17th Annual Belleville Midget Nationals - 1994

Instant Replay: 17th Annual Belleville Midget Nationals - 1994 by Paul Haase BELLEVILLE, Kan. (July 26, 2001) - All Kevin Doty wanted to do this year was improve his position just one spot over last year. That of course would put him in the ...

Instant Replay: 17th Annual Belleville Midget Nationals - 1994
by Paul Haase

BELLEVILLE, Kan. (July 26, 2001) - All Kevin Doty wanted to do this year was improve his position just one spot over last year. That of course would put him in the winner's circle.

The 1994 Belleville Midget Nationals went from a slow, wet track to a record-breaking track to a track where you could run anywhere you needed. Doty didn't need much. Jimmy Sills needed a few days to mend and Zarounian Motorsports needed help collecting their trophies.

Danny Drinan overcame a slow start Thursday night to win the first preliminary and a starting spot in the Saturday championship.

The positions behind Drinan were anything but decided until the checkered flag dropped. Tommy Estes Jr. was in a constant battle with Richard Griffin in a Kunz Stealth and Robby Flock in the Rich and Carol Hart Pontiac-Stealth.

With three laps to go and right on the heels of Drinan, Flock slid up over the groove and packed mud in the right rear tire causing an unbalanced vibration. By the white flag lap Flock had dropped to fifth, right behind Jerry Coons Jr. in the Whittemore Scat.

The second preliminary night fans saw a terrifying crash that sent two drivers to the hospital and Donnie Beechler take advantage of an almost perfect track.

Being able to drive anywhere on the track and stick turned out to make some exciting racing. It also turned out to be a problem for Sills.

Within one lap of getting the green for the feature, Sills went from his third-place start to the front followed by Flock. On the third lap Sills cut a tire and was forced to slow down up high on turn 1. Flock close behind, and also high, was unable to avoid Sills and they tangled. Sills, after flipping a few times, rolled down to the middle of the track. Robert Dolacki, already past the flag stand and warning lights, was racing in the middle of the track. Upon seeing Sills, Dolacki tried to avoid him but had nowhere to go and no time to stop and slammed into Sills who was sitting almost sideways in turn 1.

Emergency crews found Sills unconscious, and with the damage to the car decided to use the Jaws of Life to extract him. Sills regained consciousness before being removed and was talking to the emergency crews.

On lap 11 of the 20 laps, Doty was able to get by Jay Drake to take second followed by Steve Knepper and Tony Stewart to lock up the final positions for the championship race.

Beechler took the point at the drop of the championship green followed by Estes and Doty. Within a lap, Stewart took third away from Doty but was forced out by a broken push rod within two more laps. On the sixth lap Doty was able to get by Estes to gain the second spot. On lap-10 Doty was able to get by Beechler. Beechler went on around and pulled into the pits with stripped gears.

On a restart after a yellow flag, Estes's car hesitated before coming to full speed, allowing Knepper to take second place and set his sights on Doty. But Doty was able to pull out a 10-car-length lead holding off Knepper and Estes in the two Zarounian cars.

17th Annual Belleville Midget Nationals - 1994 Top 5 finishers:
1. Kevin Doty
2. Steve Knepper
3. Tommy Estes Jr.
4. Jason Jonkman
5. Jerry Coons Jr.

The Belleville High Banks, located in Belleville, Kan., is managed by a volunteer racing committee that host 10-12 racing events annually. "The World's Fastest Half-Mile Dirt Track" allows drivers the rare opportunity to run "wide open" the entire track, and the sweeping oval is one of the most demanding test of endurance and skill for drivers. The track's mainstay is the annual Belleville Midget Nationals, held every year during the first weekend in August. As the nation's most prestigious midget car race of the year, the best equipment, owners and drivers flock to the small rural community of 3,500, which is transformed into a racing Mecca of more than 30,000 people each August.

For more information on the Belleville High Banks, write to: Belleville High Banks, P.O. Box 349, Belleville, KS 66935, or call (785) 527-6050. Sponsorship inquiries may call or fax (402) 761-3676 or via e-mail at wdake@alltel.net. Information is also available on the World Wide Web by logging on to http://www.highbanks.org or http://www.whowon.com.

Reserved tickets for the 24th Annual Belleville Midget Nationals presented by WhoWon.com are available by calling (785) 527-5179, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, or by logging onto the Belleville High Banks Web site.

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About this article
Series Vintage , Midget
Drivers Tony Stewart , Donnie Beechler , Richard Griffin , Jay Drake , Jimmy Sills , Robby Flock , Steve Knepper , Jerry Coons Jr.