North-South: Blog-style reports of Saturday's action
By Todd TurnerDirtonDirt.com chief writer
UNION, Ky. (Aug. 14) — Blog-style reports of the 28th annual Sunoco Race Fuels North-South 100 at Florence Speedway:
12:55 a.m.: Repeat of 2009 - Owens wins
Jimmy Owens went around Earl Pearson Jr. heading for the white flag, regaining the lead from Earl Pearson Jr. for the victory. It duplicated last year's race, also won at the white flag.
12:51 a.m.: Pearson leads lap 88
Zooming in the low groove, especially off turn two, Earl Pearson Jr. took command from Jimmy Owens with 12 laps remaining. He slipped under two slower cars just after that and stretched his margin to nearly a half-straight with 10 remaining.
12:50 a.m.: Pearson up to second
Earl Pearson Jr. is up to second on lap 84, and he's still closing on Jimmy Owens in his first feature in a Longhorn Chassis.
12:48 a.m.: Owens leads lap 78
Jimmy Owens beat Don O'Neal into turn one on the 78th lap to take the lead. Owens faces some lapped traffic with O'Neal still hot on his heals and Earl Pearson Jr. catching both of them at lap 80.
12:47 a.m.: Battle for lead
Jimmy Owens is all over Don O'Neal with 25 laps remaining. Earl Pearson Jr. is up to third but a half-straight behind the top two as Steve Francis is back to fourth
12:46 a.m.: Lap-70 rundown
Don O'Neal (by 12 lengths), Jimmy Owens, Steve Francis, Earl Pearson Jr., Ray Cook. Others are struggling to keep up with Jimmy Mars battling Scott Bloomquist for sixth.
12:39 a.m.: Lap-63 caution for Wallace
Wendell Wallace stopped in turn two for a lap-63 caution. Before that, Jimmy Owens was closing on leader Don O'Neal and looking like the first driver who could threaten him since he overtook Eddie Carrier Jr. early in the race. Steve Francis is third but appears to be having to work his car harder than Owens to keep up. Fourth is Carrier and fifth is Ray Cook. From sixth on back: Earl Pearson Jr., Chris Madden, Jimmy Mars, Scott Bloomquist, Brad Neat, Chris Wall, Dan Schlieper, Brian Birkhofer, Dale McDowell, Justin Rattliff, Freddy Smith, John Blankenship, Brady Smith, Greg Johnson.
12:38 a.m.: Lap-60 rundown
Don O'Neal (by half straight still), Jimmy Owens, Steve Francis, Eddie Carrier Jr., Ray Cook, Chris Madden and Earl Pearson Jr. Jimmy Mars is up to eighth and Scott Bloomquist ninth.
12:36 a.m.: Owens up to third
Jimmy Owens zipped from fifth to third on the lap-48 restart. Don O'Neal leads by a half-straight at lap 55 with Owens working hard on Eddie Carrier Jr. Steve Francis is a close fourth.
12:32 a.m.: Lap-48 yellow for debris
Debris slowed the race just before the halfway point. Before the yellow, the top five were all on the same straightaway with Don O'Neal is still nearly a half-straight ahead of Eddie Carrier Jr. It was very tight behind Carrier among Steve Francis, Ray Cook and Jimmy Owens while polesitter Chris Madden was further back in sixth. Brad Neat is seventh followed by Brian Birkhofer, Earl Pearson Jr., Dan Schlieper and Scott Bloomquist in 10th. Last year's winner Jimmy Mars, who caught O'Neal at the white flag in a stirring rally, is 12th. Bub McCool, who pitted under yellow, the only car lapped.
12:29 a.m.: Lap-40 rundown
Don O'Neal (by a half-straight), Eddie Carrier Jr., Steve Francis, Ray Cook, Jimmy Owens. Polesitter Chris Madden is a fading sixth (Steve Casebolt just pulled out).
12:27 a.m.: O'Neal's spoiler
O'Neal's right-rear corner is damaged, the the spoiler brace is laying down, but it doesn't appear to be slowing him as he maneuvers through lapped traffic a third of the way through the race.
