with the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.

Robert Huffman was the winner of the Bud Pole with an average speed of 111.556 mph. Justin Hobgood qualified on the outside pole with an average speed of 111.033. "We should have been faster, but we had the wrong gear in the car," said Hobgood.

All of the drivers were excited about the series making it's first visit to Memphis Motorsports Park. This three-quarter mile, high-banked oval offers a track surface conducive to side-by-side racing for the Goody's Dash Series' cars.

On the initial start Huffman and Hobgood dueled for the lead through turns one and two with Hobgood taking over sole possession of the top sport heading into turn three. Then it was Scott Weaver strutting some muscle as he put the moves on Huffman for second place.

The first caution came out on lap 8, when Arlene Pittman looped her car in turn as a result of losing her brakes. This bunched the cars back together when they returned to racing conditions on lap 15. Hobgood and Huffman quickly pulled away from the rest of the pack. Huffman took over the top spot on lap 18, but Hobgood refused to be denied. He charged back by Huffman on lap 20 and held onto the lead until lap 32. After a short caution during laps 27-30 Danny Bagwell moved into position to battle Hobgood for the lead. On lap 34, Weaver moved by Hobgood for the lead. But, as they entered turn four Weaver hit a slick spot on the track and slid up out of the racing groove. Danny Bagwell dove low and took over the lead. From this point forward the track stayed slick and played into the exciting conclusion of the event.

Bagwell led lap 33, with Huffman moving into first place on lap 34. He would hold the lead until lap 44. Defending Series' Champion, Cam Strader took over the lead on lap 45 and led for the next 27 circuits.

A caution on lap 49 brought Bagwell, Zach Brewer, Ned Combs, Nick Pistone, Gary Moore, and Randy Humphrey to pit road for fuel. On the restart, Strader was able to stay out in front, as Huffman and the Hobgood brothers battled behind him. Both Hobgoods got by Huffman, then Huffman battled back to retake second place. Then on lap 72 he regained the lead. On lap 74 the leaders headed down pit road to make a green flag pit stop. This placed them one lap down to Bagwell.

On Lap 86, race leader Bagwell got together with the lapped machine of Roger Moser and the two spin in turn four, bringing out the caution. Mike Watts took over the lead. Bagwell was able to get his machine going quickly enough to stay in the second spot. During the caution, Watts came to pit road handing the lead back to Bagwell.

On the restart, Huffman was able to get by the leader to put himself back on the lead lap. Brandon Ward, also a lap down, was able to accomplish the same fete a few laps later.

The final 25 laps of the event brought plenty of action throughout the lead pack. While Bagwell was dueling with Scott Weaver, Huffman, Brewer, and the Hobgoods were battling hard to salvage a strong finish. On lap 110 Zach Brewer bumped Justin Hobgood at the end of the frontstrech causing both cars to spin. Hobgood made contact with the inside wall while Brewer was able to continue.

Scott Weaver moved passed Bagwell to lead lap 116, but Bagwell came right back and retook the lead on lap 117. All the while Cam Strader was looking for a way to get around the top two. Huffman and Jake Hobgood were having a battle of their own. They were racing for the lead in the Championship Points standings. As a result of Huffman finishing one position ahead of Hobgood, they are now tied for the top spot.

Strader moved past Weaver for second leaving Bagwell in control. Bagwell outlasted eleven official lead changes to capture his first win since 1999 at Homestead Motorsports Complex.

On the potium, Bagwell quickly solicited the General Manager of Memphis Motorsports Park to sign the dotted line to re-schedule the series for 2003.

Quotes and Notes:

"It worked out good for us today," Bagwell said. "We've got our organization moving in the right direction keeping all the T's crossed and I's dotted. This is a great racetrack. It feels good to be back in victory lane. It makes you feel like all of this is worth the effort." When asked about the slick conditions his humor showed as he said, "I guess a little kitty messed somewhere on the track. I told my spotter there is something on the track and a lot of us were having to deal with that. We hope this win will give us some momentum as we head into the second half of the season."

Scott Weaver commented, "We got a pretty good break today. We raced real hard and had a good car all day. We have run good, yet we have struggled a lot with finishing races. Today this worked out real well. I would have liked to have won the race, but I am going to grin and take a third place finish on to Greenville-Pickens."

Cam Strader was happy after the race. He said jokingly, "Huffman and his engine builder, Don Miller need to start staying home." (Huffman has won three events this season and one Bud Pole.) "We had a good car that stayed consistent throughout the whole race. It actually got better throughout the race. Our pit strategy went out the window when Bagwell short-pitted under caution and the rest of us had to pit under green. But, I am glad to have my Wesson Cooking Oil Peter Pan Peanut Butter car finish in second place."

Jake Hobgood had some thoughts on racing Huffman for position at the end. "We raced hard there at the end. Huffman raced me clean. I was racing him hard and probably driving in too deep. Rob seemed to figure the corners out better then I did. When I finally figured out what to do, we had run out of time. I was trying to get that extra five points on him. It was a lot of fun."

The top ten finishers: Danny Bagwell, Cam Strader, Scott Weaver, Robert Huffman, Jake Hobgood, Brandon Ward, Zach Brewer, Randy Humphrey, Kelly Sutton, and Nick Pistone.

Other Notes:

Kelly Sutton and Nick Pistone earned their first top tens of the season. Brandon Ward is the Mag Clip Rookie of the Race. Chuck Gafrarar holds on to the lead in the Mag Clip Rookie of the Year points.

Jake Hobgood remains the only driver to have completed all of the laps run in 2002. He also wins the Goody's Halfway Consistency Challenge which pays $5000.

Next Race: Greenville-Pickens Speedway, Greenville, SC on Saturday, July 13, 2002.

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Drivers Cam Strader , Kelly Sutton , Robert Huffman , Justin Hobgood , Gary Moore