Batesville Motor Speedway
Topless 100: Blog-style updates from Saturday's action
By Todd TurnerDirtonDirt.com chief writer
LOCUST GROVE, Ark. (Aug. 21) — Action is under way Saturday night at Batesville Motor Speedway for the final night of the 18th annual Comp Cams Topless 100. The $40,000-to-win Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series feature highlights the evening. Blog-style updates follow (preliminary results unofficial):
11:11 p.m.: Postponed until Sunday
As rain continues to fall, officials have announced the event will be postponed until 2 p.m. Sunday. Gates open at noon with action resuming; the modified feature and 100-lap Late Model feature are the only events remaining on the card.
11:07 p.m.: Rain picks up again
Heavier rain picked up about 11:07 p.m. and the track appears to be in nearly as bad shape as when the first rain concluded more than 90 minutes earlier. More fans are headed for the exits but there's plenty of hardy souls sticking it out.
11:02 p.m.: Another few showers
Another shower began briefly about 10:55 p.m., stopped for five minutes, then picked up again about 11 or so. Umbrellas are back out and many fans in the hillside grandstands have put their chairs over their heads. Some fans have no doubt given up altogether and headed home, but the track still appears determined to forge ahead. The radar appears like this might be the last gasp of the rain. And now the wrecker on the track slid down the turn-four banking and collided with one of the buses.
10:47 p.m.: Still working the track
Most of the four-wheelers are off the track with just the track buses and a wrecker on the track now. The track is getting into shape but it's extremely wet on the outer portions near the wall. There's no official word on when they might be able to put race cars on the track.
10:17 p.m.: Packing the track
Dozens of volunteers on four-wheelers and track packing vehicles are on the track. There've been a few more drizzles since the rain stopped at 9:35 or so, but the track is still planning to get the event going again. There are flashes of lightning appearing to come from north of the track. There's another small cell west of the track, but it appears it might be go south of the track. It's drizzling again about 10:23 p.m.
9:30 p.m.: Rain shower hits
Action is under a rain delay at Batesville as a shower hit the track about 9:25 p.m. or so.; it appears like it will be brief but the rain's been heavy off and on for several minutes. It appears the rain has stopped after less than 15 minutes and track officials assure fans the race will be completed on Saturday night. Some fans scurried for cover, but many stayed on the hillside grandstands, including many who raised their chairs over their heads to stay as dry as possible.
9:15 p.m.: Moyer wins second consy
Billy Moyer overtook polesitter Steve Casebolt midway through the 20-lapper and grabbed the victory. Casebolt held on for second as the top two cars battled overheating conditions. Moyer's crew was ready with water in the infield after he pulled off the scales, while part of Casebolt's crew departed the infield during a late-race caution to prepare for his arrival in the pits with water for the car's hot engine. Dennis Erb Jr., who ran second early in the race, pressured Casebolt before lap-18 caution for a stopped Bill Frye but settled for third. John Blankenship was further back in fourth.
Second consolation finish: Billy Moyer, Steve Casebolt, Dennis Erb Jr., John Blankenship, Tim Isenberg, Keith Foss, Scott Creel, Josh Danzy, Donald Bradsher, Bill Frye, Eric Turner, Shane Harris, Jimmy Miller, Jeremy Glasgow, Chase Washington, Brian Ritchie, Dalton Alexander, Andrew McKay, Curtis Cook, Jack Sullivan.
8:56 p.m.: Three early cautions in second consy
Three cautions in the first five laps have slowed the second consolation. Jack Sullivan and Andrew McKay tangled in turn two on the first start, causing a scamble that Sullivan got the worst of; he was towed off the track. Curtis Cook spun in turn four after one lap was complete and then Chase Washington spun in turn two on lap five. Steve Casebolt leads Dennis Erb Jr. and Billy Moyer with Bill Frye in fourth.
8:40 p.m.: Moore wins first consolation
Outside front-row starter Ray Moore completed his victory in the first consolation, keeping polesitter Brian Birkhofer at bay throughout the 20-lapper. Both transfer to the main event. Eric Wells was a close third while Billy Moyer Jr. was fourth after Chris Wall dropped out on lap 16; Wall is in line for a Lucas Oil Series provisional. Kyle Beard was running fifth late in the race but his smoking car slowed heading for the checkers.
First consolation finish: Ray Moore, Brian Birkhofer, Eric Wells, Billy Moyer Jr., Rylan Long, Robbie Stuart, Dwight Falcon, Kyle Beard, Brandon Smith, Wade Byars, Chris Wall, R.C. Whitwell, Brad Neat, Jason Utter, Odie Green, Chris Simpson, Phil Edmondson, Richie Tosh, Klint Byars.
8:27 p.m.: Moore leads first consy
Front-row starters Ray Moore and Brian Birkhofer jumped out to a huge lead after three laps in the first 20-lap consy before Klint Byars spun in turn four to draw a caution. Eric Wells holds the third over Chris Wall with Chris Simpson and Billy Moyer Jr. in a tight battle for fifth. It appears it's going to take something special to catch Birky and Moore, who has said he's determined to make the main event after missing it by a single spot last year.