12:25 a.m.: Lap-30 rundown
Don O'Neal (by half-straight), Eddie Carrier Jr., Steve Frnacis, Ray Cook, Chris Madden, Jimmy Owens and Brad Neat (from 12th). Next is 16th-starting Brian Birkhofer, and he's running about a half-track margin behind the leading O'Neal.
12:18 a.m.: Lap-23 caution for Isenberg
Tim Isenberg shredded a left-rear tire to draw a lap-23 caution and headed for the infield pits. Don O'Neal still leads followed by Eddie Carrier Jr., Steve Francis, Chris Madden and Ray Cook in fifth. Sixth is Jimmy Owens followed by 12th-starting Brad Neat and 16th-starting Brian Birkhofer. Justin Rattliff is up to 12th after starting 20th. Of note, O'Neal's right rear quarterpanel has some damage and his spoiler isn't up to snuff; series officials are checking his car in turn four.
12:13 a.m.: Lap-21 caution for Hartman
A lap-21 yellow appeared as Bart Hartman got together with Jimmy Owens on the frontstretch and slid toward the mud inside the track. Don O'Neal lead after taking the lead on the 18th lap after a wild battle for the lead. O'Neal slid under early race leader Eddie Carrier Jr. in turn two, and Carrier tried to answer the move by going back under O'Neal on the backstretch. The two got together just before entering turn three, and O'Neal was able to go back under Carrier and take over. Carrier considered another move on O'Neal entering turn one, but thought better of it. Rundown after 21 laps complete: O'Neal, Steve Francis, Carrier, Chris Madden, Ray Cook, Dan Schlieper, Jimmy Owens Scott Bloomquist, Brad Neat, Earl Pearson Jr., Brian Birkhofer, Jimmy Mars, Justin Rattliff, Freddy Smith, Eric Wells, Dale McDowell, John Blankenship, Brady Smith, Chris Wall, Bub McCool, Wendell Wallace, Tim Isenberg, Greg Johnson and Steve Casebolt. Out of the race: Josh Williams, Bart Hartman.
12:12 a.m.: Lap-15 rundown
Eddie Carrier Jr., Don O'Neal, Steve Francis, Chris Madden, Ray Cook, Dan Schlieper, Bart Hartman and Jimmy Owens. O'Neal drew alongside on the frontstretch on the 15th lap but fell back as the frontrunners have caught slower traffic.
12:08 a.m.: Carrier leads early
Outside front-row starter Eddie Carrier Jr. outjumped polesitter Chris Madden, who slipped back to fourth in the early laps. Don O'Neal and Steve Francis are chasing Carrier while Ray Cook holds the fifth spot after five lap.
12:06 a.m.: Pre-race notes
There's still plenty of moisture in the track after a little pre-feature track prep and the late afternoon rain. ... Brady Smith, who starts 17th, dropped to his hot pit as the field started to pace. ... Because the driver's side sheetmetal on Steve Casebolt's car was ripped off, his new orange car has some old green sheetmetal to replace it; he also briefly went to the hot pit. ... After a four-wide salute the 26-car will be going green. ... Fans are on their feet waving hands and hats. ... Florence has continued its tradition of track scorers, announcers and flaggers donning white tuxedos for the main event. ... Polesitter Chris Madden is looking for his richest-ever victory; he earned $30,000 at the 2007 National 100 at East Alabama Motor Speedway. ... Outside front-row starter Eddie Carrier Jr.'s richest victory also came in 2007 when he pocketed $25,000 in the Hillbilly 100 at Tyler County Speedway in Middlebourne, W.Va.
11:56 p.m.: Driver intros complete
After a group photo and driver introductions, engines have fired on the frontstretch at Florence Speedway, which drew a record-setting crowd on what turned out to be a pleasant evening after a week of brutal temperatures in the region. All the grandstands appear to be full and there are another few hundred in the infield of spectators and crews at the hot pit.
11:40 p.m.: Driver intros coming up
The starting field has mostly assembled on the frontstretch for driver introductions. The 100-lapper should get rolling by midnight or so.
11:02 p.m.: Starting field set
The 26-car North-South 100 field is set (at right) with the addition of provisional starters Steve Casebolt (series), John Blankenship (series) and Josh Williams (track). Tim Isenberg took an emergency series provisional.
