NASCAR GDS: Huffman Scores TKO at CMP
16 August 1998Concord, N.C. (Aug. 15)-Robert Huffman of Claremont, N.C. wasn't the first driver across the finish line, nor did he get to pose with the trophy girl or face the strobe of flashing cameras in victory lane. But he did take home the winner's share of the $21,600 purse and put a seventh check mark in the win column of the Goody's Dash Series season statistics. Huffman's third consecutive victory and his seventh in the last nine events came in a surprise ending to Saturday's Yadkin Valley Chevrolet "100" for the Series, a part of the NASCAR Touring Division at Concord Motorsport Park in Concord, N.C.. No, it didn't happen in front of the cheering thousands in the stands, instead it came in the wee hours of Sunday morning following the post-race inspection of the top finishers.
Local favorite and apparent race winner, Terry Brooks of Charlotte, N.C. had driven a superb race coming from his twentieth starting position to take the lead from David Hutto of Rock Hill, S.C. on lap 86 of the 100 lap event. Brooks then fought off a challenge from Huffman in the final stages of the race and eventually stretched his advantage to take the checkered flag in what appeared to be his first Series victory in only his third start.
However, in the inspection tear down procedure that followed the event, NASCAR officials discovered the No. 27 car to be running what Series Director Mike Simons termed, "an unapproved part". The nonconforming part, in this case were exhaust headers that did not conform to the 1998 Goody's Dash Series rule book. As a result of the infraction Brooks was denied the win and was relegated to the last position in the final race rundown.
"We're disappointed, of course," said Brooks. "We really enjoy this Series and I had a blast last night. When qualifying was rained out, we had to start in the back and try to work our way to the front. That part worked out real well."
"We've been real fortunate racing with the touring series that have come to Concord," Brooks continued. " We won the All Pro event and a Southern All Stars event there, and we really felt like we had won another one. I just hate that our fans left thinking we had won and now, well, maybe we didn't."
"We still don't think we did anything wrong. Whether it was a case of misunderstanding or whatever, we feel like we did what we were supposed to do."
Brooks plans to run at least two more races this year with the Dash Series as they prepare to enter the final third of the season. "We'll probably try to run at USA and Homestead and then we'll have to see what happens after that."
With the rest of the field moving up a spot as a result of Brooks' penalty, Huffman, who led 19 laps in the first quarter of this event, is awarded the win followed by B.J. Mackey of Rock Hill, S.C... Mackey's second place finish in this event marks his highest finish of the year.
Behind Mackey, Ricky Bryant of Linwood, N.C. was credited with leading the first three laps of this event and a third place finish overall. Indianapolis, Indiana's Eddie Kelley, picked up his first Rookie of the Race honors and a fourth place finish after starting fourteenth on the grid. Doc Brewer of High point, N.C. rounded out the top five in a borrowed racer from the Dean Combs Racing stable, scoring his fourth top five finish in '98.
Ernie Yarborough came from his sixteenth starting spot to finish just outside the top five in sixth and Jon Redman took the seventh spot.
David Hutto led the most laps in this event and picked up the mid-race Gatorade Front Runner Award, but fell victim to late race mechanical problems and finished eighth, one lap off the pace.
Donnie Neuenberger and Robert Luckadoo picked up the ninth and tenth spots respectively.
The next event for the Goody's Dash Series comes about on Aug. 29 at Hickory Motor Speedway in Hickory, N.C.. Series Point leader Huffman, is a former track champion at this historic three eighths mile oval and will carry an impressive, 345-point advantage over Ricky Bryant into the event that coincidentally, carries the name of Huffman's sponsor, White House Apple Juice.