Quick Time: Who should get Hard Charger award?
By Todd TurnerDirtonDirt.com managing editor
Take a quick lap around the proverbial dirt track with managing editor Todd Turner for roundup of Dirt Late Model racing through the latest weekend of action. Quick Time, one of the newest features of our website, will appear every Wednesday at DirtonDirt.com:
Frontstretch: Drivers of the Week
National: Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., extended his Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series points lead — and padded his wallet with $50,000 — in capturing Florence Speedway's 29th annual Sunoco Race Fuels North-South 100. Does anyone else get the feeling we're getting ready to see one of those stunning late-season streaks at the sport's biggest events?
Regional: Kelly Boen of Henderson, Colo., has made limited starts in 2011, but he's making the most of them. Boen swept the King of the Hill events over the weekend at Junction Motor Speedway in McCool Junction, Neb., races co-sanctioned by MLRA and NCRA. Honorable mention: Canadian ace Ricky Weiss of Winnipeg, Manitoba, grabbed back-to-back Northern LateModel Racing Association events on NLRA's Western Tour.
Weekly: David Williams of Port Charlotte, Md., swept a pair of $2,000-to-win features Friday at Potomac Speedway in Budds Creek, Md., in extending his points lead as he guns for another championship at the 3/8-mile oval. Honorable mention: Michael Page of Douglasville, Ga., who became the first driver to win three straight Super Late Model features at Dixie Speedway in Woodstock, Ga., going back at least five seasons.
Crate: Nick Bauman of New Berlin, Ill., swept Friday-Saturday events at Lincoln (Ill.) Speedway and Spoon River Speedway in Banner, Ill., in UMP DIRTcar-sanctioned Crate action.
Turn 1: Five amendments to Hard Charger awards
Most tours award some type of Hard Charger awards to drivers who advance the most positions in a feature race. Here are five suggestions to sharpen the focus of such honors:
• If the Hard Charger also wins the race, double the usual prize.
• If the driver gaining the most spots doesn't finish in the top 10, shelve the award. Starting 17th and finishing 13th doesn't quite cut it, even if that's the most positions anyone advanced.
• Provisional starters aren't eligible. Being rewarded for failing to make the feature legitimately doesn't seem right.
• No ties. If two drivers advance the same number of positions, the award goes to the driver who finishes higher.
• For tours using passing points or pill draw for heat races, have a night-long Hard Charger award for the driver who passes the most cars in the heat and feature.
Turn 2: Weekly racing tidbits
• Making a last-ditch run at the IMCA weekly crown, Terry Neal of Ely, Iowa, swept weekend events at Iowa's Jackson County and Dubuque Speedway.
• Steve Lance Jr. of Cuba, Ill., maintained his domination at Peoria (Ill.) Speedway on Saturday with his sixth consecutive victory at the quarter-mile oval, outrunning Billy Drake and Bobby Pierce, who lowered the track qualifying record.
• Jeff Guengerich of Washington, Iowa, had a pair of home-state weekend victories at C.J. Speedway in Columbus Junction and 34 Raceway in West Burlington.
• Capturing his ninth feature of the season on Saturday, Jason Williams of Locust Grove, Ga., took the Limited Late Model division points lead from Lavon Sparks at Senoia (Ga.) Speedway.
• The points chase for the Late Model title at 34 Raceway in West Burlington, Iowa, is a tight one with four point separating the top six drivers with one race remaining.
• Ivedent Lloyd Jr.'s victory Saturday at Bubba Raceway Park in his hometown of Ocala, Fla., came on his birthday.
• Division rookie Ashley Barrett of Shippensburg, Pa., notched his first Super Late Model victory at Hagerstown (Md.) Speedway on Saturday, leading every lap to outrun Gary Stuhler, the track's winningest driver.
• Driving a Randy Korte team car, Scott Weber of Festus, Mo., on Saturday at I-55 in the UMP DIRTcar Late Model division. The modified regular also captured the feature in that division.
• Trevor Glaser of Tangent, Ore., raced to victory Saturday at Willamette Speedway in a Swartz Car he purchased from Dane Smith. Glaser's primary car was destroyed when his trailer was hit by a drunk driver two months earlier.
Backstretch: Turning back the clock
Aug. 19, 1980: Recently inducted Hall of Famer Kevin Gundaker of St. Charles, Mo., won at Iowa State Fair Speedway in Des Moines en route to his championship on the National Speedway Contest Association tour.
Aug. 17, 1985: Kenny Brightbill of Sinking Springs, Pa., a standout big-block modified and Late Model driver, captured Brownstown (Ind.) Speedway's Jackson 100 for his lone career victory on the Short Track Auto Racing Stars (STARS) circuit.
Aug. 22, 1995: Scott Sexton of Pigeon Forge, Tenn., won at 441 Speedway in Seymour, Tenn., for the first of 10 career victories on the Southern All Star Dirt Racing Series.
Aug. 19, 2000: Bob Boyd earned $3,000 for a T&G Thriller victory at Willamette Speedway in Lebanon, Ore., taking the lead when runner-up David Hawkes lost his brakes late in the race that drew 51 entries.
Aug. 19, 2005: After wrecking his primary car in hot laps, Scott Haus of Hamburg, Pa., tagged the tail with a backup car at Bedford (Pa.) Speedway and rallied to edge Rodney Sweitzer at the checkers by two feet.
Turn 3: Press release sentence of the week
From a track that won't be named, I'm guessing this isn't what you want to read if you're considering going to a track to catch the Late Model action: "As usual, the 4-Cylinders put on the most exciting event of the night."
Turn 4: For once, light at the scales is a good thing
Life on the road can be tough on your waistline, so five familiar faces on the World of Outlaws Late Model Series decided to come up with their own version of a Biggest Loser competition.
The contestants — Robby Allen (Austin Hubbard's chief mechanic; 286 pounds), Matt Barnes (car chief for Josh Richards; 223) and Randall Edwards (crew chief for Darrell Lanigan; 278), Brian Daugherty (Port City Racing's Integra Shocks tech consultant; 183), and Vic Coffey (WoO driver; 253) — spent the past month trying to avoid the less-than-healthy concession stand foods at the racetrack. They'll weigh in Thursday at Port City Racing's open house preceding a pair of Michigan WoO events.
There's money on the line — and potentially sets of shocks — for whoever loses the most body-weight percentage. Why that instead of straight-up weight? "There's no way I could lose as much total weight as these tanks I'm going up against," Daugherty said.
Check out the complete report from WoO publicist Kevin Kovac's blog.
Checkered flag: Five fearless Topless 100 predictions
Five predictions for this weekend's Comp Cams Topless 100, the $40,000-to-win Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series event at Batesville (Ark.) Motor Speedway:
• There will be a first-time Topless 100 winner.
• Five drivers piloting Victory Circle Chassis will make the starting field.
• Arkansas will match its event-low three starters from last season with three in this year's field.
• Jimmy Owens will finish in the top five.
• Fortunately, heat stroke won't be a factor as it was last season.