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Southern All Stars Groundhog 100 Report and Results

28 January 1998

        Brunswick, GA - Freddie Smith of Knoxville, TN inherited the lead 
with just two laps left in the 2nd Annual Southern All Stars Groundhog 100 
and cruised home to the win for his first victory on the Southern All Stars
circuit in seven years. Smith picked up a check for $10,000 for his effort
as the SAS Super Dirt Late Models opened their 1998 racing season at Golden
Isle Speedway, Brunswick, GA.

        Following a 24 hr rain delay, action got underway with qualifying
on Saturday evening and it was Stan Massey from Mableton, GA who was the
quickest around the slightly banked oil-treated 1/2 mile track. Massey
recorded a fast lap of 17.111 seconds for an average speed of 105.395 mph.
Skip Arp, 1997 Hav-A-Tampa Champion Billy Moyer and Scott Bloomquist were
the next three fastest in time trials and their efforts gained them the
pole positions for the four heat races.

        In the first heat Massey took the win over Earl Pearson Jr, Jack
Pennington and STARS Champion Steve Francis. Jeff Smith was the winner of
the second heat as he bested Arp, Bart Hartman and Mark Carter. In the
third heat it was Moyer taking the checkers followed by Mike Duvall, Mark
Miner and Ronnie Johnson. Bloomquist took the win in the final heat with
Kenny Merchant, Smith and Roger Best the next across the line. In the
Sunday afternoon 'Last Chance' race Jimmy Sharpe was the first across the
line with Jeff Walker, Pete Broughton, Toby Justice and Bo Shirley
transferring to the feature as well.

        The 100 lap Groundhog 100 got off to rocky start as in the first
turn on the first lap Moyer, Freddie Smith and Pearson got together. Moyer
broke his front suspension and was forced to retire to the pits. The others
were able to continue.

        Jeff Smith took advantage of the outside pole position to take the
lead on the restart with Massey in second and quickly built a straightaway
lead over the field. The caution came out on lap 16 when Toby Justice
stalled in turn three and the field bunched back up behind Smith.
Bloomquist had worked his way around Massey and was now in second with
Massey hanging on in third. Arp and Merchant were the next two in line as
the green flag came out once again.

        This time Smith was unable to shake the persistent Bloomquist who
stayed right on his back bumper and looked for a way to pass. Smith's lap
times began to slow as his tires began to fade, and on lap 25 Bloomquist
took the point and began to build a lead. Bart Hartman had moved up to
second with Arp running in third when Pete Broughton slowed on the back
stretch bringing out the caution. 

        Bloomquist retained the lead after the restart and began to set a
torrid pace. Working his way nimbly high and low around lapped cars he soon
had a big lead over Hartman, Arp, Massey and Jeff Smith. When the field was
once again slowed under caution by Jeff Smith was off the pace in turns
three and four, it allowed Hartman and the others to close up on the rear
of 'Bloomer'.  As the caution came out Mike Duvall and Roger Best got
together with Duvall's car climbing over the top of Best's and flying out
of the track. Duvall suffered a hand injury in the incident.

        On the restart Bloomquist again set a fast pace, but this time
Hartman was able to stay right with him and when Bloomquist got boxed in by
a slower car, Hartman shot to the outside in an attempt to take the lead.
Unfortunately he slid a little too high and got into the marbles and had to
slow down to regain control and slipped back to fourth in the process.

        Freddie Smith had been working his way to the front for the entire 
race and on lap 88 he slipped by Arp to take second spot. This move set up
the win when Bloomquist lost his drive shaft with two laps remaining. Once
again there was another incident as the yellow came out for Bloomquist,
this time involving Merchant and Massey. The tangle cost both of them top
10 finishing spots. 

        Over the last two laps Smith had to weather a challenge from Arp
but was able to hold on garner the win. Arp was a close second followed by
Hartman, Pennington, and Johnson. 

        The nest SAS Super Dirt Late Model event will be on March 13-14, at
Cleveland Speedway, TN for the Shamrock 100 paying $10,000 to win.

SAS Groundhog 100  Official Finish Order

1.  Freddie Smith
2.  Skip Arp
3.  Bart Hartman
4.  Jack Pennington
5.  Ronnie Johnson
6.  Roger Best
7.  Jimmy Sharpe
8.  Steve Francis
9.  Jeff Smith
10. Mike Carter
11. Stan Massey
12. Kenny Merchant
13. Scott Bloomquist
14. Toby Justice
15. Bo Shirley
16. Jeff Walker
17. Mark Carter
18. Leland Prewitt
19. Mike Duvall
20. Pete Broughton
21. Earl Pearson Jr
22. Mark Miner
23. Dan Brewer
24. Mike Head
25. Billy Moyer

John Kaiser -- The Auto Channel