8:26 p.m.: Dark skies (but no rain)
Skies that were purplish, orange-hued and dark all at the same time just before dusk have fallen mostly dark, and there are some dark clouds over the turn-two corner of the track. I felt two raindrops, but radar doesn't show anything and hopefully the night's racing won't be hindered. The first consolation race is on the track.
8:24 p.m.: Consolation race picks
Polesitter Brian Birkhofer will be tough to beat in the first consy. He held a transfer spot through part of a Friday night heat race before finishing fourth, just behind Bub McCool. The second spot could be a dogfight among Ray Moore, Eric Wells, Chris Wall and Billy Moyer Jr. Anyone coming from further back than that would be a big surprise. In the second consy, Steve Casebolt and Dennis Erb Jr. appeared to have two of the strongest fourth-place cars in heat races last night, and they'll be tough to beat from the front row. But four-time race winner Billy Moyer starts fifth, and if he fails to make the feature it would mark the second consecutive year at his hometown track.
8:20 p.m.: Plug for other coverage
Don't miss the rest of the Topless 100 coverage, which includes video of last night's action and stories posted earlier today, a notebook (Wendell Wallace, Jon Mitchell and Gary Christian among those covered) and a story about the progress of the Billy Moyer-backed Victory Circle Chassis. Also check out the obituary about beloved Georgia team owner and sponsor Jack Starrette, who died on Friday after a work-related accident.
8:14 p.m.: No rain at the track
While a thunderstorm blew up and hit the city of Batesville about 5:30 or so, no rain hit the track, which is about 10 miles south of town. The track did get a break, though, from temperatures near 100 degrees with temperatures dropping into the lower 80s. Alas, the humidity is still around and it's another steamy night at the track. Hot laps completed about 8:10 or so and the national anthem was played about 8:15 p.m. (it cut off before it finished last night, but the entire song made it through Saturday).
8:04 p.m.: Consolation lineups
Below are the original lineups for consolation races, but both fields will be reset with a variety of scratches. Among drivers who have departed or don't plan on competing tonight: Mike Marlar, Jimmy Mars, Chad Simpson, Raymond Merrill, Shane Harris, Al Purkey, Leon Henderson, Bo Gordon and Gary Christian. Jimmy Owens, in line for a Lucas Oil Series provisional, also tentatively plans to start on the tail of his consolation race and plan on taking the provisional.
Row 1: Brian Birkhofer, Ray Moore
Row 2: Eric Wells, Chris Wall
Row 3: Mike Marlar, Billy Moyer Jr.
Row 4: Jimmy Owens, Brad Neat
Row 5: Chris Simpson, Jimmy Mars
Row 6: Robbie Stuart, Kyle Beard
Row 7: Chad Simpson, Richie Tosh
Row 8: Rylan Long, Brandon Smith
Row 9: Klint Byars, Jason Utter
Row 10: R.C. Whitwell, Mark Stephens
Row 11: Kyle Cummings, Austin Rettig
Row 12: Dwight Falcon, Wade Byars
Row 13: Tyler Reddick, Jon Kirby
Row 14: Odie Green, Phil Edmondson
Row 1: Steve Casebolt, Dennis Erb Jr.
Row 2: Andrew McKay, Bill Frye
Row 3: Billy Moyer, Jack Sullivan
Row 4: Keith Foss, Tim Isenberg
Row 5: John Blankenship, Raymond Merrill
Row 6: Chase Washington, Stacy Taylor
Row 7: Josh Danzy, Eric Turner
Row 8: Jeremy Glasgow, Scott Creel
Row 9: Donald Bradsher, Dewaine Hottinger
Row 10: Dalton Alexander, Shane Harris
Row 11: Curtis Cook, Al Purkey
Row 12: Jimmy Miller, Brian Ritchie
Row 13: Leon Henderson, Bo Gordon
Row 14: Gary Christian
7:58 p.m.: May biggie officially announced
Batesville promoter Mooney Starrr wasn't kidding about second place paying more than first for his race tentatively scheduled for May 20-21. Starr handed out fliers on Saturday for an event that he says will carry a $150,000 purse ($20,000 more than the Topless 100).
The catch? While first place (and fifth place) will receive $10,000, second place will receive $20,000. Drivers have already jokingly started calling it the Brakecheck 100 in anticipation that the end of the race will be a battle for second. Here's the top 10 payoff: $10,000; $20,000; $12,000; $11,000; $10,000; $6,000; $4,000; $3,500; $3,250; $3,000. The race pays $2,000 start.
Starr is still seeking a title sponsor and for now the race is unsanctioned (Starr has been talking with the Lucas Oil Series about potential sanctioning). The promoter promises a date and more details on Oct. 1
7:54 p.m.: Hot laps starting soon
Hot laps were originally scheduled for 7:30 p.m., but it appears it will be closer to 8 p.m. Two Late Model consolation races are scheduled to follow with two drivers apiece transferring to the main event. After that is modified heat races, hot laps for the top 18 Late Models, then the modified feature. After that is pre-race ceremonies and then the Topless 100.