NASCAR GDS: Huffman Kickin' Sand At Myrtle Beach
10 August 1998Myrtle Beach, S.C. -In another dazzling display of strength and superiority, Robert Huffman of Claremont, N.C. dominated the thirty car field, leading every lap of Saturday's Time Warner Cable 100 at Myrtle Beach Speedway, S.C. to claim his sixth win in 12 starts in the 1998 Goody's Dash Series season. This latest conquest also moved Huffman into a tie for fifth place with Mike Swaim Sr. in the All Time Career Wins statistic with 18 career wins.
"You never know how things are going to turn out," said Huffman, after the race. We started out this year wanting to win five races, I never dreamed we'd get them all in the first half of the season. Right now we're trying to stay focused on the second half of the year and finishing races."
Huffman's mastery of the day began when he put the No. 37 on the Bud Pole for the fourth time in 1998. The 30-year-old Series veteran qualified the White House Apple Juice Pontiac almost a full tenth and a half faster than outside front row starter Tim Nichols of Hurley, Va. in the Dean Combs prepared No. 11 Ford. From Nichols back to the fifth starting spot things were a bit more congested as only .069 sec. separated those positions. Among that group were Jake Hobgood, David Hutto and Ricky Bryant, all previous race winners in 1998.
Ricky Bryant's hopes of picking up his second win were all but dashed on the very first lap of this event when he looped the No. 5 Pontiac coming off turn two. The Linwood, N.C. native apparently fell victim to cold tires and the awesome power of the new V-6 engine. Donnie Neuenberger of Brandywine, Md. and Joey Miller of Wilmington, N.C. also found themselves involved in the tangle as the field scattered to avoid the spinning Bryant. Miller, who was making his first start in the Series was the only entry eliminated in the incident, but Bryant lost one lap while trying to re-fire the BG Motorsports Pontiac and eventually finished thirteenth.
Rookie point leader Donnie Apple of Trinity, N.C. also became an early spectator when the No. 51 Long John Silvers Pontiac was involved in a lap seven, multi-car incident in turn four. Although most of the participants were able to resume competition, Apple and Justin Hobgood of Winnsboro, S.C. both, had to be loaded up for the evening.
A lap 51 incident involving second place running Tim Nichols in the No. 11Dean Combs Racing Ford and the No. 15 of Robert Luckadoo quickly escalated to involve six other drivers including David Hutto, who was running third at the time. Fortunately, in this incident no teams were eliminated. However, Hutto and Nichols both lost several positions and were faced with a long, hard run to get back to the front.
When the checkers fell on Huffman's sixth win of the season, Jake Hobgood had closed the gap on the No. 37 but could not get close enough to take a shot at the leader. Scott Weaver of Shelby, N.C. had quietly, but consistently moved up from his ninth starting position to finish third. David Hutto's Irmo Grading/Addy Dodge Chevrolet seemed to recover best from the mid-race incident that nearly eliminated many of the front runners to eventually finish fourth. Ernie Yarborough of Columbia, S.C. brought his Speed Tech Ford from his tenth place starting spot to pick up another top five finish. All of the top five finished on the lead lap.
Tim Nichols recovered from his incident to take the sixth spot, one lap down, followed by Jimmy Gross of Bowling Green, Ky. in the Liberty Signs/Liberty Printing Pontiac.
John Whaley of Goldsboro, N.C. came back after minor involvement in two separate incidents in this event to finish seventh and receive his first Rookie of the Race honors for 1998 as the highest finishing rookie candidate in the Quality Homes/Brigadier Homes Pontiac.
Behind Whaley, Jon Redman of Fairfax Station, Va. brought the Redman Fleet Services/ Santee Trucking Pontiac home in the ninth spot and Robert Luckadoo of Ellenboro, N.C. rounded out the top ten in the Images Sign Services Pontiac.
Huffman's win in the Time Warner Cable 100 stretched his point advantage to 340 points over second place Ricky Bryant. David Hutto and Jake Hobgood continue their climb towards the front moving around Jon Redman to take over the third and fourth spot respectively, while Redman settled into fifth.
Donnie Apple continues to lead London, England's, Chris Hall in the Respironics/Dixie Medical Assoc. Pontiac for the Rookie of the Year Race, however the gap has now shrunk to only an 11 point advantage for Apple. Eddie Kelley continues to hold the third spot and Whaley jumps up a spot to fourth, nine points ahead of Keith Wilson.
The next event for the Goody's Dash Series will be the Yadkin Valley Chevrolet "100" at the Concord Motorsports Park in Concord, N.C. on August 15.