2004 Indiana Dirt Late Model Speedweek Finally, A Success May 9, 2004 -- From opening night at Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt, last Sunday, through Saturday's finale at Brownstown Speedway, the 2004 Indiana Dirt Late Model Speedweek was ...
2004 Indiana Dirt Late Model Speedweek Finally, A Success
May 9, 2004 -- From opening night at Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt, last Sunday, through Saturday's finale at Brownstown Speedway, the 2004 Indiana Dirt Late Model Speedweek was remarkable. The promoters of the facilities involved had the vision of an intense tour of Hoosier-state race tracks by a competitive late model touring series, the Northern Allstars. It has taken three attempts, but by all appearances, the third attempt was an undeniable success.
First, the weatherman must have been a race fan. All four races were completed, with three out of the four under pleasant spring skies. A rainstorm interrupted the first race after 19 laps of the feature and the Northern Allstars officials threw the checkered as the track and visibility quickly deteriorated. Four races are more than had been completed in the first two years of Late Model Speedweek combined.
Good racing is always the key. With four Northern Allstars Late Model Series events in seven nights, the teams are under pressure to quickly fix what needs to be fixed, then load-up and roll down the road to the next race. There isn't a lot of time for major changes, waxing the exterior or putting on new numbers. Everybody has donuts on the side-panels. As usual, the cream rose to the top. Don O'Neal, the winningest driver in NALMS racing, took the checkers in the rain at Tri-State and finished third in the next race, at Twin Cities Raceway Park, to head the early points. But Randy Korte, who was pounding on the door with back-to-back second place finishes, earned the win at Bloomington and took over the point lead.
But in the end, it was Illinois' Dennis Erb who battled back from a seventh place finish in the shortened opening race, to score a win at Twin Cities and third at Bloomington, putting him within striking distance of Korte for the last event. While Korte struggled in his heat race at Brownstown on Saturday, and had to run the consy, the soft-spoken Erb won his heat. In the deciding 30-lap feature race, Korte had to scrap his way through the pack after a ninth row start, while Erb was battling for the lead on the first lap. When the checkered flag fell, Erb's second win of Speedweek had decisively secured the Speedweek championship.
There were impressive performances throughout the week. After a slow start, five-time Northern Allstars champion Steve Barnett literally clawed his way to a third place finish at Brownstown and tied Rohn Moon for fourth in the final Speedweek points. Brian Shirley collected four top-ten finishes, two ninths and then two fifths, to earn third in the points. Erb and Shirley were the only drivers to claim top-ten finishes in each of the four features, while Moon and Brad Barrow had three top-tens. In all, eleven drivers, Erb, Korte, Shirley, Moon, Barnett, Wes Steidinger, Steve Sheppard Jr., Zach Carney, Shawn Negangard, Tim Prince and Shannon Reed competed all four nights. No one counted how many fans made all of the races, but they should have.
Late model fans in the Hoosier state should look forward to more and better Indiana Dirt Late Model Speedweeks in the future. Other tracks are anxious to join the series, and the promoters and Northern Allstars racers and officials have shown that given a break by the weather, they put on great shows.
2004 INDIANA DIRT LATE MODEL SPEEDWEEK SUMMARY:
Tri-State Speedway Feature 5/2/04 (19 laps): 1. Don O'Neal, 2. Randy Korte, 3. Kevin Claycomb, 4. Rohn Moon, 5. Duke Whiseant, 6. Rodney Melvin, 7. Dennis Erb, 8. Steve Barnett, 9. Brian Shirley, 10. Billy Faust, 11. Joe Morris, 12. Jammie Wilson, 13. Wes Steidinger, 14. Chad Zobrist, 15. Steve Sheppard Jr., 16. Tim Prince, 17. Zach Carney, 18. Mark Voigt, 19. Steve Karnes, 20. Clay Baumann, 21. Tait Davenport, 22. Scott Hutchinson.
Twin Cities Raceway Park Feature 5/5/04 (30 laps): 1. Dennis Erb, 2. Randy Korte, 3. Don O'Neal, 4. Greg Johnson, 5. Wes Steidinger, 6. John Gill, 7. Mike Jewell, 8. Shawn Negangard, 9. Brian Shirley, 10. Brad Barrow, 11. Steve Barnett, 12. Jammie Wilson, 13. Steve Casebolt, 14. Jerry Bowersock, 15. Mark Voigt, 16. Scott Graham, 17. Kevin Claycomb, 18. Rohn Moon, 19. Steve Sheppard Jr., 20. Patrick Sheltra, 21. Frank Coomer, 22. Ed Dixon
Bloomington Speedway Feature 5/7/04 (30 laps): 1. Randy Korte, 2. Mike Jewell, 3. Dennis Erb, 4. Kevin Claycomb, 5. Brian Shirley, 6. Jim Curry, 7. Zach Carney, 8. Rohn Moon, 9. Brad Barrow, 10. Mike Matagras, 11. Tim Prince, 12. Jammie Wilson, 13. Frank Coomer, 14. Shannon Reed, 15. Wes Steindinger, 16. Steve Sheppard Jr., 17. Brad Erwin, 18. Steve Barnett, 19. Jerry Bowersox, 20. John Gill
Brownstown Speedway Feature 5/8/04 (30 laps): 1.Dennis Erb, 2. Mark Barber, 3. Steve Barnett, 4. James Huff, 5. Brian Shirley, 6. Jim Curry, 7. Brad Barrow, 8. Dan Sturgeon, 9. Rohn Moon, 10. Wes Steidinger, 11. Frankie Coomer, 12. Duane Chamberlain, 13. Randy Korte, 14. Jeff Wilson, 15. Steve Godsey, 16. Dick Phillips, 17. Mark Frazier, 18. Jason Blackwell, 19. Zach Carney, 20. Brad Erwin, 21. Doug Ault, 22. Tim Prince, 23. Steve Sheppard Jr.
FINAL Indiana Dirt Late Model Speedweek Points: 1. Dennis Erb 224, 2. Randy Korte 217, 3. Brian Shirley 197, 4. Steve Barnett and Rohn Moon 186 (tie), 6. Wes Steidinger 184, 7. Steve Sheppard Jr. 153, 8. Zach Carney 152, 9. Shawn Negangard and Tim Prince (tie) 151, 11. Brad Barrow and Kevin Claycomb (tie) 145, 13. Shannon Reed 133, 14. Jammie Wilson 131, 15. Frankie Coomer 121, 16 Don O'Neal 115, 17. Mark Voigt 111, 18. Jerry Bowersock 103
More information about the Northern Allstars Late Model Series is available at www.northernallstars.org. Series sponsors include Hoosier Tire Midwest, Rocket Chassis, Citgo Racing Fuel, Peterson Aluminum, Dyers Rods, K-Motion Valve Springs, Mastersbilt Race Cars, GRT Race Cars, Competition Graphics, Kinser Custom Printing, Hypercoils, Allstar Performance, PPM Racing Products, Champ Pans, Bert Transmission, SpeedNet Direct, Scott Performance Wire, Sunoco Race Fuel.3 Shamrocks Web Design, Stealth Racing Carburetors, FS Fuel 24 and Negangard Enterprises.