Aukland wins Pittsburgher 97-09-23

DirtNews Digest Your Online News Source for Late Model Dirt Track Racing "Get Some Dirt On Your Computer!" Todd Turner, editor Email address: Web site: ...

DirtNews Digest Your Online News Source for Late Model Dirt Track Racing "Get Some Dirt On Your Computer!" Todd Turner, editor

Email address: Web site: =================================== CONTENTS: Sept. 19-21 results (published Sept. 23) STARS: Red-hot Aukland wins Pittsburgher 100 CAPSULES: SUPR *Star*, Perry County results =================================== SHORT TRACK AUTO RACING STARS (STARS) Ninth annual Pittsburgher 100

PITTSBURGH, Pa. (Saturday and Sunday) Another big race, another victory for Rick Aukland.

The Fargo, N.D., driver, pushing his earnings in the past seven weeks to more than $100,000, held off three-time race winner Scott Bloomquist by a car length to win the ninth annual Pittsburgher 100 and a $21,000 payday at Pittsburgh's Pennsylvania Motor Speedway.

Bloomquist, who started 21st, finished one spot ahead of Gary Stuhler, who rallied from his 26th starting spot to finish third. Donnie Moran and last year's race winner Tim Hitt finished fourth and fifth, while Bart Hartman, Skip Arp, Davey Johnson, John Mason and Steve Francis finished sixth through 10th in the STARS-sanctioned event.

Polesitter Todd Andrews jumped out early, building a huge lead while Hartman, Mason and Aukland, who started 10th, made strong moves early. Hartman grabbed second from Francis on the 11th lap, and four laps later Aukland got past Jack Boggs for fourth. Mason, who started 25th, continued a blistering rally to the front by grabbing the fifth spot from Boggs on the 16th lap. Mason's outside pass caused contact as Boggs spun and crashed into the inside guardrail, ending his day.

On the restart, Hartman took the lead from Andrews and Aukland moved past Francis for third. Mason and fast qualifier Rick Eckert dueled for fifth through the 25th lap, and two laps later Aukland had grabbed second from Andrews.

Mason, working the high side on the slippery surface, blew into second place on the 28th lap while Bloomquist, also using the top groove, shot into fourth by the 33rd circuit. Mason took the lead on lap 40, and the Ohio driver held the point over Aukland, Hartman, Bloomquist and Moran at the 50-lap fuel stop.

Bloomquist grabbed third from Hartman when the race restarted, and then passed Aukland and Mason to take the lead on lap 52. But Aukland answered by passing Mason and Bloomquist on the 54th lap and beginning to build a comfortable lead.

A lap-90 caution bunched the field behind Aukland, and Hitt took advantage to pass Bloomquist for second on the 93rd lap. A lap-96 caution slowed the pace again, and this time Bloomquist got second spot back from Hitt and assumed the outside groove in trying to run down the inside-running Aukland. He never would as Aukland ended up winning by a car length.

CAR COUNT: 90 late models.

FAST QUALIFIER: Rick Eckert, 18.875 seconds.

FAST DASH: Todd Andrews, Steve Francis, Barry Bragdon, Jack Boggs, Rick Eckert, Rod Conley.

HEAT WINNERS: Tim Hitt, R.J. Conley, Bart Hartman, Rick Aukland, Donnie Moran, Skip Arp.

CONSOLATION WINNERS: Ronnie Johnson, Bob Salathe, Scott Bloomquist.

FEATURE (Pos., driver, car no., laps, winnings, reason out) 1. Rick Aukland (12), 100 laps, $21,000 2. Scott Bloomquist (0), 100 laps, $6,040 3. Gary Stuhler (19), 100 laps, $4,040 4. Donnie Moran (99), 100 laps, $3,500 5. Tim Hitt (68), 100 laps, $3,000 6. Bart Hartman (75), 100 laps, $2,500 7. Skip Arp (31), 100 laps, $2,000 8. Davey Johnson (1j), 100 laps, $1,500 9. John Mason (72), 100 laps, $1,340 10. Steve Francis (15), 100 laps, $1,225 11. Todd Andrews (42), 100 laps, $1,190 12. Ronnie Johnson (5), 99 laps, $1,240 13. Rod Conley (71r), 99 laps, $1,170 14. Mike Johnson (2j), 99 laps, $1,160 15. Steve Baker (84), 99 laps, $1,150 16. Mike Balzano (E1), 99 laps, $1,180 17. Bob Salathe (RG3), 99 laps, $1,170 18. Steve Lucas (5), 98 laps, $1,160 19. Rick Eckert (24), 98 laps, $1,200 20. Mike Benedum (25), 97 laps, $1,040 21. Steve Shaver (30), 97 laps, $1,000 22. Barry Bragdon (77), 96 laps, $1,000 23. B.A. Malcuit (79), 67 laps, $1,000, handling 24. Scott Hartley (32), 64 laps, $1,1040, handling 25. Delmas Conley (71), 51 laps, $1,000, accident 26. Dick Barton (28B), 42 laps, $1,040, handling 27. Chub Frank (1*), 31 laps, $1,000, handling 28. John Johnson (48j), 31 laps, $1,000, handling 29. Jack Boggs (B4), 15 laps, $1,050, accident 30. Ricky Thomas (99), 15 laps, $1,040, accident 31. R.J. Conley (71c), 99 laps, $1,000, disqualified (light at scales).

