NASCAR-GDS: USA International Speedway Story
28 October 1998GOODY'S DASH SERIES
YORK VICTORIOUS IN EMOTIONAL THRILLER
LAKELAND, FLA. -It's was four years and one month ago when Goody's Dash Series veteran, Mickey York last stood in victory lane to hoist the victor's trophy. But Saturday night surrounded by fans, fellow competitors and an ecstatic family and crew, York once again faced the strobe of flashing cameras and reporters microphones as the winner of the Discount Auto Parts / Pennzoil "150" at USA International Speedway in Lakeland, Fla.
"Those last few laps were very emotional." said York in the post-race interview. "I did everything I could to hold the tears back. I didn't know if we were ever going to win another one of these races or not, it's been a long time."
"We've struggled the past few years without a real sponsor on the car." York continued. "We've had to do it the family way. We built this car out of our own pocket and it's been a full family effort just to get to the racetrack when we could. We really didn't think we'd ever win another one of these, but this sure feels good."
The win boosted York's career wins to 28 victories over the course of his 21-year Dash Series career. A majority of those wins coming in the early to mid 90's when York won the 1992 Series Championship and was three times voted the Series Most Popular Driver.
York's trip to victory lane was certainly no stroll in the park. The Asheboro, N.C. driver blew his primary engine during the afternoon practice session and barely got the engine changed in time to qualify. Qualifying proved to be another challenge in itself, as the 51-year-old veteran was only able to post the 20th fastest time setting him deep in the 36 car field.
Early in the race, York was forced to go to his strength, his vast experience, a strong racecar and some fancy pit work to work his way into the top ten before the half way point.
Meanwhile, up front, the already named 1998 Goody's Dash Series champion, Robert Huffman of Claremont, N.C. and 1995 champion David Hutto of Rock Hill, S.C. were engaged in a classic battle. From laps 81 through 85 the two champions swapped the lead several times per lap before Hutto's Irmo Grading/Addy Dodge/Midland Photo Chevrolet was finally able to muscle it's way in front of Huffman's White House Apple Juice Pontiac.
That pass set up the lap 92 wrong place, wrong time scenario that was about to unfold. Keith Wilson spun the No. 47 John Bleakley Ford and RV Center Ford in turn two just in front of the leaders. Under a full head of speed and with no time to react, first Hutto and then Huffman collected the helpless Wilson. Jimmy Britts Jr. of Orange Park, Fla., making only his third start in a Goody's Dash Series car, had worked his way from his 12th starting spot to 3rd in line and was continuing to close on the leaders. But he too, found himself a little too close to the action, coming in just moments later to collect Hutto. All four drivers were able to climb from their battered racers uninjured, but all four racecars were totally out of commission.
On the ensuing restart, York lead the field to the green flag and held off a series of assaults, mainly from Danny Bagwell of Cordova, Ala. In the Sterling Casino Lines/Torbert Trucking Ford and Ricky Bryant of Linnwod, N.C. In the BG Motorsports Pontiac.
With the white flag in the air, the tightly bunched trio of York, Bagwell and Bryant dove into turn one. Bryant and Bagwell made slight contact entering the corner causing Bryant to spin his Pontiac and sending Bagwell sliding up the racetrack and struggling for control. Jake Hobgood of Winnsboro, S.C. was able to avoid the action, slipping his Wynn's/Grease Monkey/Precision Engine Pontiac past both, Bryant and Bagwell to take the runner-up spot. Bagwell did regain control of his Ford and came to the line in third. Before Bryant was able to get his mount re-fired and headed in the right direction he lost another position to Randy Humphrey of Cornelius, N.C. who brought his No. 93 Pontiac home in the fourth spot scoring his best finish in his four Series starts. Bryant rounded out the top five.
Greg "Goody" Goodell of Easley, S.C. was the highest finishing Rookie of the Year candidate and was awarded the Rookie of the Race honors for his 18th place finish in this race. Goodell was flying the Greased Lightning colors on his Pontiac for the first time this season. Rookie point leader, Donnie Apple of Denton, N.C. finished just behind another rookie candidate, Eddie Kelley of Indianapolis, In. in the final rundown but just ahead of his closest competitor in the rookie standings, Chris Hall of London, England. Apple's one point advantage in this event was just enough to clinch the 1998 Rookie of the Year title for himself and the Long John Silvers Pontiac team over Hall's Respironics/Dixie Medical Associates ride.
George Crenshaw, of Lakeland, Fla. thrilled the near capacity hometown crowd early with a blistering qualifying lap of 22.440 sec. at 120.321 mph to capture his first Bud Pole Award of the season. Unfortunately, the Bad Frog Beer Pontiac fell off the pace slightly in the early laps eventually finishing in the 13th spot.
David Hutto grabbed his seventh Gatorade Front Runner Award of the season by leading at the half-way point of the event just shortly before the grinding incident that eliminated him from competition. Hutto trails Robert Huffman by a now, insurmountable 17 points in the year-long Gatorade Front Runner Award point standings but will finish second in that category.
The final event of the 1998 Goody's Dash Series season will roll off the line at Homestead Motorsports Complex in Homestead Fla. on Nov. 15.