10:58 p.m.: Rattliff wins second consolation
Front-row starters Justin Rattliff and Chris Wall transferred through the second consolation, surviving late-race challenges from Billy Moyer Jr. and Audie McWilliams after a late-race restart.
Second consy finish (cars running at the checkers): Justin Rattliff, Chris Wall, Audie McWilliams, Billy Moyer Jr., Mike Jewell, Jesse Lay, Dustin Neat, Rod Conley, Chad Smith, Mick Sansom.
10:48 p.m.: Wallace dominates first consolation
Wendell Wallace cruised to an easy victory in the first consolation, taking the checkers a straightaway ahead of a wild battle for second. Chris Brown, gunning for his first North-South 100 start, had the second spot most of the way, but Greg Johnson got past with four laps to go. Darrell Lanigan and Mike Marlar tried to catch Johnson and his final transfer spot in the closing laps but couldn't as Brown slipped to fifth.
First consy finish (cars running at checkers): Wendell Wallace, Greg Johnson, Darrell Lanigan, Mike Marlar, Chris Brown, Steve Shaver, Jerry Rice, Jason Jameson, Tim Isenberg, John Blankenship, Chris Wilson, Brett Wyatt, Roger Williams, Tim Rivers, David Spille.
10:37 p.m.: Expected consy scratches
Among drivers expected to scratch from consolation races: Stacy Taylor, Zack Dohm, Tim McCreadie, Tim Prince, Matt Miller, Skip Arp, Josh McGuire, John Mason, Brandon Green and D.J. Wells. ... Steve Casebolt and Chris Wall are in line for series provisionals. ... The first consolation lineup is on the track.
10:25 p.m.: Second consolation lineup
Top two transfer from 15-lapper (modified feature still on the track under caution):
Row 1: Chris Wall, Justin Rattliff
Row 2: Billy Ogle Jr., Billy Moyer Jr.
Row 3: Dustin Neat, Mike Jewell
Row 4: Rod Conley, Audie McWilliams
Row 5: Chad Smith, Jesse Lay
Row 6: Robby Hensley, Scott James
Row 7: Jack Sullivan, Adam Dixon
Row 8: Jeep Van Wormer, Mick Sansom
Row 9: Billy Moyer, Brandon Green
Row 10: Jordan Bland, Duane Chamberlain
Row 11: Steve Casebolt, Josh Williams
Row 12: Tyler Reddick, Mark Vineyard
Scratched: Bob Lanter, D.J. Wells
10:21 p.m.: First consolation lineup
The top two transfer from the 15-lap consy (the modified feature is on the track now):
Row 1: Chris Brown, Wendell Wallace
Row 2: Greg Johnson, Tim Isenberg
Row 3: Steve Shaver, Jerry Rice
Row 4: Jason Jameson, Mike Marlar
Row 5: Darrell Lanigan, Chris Wilson
Row 6: Brett Wyatt, Stacy Taylor
Row 7: David Spille, Zack Dohm
Row 8: Tim McCreadie, James Rice
Row 9: Roger Williams, Tim Rivers
Row 10: Wayne Chinn, Steve Landrum
Row 11: Tim Prince, Matt Miller
Row 12: Skip Arp, John Blankenship
Row 13: Jason Whitaker
Scratched: Josh McGuire, John Mason
10:10 p.m.: Francis wins caution-free sixth heat
Polesitter Steve Francis cruised to an easy victory in the sixth and final heat, taking the checkers a straightaway ahead in the only caution-free prelim. Fellow front-row starter Brad Neat had a rough first few laps, fighting an apparently loose Longhorn Chassis, but he settled down to finish ahead of Eric Wells, who got the third and final transfer spot after an early battle with Billy Ogle Jr. Ogle finished fourth before the three Kentucky drivers while Mike Jewell was fifth.
Sixth heat finish: Steve Francis, Brad Neat, Eric Wells, Billy Ogle Jr., Mike Jewell, Chad Smith, Scott James, Jeep Van Wormer, Jordan Bland, Josh Williams. Scratched: D.J. Wells.
