Alabama State Championships Report and Results from East Alabama Motor Speedway
6 October 1997Phenix City, AL - Six new State Champions were crowned today at East Alabama Motor Speedway in Phenix City, AL. The 19th Annual Alabama State Championships took place on the red clay 4/10ths mile track in east Alabama in perfect racing weather and there was plenty of good racing to keep the capacity crowd on their feet for most of the day.
Activities began with consolation races to fill the 24 car fields for each of the feature races. In the Super Street Division, Michael Martin was the winner and transferred to the feature along with the others who ended up in the top four places. The Late Model Sportsman Division saw Charles Sealy lead the way into the feature event while in Super Late Model Chris Ausburn got the win and the first transfer spot. The Cadet (Limited Late Model) Class saw Laddie Fulcher get the win, while the Pony Stock Consi was won by Eugene Self and in the Enduro class there were enough cars to warrant two races with Jody Dilbeck and Tuffy Johnson the winners.
The first Alabama Championship Race to take the track was in the Street Stock Class where Brad Comer led all the way to take the win. Comer has spent the last ear managing Cochran Speedway in Georgia and this was his first time back in the seat of a race car for a long time.
Next up were the increasingly popular Late Model Sportsman where Scotty Nipper of Macon, GA had the pole with Sam Moore of Phenix City, AL on the outside. The race was filled with cautions, with the yellow flying 11 times in the 30 lap race. The constant stop and go did not bother Nipper who led from flag to flag to take the win and take the Alabama State Championship back to Georgia. Behind Nipper there was plenty of good racing when the cars were not crashing into each other or off the track. Keith Edge made some good moves to work his way forward in the pack as did Jim Brophy, Both would see their day end as they left the track trying to become just a little too aggressive. Moore looked to have a solid second place car until on lap 16 the left front wheel left the car and deposited the hapless Moore on the outside of turn four. Jimmy Maness was having a good run until mechanical woes sidelined him on lap 17. Wiley McDaniel had moved up to second when Moore lost his wheel and despite his best effort could not seriously challenge Nipper for the lead. McDaniel held on to finish second with local favorite Bobby Joe Eiland third, Tracy Mimbs fourth after a race long battle with both Eiland and fifth place finisher Shane Stodghill
The Super Late Model feature was the next race on the schedule and two local drivers were sitting on the front row, Bobby Thomas and Glenn Brewer. At the drop of the green, Brewer beat Thomas down the front straight and into turn one and took the point, which he would not relinquish until the checkered flag flew. Thomas remained right on his bumper for the entire 50 laps but could not find the room to make a pass. The real story in the race was Vidalia, GA driver Jimmy Sharpe. Sharpe arrived at the track Sunday Morning and started the Consolation race at the rear of the field. He made his way into fourth at the end of the 15 lap affair and thus took the last transfer spot to the feature, where he again would start shotgun on the 24 car field.
Sharpe used his head and some good tire management to work his way slowly towards the front and kept his car out of the trouble that was all around him. By the halfway point in the race Sharpe had worked his way into the top ten and on lap 35 he ran door handle-to-door handle for an entire lap with Kevin Tallant before taking over the fifth spot as the cars exited turn two. On lap 38 Sharpe led Tallent under James Klien to move himself into fourth. When Dana Eiland slid high on the next lap Sharpe was into third and began to pull away from the battles behind him. By this time Brewer and Thomas were a full straight-a-way ahead of everyone else and absorbed in their own war. Sharpe closed the gap slightly, but could not work himself into a challenging position until the field was slowed by another yellow on lap 46. Sharpe was able to close up on the leaders, but on the restart they easily pulled away and headed for the checkered flag. Brewer took the Alabama State title with Thomas pushing him across the line. Sharpe took third with Terrance Nowell working his way back to fourth after a lap 35 trip to the pits. Tallant held on for fifth as only eight cars were left on the lead lap at race end.
The Limited Late Model Feature (Cadet) was up next and Harold Haskins took the lead at the onset of the 30 lap race and seemed to have the car to beat. However after a few laps however some ominous white smoke began coming from his right rear tire as he exited the turns as he was burning the tire up. Tony Russell was running second with Shane Clanton in third. Once again caution periods were the rule rather than the exception as everyone seemed intent on destruction. Haskins continued to hold the lead, despite the tire smoke. Jeff Landrum used some patience and some fortuitous accidents to work his way into third by lap 10. Russell had slipped back and would eventually retire while the new car in second was Steve West who had moved up from his sixth starting spot. Finally on lap 15 Haskins' tire went away and he went off the top of the back stretch giving West the point. Landrum moved into second, and Haskins recovered enough to hold on to third. The order went unchanged for the remainder of the race with fourth place going to Jerry Loudermilk and fifth to Jeff Robinson.
In the Pony Stock race Eugene Self captured the Alabama State Championship title while in Enduro Clint Bullock Jr was crowned Alabama State Champion.
The two days of racing at East Alabama Motor Speedway encapsulated all that is good and bad with short track racing today. There was plenty of good clean racing with drivers exhibiting their abilities and the capabilities of their cars. There were over 280 cars on hand to contest the six classes and this in itself meant that it took two long days and nights to finally determine a winner in each division. The prestige of the event caused drivers to push themselves and their cars harder than they might otherwise have done which in turn caused the interminable yellow flags. The track officials did all they could do to keep the show moving, but were thwarted by circumstances beyond their control, such as the hot sunny weather and the large number of cars. Despite all the adversity it was an exciting and action filled two days of short track racing that provided the overflow crowd with plenty of thrills and spills and everyone left the track with a satisfied feeling.
John Kaiser -- The Auto Channel
E.AL Motor Speedway Provisional results for the Super Late Models, Alabama State Championships: Ps.Ql.No. Driver , Car Laps Notes -- -- ---- ----------------------------------------------------- ---- 1 2 10 Glenn Brewer Columbus, GA 50 2 1 90 Bobby Thomas Phenix City, AL 50 3 24 26 Jimmy Sharpe Vidalia, GA 50 4 3 55 Terrance Nowell Phenix City, AL 50 5 17 K6 Kevin Tallant Steele, AL 50 6 23 21a Joe Armistead Sr Ellenwood, GA 50 7 9 1 Jefff Klien Birmingham, AL 50 8 11 98 Kip Cochran Franklin, NC 50 9 20 12 Joe Armistead Jr Ellenwood, GA 46 10 6 45 Dewayne Johnson Columbus, GA 44 11 14 K9 Dana Eiland Phenix City, AL 41 12 15 15 Tim Busha Boaz, AL 39 13 16 16 Keith Edge Eastman, GA 33 14 13 54 Mike Head Ellenwood, GA 24 15 7 0 Mike Nasworthy Gray, GA 21 16 8 6 Chris Madden Laurens, SC 18 17 19 9 Frank Ingram Ackworth, GA 14 18 18 L97 Randy Little Satsuma, AL 14 19 4 2 Greg Brown Phenix City, AL 4 20 5 20 Mickey Rose Columbus, GA 4 21 10 11 Bo Shirley Gadsden, AL 4 22 22 21 Frank Williams Dublin, GA 1 23 21 17 Chris Ausburn Baldwin, GA 1 24 12 01 Randall Jordan Bowman, GA 0 Track Length : 0.4000 Miles