MAYETTA, Kan. - Larry McDaniels lead every lap and held off the challenges of Mike Brown and Al Purkey to win the Topless Outlaw Racing Association (TORA) feature event for late model dirt cars July 13 at Thunderhill Speedway, a four-tenths mile...
MAYETTA, Kan. - Larry McDaniels lead every lap and held off the challenges of Mike Brown and Al Purkey to win the Topless Outlaw Racing Association (TORA) feature event for late model dirt cars July 13 at Thunderhill Speedway, a four-tenths mile high-banked dirt track in Mayetta, Kan. McDaniels started on the outside of the first row and got around pole sitter Mike Conkright for the lead going into turn one. From the outside of the second row, Brown followed McDaniels past Conkright into second. McDaniels was running well up high and felt that was the place to be. "If I could keep my momentum on the top of the race track there wouldn't be much of a chance of being passed, unless I really messed up," McDaniels said.
Early on, McDaniels enjoyed a five-car lengths lead over Brown as they looked like they would run away from the rest of the field. But the field bunched up as the first of two caution flags came out on lap 10 for Chad Lyle, the May TORA winner at Thunderhill, who quit running as he went past start finish and coasted into the tire wall between turns one and two.
On the restart, McDaniels and Brown continued to hold the top two spots, followed by Jason Friesen and Delbert Smith. Friesen and Brown exchanged second place for several laps before Brown settled into the spot and pulled slightly away from Friesen. Then, on lap 12, Smith took over third from Friesen, followed by Conkright and Purkey, who started 12th.
"The first two or three laps we weren't very good, but the cautions really helped because it let everybody bunch back up." Purkey said. "We had a good car, we just started too far back."
The second and last caution was thrown on lap 19 for two cars who spun in turn four. On the restart, Purkey quickly move around Friesen into fourth and fell in line as the top four - McDaniels, Brown, Smith, Purkey - broke away from the rest of the field. Two laps later, Purkey slid into third place past Smith, who fell back from the lead group. Purkey kept working the low side and slipped around Brown for second a couple of times over the remaining laps, but he just couldn't make the passes stick. But Purkey never gave up and coming into the last two turns of the last lap, he dove to the inside for one more try as the leaders came three-wide off of turn four.
"We just tried to show everybody where we were," Purkey said. "Had Larry bobbled, we were in position to win. It made for a really interesting last lap."
McDaniels held onto the lead for the win from the outside while Brown edged Purkey by literally inches for second.
"I think you could have dropped a hat on all three of us right there at the finish," Brown said. McDaniels won the season points championship last year, TORA's initial season. With this win, he moved to the top of the 2002 points race with Brown right behind him as they leapfrogged over Kyle Berck, who was racing with the World Dirt League in South Dakota. Prior to the this race, Berck had been the leader in three different late model dirt series - TORA, the National Championship Racing Association and the World Dirt League.
"I would love to win it again, but if I don't I'll run everyone of them and we'll do the best we can do." McDaniels said. "If somebody else wins it, hopefully they wanted to win it as bad as I do."
Heat 1 (8 laps)
1. Daryrl Brown, Altamont, Kan.
2. Eddie Tidwell, Ada, Okla.
3. Jason Friesen, Sutton, Neb.
4. Al Purkey, Caney, Kan.
5. Gary Garby, Caney, Kan.
6. Justin Hoepker, Humboldt, Kan.
7. Dale Dickinson, Basehor, Kan.
8. Jason McGehee, Wichita, Kan.
Heat 2 (8 laps)
1. Delbert Smith, Wichita, Kan.
2. Tim Echevarria, Junction City, Kan.
3. Mike Taylor, Tecumseh, Kan.
4. Ryan McAnnich, Goddard, Kan.
5. Jim Clifton, Ft. Morgan, Colo.
6. Charlie Randolph, Muskogee, Okla.
7. Keith Lewandowski, McLouth, Kan.
8. Tom Grist, Topeka, Kan. (dnf).
Heat 3 (8 laps)
1. Chad Lyle, Lone Jack, Mo.
2. Mike Brown, Ft. Gibson, Okla.
3. Ted Martin, Bennington, Kan.
4. Chris Kratzer, Lyons, Kan.
5. Greg Larsen, Plattsmouth, Neb.
6. Dave Conkright, Manhattan, Kan.
7. Steve Foster, Abilene, Kan.
8. Kelly Brown, Abilene, Kan.
Heat 4 (8 laps)
1. Larry McDaniels, Valley Center, Kan.
2. Mike Conkright, Manhattan, Kan.
3. Earl Kinderknecht, Salina, Kan.
4. Lyle Shepard, Manhattan, Kan.
5. Doug Clark, Park City, Kan.
6. Shelby Stapel
7. Paul Flowers.
B feature (15 laps)
5. D. Conkright
12. K. Brown
13. Flowers (dnf)
14. Grist (dns).
A feature (30 laps)
2. M. Brown
10. M. Conkright
14. D. Brown
17. Taylor (dnf)
18. Kratzer (dnf)
19. Lyle (dnf)
20. Clifton (dnf).