NASCAR-GDS: Hutto Wins, Huffman Clinches
6 October 1998BARBERVILLE, FLA. --The Volusia Speedway Park victory lane became the sight of a double celebration following Saturday's TG Lee Dairy 125 for the Goody's Dash Series, a part of the NASCAR Touring Division. David Hutto of Rock Hill, S.C. was there to celebrate his sixth victory of the 1998 season and later, he was joined by Robert Huffman of Claremont, N.C. who clinched the 1998 Goody's Dash Series championship, the second of his stellar career.
Hutto's win in the 125-lap feature became a flag to flag affair after the 20-year-old driver bolted from his third Bud Pole of the season to jump in front of outside front row qualifier, Huffman. Hutto then fended off repeated challenges from Huffman's White House Apple Juice Pontiac during the closing stages of the race to pick up the hard fought victory.
"This car was absolutely awesome," said Hutto in victory lane. "I could put it anywhere it needed to be. Robert's a great driver and he was really pressuring us there at the end. I didn't know if we were going to be able to hold him off, but Haskell (car owner, Haskell Willingham) and the guys put together a great race car and the Irmo Grading / Midland Photo Chevrolet did the job."
"I hated to see that last caution," said runner-up and newly crowned champion Robert Huffman. "We were in pretty good shape there at the end and I thought we might have been able to get around David. I would have loved to have won this championship by winning this race but we've accomplished a lot this year and we're very proud to be the 1998 Goody's Dash Series Champions."
While Hutto and Huffman were battling it out for the lead and the championship, Donnie Apple of Trinity, N.C., Eddie Kelley of Indianapolis, In., Scott Weaver of Shelby, N.C., Ricky Bryant of Linwood, N.C., Chris Hall of London England, Jake Hobgood of Winnsboro, S.C. and B.J. Mackey of Rock Hill, S.C. were locked up in tight battle a few car lengths back. Mackey was eventually forced off the pace when his Pontiac developed a misfire in the V-6 power-plant. The other six competitors embroiled in that battle all managed to survive to finish in that order. Keith Roggen of Winter Haven, Fla. making his third start with the Series and a still sputtering Mackey rounded out the top ten finishers.
Although Huffman's incredible season allowed him to clinch the Series championship with two races still remaining on the 1998 schedule, the remaining top twenty positions in the point race are still very much in question. Hutto's 93-point advantage over third place Ricky Bryant is the largest point spread in the top ten in the current standings.
Donnie Apple brought his Long John Silvers Pontiac from his tenth starting spot in this event to finish third, stretching his advantage in the Rookie of the Year chase to ten points over Chris Hall. Barring any unforeseen change in the good luck, bad luck patterns, Apple could be headed for the '98 rookie title.
The next event for the Goody's Dash Series will take place at USA International Speedway in Lakeland, Fla. on Oct. 24.