Brownstown HAT notebook

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: Hav-A-Tampa notebook (April 20)

GILL PENALIZED: Track favorite doesn't make feature MOYER: Winner didn't fold when Moran passed him TRACK CONDITIONS: Saturday's surface better than Friday's AROUND THE TRACK: Other notes from the weekend =================================== GILL DOESN'T MAKE FEATURE AFTER PENALTY

John Gill, one of the favorite drivers at Brownstown Speedway, missed Saturday's Hav-A-Tampa feature after he was penalized for jumping a restart with two laps remaining in his heat race Friday night. Gill, who just completed physical therapy for serious injuries he suffered in an ARCA accident at Atlanta Motor Speedway last year, didn't return to the track Saturday to attempt to make the feature through the consolation race.

One reason he didn't return may have been because car owner Terry Eaglin was told by Hav-A-Tampa officials not too come back Saturday after his angry reaction to Hav-A-Tampa officials regarding the penalty.

Gill crossed the finish line second in Friday night's fifth heat race, apparently securing one of the three transfer spots to the feature. But after the race was over and the cars were off the track, it was announced that Gill had illegally jumped the start and would be placed fifth in the running order.

Gill failed to maintain the nose-to-tail formation until after he reached Turn 4, Hav-A-Tampa race director Jim Harrah ruled. Harrah said Hav-A-Tampa rules don't require throwing a caution flag in such a situation, but for the penalty to be levied at the next caution or the end of the race. Because it was raining, Harrah decided to let the race finish before penalizing Gill.

Gill, who was scheduled to drive in the ARCA race at half-mile asphalt Salem (Ind.) Speedway on Sunday, wasn't the only driver penalized for a bad start. Tony Stewart lost his pole position in the second heat because he fired too early, and he was dropped back to the second row to start the race. ------------------------------------------------------------- MOYER DIDN'T QUIT WHEN MORAN GOT PAST

Billy Moyer Jr. earned his third victory in the past five Hav-A-Tampa events on Saturday at Brownstown Speedway, but the $15,000 payday didn't come as easy as some observers predicted. Moyer led comfortably through the first half of the race, but then had to fight off a challenge from C.J. Rayburn, and later regain the lead from Donnie Moran, who took the lead soon after a lap-57 restart.

"After that restart the track rubbered up and got faster. It got hard to pass there and I was just trying to drive the car too careful, I think," Moyer said. "The tires I knew was going to be factor if I leaned on them too hard, so I just tried to be easy on them. When you're in second, you know, you charge and try to do what (Moran) done. And I pushed out and he got underneath me there."

"Donnie was real good," Moyer added. "I don't know if he had on a different tire deal or what, but after the restart, my stuff kinda glazed up or something and didn't feel real good, and he got by me there and got away a little bit."

But Moyer didn't plan on giving up, so he took the aggressor's role. "I started driving the car a little bit different and I got more aggressive then, when I started studying where he was racing on the track, and I changed my line a little bit there, and I come back to him."

Moyer eventually retook the lead on the 77th lap for his fifth career Hav-A-Tampa victory. ------------------------------------------------------------- TYPICAL BROWNSTOWN TRACK RETURNS FOR FEATURE

Drivers didn't get what they were expecting out of Brownstown Speedway during Friday's preliminary events, said driver Bart Hartman, but the track was back to its usual slick self for Saturday's consolations and feature.

On Friday, competitors bounced and lurched around the track, causing more bent quarter-panels than usual at the quarter-mile oval known for typically non-tacky surfaces.

"We was really geared up for a hard slick racetrack and you come here and it's a plowed cornfield," said Hartman. "Your program, everything you work towards, everything you come to Brownstown for, a black, slick racetrack. I want to compliment (promoter) Mr. (James) Essex on what he did to the racetrack (Saturday) from (Friday) night. It was horrible last night, but (Saturday) it really made a good show for the fans I think."

"They were trying to keep the track dust free and they dug the track up (Friday). I don't know the last time Brownstown Speedway has ever been dug up with a disc, and it made the track horrible. It just made it so rutty. That guy went out (Saturday) morning on that dozer and cleaned the whole track off, and it was quite impressive to watch him do it." Saturday's results?

It was "what everybody that came expected," Hartman said. "It was by far the best thing we could've have done tonight rather than run on the cornfield it was (Friday) night." ------------------------------------------------------------- AROUND THE TRACK:

RAYBURN CONFIDENT HE HAD WINNING CAR: C.J. Rayburn, who won $5,000 in the season-opener at Brownstown, knew he was in good shape for the Hav-A-Tampa show. "I was confident before I come here. I knew what it took to make the car right and I never changed it," said the 57-year-old chassis builder. Unfortunately, Rayburn suffered a flat left-rear tire on the frontstretch while running second to eventual winner Billy Moyer Jr. on the 57th lap of Saturday's feature. "I was good tonight," said Rayburn, who was sure he would've won without the flat. "It wouldn't have been no race."

AUKLAND KEEPS TABS ON FLOODING: While Rick Aukland concentrated on racing this weekend at Brownstown, he also kept in close contact with his family in Fargo, N.D., where record-setting floods in the Red River Valley forced thousands to evacuate their homes. On Friday night, Aukland said water had crept within six feet of the foundation of his house, which is about three miles north of Fargo. His wife, Jayne, and their three children were holding down the fort as the Auklands and families around them had pitched in to sandbag to protect area homes. Although Fargo is still Aukland's hometown, the Bullitt chassis house-car driver primarily races out of the Pekin, Ind., shop of Bullitt founder Ray Callahan.

FRYE MANAGING DESPITE BROKEN ARM: Bill Frye, who suffered a broken right forearm in an April 5 racing accident in Mississippi, has adjusted to driving with a cast, which runs from his elbow to his hand, surrounding his thumb. Driving hasn't been painful, said Frye, adding that only when he twists his arm does it cause him discomfort. For example, the GRT house-car driver said buckling his safety belts causes more pain than driving. Frye failed to qualify for the feature at Batesville, Ark., in his first weekend with the cast, but looked strong in finishing seventh at Brownstown.

FINDING A WAY TO THE FRONT: Fourth-place feature finisher Bart Hartman didn't have the easiest time moving up to the front from his ninth-row starting spot in Saturday's feature at Brownstown. "On the start, it seemed like I went to the bottom, and guys weren't moving, I'd go to the top and they weren't moving up there, and I got hung out in the middle." With his radio malfunctioning, he didn't even know he was within less than a straightaway of being lapped by leader Billy Moyer Jr. early in the race. "I just started running my line," said Hartman, who was running 16th after 25 laps and moved up to seventh 30 laps later. "At first it didn't seem to be that good, but then I started changing a little bit and picking cars off one at a time."

OTHER ODDS AND ENDS: Don O'Neal was driving a Brett Davis-owned MasterSbilt, but O'Neal plans to be in his own MasterSbilt beginning Saturday night in a $5,000-to-win race at Florence (Ky.) Speedway .... surprisingly, no regular Florence drivers visited Brownstown this weekend .... Doug Ault's spoiler reads "BCHS Football" in support of Brownstown Central High School's gridders .... WQKC-FM 97.3 in Seymour, Ind., sponsored Saturday's feature .... driver Bryan Rice's scorecard for the weekend: caused three cautions and sang national anthem .... Indy Racing League driver Tony Stewart, driving a dirt late model for just his fourth event, came to Brownstown on Friday after practicing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Indy 500. ------------------------------------------------------------- CREDIT: Todd Turner <> of DirtNews Digest. -------------------------------------------------------------

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Series Stock car
Drivers Tony Stewart , Bill Frye , Donnie Moran