SAS Asphalt Series World Classic 150 Report and Results, Plus 1997 Season Final Point Standings
11 November 1997
Jefferson, GA - The Southern All Stars Asphalt Series season finale, the World Classic, took place at Peach State Speedway in Jefferson, GA. It may have been a new site for the annual season ender, but it was a familiar face in Victory Lane as Dalton, GA driver Bobby Gill took home the win and the $10,000 first place check. This was the second win for Gill in the World Classic, but the first was at Fairgrounds Raceway, Birmingham, AL, the home of the annual World Classic. Forced to move to an alternate site due to construction, Peach State was chosen and the race moved right into Gill's back yard. Coming home in second was another local driver, Chatsworth, GA's Jody Ridley. Ronnie Sanders was third, Tim Fryar finished fourth and Russell Bearden took home fifth.
There were 54 Late Models on hand for qualifying and it was Dave Mader III of Mooresville, NC who set the fast time, a blazing 17.069 second lap at an average speed of 105.454 mph, a new track record. Mader elected to try and collect the $10,000 bonus by going to the rear of the field and coming back for the win. Mader's race would end early when he was caught up in an incident not of his making and forced to retire. This decision put second fast qualifier Jody Ridley into the number one spot, but a dice roll of '4' meant that the front four would be inverted, moving Tim Fryar of Chattanooga, TN the pole position for the 150 lap race. Ronald Walls of Lacey's Springs, AL would start on the outside of the front row.
Fryar, in a heated point battle with 1996 SAS Champion Johnny Brazier for the 1997 title, took the lead at the drop of the green with Walls in second. Fryar continued to pace the field until lap 33 when Gill slid by him to assume the point for the first time. Gill pulled into a dominating lead until a caution came out on lap 82. Gill headed for the pits for attention from his crew, handing the lead to Lee Hansard. Hansard's run at the front ended just five laps later as he and Darrel Brown got together, thus ending their chances to take the win.
Jackie McGuire of Birmingham, AL now assumed the lead for the next 11 laps until he too decided to pit under caution on lap 98. Taking over at the front when Hansard went to the pits was Hueytown, AL driver John Wilkinson III, but with Gill right on his back bumper it was going to be a battle to stay in front. For 16 laps the two competitors battled, side by side and bumper-to-bumper in every corner as Gill tried to make the pass. Finally on lap 114 Gill got the run he needed off turn two and took the lead for the final time. Gill would dominate the final laps as he recorded his second SAS win of the season.
The points battle between Fryar and Brazier was an eventful one, with Brazier being involved in an altercation with Joe Buford that also involved Steve Cook, all under caution! Repairs were quickly performed and Brazier and Cook were able to continue. As the race began to wind down Fryar and brazier were both running in the top 10 with Fryar trying hard to put four cars between himself and the Lickskillet, AL driver to claim the championship. He was aided in the closing laps when Brazier began to suffer a a tire going down, but there was no quit in the slim Ford pilot and he hung on to the car to finish seventh. With Fryar coming home fourth, Brazier claimed his second consecutive SAS Asphalt Series title by a meager two points. Brazier will be crowned at the SAS Awards Banquet at the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in Talladega, AL.
RESULT World Classic 150 1. Bobby Gill 2. Jody Ridley 3. Ronnie Sanders 4. Tim Fryar 5. Russell Bearden 6. John Wilkinson III 7. Johnny Brazier 8. Tony Walls 9. Warren McMahan 10. Joey Clanton 11. Ricky Turner 12. Doug Walker 13. Dan Beddingfield 14. Ronlad Walls 15. Larry Speakman 16. Kevin Gillum 17. Curtis Gattis 18. Donnie Southerland 19. Steve Cook 20. Gary Powell 21. Roger Scott 22. Lee Hansard 23. Billy Cantey 24. Buddy Broome 25. Jackie McGuire 26. Heath Hindman 27. Gary Jones 28. Bill Plemons Jr 29. Darrell Brown 30. Joe Buford 31. Dave mader III 32. Robbie Brown 33. Trab Crews 34. Keith Cahela 35. Roger Delp 36. David Hole FINAL 1997 SAS Asphalt Series Point Standings 1. Johnny Brazier 1552 2. Tim Fryar 1550 3. Russell Bearden 1474 4. Kevin Gillum 1452 5. Warren McMahan 1324 6. Roger Scott 1298 7. Ronald Walls 1136 8. Shannon Berry 1082 9. Trab Crews 972 10. Larry Speakman 836
John Kaiser -- The Auto Channel