STARS, MLRA results

DirtNews Digest Your Online News Source for Late Model Dirt Track Racing "Get Some Dirt On Your Computer!" Todd Turner, editor Email address: Web site: ...

DirtNews Digest Your Online News Source for Late Model Dirt Track Racing "Get Some Dirt On Your Computer!" Todd Turner, editor

Email address: Web site: =================================== CONTENTS: May 2-4 results (published May 5) STARS: Hitt wins Spring Fling 80 at Cherokee Speedway MLRA: Leslie Essary wins Spring Nationals at Batesville, Ark. =================================== SHORT TRACK AUTO RACING STARS (STARS) Spring Fling 80

GAFFNEY, S.C. (Friday and Saturday) Polesitter Tim Hitt, undaunted by a scary trip over the wall last November at Cherokee Speedway, kept his foot in the gas and stayed on the track for a flag-to-flag victory in the STARS Spring Fling 80. The driver from Weston, W.Va., collected $10,000 for his fifth career series victory and first since last September's Pittsburgher 100.

Ronnie Johnson didn't have enough to challenge Hitt at the end and settled for second place, ahead of Charlie Swartz, who rallied from his 23rd-starting spot in his backup car. Rodney Combs and Ricky Weeks rounded out the top five, while Jeff Smith, Steve Francis and Rick Eckert were sixth through eighth and the only other drivers on the lead lap on a windy, chilly evening in South Carolina.

Steve Shaver ran second for 76 laps, but a faulty tie rod ended his night and he settled for a 12th-place finish. David Moyer (14th) and Mike Duvall (16th) also ran among the leaders most of the race, but Duvall retired on the 50th lap with rear-end problems and Moyer left after 70 laps because of brake problems. Francis and Weeks both had to pit for flat tires in the second half of the race.

Hitt was strong the entire way despite carrying the memory of November's Blue-Gray 100 qualifying accident, when his Rocket chassis went over the wall in Turns 1 and 2. "(Car owner) Mark (Richards) kept telling me to not let the walls scare me," Hitt said, "so I put her right up there and I could get a great run off the corners."

CAR COUNT: 28 late models.

FAST QUALIFIER: Ricky Weeks, 18.795 seconds (half-mile oval).

FAST DASH: Tim Hitt, Steve Shaver, David Moyer, Mike Duvall, Steve Francis, Ricky Weeks.

HEAT WINNERS: Jack Pennington, Wade Knowles.


FEATURE (Pos., driver, car no., laps, purse) 1. Tim Hitt (68), 80, $10,000 2. Ronnie Johnson (5), 80, $6,000 3. Charlie Swartz (1), 80, $4,050 4. Rodney Combs (5), 80, $3,000 5. Ricky Weeks (1w), 80, $2,500 6. Jeff Smith (70), 80, $2,000 7. Steve Francis (15), 80, $1,500 8. Rick Eckert (24), 80, $1,400 9. Rod Conley (71r), 79, $1,350 10. Larry Blankenship (32), 79, $1,250 11. Barry Bragdon (77), 79, $1,100 12. Steve Shaver (30), 76, $1,000, steering 13. Mike Benedum (25), 74, $950, 14. David Moyer (92), 70, $850, brakes 15. Jack Pennington (01), 57, $800, handling 16. Mike Duvall (F1), 50, $750, rear end 17. Mike Balzano (E1), 39, $700, engine 18. Ray Tucker (27), 39, $700, handling 19. Dan Breuer (1B), 30, $700, cooling 20. Buckshot Miles (U2), 28, $700, handling 21. Scott Hartley (32), 20, $750, handling 22. Billy Scott (0), 14, $700, engine 23. Wade Knowles (66), 2, $700, engine

NOTES: Charlie Swartz began the weekend in Steve Francis' backup Rocket, but after blowing an engine in the consolation race he turned to his backup car, built by his son Audie .... Rodney Combs was driving a new GRT prepared by J&J Race Cars of Dallas, N.C. .... Jeff Smith's GRT was powered by a Ford motor built by Harold Eatmon .... Ricky Weeks blew an engine in Thursday's practice and borrowed one from teammate Dennis "Rambo" Franklin .... David Moyer of Simpsonville, S.C., was getting help in the pits from Barry Wright, the car builder who recently split with Scott Bloomquist.

