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Archive for October, 2004

Collins Wins Ed Meridith Memorial 100 and 2004 Pro Mod Championship at New Smyrna

Sunday, October 31st, 2004

Twenty four of Florida’s finest Open Wheel Modifieds were in the field but Doc McKinney blew his motor during hot laps and was unable to race. Excitement filled the air as the drivers were introduced and surrounded by a number of Halloween horrors. Ghosts, goblins, football players, cheerleaders, witches, pumpkins surrounded the field as they trick-or-treated the drivers.

Lee Collins set fast time in qualifying for the 23 car field with a 18.345. Collins pulled the 0 pill which started it straight up with Mike Fritts on the outside pole. On the green Collins quickly took the point and lead all 100 laps. Top five on the start were Collins, Mike Fritts, Kevin Durden, Jim Flynn, and Jerry Artuso.

The yellow came out on lap two for Skip Honaker who spun on the backstretch. The field was realigned as Collins once again took the lead on the green.

Only three laps later, George Murphy and Justin Reynolds got together on the backstretch on the restart. Reynolds went up on Murphy’s tire setting Reynolds airborn and up on the backstretch wall. The race was red flagged to get Reynolds off the backstretch wall and to pull the chain link fence back up. Both cars were still running as they went into the pits for crew attention.

On the restart it was Collins, Fritts, Durden, Flynn, Artuso, Brad May, J.F. McClellan, Jimmy Britts, Jerry Symons and Red Van in the chase. George Murphy tried but was unable to continue racing after the backstretch incident and pulled out of the race on lap 8. Jerry Artuso put the pedal down and passed Flynn taking over the fourth place spot.

Lap 18 the yellow comes out again as Steve Thornbrugh spins in turns 3 and 4. Collins holds the point on the restart followed by Fritts, Durden, Artuso, and Flynn. Artuso has a very strong car and is right on the tail of Durden as May challenges Flynn for the fifth place spot.

Just as it is getting very heavy on lap 32, Mike Fritts suffers a blown engine and hits the turns 3 and 4 wall. Artuso, having no place to go, pills into the oil along with Brad May. The race is red flagged for a second time as the safety crew clean the track and Fritts’s car is double hooked off the track. Fritts was fine but done, Artuso was fine but done, and May goes in for crew attention and is able to go back racing after some quick repairs.

The race goes back green on lap 33 with Collins, Durden, Flynn, J.F. McClellan and Jimmy Britts in the top five followed by Jimmy Britts, Jerry Symons, Jeremy Gerstner, Alan McCafferty, and Wayne Jefferson. Jefferson wants eighth and takes it from McCafferty as he goes back to ninth. Symons passes Britts and takes over fifth with Britts sixth. Skip Honaker retires from the race after having a nice run.

The caution comes out for Jimmy Britts and Wayne Jefferson as Jefferson taps Britts in the rear going for fifth. Britts restarts the race in the rear of the lead lap cars as Jefferson takes his ride into the pits. Jefferson did not have his usual car and was using Kevyn Terry’s back-up car for the last race. Jefferson had a great run as he started in the rear of the field and made it all the way to sixth before retiring.

On the restart it is Collins, Durden, Symons, Flynn, and McClellan. The yellow comes out on lap 76 for J.F. McClellan who was running fifth. McClellan’s transmission failed after having a very good run at New Smyrna. McClellan was pushed into the pits with Collins leading the way on the restart.

Symons, who has not had the year he wanted, looks and is very strong as he passes Durden and takes over second. Just as Symons looks to challenge Collins, the yellow comes out for Alan Bruns who has spun on his own in turns 1 and 2. Having no place to go, Justin Reynolds hits Bruns stalled car. Both drivers were okay but were down for the night.

Lap 87 sees the restart as Collins has Symons all over his bumper but Collins holds keeping the point. Britts tries to pass McCafferty for fifth but McCafferty holds strong The top ten are Collins, Symons, Durden, Flynn, McCafferty, Britts, Jeremy Gerstner, Brad May, John Gerstner and Red Vann. Lap 94 sees the yellow for debris on the track.

Five laps to go Collins leads the way with Symons all over him. Symons goes high, low but Collins is not to be denied the win. On the last lap coming to the checkered, fifth place Alan McCafferty runs out of gas after having a great race. Collins takes the checkered followed by Jerry Symons, Kevin Durden, Jim “Hoot” Flynn, and Jimmy Britts.

In Victory Lane, Lee Collins was declared the 2004 Penske Racing Shocks United Pro Modified Champion. Collins, who started the 2004 season of the SpeedWeeks Open Wheel Modified Champion, said “this has been a great year for us. Everything just fell into place and I am very happy and pleased to be the 2004 Pro Mod Champion.”

