HUTCHINSON, KS (July 31, 2004) - The O'Reilly/NCRA Late Models were the first series to take the track tonight and the last to leave as they ran a complete show at the 48th Hutchinson Nationals. And it was a Colorado driver who raced away with...
HUTCHINSON, KS (July 31, 2004) - The O'Reilly/NCRA Late Models were the first series to take the track tonight and the last to leave as they ran a complete show at the 48th Hutchinson Nationals.
And it was a Colorado driver who raced away with the top honors as Dean Moore, from Grand Junction, picked up his first Hutchinson Nationals championship.
"I've been coming out here a lot of years, off-and-on," he said. "I can't believe I finally won one of these out here; it's unbelievable."
Moore took the early lead from the pole, followed in line by Jason Martin, David Brack, Jason Bodenhamer and Kelly Boen. None of them would keep up with Moore.
"It was just perfect tonight, we just nailed the set-up dead on," he said. "It was one of those lucky nights were everything works in your favor."
As the top four drivers got pretty strung out, a battle was shaping up a little further back in the pack for the series points lead.
Al Purkey entered the evening 20 points in front of Boen, but started four spots behind Kelly. That margin didn't last long as Purkey got by Dan Topliff for sixth place, just behind Boen, as they completed the first lap.
Boen and Purkey raced nose-to-tail for several laps with Al never really having a chance to make the pass for position.
A red flag came out on lap eight for Delbert Smith, who was against the backstretch wall, and Eric Main, who was upside down about 20 feet further down the backstretch from Smith. The restart did nothing to change the running order as the top six remained Moore, Martin, Brack, Bodenhamer, Boen and Purkey.
A caution on lap 11 bunched the field again. But on this restart, Bodenhamer slipped by Brack for third at start/finish.
The final caution came out on lap 14. On the restart, Boen got a little nudge going through turn two, got too high and lost several positions. That moved Purkey up a spot to fifth. Boen battled back to pass a couple of cars but could get no higher than eighth.
Moore and Martin got away from the others but Brack and Bodenhamer were battling for position. Jason slipped by David as they came to the checker and nabbed third place, with Brack fourth. Purkey came home in fifth. Rounding out the top 10 were Charlie Randolph, Earl Kinderknecht, Boen, Steve Foster and Brett LaFollette.
This evening, no one had anything for Moore.
"Well, that's what they said," he replied. "I just wanted to stay out there, stay straight and stay smooth. I thought, ' if they're going to pass me they're going to have to be pretty fast.'"
For Moore, it was all about the set up.
"The car was beautiful; it was so easy to drive that all you had to do was just roll in, turn the wheel, hit the gas and go," he said.
LaFollette won the B feature and went on to record a top 10 finish in the A. Brack, Moore, Martin and Topliff all won heat races tonight.
-Randy Fisher, guest writer