Short Track Roundup (11/26/97)

26 November 1997

Mobile, AL - Here it is late November and there are still races every
weekend on the short tracks around the country. It might require a few
extra clothes to be comfortable but as long as the fans keep coming out to
watch, the tracks will keep bringing in the stars and cars for them to see.
Both coasts were in action this past weekend as we take our weekly look
back at the action that was.

        The USAC Midgets were in Bakersfield, CA for the Western States
Midget Series and Jay Drake came out the winner in the 50 lap affair. Tony
Elliott finished in second and Dave Darland came home third. John Griffin
flipped during the Semi and in the feature there were three drivers that
ended up on their heads including the usually stable
Brian Gerster. No one was injured and the only thing hurt was their pride.
Jason Leffler continues to lead the points as the series heads to Ventura,
CA next weekend. *** The SCRA held their final race of the 1997 season at
Perris Speedway in Perris, CA. The winner in the Jack Kindoll Classic was
non other than Rip Williams who has dominated at this track all season. The
big news was the second place finisher, Ron Shuman who
made a dramatic last lap pass of two cars to take the spot and nail down
the SCRA Championship for 1997. Shuman was able to pass Richard Griffin and
Cory Kruseman in the final corner to win the title in his final sprint car
race of his career. Kruseman held on to finish third in the 40 lap event.
Shuman is one the most prolific winners in sprint car racing and he will be
missed by his many fans and admirers as he settles into retirement.

        Myrtle Beach, SC was the site of the Myrtle Beach 400 and in the
Late Model race it was Philip Morris who took the win and the $10,000. Greg
Marlowe finished second and Robert Powell was third. Morris was fast right
off the trailer as he was the quickest of over 100 Late Models who
attempted to qualify for the annual event.

        There was also activity on the dirt Late Model scene as the STARS
Racing Series held their final race of the 1997 season at Cherokee
Speedway, Gaffney, SC. The Blue- Gray 100 was won by the Ford of Clint
Smith with Ronnie Johnson and Ricky Weeks following him to the line. Smith
collected $12,000 for his efforts. Jack Pennington, Scott Bloomquist, Mike
Duvall and 1997 STARS Champion Steve Francis were all involved in a wreck
in the early stages of the race.  *** The 9th Annual Gobbler 100 was run at
Cleveland Speedway, TN and Dale McDowell was the winner in a dominating
performance as the Southern All Stars Super Late Model Series closed out
its points season. Lamar Scoggins and John Jones trailed McDowell to the
line. McDowell became the second driver to record multiple wins in the
Gobbler. Ronnie Johnson has won three times.  Roger Best wrapped up the
1997 SAS title with a tenth place finish when his
nearest competitor, Bo Shirley, failed to make the feature lineup. *** At
Delaware International Speedway David Hill was the winner in the twice
delayed race with Kenny Pettyjohn second and Les Hare third. *** Golden
Isle Speedway was the scene for the running of the 9th annual Turkey Run
and Mike Carter of Blackshear, GA took the win in the 60 lap event with
Eric Platt second and D.J. Braddock third. ***  Hagerstown Speedway hosted
the Hub City 150 and Rodney Franklin took the victory. *** On the
banquet scene, the National Late Model Sportsman Southern Dirt Tour feted
their 1997 champion Gene Maine at a combination golf tournament and Cookout
in central Georgia. Word is that the golf course is still trying to get the
golf carts back to their normal speed!

        This coming weekend promises more good racing action as the season
continues. Grab yourself a super good Turkey dinner then head out to the
race track as there will be action in many parts of the country. If you are
in the Valdosta, GA area there is the Turkey Trot Shootout 100 at
Thunderbowl Speedway for the dirt Late Models and the USAC Midgets are at
Ventura, CA. Have a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving with friends and family
and we will be back next week to round up the action on the short tracks.
Have a Ball, Ya'll!

John Kaiser -- The Auto Channel

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