Short Track Roundup (11/12/97)
12 November 1997
Mobile, AL - The 1997 racing season must be drawing to a close as the number of races each weekend is dwindling to just a few. There are still some races on the schedule, so here is a look back at what happened over the past week.
The only event for the Dirt Late Models was at East Alabama Motor Speedway, Phenix City, AL, where they held the 23rd running of the National 100. Scott Bloomquist was the winner over Bill Frye and Jack Pennington. The story here may be who did not show up for this race. Where were Billy Moyer, Wendell Wallace, Bart Hartman, Steve Francis, Donnie Moran, Rick Aukland, Marshall Green, and Rick Eckert? Perhaps the fact that this track is notoriously one-grooved for a daytime race kept them away. In four feature races I saw, only one pass for position was accomplished under green flag conditions. Bloomer started the race in fourth, took third on the green flag and then waited until early leaders Skip Arp and Clint Smith suffered mechanical problems to hand him the lead and the win.
The asphalt scene was a little busier with the Slim Jim All Pro cars holding their season finale at Homestead Motorsports Complex in Florida. Hank Parker Jr took home the win with Bobby Hamilton Sr in second and Mario Gosselin third. Hal Goodson finished in 17th spot to nail down the All Pro Championship by two points over 16th finishing Jeff Fultz. David Reutimann was the Port City Racing Rookie of the Year. *** The Goodies Dash cars also held their last race at Homestead and Danny Bagwell was the first across the line followed by Brian Sockwell and Robert Huffman. Mike Swaim Jr captured the Championship for 1997. *** Construction at Fairgrounds Raceway in Birmingham, AL forced the Southern All Stars World Classic to move to Peach State Speedway in Jefferson, GA this year and that played right into the hands of Bobby Gill who dominated the race and grabbed the $10,000 winner's check. Gill has won three other events at this track this year. Jody Ridley finished in second with Ronnie Sanders coming home third. In the Championship battle, Johnny Brazier became the first to repeat as Champion as he won the title by two points over Tim Fryar. Perhaps Lickskillet, AL will now be named "Titletown". *** The Florida Pro series was busy at Sunshine Speedway in Pinellas Park, FL where Dwayne Dempsey led flag-to-flag for the win. David L Pletcher finished in second and Jimmy Britts took third. *** The USAR Sportsman cars were at Hialeah Speedway, FL and Joe Winchell took the checkers first with Bobby Beauchemin and Ron Regula trailing him to the line. *** Don Carroll took the Late Model Sportsman feature at Auburndale Speedway, FL. *** Bill Keeton was the winner in action at Orlando Speedworld in Florida. *** At New Smyrna Speedway, FL it was Scott Bramlett who garnered the victory. *** Expect some news from the Kendall Oil Indiana Late Model Series shortly on larger purses, new sponsors, new tracks and the points fund. *** The Southern Pro Trucks were at Inverness Speedway in Punta Gorda, FL where Butch Yoakum was the winner, Ron McCreary and Brian Teeters were the next two across the line. The Championship battle was decided with a show of sportsmanship that is typical of short track racing. Points leader Dan Perez suffered a flat tire on lap 8. Perez had no crew with him at this race, so Ron McCreary's crew quickly jumped to the rescue and changed the tire for Perez. McCreary was second in the points just 8 points behind Perez. Thanks to the quick action of McCreary's crew, Perez finished the race in fourth place and wrapped up the title by a mere 6 points.
In Open Wheel action the World of Outlaws finally completed their 94 race season at the Gold Eagle Nationals in Las Vegas, NV where Stevie Smith took the Preliminary feature win ahead of mark Kinser and Dave Blaney. In the season ender it was Jeff Swindell who came from the 'B' feature to grab the win, the first time this year that feat has been accomplished. Sammy Swindell finished second and Andy Hillenberg was third. For Sammy, the second place finish was more than enough to capture the 20th World of Outlaws Championship. It has been 15 years since his last title and was the first time an owner/driver turned the trick. *** In San Jose, CA they held the Trophy Cup and Mark Kinser took it home with him. This competition is based on points garnered over two days and the field is inverted for the final feature. Kinser started the final in last place and finished second to win the Trophy. *** ARDC elected Ray McCabe President for the fourth time in his career. *** NAMARS held their banquet and honored the Mel Kenyon as the series Champion.
This weekend will see the season finale for the STARS dirt Late Models at Cherokee Speedway in Gaffney, SC as the Blue/Gray 100 is held, while Montgomery Motor Speedway USA will make a third attempt to get the Alabama 200 into the books. Delaware International Speedway will try again to run its program this weekend and Mobile International Speedway will host the ProStar 200. There is still action to be found on the short tracks so I encourage you to head out to the nearest one and enjoy some great racing. Winter will be here soon! Have a ball, Ya'll.
John Kaiser -- The Auto Channel