Hodges Upsets Dollansky for Gumout Racing Series Victory By Kendra Jacobs Hartford, MI (July 21)-"The Rocket" Rocky Hodges made a last lap pass at Hartford Speedway Park to earn him his first win of the 2000 season. With the help of lapped ...
Hodges Upsets Dollansky for Gumout Racing Series Victory
By Kendra Jacobs
Hartford, MI (July 21)-"The Rocket" Rocky Hodges made a last lap pass at Hartford Speedway Park to earn him his first win of the 2000 season. With the help of lapped traffic, Hodges was able to slide by series point leader, Craig Dollansky, en route to taking home the $5,000 reward.
"My crew pulled it off tonight. We're all old, we try hard, and we had an awful nice racecar," a humorous Hodges stated. "I have to thank Junior Holbrook. The car was flawless. The only thing we did to this car all night was put fuel in it."
Hodges started in the third position for the 30-lap feature event. Jimmy Carter won the Weld Racing Dash to earn his first pole starting position of the season. Junior Holbrook's other entry, the #9H of Shane Stewart started on the outside of the front row.
Stewart jumped out in front of the pack as the green dropped. Fifteenth starting Kelly Kinser tangled with Tim Norman as the field accelerated. Kinser spun down the frontstretch of the track and did not restart the event. At the restart, Stewart again took the lead over Carter. Jeff Shepard dove low in turn three to pass both Hodges and Carter. Hodges follows suit and takes third position from Carter. Brett Mann moves in behind Hodges to move Carter back to fifth position.
Damage to Randy Kinser's top wing left debris on the racing surface. Caution lights were turned on in order to clear the track. Stewart again jumped out in front on the third start of the evening. Mann charged high around Hodges on the backstretch to take over the third position. Brad Furr raced by Carter to move himself into the top five. Bob Bennett, in the Acme Trailer Works #3B, spun in turn four, bringing out another caution. Bennett retired to the pit area for the evening.
Stewart held onto his lead on the restart. Hodges passes Mann in turn two to re-take the third position. Two laps later, Furr also passed Mann with a smooth slide job in turns three and four. By lap eight, Paul McMahan had also moved onto Mann's tail to battle for the fifth position. McMahan took over the position on lap nine, as race leader Stewart entered lapped traffic. Before the lap was completed, Raymond Shank spun in turns three and four before tipping over to bring out the first red of the night. Shank replaces a tire and a shock before joining the field on the tail.
As the green dropped on the restart, the Gotta Race #9H of Stewart failed to start. With the entire field piling up behind him, Stewart pulled to the top of the racing surface to bring out another caution. Stewart's crew was unable to repair the car in time to restart.
With Shepard now the race leader, the field prepared for another restart. As Hodges and Furr battled for the second position, Furr hit the fence hard in turn three causing him to flip. Furr was uninjured, but his Sanmina #2F sprinter suffered heavy damage. Furr's misfortune helped Stewart tremendously as Stewart's crew was able to finish repairs during the red allowing him to restart the race on the tail without losing a lap. At the restart, Tim Norman jumps the wheel of another competitor causing him to slide down the frontstretch without causing an accident. Mann drives by McMahan to take over the third position in turn tow. McMahan fights back to reclaim the position in turn four.
By lap 11, Hodges had begun to reel in Shepard. Hodges momentum was slowed when the #1F of Blake Feese slowed to a stop on the backstretch. Feese was not able to restart.
Hodges raced right on Shepard's tail on the restart. For two laps Hodges struggled to pass the #4J before finally taking the lead on lap 14. Twelfth starting Craig Dollansky worked his way into the top five by passing Mann. As Mann continued to battle Dollansky, the duo made contact on the backstretch. Mann suffered a broken rear end to bring out another caution.
Hodges pulls out into the lead on the restart, but is slowed when the left front wheel on Shank's machine falls off causing him to tip over in turns three and four again. During the red, Shepard's crew rushed to fix a broken throttle spring. With the green being dropped once again, Shepard ducks low to get around Hodges, but can't hold the momentum. Dollansky begins an awesome charge to not only pass McMahan for third position, but also second running Shepard. Dollansky then began to close in on Hodges. Dollansky continues to break down Hodges' lead on each lap. While the battle for the lead continued, the fastest car on the track was Stewart who had moved from the tail up to sixth by lap 21. On the following lap, Dollansky is all over Hodges for the lead as McMahan battles Shepard for third position.
Lap 23 saw Kraig Kinser hit the retaining wall. Losing the ability to steer, Kinser moves the car down to the bottom of the track barely missing the Karvan Racing #7 of Dollansky in the process. Kinser is uninjured, but retires for the night.
Hodges holds onto his lead on the restart, but Dollansky does not fall back. On lap 25, McMahan moved by Shepard to take over the third position. Stewart worked his way back into the top five, only to have his car quit again and his night cut short.
With three laps remaining, Hodges and Dollansky race side by side. Dollansky moves to the high side as Hodges runs low. On lap 29, Dollansky takes the lead coming into turn three. Hodges refuses to give up and stays alongside of Dollansky. Going into turn three for the final time, Hodges ducks beneath the lapped car of Bob Adamson. Adamson moves high, causing Dollansky to hesitate before charging between the wall and Adamson's machine. Hodges held onto the lead however, with Dollansky one car length behind. McMahan finished third, with Shepard and Ronald Laney rounding out the top five.
Paul McMahan earned the Huggins Fast Qualifier Award and a new track record with a time of 15.942. Dollansky was named KSE Hard Charger for his move from 12th to second.
The night proved to be hard on equipment as many cars suffered damage throughout the event. Kraig Kinser and Brad Furr both broke during qualifications, forcing each to take one lap. Randy Kinser blew a motor while leading the fourth Manufacturer's Heat Race. Jason Meyers also blew a motor while leading the Weld Racing Dash. In the Weld Race Components Dash, Craig Dollansky broke a drag link after hitting the fence in turn four, also while leading.
The Gumout Racing Series now travels to Wilmot, Wisconsin for its final event in a three-race Wisconsin series.