NASCAR GDS: Swaim Victorious in Caraway Shocker
11 May 1998HICKORY, N.C.--In a surprise ending to Saturday night's Yadkin Valley Chevrolet-Geo/Brigman Clinic "125" at Caraway Speedway in Asheboro, N.C., Mike Swaim Jr. of High Point, N.C. put his bright yellow and black Pennzoil sponsored Pontiac Sunfire in victory lane for the second time in 1998.
Swaim's win, in itself, was certainly no surprise. The 22 year old reigning Series Champion is quite familiar with the hallowed circle. But only seconds before streaking across the finish line for his eleventh career victory, it appeared that Swaim was going to have to settle for a third place finish behind Robert Huffman of Claremont, N.C. who had already led 105 of the 125 laps scheduled, and Scott Weaver of Shelby, N.C. who had been pressing his close friend for several laps.
As the tightly packed trio of Huffman, Weaver and Swaim passed under the white flag and dove into turn one, Weaver's Pontiac closed the gap between himself and Huffman a little too quickly. The two touched in turn two and before the dust had settled, Huffman's White House Apple Juice Pontiac was nosed into the outside retaining wall, and Weaver was spinning to the inside of the track. That opened the way for Swaim to sprint to the finish line just ahead of Ernie Yarborough of Chapin, S.C. and Bud Pole winner Ricky Bryant of Linwood, N.C. Weaver was able to restart the Weaver Race Cars Pontiac and complete the race in ninth position while Huffman was scored tenth, one lap down.
Fourteen caution periods for 51 laps slowed the event to an average speed of 55.992 mph. Most of the incidents were single car spins in the tricky turn two. The race also had to be red flagged twice. Once, on lap 84 when Bryan Gandy detonated an engine and oiled down the racing surface, and again on lap 109 when George Crenshaw got his No. 07 Bad Frog Beer Pontiac a little too high coming off of turn four, made contact with the wall and barrel-rolled down the front straightaway. Crenshaw's incident also collected the No.6 Ford of Eric Rogers and hometown favorite, Mickey York's No.24 Accucut sponsored Pontiac.
Bryant's record setting qualifying run of 17.510 sec. around the Caraway Speedway confirmed the strength of this team, a team that has been making some giant strides in 1998. Bryant hooked up the Best Iron Erectors Pontiac for two very impressive laps that earned him his first career Goody's Dash Series Bud Pole Award and later, when the green flag sent the 28 Dash Series competitors on their way, 20 laps of lap leader statistics.
The Linwood, N.C. native almost threw away his third straight top five finish when he looped the No. 5 in the troublesome turn two. But Bryant recovered, kept his composure and worked his way back to the lead pack and completed his best finish of the season.
Behind Swaim, Yarborough and Bryant, BJ Mackey of Rock Hill, S.C. and Ned Combs of Newton, N.C. rounded of the top five. Gary Moore of Horse Shoe, N.C. picked up his best finish of 1998 finishing in the sixth spot in his Five Brothers Produce/Torbert Trucking Pontiac, Rookie of the Year candidate Keith Wilson of Austell, Ga. brought his Rick Hoyle Motorsports/Martin Trucking Pontiac home in the seventh position and received Rookie of the Race honors, and Jon Redman of Fairfax Station, Va. crossed the line eighth in the Redman Fleet Services/Santee Trucking Pontiac. As previously mentioned, Weaver and Huffman rounded out the top ten.
The next event for the Goody's Dash Series is May 20 under the bright lights of Charlotte Motor Speedway. The Tom Johnson Camping Center/Easy Care Vehicle Service Contract "100" will get underway at 8:30 P.M. following Bud Pole qualifying for the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. The event is scheduled to be televised live on Fox Sports Net.