NASCAR GDS: Huffman has the Horses at Louisville
22 September 1998GOODY'S DASH SERIES
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Louisville, Ky. --Robert Huffman of Claremont, N.C. took one giant step closer to becoming the 1998 Goody's Dash Series Champion Saturday night as he fought off a strong challenge from Bud Pole Award winner Ricky Bryant of Linwood, N.C. to win the Star Drywall 125 at Louisville Speedway in Louisville, KY.
In this, the first ever appearance for the NASCAR Touring series at the famous North Kentucky speedway, Huffman used his outside front row starting position to get the jump on Bryant on lap one. Huffman led the field back to the line, but overcooked the yellow No. 37 entering turn one, sliding the White House Apple Juice Pontiac up the banking and opening the door for Bryant, David Hutto of Rock Hill, S.C. and BJ Mackey, also of Rock Hill to slip by on the bottom.
All this action up front happening just moments before Donnie Neuenberger, Jon Redman, Dustin Blank, Steve Barnes, Wally Leatherwood and Chris Hall triggered the first of six caution periods coming to rest at various angles to the traditional racing line on the short front straightaway. Only Neuenberger's No. 14 Pontiac was too badly damaged to continue.
With racing back underway, David Hutto set out to reestablish the dominance he had exhibited in the three events prior to this race by taking the lead from Bryant on lap 16 and quickly jumping out to a two second advantage. But Hutto's advantage would not last long as a puff of smoke from the exhaust of the No. 16 Irmo Grading/Addy Dodge Chevrolet on lap 38 signaled the end of the 1995 Series Champion's three race win streak and the end of the day for the S.C. hot shoe.
Huffman, now back in command following Hutto's retirement, had to fight back wave after wave of determined attacks from Bryant who had been battling an intermittent sputter in his V-6 powered BG Motorsports Pontiac. As the misfire came and went, Bryant would drop back for a while and suddenly surge back to full power, allowing him to close back up on the leader.
The on again, off again battle for the lead was soon joined by Jimmy Britts of Orange Park, Fla. The former All Pro Series Rookie of the Year had come from the last starting position all the way to third, by lap 70. Unfortunately, Britts' charge to the front ended on lap 108 when the Cornerstone Mortgage/Total Reproductions/ NAPA Pontiac ground up, and spit out a right front wheel bearing ending his day.
Bryant, meanwhile, continued his assault on Huffman, hounding the former champion over the final third of the race culminating in an all out, ten lap blitz that fell just short of a second win for Bryant this year.
Ned Combs of Newton, NC enjoyed one of his best runs of 1998 bringing the Handy Pantry/HRA./Duragloss Pontiac home in third after qualifying eighth. The Series veteran quietly, but consistently picked off one competitor after another over the course of the entire event to pick up his fourth top five finish this year, and was the only other car on the lead lap at the finish.
BJ Mackey rallied back to finish fourth after losing a lap in the pits following a lap 70 incident involving Jake Hobgood, Doc Brewer, Donnie Apple, and Dustin Blank.
Eddie Kelley overcame what could have been a dreadful evening for the young sprint car ace. The Indianapolis, In. driver repeatedly worked his way back through traffic after being caught up in four different incidents to eventually finish fifth. Kelley managed to finish just ahead of Rookie point leader Donnie Apple of Trinity, N.C. and pick up one valuable point in the Rookie of the Year chase.
Behind Apple, Jon Redman of Fairfax Station, Va., Steve Barnes of Westminster, Md., Jake Hobgood of Winnsboro, S.C. and another Rookie contender Chris Hall of London, England rounded out the top ten finishers.
Huffman, as a result of this, his eighth win of the season, now holds a commanding 409 point advantage over David Hutto and a 472 point lead over Bryant in the Series point race. BJ Mackey and Jake Hobgood have settled into the fourth and fifth spots in the standings, respectively.
Donnie Apple picked up two more points over Chris Hall in the Goody's Dash Series Rookie of the Year race and now leads Hall by eight points with only three races remaining.
The Goody's Dash Series takes a week off before heading to Volusia County Speedway in Barberville, FL for race number 18 of their 20 race schedule, on October 3, 1998.