Whynot Motorsports Park
Notes: Sullivan aims for turnaround at Whynot
By Joshua JoinerDirtonDirt.com staff writer
MERIDIAN, Miss. (Oct. 21) — Jack Sullivan could use a victory in Saturday night’s Coors Light Fall Classic feature at Whynot Motorsports Park. The $15,000 winner’s payday in the unsanctioned special event would be nice for Sullivan and his GRT Race Cars house car team, but the momentum shift from winning Saturday’s unsanctioned feature would be even better. | Prelims
Sullivan has struggled for much of the 2011 season with just one victory, but he’s in a good position to break through for what would be the biggest Late Model victory of his career Saturday night after outdueling World of Outlaws Late Model Series regular Shane Clanton of Fayetteville, Ga., in a heat race during Friday night’s preliminary action at Whynot to earn a sixth-place starting position for Saturday’s feature.
“It’d be a great way to end the season,” Sullivan said of what winning Saturday would mean. “It ain’t no secret, we’ve been struggling. We went back home and built a new car, so maybe things are getting better from here.”
The event marks only Sullivan’s second trip to Whynot, but he’s pretty confident he knows the fast way around the quarter-mile. And unlike many racetrack’s there’s more than one fast way around Whynot, Sullivan says.
“I like this place. It’s kind of a driver’s track with a lot of grooves,” Sullvian said. “You gotta slow down to run the bottom or you can be wide-open around the top. It kinda fits everybody. It’s a complete circle, kinda shaped funny, but I like it.”
Friday night, a lane switch following a mid-race caution was what propelled Sullivan by Clanton and to the heat race win.
“We took off there and Clanton got me before that caution,” said Sullivan, who ditched efforts to run the high line and moved to the bottom following the restart. “We had that caution and I finally just told myself ‘just slow down, you’re over driving.’ So I slowed down a little bit and the car got better. Sometimes you can over drive these things, and that’s basically what was happening.”
Moyer Jr. hopes to continue string of solid performances
Billy Moyer Jr. can relate to Sullivan’s desire to turn things around with a big win. The Batesville, Ark., driver has also struggled at times this year and could also use a solid performance at Whynot.
With four-consecutive finishes of second or better in the past two weeks, Moyer Jr.’s season has already had a turnaround of sorts. Those solid runs, which include two victories in Lucas Oil Midwest LateModel Racing Association at Heatland Park Topeka (Kan.), combined with his sixth-to-third heat race run to transfer into Saturday’s main event, have Moyer Jr. excited about his chances.
“Any time you can get on a roll and get some good runs it helps. We’ve been able to do that finally and it makes us feel a lot better about our chances,” Moyer Jr. said after his heat race Friday. “We started off slow in qualifying, but we were pretty good in the heat, so I think maybe we can get up there and run good tomorrow night.
“We’ve stressed out,” Moyer Jr. added about his frustrating season. “We were terrible there it seemed like from the Show-me (in May at Lucas Oil Speedway) and then own. I think we’re going in the right direction here. The car’s pretty decent tonight.”
Marlar hoping to break through with new ride
Mike Marlar’s 2011 season has been full of uncertainty. The Winfield, Tenn., driver started the season with Kentucky-based Wells Motorsports, but that fell through. He then had a stint as the Warrior Race Cars house car driver before finding a home with the Georgia-based Bryson Motorsports in September.
His latest gig seems to be working out pretty well for Marlar, especially after he set fast time and dominated his heat race to earn the pole for Saturday night’s 100-lap main event.
This isn’t the first time Marlar has had a good starting spot in this race. In his two previous Fall Classics, Marlar started up front and scored finishes of third in 2007 and fourth last season. He even led laps last year before fading around midway. He felt he had car capable of winning both of those previous races, but the wrong tire selection hampered both efforts.
This year, Marlar is confident he already knows what tire compound he’ll need to stay out front.
“Last year we lead it there some. But I was a little too hard on tires. I’m just gonna try not to put too hard a tire on tomorrow,” Marlar said. “The compound we’ve tried twice, it didn’t work twice. We run good with it, it just wasn’t the right deal.
“We know what won the race last year, so you just base off what you seen somebody win with and what you know you didn’t win with. From there it narrows it done real quick.”
Marlar is hopeful he and his team will make the right tire choice this time around at Whynot and breakthrough for the $15,000 victory. But whether or not he wins Saturday’s race, Marlar says he’s happy just be racing.
“I’m very fortunate,” Marlar said. “Racing’s a privilege, not something that anybody owes ya or anything that’s just given to you. We’re just lucky to get to do it, and I’ve been real fortunate to be able to drive race cars and do this stuff every weekend. I’m just thankful for the opportunity with (Bryson Motorsports) and thankful (team owner Norman Bryson) came along. He’s put me in really good stuff and is just a real pleasure to deal with.”
Retiring Breazeale has solid heat race run
Only a few days after announcing plans to retire following this weekend’s Fall Classic and next week’s Cotton Pickin’ 100 at Magnolia Motor Speedway in Columbus, Miss., David Breazeale of Four Corners, Miss., may already be rethinking those plans.
“They keep giving me good-handling cars like this and it’s gonna be hard to walk away,” Breazeale said after driving his Henderson Motorsports Victory Circle Race Car to victory in Friday’s fifth heat race.
Walking away will likely become even harder for Breazeale, who’s retiring to focus on his logging business, if he wins Saturday night’s main event.
“We had a good car and just did what we had to do to get in the race, just looking forward to tomorrow night,” Breazeale said.