10:07 p.m.: Sixth heat lineup
Top three transfer from 12-lapper:
Row 1: Steve Francis, Brad Neat
Row 2: Billy Ogle, Eric Wells
Row 3: Jordan Bland, Mike Jewell
Row 4: Josh Williams, Scott James
Row 5: Jeep Van Wormer, D.J. Wells
Row 6: Chad Smith
10:05 p.m.: O'Neal dominates heat 5
Don O'Neal completed a flag-to-flag finish in the fifth heat while third-starting Bart Hartman got the second spot ahead of Brian Birkhofer. Justin Rattliff ended up in fourth.
FIfth heat finish: Don O'Neal, Bart Hartman, Brian Birkhofer, Justin Rattliff, Dustin Neat, Audie McWilliams, Robby Hensley, Adam Dixon, Billy Moyer, Steve Casebolt, Mark Vineyard. Scratched: Brandon Green.
9:55 p.m.: Debris on third lap in fifth heat
A caution appeared on the third lap for apparent debris on the backstretch. Two laps were run before the yellow and it cost Justin Rattliff, who restarted second but got pinched into the backstretch wall by Brian Birkhofer while Don O'Neal was out front. Rattliff slipped back to fifth. Two laps later Billy Moyer slowed entering the infield to draw another yellow. The lap-five running order: O'Neal, Bart Hartman, Birkhofer, Rattliff, Dustin Neat, Audie McWilliams, Robby Hensley, Adam Dixon. Shortly after the lap-five restart, McWilliams got sideways in turn four, collecting Dixon, who heavily damaged the right side of his car. Six laps are complete with O'Neal, Hartman and Birkhofer in the top three spots.
9:53 p.m.: Casebolt a victim in fifth heat
Early in the ffith heat, Dustin Neat got out of shape between turns one and two. When Steve Casebolt checked up to avoid him as he got back up to speed on the backstretch, Mark Vineyard's No. 4 climbed the driver's side of Casebolt's car, shearing the sheetmetal off Casebolt's car and drawing a yellow after one lap complete. Casebolt and Vineyard are done. Outside front-row starter Don O'Neal got the jump on polesitter Brian Birkhofer and leads early.
9:51 p.m.: Fifth heat lineup
Three transfer from 12-lapper:
Row 1: Brian Birkhofer, Don O'Neal
Row 2: Bart Hartman, Justin Rattliff
Row 3: Audie McWilliams, Billy Moyer
Row 4: Steve Casebolt, Dustin Neat
Row 5: Robby Hensley, Mark Vineyard
Row 6: Adam Dixon, Brandon Green
9:49 p.m.: Carrier holds off Cook, wins fourth heat
Eddie Carrier Jr. turned back a surprising last-lap charge from fourth-starting Ray Cook to complete his flag-to-flag victory in the fourth heat. Carrier ran unchallenged until Cook got a run exiting turn two on the final lap, looking high and then low before Carrier turned back the challenge. Earl Pearson Jr. got the third and final transfer spot over Chris Wall, who started on the pole but fell back as far as fifth before recovering. Billy Moyer Jr. was fifth.
Fourth heat finish: Eddie Carrier Jr., Ray Cook, Earl Pearson Jr., Chris Wall, Billy Moyer Jr., Rod Conley, Jesse Lay, Jack Sullivan, MIck Sansom, Duane Chamberlain, Tyler Reddick. Scratched: Bob Lanter.
9:43 p.m.: Reddick spins on restart
Tyler Reddick spun in turn three after a tangle with Duane Chamberlain, then collected Mick Sansom following a lap-six restart in the fourth heat. It appears Chamberlain and Reddick are done for the night, while Sansom may be able to continue. Officials did score the seventh lap, and Eddie Carrier Jr. still leads while Chris Wall, who restarted second, got out of shape and lost the spot to Ray Cook. Earl Pearson Jr. went by on the backstretch to drop Wall to fourth. The running order on lap seven: Carrier, Cook, Pearson, Wall, Billy Moyer Jr., Rod Conley, Jack Sullivan, Jesse Lay and Sansom.
