SERIES: STOCKS, SAS HEADLINE: Huntsville sees Dominating Performance HUNTSVILLE, AL - RIS - Huntsville Speedway, a tight 1/4 mile high banked oval hosted the third stop on the 1997 Southern All Star Asphalt Series Tour and produced some good ...
SERIES: STOCKS, SAS HEADLINE: Huntsville sees Dominating Performance
HUNTSVILLE, AL - RIS - Huntsville Speedway, a tight 1/4 mile high banked oval hosted the third stop on the 1997 Southern All Star Asphalt Series Tour and produced some good racing and some real fender on fender action. Due to rain on Friday, the race was moved to Saturday night and the delay seemed not to bother Rocky Face, GA driver Russell Bearden who set fast time in SUNOCO Race Fuels qualifying and then led wire-to-wire in the Woody Anderson Ford/WAFF TV 48 150 lap event.
After setting the fast time of 12.717 seconds, Bearden also threw a "1" on the dice so the field started straight up as they qualified. Action did not take long to happen as Larry Speakman, SAS 1995 Champion and outside polesitter, lost control as he exited turn four on the first lap and spun in front of the entire field of 25 cars.Everybody made it past Speakman until Griffin, GA driver Warren Mobley came along and he slammed into the now stationary car of Speakman. Both cars were damaged beyond repair and were retired to the pits.
The incident required a complete restart and it was Bearden who took the point and showed that he had the set-up right and a good engine under the hood as he left the field to battle among themselves. Dan Beddingfield, a driver very familiar with Huntsville, his home town, was holding down second but could not get close enough to Bearden to worry him.
Due to the tight confines of the pits at this track, a competition yellow was thrown at lap 75 to allow all cars to make pit stops safely and without a rush.
During the second half of the race, Beddingfield, the 1994 SAS Champion made a few attempts early on to challenge Bearden, but it was not to be. Tim Fryar of Chattanooga, TN, a winner at Birmingham in the season opener, took the third finishing position and Arab, AL driver Shannon Berry was in fourth. 1996 SAS Champion Johnny Brazier of Lickskillet, AL rounded out the top five.
In his first SAS race in almost two years, Huntsville native Gary Wade Finley finished a well deserved sixth, while Gary Sullivan of Denham Springs, LA took the seventh spot. Eighth place went to Warren McMahan of Dandridge, TN, ninth was Kevin Gillum of West Palm Beach, FL and finishing in the tenth position was Leoma, TN pilot Trab Crews.
Five drivers received invitations to the 8th Annual World Classic in Birmingham, AL this November, Dan Beddingfield, Shannon Berry, Garry Wade Finley, Gary Sullivan and Warren McMahan.
The next Southern All Star Asphalt Series event will be at Lanier National Speedway in Gainesville, GA on Saturday night April 19 and will be a 125 lap event.
FINISH ORDER WOODY ANDERSON FORD/WAFF TV 48 150
1. Russell Bearden 2. Dan Beddingfield 3. Tim Fryar 4. Shannon Berry 5. Johnny Brazier 6. Gary Wade Finley 7. Gary Sullivan 8. Warren McMahan 9. Kevin Gillum 10. Trab Crews 11. Buddy Broome 12. Chris Johnson 13. Roger Scott 14. Greg Koger 15. Ronald Walls 16. Buddy Welch 17. Keith Cahela 18. Brad Stell 19. Curtis Gattis 20. Brian Bentley 21. Casey Bishop 22. Chris Corum 23. Warren Mobley 24. Joey Sims 25. Larry Speakman
John Kaiser, Racing Information Systems