OCTOBER 30, 2004

1. #89 Lee Collins
2. #66 Jerry Symons
3. #0 Kevin Durden
4. #57 Jim Flynn
5. #9 Jimmy Britts
6. #00 Brad May
7. #70 Jeremy Gerstner
8. #13 Kevyn Terry
9. #32 Red Vann
10. #77 John Gerstner
11. #32M Alan McCafferty
12. #00x Bobby Blake
13. #56 Ken McCracken
14. #4 Ronald Blackard
15. #4b Alan Bruns
16. #7 Justin Reynolds
17. #01 J.F. McClellan
18. #1 Wayne Jefferson
19. #2 Skip Honaker
20. #41 Mike Fritts
21. #5 Jerry Artuso
22. #10 Steve Thornbrugh
23. #40 George Murphy

Fast Qualifier: Lee Collins 18.345

Micro Season Finale To Brehm and Crull

Sunday, October 31st, 2004

Bowie and Hall would swap second place several times before Bowie went in second for good on lap 15. At the line, it was Brehm followed by Bowie and Hall. Fourth went to Brehm’s teamate Todd Miller, and Carl Paige turned in a great drive to finish fifth. Sixth thru tenth were Patrick Milikowski, Bo Gordon, Mark Ewer, Jim Myers, and Dale Steward. Heats were won by John Baker, Bowie and Hall.

In the 600 event, it was Chris Crull earning a hard earned victory. Crull, who had another earlier win to his credit was able to start upfront by virture of winning his heat. For Crull, the win was not an easy one. First year driver Alex Bright bidding for his first win applied pressure for most of the race. Bright, who started 7th drove the best race of his young career. Moving into second by the halfway point, Bright would pull alongside Crull on numerous occasions, but Crull was able to pull in front off each corner. At the line it was Crull by less than a car length over Bright. Third went to Robbie Nixon, who battled Jimmy Dawson for much of the race. Dawson would settle for fourth and Bo Gordon would complete the top five. Zack Newlin, Doug Snyder, Patrick Milikowski, and Brian Woodson would complete the field finish. The heat win went to Crull.

In other action, it was Chambersburg’s Dave Edwards in victory lane again in the Thunder division. Edwards, who started on the pole was never seriously challenged and won going away. At the line it was Edwards by a straightaway over second place Keith Armolt. Third went to Bob Herlt while Dale Steward and Patrick McNaughton completed the field. The heat went to Edwards.

Over in the Mini Stocks, it was Jeremy Ott back in his familiar #10 and back in victory lane. The win for Ott would not be a easy one, as Larry Long with his best drive of the year would apply pressure to Ott for much of the race. At the line, it was Ott by 2 lengths over Long. Third went to last weeks winner Mike Kershner, while Troy Eckenrode has his season high best finish by capturing fourth, and fifth went to Keith Armolt. Sixth thru tenth were Bryan Neff, Gary Newell, Keith Bass, Danny Silvers, and Michael Kendrick. Heats went to Ott and Kershner.

The Modified Lite feature drew a unually small field with Eddie Benedict capturing the win over his teamate Gary Funck. Third went to Chris Gates. The heat went to Benedict.

This brings the season to a close at the speedway, with the awards banquet set for Saturday January 8th. Details are available on the website

Sprints and Buses Featured at Desoto Super Speedway

Sunday, October 31st, 2004

John Gilbert jumped out to the early lead and looked like he was going to run away with the event until lap 18 when veteran sprint racer Dave Steele blasted out from his 13th starting position and eventually tracked down and drove by Gilbert.

Steele dominated the final laps taking the checkers, second was Gilbert, third Scott Adema, fourth Mark Gimmler and rounding out the top five was Wayne Reutimann Sr.

School Bus Figure 8

Brain Hayn “ the Master” of school bus racing showed everyone why he has that name taking the top spot once more at the high banks, second across was Brian Conrad, third went Ernest Helfrick.


L.B. Skaggs crossed the stripe first but was dqed in tech handing the win to Mark Peterson, second was Wallace Ramsey, third Bubba Thompson.


It was Dar Houghtling holding off Doug Raastad to take the bomber trophy, Raastad second and in third Jesse Gargus.

Street Stocks

Robert Haygood had his car on a rail as he cruised to the win in the street stock feature, Joey Barnes finished a well earned second and in third Duane Best.

Mod Mini

After some bad luck earlier this year it was C.J.Fisher leading the field across in the mod minis ahead of Jessie Dutilly and Bryan Wagner.

Open Wheels

Hard work finally paid off as Eric Rudd took his first modified win at DeSoto, Pat Nanney was a strong second, third was Timmy Moore.

Pure Stocks

Jimmie Best celebrated his birthday in a big way winning the Pure Stock feature, Richard McClough held on for second, third across was Rick Hurley.

Mini Stocks

Todd Freed Jr. was never challenged as he roared to the checkers for the victory, second was Cameron Cruise, third Robert Haygood.