9:36 p.m.: Sansom spins in fourth heat
Tail-running Mick Sansom spun in turn four midway through the fourth heat. His fellow Salt Rock, W.Va., driver, outside front-row starter Eddie Carrier Jr., leads the heat over polesitter Chris Wall. There's a tight battle for the third transfer spot between second-row starters Ray Cook, who touched in turn four when Pearson tried to get under him early in the race. Cook holds the third spot followed by Pearson and seventh-starting Billy Moyer Jr. after six laps. Rod Conley is sixth followed by Jack Sullivan, Jesse Lay, Duane Chamberlain and Tyler Reddick. The field came to a stop in turn three as track workers got Sansom's car out of the mud at the extreme inside of the racetrack.
9:33 p.m.: Fourth heat lineup
Top three transfer in 12-lapper:
Row 1: Chris Wall, Eddie Carrier Jr.
Row 2: Earl Pearson Jr., Ray Cook
Row 3: Jesse Lay, Rod Conley
Row 4: Billy Moyer Jr., Jack Sullivan
Row 5: Tyler Reddick, Duane Chamberlain
Row 6: Bob Lanter, Mick Sansom
9:31 p.m.: Owens wins third heat
Jimmy Owens led a three-car breakaway in the third heat as Owens, Jimmy Mars and Brady Smith easily transferred to the main event. Mars nearly got alongside Owens off turn four midway through the race, but Owens held him off and stayed in control the rest of the way. The polesitter Smith slipped back late but was never challenged for the final transfer spot. Greg Johnson was a distant fourth followed by Jerry Rice and Darrell Lanigan, who never recovered from an early spin. Fifth-starting Tim McCreadie struggled the whole way.
Third heat finish: Jimmy Owens, Jimmy Mars, Brady Smith, Greg Johnson, Jerry Rice, Darrell Lanigan, Stacy Taylor, Tim McCreadie, Tim Rivers, Tim Prince, Skip Arp, Jason Whitaker
9:23 p.m.: Lanigan spin in third heat
Darrell Lanigan spun in turn two on the second lap of the third heat after a scramble with Skip Arp. Outside front-row starter Jimmy Owens led the first lap while Wisconsin drivers Brady Smith, the polesitter, and Jimmy Mars got together in turn four on the first lap with Smith nearly getting sideways and triggering evasive maneuvers behind him that eventually results in Lanigan turning around. The lineup after one lap: Owens, Mars, Smith, Greg Johnson, Tim McCreadie, Jerry Rice, Stacy Taylor, Tim Rivers, Jason Whitaker, Darrell Lanigan and Skip Arp. Tim Prince went to the hot pits in the infield to change a tire and will restart on the tail. Prince spun in turn two on the restart to draw another caution.
9:21 p.m.: Third heat lineup
Top three transfer from 12-lapper:
Row 1: Brady Smith, Jimmy Owens
Row 2: Greg Johnson, Jimmy Mars
Row 3: Tim McCreadie, Darrell Lanigan
Row 4: Jerry Rice, Stacy Taylor
Row 5: Skip Arp, Tim Prince
Row 6: Tim Rivers, Jason Whitaker
9:19 p.m.: Schlieper wins second heat
There was plenty of action behind him, but Dan Schlieper cruised without incident in winning the second heat, which ran caution-free the final eight laps after several early skirmishes (see below). Freddy Smith got a little sideways on the lap-four restart but righted his car for an easy second-place finish in the Warrior house car while sixth-starting Bub McCool benefitted from early scrambles to get the third and final transfer spot. Ninth-starting Wendell Wallace had a solid turn in his new Victory Circle Chassis to finish fourth ahead of Steve Shaver, while Mike Marlar — the second fastest qualifier overall — got back up to sixth after restarting in the rear on lap four.
Second heat finish: Dan Schlieper, Freddy Smith, Bub McCool, Wendell Wallace, Steve Shaver, Mike Marlar, Brett Wyatt, Zack Dohm, Roger Williams, Steve Landrum, Matt Miller, John Blankenship.
