NASCAR GDS: Hutto Hard to Beat at Hickory
1 September 1998HICKORY, NC -Hickory Motor Speedway must hold a special place in the heart of David Hutto. The 21-year-old Rock Hill, S.C. native used Saturday night's Galaxy Food Centers / White House Apple Juice "100" to become the first Goody's Dash Series driver to score three straight wins at H.M.S since Dean Combs won four consecutive events here in the 1975-76.
Hutto's attempt for the Hickory hat trick began on the inside of the second row behind Bud Pole Award winner, Jake Hobgood of Winnsboro, S.C. and Series point leader Robert Huffman of nearby Claremont, N.C. As the early laps unfolded, the seven-time winner this season, Robert Huffman put his No. 37 White House Apple Juice Pontiac on the point and quickly opened a gap between himself and the pole sitter. Hutto fell in line claiming the third spot followed by Hickory's Marty Houston and Ricky Bryant of Linwood, N.C.
Hutto took advantage of a lap 11 restart to clear the ill-handling Hobgood and quickly closed on the leader. Over the next forty laps, the lead duo thrilled the race savvy, Hickory fans with some incredible bumper to bumper and side by side racing, all this while weaving their way through lapped traffic.
The racing action came dangerously close to eliminating both Huffman and Hutto on lap 43 when Jon Redman of Fairfax Station, Va. and Mike McConnell of Ballground, Ga. got together in turn one directly in front of the leaders. Only some incredibly quick evasive action kept the pair from being swept up into the fray.
Shortly after the restart, Hutto was able to slip the No. 16 Irmo Grading / Addy Dodge Chevrolet underneath Huffman exiting turn two. Working the high side of the racetrack, Huffman struggled to beat back Hutto's challenge but after several laps of wheel to wheel racing,
Huffman was forced to relinquish the battle for the sake of the war. Hutto was not seriously challenged from that point on and went on to claim his third victory of the season.
Late in the race, B.J. Mackey of Rock Hill, S.C. was also able to move his Cintas / Cal-Graphics Pontiac around Huffman to momentarily, claim the second spot. But Huffman seemed to get his second wind just before the finish and charged back by Mackey to regain the position. Mackey held on to finish third followed by Hobgood and Shane Huffman, also from Claremont, N.C, and driving Robert Huffman's back-up White House Apple Juice / Galaxy Foods Pontiac, but no relation to Robert.
Maxie Bush of Conestee, S.C., making his first start in '98 in the Speed Tech Auto Racing Schools Ford finished in the sixth spot just ahead of Ned Combs of Newton, N.C. who is expected to be debuting a new Ford ride in the coming weeks still carrying the Handy Pantry/ HRA / Duragloss colors. Brandon Ward of Winston-Salem, N.C. picked up his best finish in three attempts this year finishing eighth in the 1st Choice Plumbing Pontiac. Larry Caudill of N. Wilkesboro, N.C. brought the Franklin Smith Racing entry home ninth and rookie Chris Hall finished tenth in the Respironics / Dixie Medical Assoc. Pontiac and earned Rookie of the Race honors as the highest finishing Rookie of the Year contender.
Hutto's win moved him to second in the championship point battle ahead of Ricky Bryant who suffered engine problems during this event and finished a disappointing 26th. Huffman continues to lead the point chase and holds a commanding 385-point advantage over Hutto.
The Rookie of the Year race continues to tighten as a result of this event. Donnie Apple's point lead has now shrunk to six points over Chris Hall. Apple had a pretty good run going in this event until he tangled with fellow rookie candidate Keith Wilson late in the race sending the Long John Silvers Pontiac to the turn two wall. Apple recovered to finish 14th, five laps off the pace and right behind another rookie candidate "Goody" Goodell in his Hi- Tech Racing Supplies Pontiac.
The battle continues this week as the Goody's Dash Series travels to Langley Speedway in Hampton, Va. Sept. 5 for race number 15 in the 20-race schedule. Last year a sold out crowd cheered Brian Sockwell on to victory in this event. Although Sockwell is not expected to be there to defend his title, the crowds are expected to return, so for the best seats fans should plan to get there early.