Short Track Roundup (12/3/97)
3 December 1997
Mobile, AL - The nights are getting colder and up north the snowflakes are beginning to fly, but in the South and West there is still racing going on and there were some big events this past week. Each week there are less and less races on the calendar, but then, it is December.
On the dirt Late Model Scene Jack Pennington grabbed the lead with just ten laps left when Kenny Merchant broke an engine and cruised home to the win and a $10,000 payday in the Turkey Shootout at Valdosta, Ga. Finishing second at Thunderbowl was Earl Pearson Jr with Ronnie Johnson Coming home third. In the Late Model Sportsman race Henry Carter Jr passed Gene Ross on the last lap to take his first ever win in a Late Model. Ross finished in second spot with Wiley McDaniel taking third by the width of his bumper in the best race of the entire Turkey Shootout.
In Ventura, CA the 57th running of the USAC Turkey Night took place and it was Billy Boat who proved that this is his race as he won for the third year in a row and on the third track in three years. Jay Drake came home second with Jimmy Sills finishing in the third position. With his third win, Boat eclipses the record of his car owner, A.J. Foyt, who has two wins in the annual race.
The USAR Jackaroo ProCup held their finale at USA International Speedway in Lakeland, FL, and after a rain delay it was Gene Morgan who garnered the win and the $10,000 that goes with it. Gary Laton was second and Brad May third. May's finish was enough to give him Rookie of the Year honors for 1997, while Mario Gosselin captured the season points title when he started the race. Next season the ProCup will be sponsored by Hooters of America and will be called the Hooters ProCup Stock Car Series.
In news from the World of Outlaws, 'The Dude', Danny Lasoski has joined the Beef Packers #83 team for the 1998 season. Paul McMahan is out of the Mopar #75 ride and Gary Stanton is still looking for a replacement. Sammy Swindell will run a Stealth chassis in 1998. *** The ARDC held its banquet and honored Ed Stimely Jr as its 1997 Champion.
In Concord, NC, Freddie Query tuned up for this weekend's Snowball Derby with a win in the 200 lap Super Late Model portion of the Concord Big 10 season ending event. Rich Bickle finished second with Ricky Marshall taking the third spot. *** The Florida Pro race that was rained out this past weekend will be run on December 13.
This weekend is the 30th Annual Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, FL. Just about every top Late Model driver in the East and some from the west will be on hand with over 150 Late Models expected for the race. Columbia Motorsports Park in Lake City, FL will hold the Suwanee Truss 200 for all those Florida Pro cars and others who do not attend the Snowball. If you are near either race head out to see the racing action, it will be some of the best of the season. Have a Ball, Ya'll
John Kaiser -- The Auto Channel