9:09 p.m.: More bad news for Marlar
Mike Marlar spun in turn two on the lap-four restart, and he climbed from his car apparently angry with Brett Wyatt after what appeared to be at least his second scrape with his fellow second-row starter. Marlar jogged from turn two toward turn one, where Wyatt was parked, but someone from the infield ran out and headed Marlar off before he got within 25 yards of Wyatt. By then his approach appeared half-hearted at best. Marlar climbed back in and pulled to the infield with nose damage to his David Wells-owned No. 36, the second fastest car in qualifying. John Blankenship hit nose-to-nose with Marlar upon his spin and suffered enough damage to go to the pits. Because a lap wasn't completed, Matt Miller rejoined the field. The lineup after four laps: Dan Schlieper, Freddy Smith, Bub McCool, Brett Wyatt, Wendell Wallace, Steve Shaver, tail-starting Roger Williams, Steve Landrum, Zack Dohm, Matt Miller and Mike Marlar
9:07 p.m.: Flat for Miller in second heat
A mid-race caution in the second heat appeared for Matt Miller's turn-two spin after a scramble mid-pack. Miller had a flat left-rear tire and ducked to the pits for a tire change. The first lap had a scramble, too, when Mike Marlar got squirrelly on the frontstretch after apparent contact with fellow second-row starter Brett Wyatt. Marlar dropped back into a battle for fifth with Steve Steve while sixth-starting Bub McCool was the biggest benefactor on the first lap, moving up into the third and final transfer spot. With four laps complete, polesitter Dan Schlieper leads fellow front-row starter Freddy Smith and McCool. Wyatt and Marlar are fourth and fifth while Wendell Wallace, who made a stirring move on the frontstretch just before Miller's caution, is up from ninth to sixth. Eight laps remain. Matt Miller retired.
9:02 p.m.: Early yellow in heat 2
Steve Landrum spun on the first lap of the second heat in turn two; he'll rejoin the race. Third-starting Mike Marlar didn't get a good start and will look to get a better jump.
9:01 p.m.: Second heat lineup
Top three transfer from the 12-lapper:
Row 1: Dan Schlieper, Freddy Smith
Row 2: Mike Marlar, Brett Wyatt
Row 3: Zack Dohm, Bub McCool
Row 4: Matt Miller, Steve Shaver
Row 5: Wendell Wallace, John Blankenship
Row 6: Steve Landrum, Roger Williams
8:59 p.m.: Madden wins first heat
Polesitter Chris Madden led the final nine laps of the first heat without a challenge, taking the checkers less than a half-straightaway over Scott Bloomquist. Fast qualifier Dale McDowell was another stretch behind Bloomquist for the third and final transfer spot. Texan Chris Brown, making his Florence debut, ran a solid fourth while fourth-starting Jason Jameson slipped back to finish sixth.
First heat finish: Chris Madden, Scott Bloomquist, Dale McDowell, Chris Brown, Tim Isenberg, Jason Jameson, Chris Wilson, David Spille, James Rice, Wayne Chinn. Scratched: John Mason, John McGuire.
8:53 p.m.: Chinn's slide on lap three in first heat
Chris Madden got the jump on fellow front-row starter Scott Bloomquist in the first heat, but the race was slowed after a few laps for Wayne Chinn's slow spin in turn four. He slid down toward the infield but recovered to rejoin the field. Dale McDowell is third on the restart followed by Chris Browna nd Jason Jameson. Chinn spun again in turn four on the restart, causing right-rear damage to his Gary Engle-owned car; officials sent him off the track for causing two cautions.
8:48 p.m.: Burning off the moisture
Cars from the first heat are on the track and they're burning off the top layer of moisture on the track, but not at full hot-lap speed. Here's the lineup for the first heat:
Row 1: Chris Madden, Scott Bloomquist
Row 2: Dale McDowell, Jason Jameson
Row 3: David Spille, Chris Brown
Row 4: Chris Wilson, Wayne Chinn
Row 5: Tim Isenberg, Josh McGuire (scratched)
Row 6: James Rice, John Mason (pulled off the track)
8:42 p.m.: Pre-race ceremonies
Pack trucks are off the track and the invocation has been given. The national anthem was sung with five riders on horses circling the track. The four older riders carried U.S. and Confederate flags while the youngest and last rider wave a smaller checkered flag. With the dark skies from the previous stormy weather off in the distance behind the backstretch, there's an eerie glow from the brightening skies on the frontstretch side of the track.
8:18 p.m.: Track coming along
Pack trucks have been on the track the past 15 minutes and the track surface is coming into shape under the watchful eye of dozens of drivers and crew members looking on in turn three from the pit area. Six trucks are on the track and promoter Jerry King is on a track packing down a wet groove on the frontstretch just a car's width or so off the infield.
