ANOTHER WILD FINISH FOR THE LATE MODELS; DQ'S SCRAMBLE FINISHES by Glen Harness NASHVILLE, TN. - (3/23/97) - Week two of the 1997 season at Nashville is in the books, and the 6,400 fans in attendance at Nashville Speedway USA on Phillips...
ANOTHER WILD FINISH FOR THE LATE MODELS; DQ'S SCRAMBLE FINISHES
by Glen Harness
NASHVILLE, TN. - (3/23/97) - Week two of the 1997 season at Nashville is in the books, and the 6,400 fans in attendance at Nashville Speedway USA on Phillips 66 Race Day saw another wild day of racing.
As usual, the races on the quarter-mile track kicked off the day's action. The ADT Automotive Legends started the day off with their 25-lap B-main. Terry Peterson came from the 10th place starting spot in the 16-car field to take the win. In the 25-lap A-Main feature, Clay Hair, fresh off of a win Saturday night in Florence, SC, started in 6th and fought his way to the win. The action on the quarter-mile track ended with the 20-lap Pure Stock event. Richard Theoret managed to stay out of trouble to get the win after starting in the fifth spot.
Next up were the Budweiser Late Model Stock Cars for their 50-lap feature. Fast qualifier Chad Chaffin (19.913 seconds @ 107.749 mph) started ninth after drawing a nine for the inversion. A multi-car crash before the first lap was completed forced a complete double-file restart. Pole-sitter Cecil Chunn, driving the car that was burned to a crisp last October in a wreck with Dale Earnhardt, Jr. during practice for the Comdata 200, and Michael Green raced side by side on the first lap, with Green eventually getting the lead.
One lap later the third and fourth place cars of Billy James and Sammy Sanders touched and spun going into turn 2, bringing out the second caution. As the rest of the field was checking up, Joe Buford and Chad Chaffin made heavy contact with each other, with Chaffin's car hitting the inside turn 2 wall hard. Buford's car came to rest on the outside wall of turn two. James and Sanders righted their cars and fell in at the rear of the field.
Ricky Bolden, who was set to start in third on the restart, pitted with a flat before the green came back out. When the race restarted, the action settled down with Green in the lead and the cars of Casey Atwood, Chunn, Andy Kirby, and Jerry Coble dicing for position behind.
Green continued to lead as caution for debris came out on lap 26. On lap 33 Kirby's third-place car went high in turn 2 and lost several positions. One lap later, James Reed spun directly in front of the leaders in turn 4 but everyone was able to get around.
The top five of Green, Coble, Atwood, Chunn, and Dean Howard led the field to the green on the restart. On lap 40, Buford, who'd managed to get his car running again with major front end damage, spun in turn 2 bringing out the caution again. Chunn spun out trying to avoid Buford's car.
When the cars took the green again, Atwood got inside Coble and grabbed second spot. With two laps to go, the top four of Green, Atwood, Coble, and Kirby were running in a pack side by side when Atwood and Green made contact coming out of turn 2. The right front of Atwood's car rode up over the left front of Green's car, causing both cars to hit the wall. Kirby, Coble, and last week's winner Craig Wilson were unable to avoid the crash and were collected in the melee.
When everything was sorted out, the top five were Sanders, Dean Howard, John Hayden, Bolden, and Bo Miller. On the restart, the car of Howard took a sharp left into the front stretch wall, bringing out the caution for the final time. As the green flew the final time, Sanders was caught sleeping when Hayden got a good jump on him and took the lead. Sanders fought back on the outside but coming out of the final turn got loose and fell back seveal spots.
Hayden crossed the line first, followed by Bolden, James, Russell Winstead, and Edwards. In the post-race inspection, Hayden was found to have an illegal adaptor plate and was disqualified. Ricky Bolden was awarded the win. "It's a win," Bolden said. "When we look at the record book two years from now, it's gonna show we won the race. That's all that counts," Bolden continued. Bolden's win puts him solidly in the points lead in the race for the championship. Russell Winstead is second, with Rodney Edwards third, Todd Morris fourth, and Jerry Coble and Casey Atwood tied for fifth.
Hayden wasn't the only apparent winner to get disqualified. In the next race, last week's Street Modified winner Mitchell Vickers was also disqualified with carburetor problems. That gave the win to Sam Owens, with Ernest Patterson second, Greg Adcock third, Stacey Smith fourth, and Wesley Pierce fifth. Incredibly, Smith, Patterson, Owens, and Adcock are all tied for the lead with 92 points in the championship standings.
Jimbo Vance made it two in a row in the Phillips 66 Pro Modified 25-lap feature. Gary Dixon was second, with Andy Johnson third, Johnny Thoni, Jr. fourth, and Jarrod Whiteledge fifth. Vance has a 4-point lead over Dixon in the points race, with Thoni third, Johnson fourth, and John Smith, Guy Odom, and Mel Billiott tied for fifth.
The Ryder Integrated Logistics SuperTrucks were up next with their 50-lap feature to close out the day's racing. Fast qualifier Dale Buskill (21.412 seconds @ 100.205 mph) started fifth after the inversion draw. That put Allen Carter on the pole with Ricky Haynes outside him. Roy Binkley had moved into the lead on lap 7 with Haynes following him in second, relegating Carter to third. Last week's winner Jimmy Valentine took over second on lap 13 with Buskill hanging on to third.
The race ran caution free until lap 17 when Hal Musler lost a right front tire coming out of turn two. Binkley continued to lead, pulling out to as much as a 1 second lead over Valentine. On lap 31, Valentine suddenly slowed on the front stretch with a flat tire. Binkley's lead over Buskill continued to build and was as much as 3 seconds before caution came out again on lap 39.
Binkley, Buskill, and Haynes pulled away from the field on the restart of lap 39. On lap 42 Haynes and Buskill got together, causing Buskill to cut tire. Caution came out for the final time as Buskill slowed in front of traffic. Binkley went on to get the win over Haynes, with Carter third, Ricky Sanford fourth, and Bobby Ray Baucom fifth. Binkley has a 10-point lead over Buskill in the points standings, with Sanford and Baucom tied for third, and JR Wiest and Valentine tied for fifth.
The racing action continues in two weeks on April 5 with the first Saturday night races of the season.