NOTES: Among drivers failing to make the feature were C.S. Fitzgerald, Matt Miller, Lynn Geisler, Denny Chamberlain, Chuck Harper, Doug Dodd, Brian Ruhlman and Dub Barnhouse .... the 90 cars in attendance was a race record .... Eckert fast time was a race record .... lingering rain showers delayed Saturday's preliminaries .... a crowd of nearly 10,000 enjoyed a sunny Sunday for the feature .... there were nine cautions in a race that took 1 hour and 20 minutes .... B.A. Malcuit and John Johnson got the track's provisional starting spots, while Mike Benedum and Scott Hartley were STARS provisional starters.

STARS POINT STANDINGS: Steve Francis 8,070; Tim Hitt 6,910; Rick Eckert 6,650; Mike Balzano 6,580; Steve Shaver 5,670; Rod Conley 5,660; Bart Hartman 4,610; Delmas Conley 3,810; Todd Andrews 3,800; Barry Bragdon 3,780.

NEXT STARS RACE: Oct. 4, Portsmouth (Ohio) Raceway Park, $8,000 to win.

CREDIT: Bret Emrick of STARS. ------------------------------------------------------------- SATURDAY'S RACE CAPSULE

CARRIER JR. WINS COAL COUNTRY CLASSIC: Eddie Carrier Jr., rallying back to the front after losing the lead when he ran out of fuel, grabbed the lead from Billy Hicks with three laps to go to win the 40-lap Coal Country Classic at Perry County Speedway in Hazard, Ky. Carrier's 11th win of the season was worth $5,000 on the half-mile track in the eastern Kentucky hills. Carrier took the lead from Hicks on the sixth lap when Hicks had to pit because his air cleaner came off. But after repelling challenges from Eddie Carrier Sr., Joe Meadows and Freddy Smith, Carrier Jr., lost the lead on the 28th lap when he ran out of fuel and stalled in Turn 3. Mike Faykus inherited the lead, but Hicks regained the point on the 33rd lap. Carrier Jr., his car refueled, passed Hicks four laps later for the victory. Several contenders were eliminated on a first-lap crash in Turn 1, including Jackie Boggs and Randle Chupp. Freddy Smith ran as high as second before leaving with handling problems. Eddie Carrier Sr. (17.79 seconds) was fastest among 31 qualifiers. Heats were won by Carrier Jr., Joe Meadows and Paul Davis. FEATURE (40 laps): (1) Eddie Carrier Jr., (2) Billy Hicks, (3) Mike Faykus, (4) Paul Harris, (5) Paul Davis, (6) Brandon Kinzer, (7) Kenny Christey. ------------------------------------------------------------- SUNDAY'S RACE CAPSULE

POCHE CAPTURES SUPR *STAR* INVITATIONAL: Ronnie Poche held off the late charges of Donald Watson to win the Southern United Professional Racing *STAR* Invitational. Poche's ninth SUPR victory of the year was worth $8,000. Poche, running fifth with 40 laps to go, picked off contenders one at a time to reach second place behind Doug Ingalls. On the 95th lap of the 125-lap endurance test, Poche sped past Ingalls on the inside in Turn 1 to grab the lead. Watson, who got past Ingalls on the 107th lap, desperately tried to get under Poche in the turns in the late going, but Poche was too strong. Twelve of 22 starters finished the race. FEATURE (125 laps): (1) Ronnie Poche, (2) Donald Watson, (3) Doug Ingalls, (4) Bubba Mullins, (5) Ronny Adams. ------------------------------------------------------------- CAPSULE CREDITS: Billy Moore <> and Bennett W. Rachal <>. -------------------------------------------------------------

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Series Stock car
Drivers Scott Bloomquist , Freddy Smith , Donnie Moran , Rick Eckert , Mike Johnson , John Johnson , Steve Francis