Cowboy Caddies

Rich Wildrick barley got by Duane Campbell to take the last lap win, second was Campbell, third Scott Ollar.

Gorham and Martin Top Trucks, McKinney Takes Modified Win at SpeedWorld

Saturday, October 30th, 2004

The FASTRUCK and FASTKIDS Series were the main attraction of the evening and, as usual, plenty of race teams showed up for a great evening of action.

In FASTKIDS, Matt Martin set fast time, started from the pole, spun out once on an aborted start, yet came back to dominate the 25 lap race in his Gatorade Ford.

After a great side by side battle with Dalton Zehr, Martin pulled away and was never seriously challenged even though the field was slowed once when the engine burst into flames on Levi Parsons’ Chevy. Parsons scrambled out unhurt, but his truck was done for the night.

Martin went on to take the win over Zehr, Cody Pitts, Amanda Gogel and Spencer Taylor. Sean Price, Levi Hobbs, Parson, and David Wilson completed the field.

Young lion Sean Bass set quick time over the 23 FASTRUCKS that were entered, but drew the eight pill on the line-up inversion for the start.

Defending FASTRUCK champion Tommy King had the pole and took the early lead only to see the red flag come out on lap two as Kevin Williams got loose and collected Bass sending Bass hard into the turn two wall.

The “weasel” climbed out unhurt but upset as Williams pitted but was able to continue.

King looked like he might walk away with this one, but caution flags for minor spins kept the field bunched.

George Gorham, Jr. tangled with Jake Ready while battling for second, but his truck had only minor damage while Ready slid into the infield and dropped from the event.

Gorham had his truck working perfectly on the bottom of the track, and he began to put the pressure on King, eventually slipping past for the lead with about 15 laps to go. Gorham’s pass opened the flood gates and King found himself back in fifth spot before he could get back in the groove.

Gorham maintained the lead to the checker with George Morales getting second. Jimmy Gill and James Wright III started deep in the field and methodically worked their way up to third and fourth while King held on for fifth. Tim Shaffner, Wendell Bristol, Stuart Robinson, Jason Deaton and David Pollen, Jr. rounded out the top ten.

Veteran campaigner Doc McKinney finally got the bugs worked out of his car and showed everyone that the old pro hadn’t lost a step as McKinney took a wire to wire win in the Modified feature for his first win here in several years.

McKinney held off a determined Mark Emberson the entire distance as point leader Ricky Wood came from last on the starting grid to third. John Foerg and Corey Freed completed the top five. Emberson won the heat race.

Melbourne’s Dick Laszlo finally put all the pieces together and led all the way to win the Mini Stock feature in his Ford pick-up truck for his first win since opening night in March.

Keith Lilley was second trailed by Mark Wells, David LeBeau, and Josh Hermann. Hermann won the heat.

Earl Beckner won both the heat and feature races in the Sportsman division in run-away fashion. The Orlando driver was the class of the field as point leader Richard Hight settled for second ahead of Charlie Vest, Bruce Gayton and Spencer Lemmerman.

Following a big crash at the start that saw John Castro eliminated from the running early and severe damage to Bomber Bill Loomis’ machine, Ted Head continued his mastery of the Super Stocks taking yet another easy win.

Starting dead last in the field didn’t deter the “Man from Pine Hills” as he worked his way quickly past early leader Dave “White Fire” Wright and drove to victory. Loomis managed to bring his damaged car home second after a late charge with Wright claiming third. Corey Freed and Roger Benton were fourth and fifth.
Head and Castro won the Super Stock heats.

Bob Cherry took his second Strictly Stock main event out running Richie Laszlo, Al Koehalein, Mike Dahm and Weebis Steinberg.

Columbia Motorsports Park Hosts Goodyear Challenge Late Model 100

Wednesday, October 27th, 2004

Going into Saturday night’s 100 lap event, Jason Boyd holds a 43 point lead over second place Joe Winchell. But Winchell is not giving up his chase for the crown and is expected to give Boyd a run for the money. But Winchell also has his hands full as Rich Clouser stands only six points behind Winchell in third and with a good finish, he also can move up in the points. Martin Pierce runs fourth with 536 points followed by the 2003 Champion Jerry Artuso with 517.

Chuck Burkhalter, Tate Pierce, Greg Kaouk, Bill Ostriker, and Steve Smith round out the top ten in the Goodyear points. Columbia Motorsports Park will hold an open practice for the Goodyear Late Models on Friday, October 29th, from 5 to 10 p.m. On Saturday, October 30th, pit gates will open at 2 p.m. with qualifying for the Goodyear Late Model 100 at 6:30 p.m. Also on the program with the 100 lap race will be the Open Wheel Modifieds, Pure Stocks, Street Stocks and Hornets. Racing starts at 7:30 p.m.