21-YEAR DROUGHT ENDS FOR GOODY'S DASH DRIVER, NED COMBS By Bill Desmond ROUGEMONT, N. C. (June 17) - Ned Combs has waited a long time to win a Goody's Dash Series, NASCAR Touring event and it couldn't have come at a better time to give the...
21-YEAR DROUGHT ENDS FOR GOODY'S DASH DRIVER, NED COMBS
By Bill Desmond
ROUGEMONT, N. C. (June 17) - Ned Combs has waited a long time to win a Goody's Dash Series, NASCAR Touring event and it couldn't have come at a better time to give the Newton, N. C. driver a well deserved Father's Day present. Combs, won his second career series event and his first since July 1979 when he took his Duragloss/Wix Mercury to victory lane Saturday night winning the Coca Cola/Classic Food Services 125 at Orange County Speedway in Rougemont, N. C The race, rained out on June 3 and rescheduled for June 17, could only be described as survival of the fittest with six cautions waving for 44 laps that included a red flag condition for 12 Mins and 26 Secs. The red flag waved when the cars of race leader Scott Weaver and the second place car of Cam Strader made contact on the front straightaway with Weaver's car climbing the outside retaining wall then flipping wildly along the wall 11 times before coming to rest in turn one.
When Strader got his Wesson Cooking Oil/Children's Miracle Network Mercury stopped he immediately got out to check on Weaver. Weaver emerged with no injuries to a resounding roar from the 4,000 race fans.
"We made contact when my car moved up the track," said Weaver. "I didn't know Cam (Strader) was that far up on my car. When we rubbed my car turned slightly and I guess it climbed the wall," continued Weaver. "I just closed my eyes and hung on for the ride. I am Ok, but will probably be a little stiff tomorrow. It was a wild ride."
Strader, running second, went high when he saw an opening to get around the lapped car of Keith Roggen. Roggen was running right behind Weaver's car trying to get a lap back that he lost earlier in the race.
Finishing behind Combs was Ricky Bryant with his Washington Apples Pontiac, Joey Miller in his Discount House Carpet & Vinyl Pontiac, Roger Sawyer in his Orlando Orange County Auto Auction Pontiac and B. J. Mackey with his Van Camp's Beans/Horton Homes Pontiac.
Combs started 10th in the field and was a consistent top ten runner during the race. At the time of the Weaver/Strader incident, Combs was running third with Miller in fourth and Bryant in fifth.
"This was a long-time coming," said Combs after the event. "But we have lost a few along the way also so maybe it was our turn. I was just sorry that my wife wasn't here to see this win. She is in California attending a reunion but I know she wanted to be here."
When asked about leading on the last restart after the red flag condition Combs responded. "I was glad to see Ricky (Bryant) behind me because I knew he would race me clean. He is an excellent driver and I respect him a lot. When my crew told me to let the 94 car go the last few laps I wanted to make sure that he was not on the lead lap. There had been enough accidents tonight and I sure didn't want to lose this one with a spin."
Justin Hobgood won his second Bud Pole of the year but started third behind brother Jake in the series pre-race qualifing draw. The Hobgood boys had the field covered over the first 75 laps however with Justin leading he found traffic not to his liking when he was running behind the cars of Ernest Winslow and Roggen. Trying to move around these two cars lead lap cars, he made contact with Winslow's Toyota. The cars got off the gas. Jake Hobgood trying to run down the leader ran into the backend of his brother's car sending both spinning. Jake Hobgood would later get caught up in the Weaver/Strader accident ending his night.
One other incident on lap 29 took four cars out of contention for the win when Robert Huffman and Eric Van Cleef exchanged paint in turn one sending both cars into the turn one wall. Trying to avoid these two, Johnny Chapman and Zach Brewer also spun damaging their machines.
Only 13 cars of the 25 car starting field were running at the end. Rounding out the top ten finishing positions were Roggen, Angie Wilson with her first top ten finish of the year, Bobby Dayton, Greg Goodell with his first top ten finish of 2000 and Jimmy Britts.
Cam Strader, despite his accident, continues to lead the NAPA Filter Rookie of the Year standings as the highest finishing rookie contender with Jake Hobgood securing his first Gatorade "FrontRunner" Award of the year. The next event for the Goody's Dash Series, NASCAR Touring will be the Pronto Auto Parts 125 on Saturday, June 24 at Louisville (KY) Motor Speedway.