Late Model Veteran Mike Balzano Uses Lapped Traffic To Claim $17,000 Victory in Jani-King Southern Showdown CONCORD, N.C. (May 29, 2004) - Dirt late model veteran Mike Balzano of Parkersburg, W.Va., used lapped traffic to perfection ...
Late Model Veteran Mike Balzano Uses Lapped Traffic To Claim $17,000 Victory in Jani-King Southern Showdown
CONCORD, N.C. (May 29, 2004) - Dirt late model veteran Mike Balzano of Parkersburg, W.Va., used lapped traffic to perfection Saturday night and posted a $17,000 victory in the 50-lap finale of the Jani-King Southern Showdown at The Dirt Track @ Lowe's Motor Speedway.
Balzano chased Jeremy Miller during the closing laps of the O'Reilly Southern All Star Racing Series event and it appeared as if he would have to settle for second. But going into turn three on lap 49, Balzano trapped Miller behind a lapped car and went on to score one of the biggest victories of his career.
"I probably couldn't have gotten around Jeremy if we hadn't gotten into traffic," Balzano said. "He had the line and we were fortunate to get in the right spot.
"That was a heck of a show," Balzano continued. "This is a beautiful place to race and it's definitely one of my best wins."
Jimmy Owens, who started 15th in the 28-car field, followed seventh-starting Balzano through the lapped traffic and claimed the runner-up prize with Miller slipping to third at the checkered flag.
"The only place we were good was on the top. You just kind of hope that type of situation with the lapped cars doesn't happen," Miller explained. "Mike was pretty good on the bottom and there wasn't much I could do. If I had slowed and gone to the bottom, he probably would have found another way around me. He raced me clean and we just came up a little short."
Randy Korte finished fourth with Gary Stuhler completing the top-five. The first half of the feature saw second-generation racer Jackie Boggs and Friday night winner Earl Pearson Jr. locked in a torrid side-by-side battle, exchanging the lead on several occasions.
Their battle came to a crashing halt on lap 24 when Boggs and Pearson Jr. tangled with two lapped cars coming out of turn four. Boggs slammed the frontstretch wall and flipped while Pearson Jr.'s machine was also heavily damaged. Boggs was shaken in the incident and was transported to Carolinas Medial Center University for a precautionary check-up.
The eight-lap heat races were won by Stuhler, Clint Smith, Chris Madden, Miller, Ken Schrader and Owens while Dan Breuer, Steve Lucas and Korte topped the eight-lap last chance races.
A multi-car tangle in turn one at the start of the first heat sent Tim Christi's car flipping. The York, S.C., driver walked away, but his car suffered heavy damage.
Gene Loden of China Grove, N.C., carrying a red and white No. 1 paint scheme made famous by Donnie Allison, dominated the 12-lap Road Hawg feature. Rusty Drye finished second with Randy Spivey third.
The Dirt Track @ Lowe's Motor Speedway returns to action July 1 with the Domino's Pizza Grassroots Nationals. The action-packed card includes IMCA modifieds, four-cylinder stock cars, a demolition derby and a gigantic fireworks display. Tickets are available by calling 1-800-455-FANS or online at www.lowesmotorspeedway.com.
The late model results:
First Heat (8 laps): 1. Gary Stuhler, 2. Royce Bray, 3. Steve Shaver, 4. Derrick Rainey, 5. Mike Measamer, 6. Mike Head, 7. Barry Bragdon, 8. Jerry Fifield, 9. Tim Christi, 10. Billy Hicks.
Second Heat (8 laps): 1. Clint Smith, 2. Ricky Weeks, 3. Noel Tucker, 4. Damon Eller, 5. Dan Breuer, 6. Marshall Green, 7. Petey Ivey, 8. Marshall Austin, 9. Brandon O'Neil, 10. Shane Tankersley.
Third Heat (8 laps): 1. Chris Madden, 2. Randle Chupp, 3. Jeff Smith, 4. Rod Evans, 5. Terrance Nowell, 6. Roger Lucas, 7. Ed Basey, 8. Mike Marler, 9. Roger Pate, 10. Jeff Cooke.
Fourth Heat (8 laps): 1. Jeremy Miller, 2. Jimmy McCormick, 3. Dennis Franklin, 4. Mike Benedum, 5. Bob Gordon, 6. Ron Blankenship, 7. Tim McCreadie, 8. Buckshot Miles, 9. Casey Roberts, 10. Steve Lucas.
Fifth Heat (8 laps): 1. Ken Schrader, 2. Earl Pearson Jr., 3. Mike Balzano, 4. Roger Hammrick, 5. David Smith, 6. Mike Duvall, 7. Tim Headon, 8. Mo Gordy, 9. Larry Blankenship.
Sixth Heat (8 laps): 1. Jimmy Owens, 2. Jackie Boggs, 3. Rodney Martin, 4. Randy Korte, 5. Phil Hall, 6. Stacey Holmes, 7. Phillip Siefert, 8. Bruce Hall.
First Consolation (8 laps): 1. Dan Breuer, 2. Petey Ivey, 3. Marshall Green, 4. Damon Eller, 5. Mike Head, 6. Brandon O'Neil, 7. Marshall Austin, 8. Derrick Rainey, 9. Mike Measamer.
Second Consolation (8 laps): 1. Steve Lucas, 2. Mike Benedum, 3. Ed Basey, 4. Rod Evans, 5. Terrance Nowell, 6. Roger Lucas, 7. Tim McCreadie, 8. Roger Pate, 9. Mike Marler, 10. Buckshot Miles, 11. Ron Blankenship, 12. Bob Gordon, 13. Jeff Cooke.
Third Consolation: (8 laps): 1. Randy Korte, 2. David Smith, 3. Roger Hammrick, 4. Tim Heade, 5. Mike Duvall, 6. Jerry Rice, 7. Phil Hall, 8. Stacy Holmes, 9. Phillip Seifert, 10. Mo Gordy, 11. Bruce Hall.
Feature (50 laps): 1. Mike Balzano, 2. Jimmy Owens, 3. Jeremy Miller, 4. Randy Korte, 5. Gary Stuhler, 6. Steve Shaver, 7. Steve Lucas, 8. Randle Chupp, 9. Ken Schrader, 10. Chris Madden, 11. Mike Benedum, 12. Jeff Smith, 13. Ricky Weeks, 14. Shane Tankersley, 15. Petey Ivey, 16. Dennis Franklin, 17. David Smith, 18. Jimmy McCormick, 19. Jeff Cooke, 20. Mike Duvall, 21. Jackie Boggs, 22. Earl Pearson Jr., 23. Rodney Martin, 24. Noel Tucker, 25. Royce Bray, 26. Tim McCreadie, 27. Clint Smith, 28. Dan Breuer.