Talladega Short Track
Unheralded Mayse wins Ice Bowl XVII (updated)
By Todd TurnerDirtonDirt.com chief writer
EASTABOGA, Ala. (Jan. 6) — Bobby Mayse of Harrison, Tenn., went to bed Saturday night knowing he'd be starting on the pole for the Super Late Model portion of Talladega Short Track's Ice Bowl XVII. A great starting position for the unheralded driver, but no guarantee at the season-opening unsanctioned special that drew 76 drivers. | Slideshow
"You always want to believe you can win, and we thought we had a good enough car today to win," Mayse said in TST's infield. "We didn't know whether we were good enough to win or not. The only way you know is to race."
He was good enough, all right. Good enough to run virtually unchallenged throughout the 50-lapper as the former Cleveland (Tenn.) Speedway champion built leads of more than a half-straightaway en route to a $6,000 payday, the richest of his 21-year racing career by more than $4,000.
"I can't really believe it," said Mayse, who enjoyed a joyous victory lane celebration that brought tears to the eyes of 17-year-old son Jason and hugs all around for other supporters, including 22-year-old son Kyle and wife Rebecca. "These guys over here, they worked their tails off."
The Sunday afternoon victory lane celebration — punctuated by Mayse being doused with ice cubes filling the traditional Ice Bowl trophy — was made possible from help from another Cleveland Speedway regular, Dewayne Powell, who came to the team's rescue less than an hour before the 50-lapper.
In a hot-lap session, Mayse broke the servo on his car's steering rack, and the team didn't have a spare. Powell loaned the rack of his No. 79 and Mayse was back in business, ready to start on the front row with Riley Hickman.
Mayse got the jump on Hickman from the outset and rolled to victory, never challenged even after five restarts in the 25-car event. Hickman ran second to Mayse for the first 45 laps, but he had trouble keeping his car in the preferred bottom groove late in the race and lost three spots with five laps remaining.
Anthony Hill of Carrollton, Ga., who started fourth, ended up a distant second with sixth-starting Tim Roszell in third as the best home-state finisher. Last year's winner, Billy Mayo of Cleveland, Tenn., was fourth and Hickman fifth on the single-groove track.
The race was slowed by five caution flags, none for serious incidents on a beautiful day when temperatures crept into the low 70s.
Mayse drove a 2002 GRT Race Car powered by a Race Engine Design powerplant. He's sponsored by Gene's Racing Parts. .... Mayse had his previous biggest victory at North Georgia Speedway, a $1,500 paycheck in the Grant Adcox Memorial. ... Mayse right rear tire was flat in victory lane after the pounding of a rubbered-up racetrack. ... Starting outside the front row, Mayse outran polesitter Billy Mayo in Saturday's first heat race, the only winner among six heats who didn't start on the pole. ... Riley Hickman of Ooltewah, Tenn., simply wasn't able to keep up with Mayse. When he got too high exiting turn four on lap 44, Anthony Hill pulled alongside. The pair bumped in turn one, but Hill was virtually even with Hickman and maintained the spot. Hickman, who dropped two more positions the remainder of lap 45, wasn't pleased with Hill and following the race pulled alongside him in the infield to register his displeasure with a "what for?" flashing of his gloved hands. ... Pleased with his runner-up finish, Hill is considering running the 2008 season with the O'Reilly Southern All Star tour. Hill is a former ARCA racer. ... Third-starting Travis Pennington, son of National Dirt Late Model Hall of Famer Jack Pennington, was never a factor, losing the fifth spot to Billy Mayo on lap 21 and ending up sixth. ... World of Outlaws Late Model Series regular Shane Clanton of Locust Grove, Ga., started 17th and broke into the top 10 before exiting on lap 31. ... Fifth-starting Tony Knowles of Tyrone, Ga., never gained any ground. He slid high exiting turn two on a lap-32 restart and pulled out shortly thereafter. ... Randall Walker spun alone on the first lap and was pushed to the infield. ... Lamar Scoggins spun on lap 10. ... Dane Burns spun on lap 12. ... Chip Brindle rolled to a stop on lap 32 after dumping fluid on the track. ... Michigan driver Rusty Seaver ran third much of the first consolation race, but he faded in the final laps and went over the turn-one banking. He wasn't injured but the cleanup took several minutes. His was the only serious incident in three consolation races. ... Richie Phillips earned $2,000 for his victory in the Sportsman division (Limited Late Models) and Royce Bray of Hull, Ga., won the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series for crate engine Late Models.