STARS Racing Series -- Reports and Results

30 June 1997

Beckley, WV - Mike Bolzano of Parkersburg, WV scored his first STARS Racing Series win of 1997 with his victory in the $10,000-to-win "18th Annual USA 100" at Beckley Motor Speedway. Bolzano took the lead 91 laps into the event when Donnie Moran slowed with a flat tire and held off the determined challenge of Rod Conley to put the Rocket/Draime/Eddie's Auto Parts Camaro into Victory Lane. Steve Francis finished in third following a spin, and Rick Eckert took fourth after also spinning earlier. Fifth place went Mike Johnson who had started the race in 21st spot.

Tim Hitt took the lead at the drop of the green with Moran, Steve Lucas, Eckert and Francis hot on his trail. Moran looked both high and low before he was able to take the lead on lap 19 and then Lucas was able to get around Hitt for second. Hitt quickly came back and reclaimed the second spot just one lap later. Bart Hartman had moved up quickly and now was in fifth place. Francis was the next to appropriate second and Hartman followed him through into third.

On lap 40 Bolzano moved into fourth as he passed Eckert and then took advantage of Francis and Moran getting together while battling for the lead on lap 47 to nip under Francis and take second.

There was a mandatory caution at lap 50 for fuel and the action resumed even hotter than before the break. Francis again worked his way past Bolzano to challenge Moran for the lead, but on lap 62 he lost control and spun the car in turn one. Bolzano now was back in second and challenging Moran yet again. Eckert moved up to join the fray, but after a lap 83 spin caused by contact with another car on a restart he found himself back in the pack. Conley was the next to move into the turbulent third spot, and then when Moran slowed with a tire going down Bolzano surged into the lead with Conley right behind him. With clean track and no one to block him Bolzano showed the field his heels as he ran off to a two car length margin over Conley at the checkers.


RACE RESULT
pos st car Driver               laps    Money   reason out
----------------------------------------------------------
1.   8 E1  Mike Bolzano         100     $10000  Running
2.  15 71R Rod Conley           100     $5000      "
3.   6 15  Steve Francis        100     $3100      "
4.   3 24  Rick Eckert          100     $2200      "
5.  21 2J  Mike Johnson         100     $1540      "
6.   2 68  Tim Hitt             100     $1700      "
7.   5 100 C.S. Fitzgerald      100     $1400      "
8.  23 77  Barry Bragdon        100     $1240      "
9.   9 32  Scott Hartley        100     $1100      "
10. 20 10C Kenny Compton Jr     100     $1040      "
11.  1 99  Donnie Moran         100     $1000      "
12. 17 90  Ernie Davis          100     $800       "
13. 22 15P Jeremy Peck          100     $740       "
14. 10 31  Denny Chamberlain    100     $650       "
15. 18 36K Keith Bills          100     $600       "
16.  7 71  Delmas Conley        98      $550       "
17.  4 5L  Steve Lucas          94      $600       Handling
18. 14 75  Bart Hartman         83      $500       Handling
19. 12 11  Joe Meadows          81      $500       Handling
20. 19 16  Paul Davis           81      $540       Handling
21. 16 00H Chuck Harper         70      $500       Handling
22. 11 1H  Wayne Hughes         52      $500       Steering
23. 13 36  Eslie Bills          48      $500       Handling
24. 24 39  Henry Hornsby Jr     16      $540       Accident
Mineral Wells, WV - Bart Hartman of Zanesville, OH felt the "excitement" as he dominated the the STARS Racing Series "Pennzoil 75" at West Virginia Motor Speedway. Hartman picked up his second win of the 1997 STARS season as he drove the Masterbuilt/BAH Racing Engines/Hartman's Truck Center Pontiac Grand Prix to victory and a $10,000 payday. Steve Francis finished in second with Steve Shaver third. Mike Bolzano and Tim Hitt rounded out the top five.

On the first lap of the race front row starters Delmas Conley and Todd Andrews battled for the lead, with Conley eventually winning the battle. Behind them the fifth starting Hartman was blasting his way towards the front and by the second lap he had moved past Andrews and was riding in second. Hartman's charge was slowed when the caution came out on lap 3 as C.S. Fitzgerald blew his engine. On the ensuing restart both Andrews and Bolzano flew by Hartman to regain second and third while Francis moved up into fourth. Hartman was not wasting time and on lap 5 he moved into third and then after running side-by-side with Andrews for almost a lap he appropriated second on lap 8. Hartman quickly caught Conley and on lap ten he moved to the inside in turn four and blasted into the lead. From that point on he steadily open a huge gap between himself and the rest of the snarling pack.

There was plenty of action in the pack as Conley, Andrews, Bolzano and Francis where fighting it out for second place. Shaver entered the fray on lap 26 as Francis finally achieved second spot. Following the mandatory fuel stop at lap 40, Hartman quickly regained his large lead and cruised to the win by 12 car lengths.


RACE RESULTS
pos st Car Driver                       Laps    Money   Reason out
------------------------------------------------------------------
1.   5 75  Bart Hartman                  75     $10000  Running
2.   8 15  Steve Francis                 75     $5000      "
3.   7 30  Steve Shaver                  75     $3000      "
4.   4 E1  Mike Bolzano                  75     $2000      "
5.   9 68  Tim Hitt                      75     $1500      "
6.  13 24  Rick Eckert                   75     $1400      "
7.   2 42  Todd Andrews                  75     $1300      "
8.   1 71  Delmas Conley                 75     $1200      "
9.  12 34  Jeff Wood                     75     $1100      "
10. 11 10C Kenny Compton Jr              75     $1000      "
11. 16 11  Joe Meadows                   75     $900       "
12.  3  2  Steve Lucas                   75     $800       "
13. 20 17  Randy Boggs                   74     $750       "
14. 19 10B Larry Bond                    73     $700       "
15. 18 21M Jason Minnite                 73     $600       "
16. 21 12  Cortney Clewell               72     $600       "
17. 23 25  Mike Benedum                  71     $550       "
18. 15 2J  Mike Johnson                  49     $500    Handling
19. 22 77  Barry Bragdon                 37     $500    Engine
20. 17 A10 Andy Bond                     32     $500    Handling
21. 10 71R Rod Conley                    17     $500    Ignition
22. 14 44  Jeff Burdette                 16     $500    Handling
23.  6 100 C.S. Fitzgerald               3      $500    Engine

John Kaiser -- The Autochannel

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