Hardeeville report 2001-07-14

HARDEEVILLE, S.C. (July 14, 2001) - In the midst of the hot summer months, temperatures continue to rise. With that in mind, Hardeeville Motor Speedway tried to "cool" everyone down and keep the "hot" racing action on the track this Saturday ...

HARDEEVILLE, S.C. (July 14, 2001) - In the midst of the hot summer months, temperatures continue to rise. With that in mind, Hardeeville Motor Speedway tried to "cool" everyone down and keep the "hot" racing action on the track this Saturday evening. Those drivers "burning up" the track and taking home victories were Chris Beach, Ellis Huggins, Mark Terry, Ray Smith, Corey Fletcher and Chase Miller.

The O.C. Welch Ford-Lincoln-Mercury Late Models took to the track for the 13th time in 2001 Saturday night with the No. 42 of Corey Hendrix of Statesboro, Ga. leading the field to the green flag. The 50-lap feature produced a lot of heat and wreckage with the first caution flag being waved on lap eight when the No. 27 of Bubba Jones crashed into the frontstretch wall, ending Jones' evening. The accident forced officials to bring out the red flag to clear off the wreckage. Once green flag racing resumed, Chris Beach of Hardeeville, S.C. and Tommy Porter, Jr. of Savannah made it clear they would be forces to reckon with.

While Beach made it easily to the front of the field, Porter, Jr. had a harder time. The No. 11 of Leland Prewitt was not going to make it easy for Porter, Jr.'s quest for the lead. On lap 16, contact between Porter, Jr. and Prewitt resulted in a spin on the Frontstretch, with Prewitt receiving the short end of the stick. The feature continued on and once again on lap 42, Porter, Jr. received a payback from Prewitt that would send him spinning. Porter, Jr. was forced to start at the rear, but quickly returned to the second position to challenge Beach for the lead. As the laps dwindled, Porter, Jr. ran out of time and had to settle for second place behind Beach, who captured his sixth victory in 2001. Mickey Carter of Savannah followed the duo in third place.

The controversial X-treme Stocks made their way onto the 1/3-mile oval Saturday night with one of the crowd favorites, Christie Anderson of Ellabell, Ga., leading the way. Anderson was dominating the 20-lap feature, when on lap 16 the No. 03 of Ray Smtih from Early Branch, S.C. ended the party with a bump that send Anderson spinning and losing the lead. Smith took the lead and crossed the finish line first much to the displeasure of Anderson who brought her racecar across the line in sixth place.

The Street Stocks were as hot as the air was when the 20-lap feature ensued Saturday night. Roy Cox of Savannah. led the field to the start, but as soon as the green flag fell, Cox was challenged by Payton Prewitt and Rick "the Bounty" Hunter both of Savannah. On the fourth lap of the feature, Hunter took the lead, but the lead was short lived as Ellis Huggins of Richmond Hill, Ga. took the lead on the eighth lap. Once Huggins was in the lead position, he never looked back, taking his seventh victory of 2001. Following Huggins in the second spot was Rick Hunter of Savannah and in the third position was Jeff Merritt of Ridgeville, S.C.

Seven Mini Stocks took to the track for a 20-lap feature that started with Randy Day of Beaufort, S.C. leading the way. The close points battle between Mark Terry of Ricon, Ga. and Stephen Moore of St. George, S.C. proved to be once again a major player in the evening's feature. With Moore's engine expiring during the heat race, Danny Bagwell of Lexington, S.C. offered up his hot rod to Moore so he could compete for valuable points and possibly a win. By the halfway point, Terry was in the lead and Johnny Brown of Bluffton, S.C. and Moore were following close behind. Terry pulled away and never relinquished the lead and took the checkered for the seventh time this season.

The Legends Cars Young Lions division combined with the Semi Pro division in hopes to give the Young Lions some practice time for the upcoming Legends Cars Young Lions Championship on July 21. Twenty-one cars started the 25-lap feature with the No. 54 of Walter Reardon of Savannah leading the way. On the first lap, Reardon was passed by the No. 8 car of Brian Sullivan from Pine Level, N.C. Sullivan remained in the lead position until lap 15, when the No. 07 of Corey Fletcher of Bloomingdale, Ga. took over the top spot. The Semi Pro division's points leader never kept the lead, and took home his seventh trophy of the season. Following Fletcher in second was Sullivan and coming home in third place was Reardon.

The Legends Cars Pro and Masters divisions teamed up for a 25-lap feature that ended with a come-from-behind victory from a Hardeeville division veteran. Tommy Wrape of Health Springs, S.C. led the 12-car field to the green flag. Wrape quickly took the lead and stayed there until the No. 30 of Kevin Eves from Guyton, Ga. took the lead on lap 14. Chris Beach made a return to the Legends Cars division, and definitely made an impression. Beach, doing double duty on Saturday night, started at the rear of the pack and quickly worked his way through the field. On lap 19, Beach was in the lead with the second and third place runners following closely behind. Beach crossed the line first when the checkered waved. Eves followed in second, with Wrape rounding out the top three finishers.

The Legend Cars Young Lions division competed for the second time in the evening to gain a little extra practice. Trey Carr of Evans, Ga. started in the top position, but on lap one Tobby Kempson took over the lead. The six cars competing battled for the first position for 20 laps, but Chase Miller of Canton, Ga. was the car the crossed the finish line when it mattered. Kempson followed Miller to the line to take second place with Carr taking third.

The 'Ladies' returned to Hardeeville Motor Speedway once again to compete in the newly formed Lady Legends division. The race ended with the young Sherry Ryan taking the checkered flag, and Wanda Sondles and Terry Pye rounding out the top-three.

Next weekend, the Lions strut their way into town. Hardeeville Motor Speedway is hosting the Legends Cars Young Lions National Championship, with a 50-lap feature race following time trials. Drivers, ages 12 through 16, from around the country will vie for the crown and the seven-foot trophy awarded to the winner. Along with the Young Lions race, the O.C. Welch Ford-Lincoln-Mercury Late Models, the other Legends Cars divisions, Street Stocks, Mini Stocks, Open Wheel Modifieds and Bandolero Cars will also compete.

Hardeeville Motor Speedway is located three miles southeast of I-95, Exit 5, on Highway 17. Grandstands open at 5:00 p.m., with practice running until 6:15. Qualifying races and heat races get underway at 7:05 p.m. Feature races will begin at 8:00 p.m. Ticket prices are $10 for adults, with reduced rates for seniors, military and children. Children under five are admitted free.


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Series Stock car
Drivers Chase Miller