STARS POINT STANDINGS: Steve Francis 2,290; Tim Hitt 1,870; Rick Eckert 1,690; Charlie Swartz 1,690; Rod Conley 1,610; Mike Balzano 1,490; Steve Shaver 1,420; Gary Stuhler 1,230; Barry Bragdon 1,040; Donnie Moran 1,030.

NEXT STARS RACE: May 9, Thunder Ridge Speedway, Prestonsburg, Ky., $6,000 to win.

CREDIT: Bret Emrick of STARS and Jeff "Buzz" Reynolds <>. ------------------------------------------------------------- MIDWEST LATEMODEL RACING ASSOCIATION MLRA Spring Nationals

LOCUST GROVE, Ark. (Saturday and Sunday) Polesitter Leslie Essary of Crane, Mo., led flag-to-flag to win the MLRA Spring Nationals and capture his biggest career victory in the rain-delayed 50-lapper Sunday afternoon at Batesville Speedway. Hugging the inside groove, Essary collected $5,000 for his victory on the 3/8-mile oval in north-central Arkansas.

Willy Kraft finished second, followed by Alan Vaughn, last year's winner Donnie Barnhart and Jeff Floyd. Greg Herron, Johnny Virden, Terry Phillips, Al Purkey and Mike Bowers finished sixth through 10th. Rex Richey was running among the leaders when he had to pit to change a flat tire on the seventh lap, and he ended up 12th.

CAR COUNT: 44 late models.

HEAT WINNERS: Brandon Ball, Rex Richey, Alan Vaughn, Donnie Barnhart, Jeff Floyd.

CONSOLATION WINNERS: Travis Mears, David Turner.

FEATURE (50 laps) 1. Leslie Essary, Crane, Mo., $5,000 2. Willy Kraft, Lakefield, Minn. 3. Alan Vaughn, Belton, Mo. 4. Donnie Barnhart, North Little Rock, Ark. 5. Jeff Floyd, Walnut Ridge, Ark. 6. Greg Herron, Little Rock, Ark. 7. Johnny Virden, Russellville, Ark. 8. Terry Phillips, Springfield, Mo. 9. Al Purkey, Coffeyville, Kan. 10. Mike Bowers, North Little Rock, Ark. 11. Terry Muskrat, Stillwell, Okla. 12. Rex Richey, Ringgold, Ga. 13. Blake Lane, Bono, Ark. 14. Randy Floyd, Walnut Ridge, Ark. 15. David Turner, Creighton, Mo. 16. Dusty Johnston, Flippin, Ark. 17. Dale Harris, Decatur, Ark. 18. Stacy Taylor, Jacksonville, Ark. 19. Rex McCroskey, Springfield, Mo. 20. Brandon Ball, West Plains, Mo. 21. Brad Looney, Republic, Mo. 22. Kenny Shelton, Thayer, Kan. 23. Stan Lewis, Jonesboro, Ark. 24. Travis Mears, Newport, Ark.

NOTES: The event was originally scheduled for Friday and Saturday, but rain pushed the schedule back a day .... Dale Harris, who won last week's MLRA opener in Joplin, Mo., was 17th .... Willy Kraft and Johnny Virden had attempted to qualify for the Hav-A-Tampa-sanctioned event in Meridian, Miss., and ended up traveling to Arkansas to run the MLRA show .... Arkansas drivers David Gibson and Wendell Wallace, who raced in Saturday night's Hav-A-Tampa feature, tried to advance to the MLRA feature through Sunday's consolation events, but both dropped out with mechanical problems .... other drivers failing to make the feature were Ronny Adams, Jason Snodgrass and Tony Cardin, who blew a motor in Saturday's qualifying.

NEXT MLRA RACE: May 9, Oklahoma Sports Park, Ada, Okla.

CREDIT: Larry Olson <>. -------------------------------------------------------------

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Series Stock car
Drivers Scott Bloomquist , Donnie Moran , Rick Eckert , Steve Francis , Jeff Smith