7:58 p.m.: Setting the field
Tonight's 25-car field will be set by three cars apiece transferring from six heat races. Two drivers from each of two consolation races will transfer to the main event, and three provisionals (two from the Lucas Oil Series, one from the track) will round out the field.
7:51 p.m.: Made your heat picks?
Have you made your heat race picks yet? Compare them to DirtonDirt.com's picks for the six heat races, originally scheduled for 8 p.m. Because of the weather, it appears action will be delayed at least a half hour; Hall of Fame participants are still being removed from the infield and pack tracks haven't hit the surface yet.
7:43 p.m.: Ceremonies wrap up
The Hall of Fame induction ceremonies wrapped up with Freddy Smith, already a Hall of Famer, receiving the Sportsman award. ... The honorees are gathering for a group photo. ... Track officials predict it'll take at least a half-hour to get the track into shape, and no pack trucks have been on the track since rain began about 6 p.m. so so. It's still overcast but gloriously cooler and it appears the rain is over for the rest of the night.
7:38 p.m.: More inductees and honors
Nebraska's Steve Kosiski joined his brother Joe in the Hall of Fame with his induction. He thanked his wife, family and crew members that became close friends, some of whom came to Florence. "I hope they're having a good time," Kosiski said. "I know they're having a good weekend with as much beer as they drank coming down here." ... Iowa legends Ernie Derr and Ronnie Weedon were also inducted along with Kentucky car owner Bobby Paul. ... Introducing the Thomas family of East Alabama Motor Speedway in Phenix City, Ala., was Tim Lee of Dirt Late Model Illustrated. Billy Thomas remembered his late father Jimmy when accepting the induction on behalf of the family. "I know he would be proud of everything here, what's going on," Thomas said. He also took the chance to plug the National 100 at EAMS in November. "I know it's a long drive," he said, "but I guarantee you you'll be glad that you came. ... Jimmy Mars also accepted honors as the Area Auto Racing News Driver of the Year for '09
7:29 p.m.: Recap of early inductees
Mike Head of Ellenwood, Ga., was the first inductee, and he credited his wife for the support she gave to his career since their marriage in 1967. "I'm just blown away here. I'm honored," the 1991 North-South 100 winner said. "I'm not worthy of this honor, but I'll take it." Head raced with every driver inducted except for Illinois driver Roger Long. ... Former Tennessee racer Duayne Hommel received the Spirit award, presented by current Tennessee racer Jimmy Owens. Hommel's former crew, including Tommy Hicks (now with Scott Bloomquist's team) stood behind him during the presentation. Said Head of Hommel. "This guy is champion forever, and we love you." ... Roger Long thanked everyone who helped his career that included 20 track championships. "How do you wrap up 32 years of racing in three or four minutes?" Long said. "We're standing out here in the rain, but I'm going to try and do my best." ... Carolinas announcer Duane Goins gave a lengthy introduction for Billy Scott, a racer who competed with the Earnhardts and Pettys and passed an opportunity to run NASCAR events to stay in Dirt Late Models in the early 70s.
7:10 p.m.: Recap of late afternoon
Weather stirred up in the late afternoon at Florence Speedway. The good news? Temperatures dropped nearly 20 degrees into the mid 70s. The bad news? Wind and a lengthy period of sprinkles delayed the Hall of Fame inductions (scheduled for 6 p.m.) and put some moisture in the track which might delay the scheduled 8 p.m. racing. Many fans gathered for the inductions briefly scattered and teams covered their race cars in the pits. But heavier rains, which apparently hit north and south of the track, never materialized and inductions got underway about 6:45 p.m.
7:06 p.m.: Details on inductees
For details on the Class of 2010, check out this story about the inductees. Added to the inductees and given the Hall's Spirit Award was former Tennessee racer Duayne Hommel, whose career was cut short by a highway accident in 2003.
7 p.m.: Weather delays induction
The National Dirt Late Model Hall of Fame inductions are under way after a brief delay for high winds and a period of sprinkles. We'll be blogging tonight and catch up on those who have already spoken.