Unzicker enjoys perfect evening at Clarksville
CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (March 15) – An unexpected return trip to Clarksville Speedway worked out quite nicely for Ryan Unzicker.
The former UMP DIRTcar Super Late Model national champion from El Paso, Ill., was perfect on Saturday night at the Volunteer State track, doubling up with victories in the held-over 40-lap Tuckassee Toilet Bowl Classic and the evening’s regularly-scheduled 25-lap A-Main. He also set fast time and won a heat race leading into the regular show, giving him a complete sweep of the evening’s action.
Unzicker decided to make the five-hour haul to Clarksville for the second consecutive week to resume chasing the checkered in the MARS DIRTcar Series Toilet Bowl Classic headliner, which was stopped by rain on March 8 after nine laps. Track promoter William Scogin paid drivers half the purse for their positions in the running order that night but announced that he would hold over the remainder of race’s distance one week and distribute the other half of the purse at the completion of the 40 laps.
With Unzicker sitting second in the Toilet Bowl Classic running order from March 8 and aware that he would move up to first because leader Brian Shirley of Chatham, Ill., was not returning, he opted to travel back to Clarksville. He proceeded to dominate the competition, leading the final 31 laps to score a $2,700 triumph and take home the unique toilet bowl trophy that traditionally goes to the race winner.
Riley Hickman of Cleveland, Tenn., who won the MARS DIRTcar Series Toilet Bowl Classic preliminary feature on March 7, finished second. Terry English of Benton, Ky., placed third, Clayton Miller of Elkton, Ky., was fourth and Tanner English – Terry’s son – completed the top five.
Nine of the Toilet Bowl Classic’s original 23 starters returned to complete the distance. According to Scogin, he added an additional $200 to the payoff of each driver who came back to compete, pushing Unzicker's first-place take to $2,700 and the start money to $600. Scogin added that the drivers who didn't return but hadn't signed to pick up money after last week's rainout received their $400 start cash; the drivers who signed for the money last week and didn't come back received no additional payoff.
"That's as fair as I could be," Scogin wrote in a text message to DirtonDirt.com.
Unzicker didn’t miss a beat in the evening’s regularly-scheduled feature, rolling off the pole position to complete his sweep of the program. His $1,000 winner's check pushed his take for the night to a cool $3,700.
Terry English finished second, followed by Hickman, Jason Riggs of Harrisburg, Ill., and Chris Shelton of Paducah, Ky.
Tuckassee Toilet Bowl Classic (40 laps): (1) Ryan Unzicker, (2) Riley Hickman, (3) Terry English, (4) Clayton Miller, (5) Tanner English, (6) Chris Shelton, (7) Levi Ashby, (8) Jason Riggs, (9) Caleb Ashby, (10) Brian Shirley, (11) Jesse Stovall, (12) Tony Jackson Jr., (13) Jason McBride, (14) Justin Asplin, (15) Eric Cooley, (16) Tom Smith, (17) Walker Arthur, (18) Dewayne Kiefer, (19) Timothy Culp, (20) Leroy Johnson, (21) McKay Wenger, (22) Wendell Wallace, (23) Mike Hammerle.
Regular UMP Late Model A-Main (25 laps): (1) Ryan Unzicker, (2) Terry English, (3) Riley Hickman, (4) Jason Riggs, (5) Chris Shelton, (6) Caleb Ashby, (7) Clayton Miller, (8) Levi Ashby, (9) Larry Greer, (10) Kendall Johnson, (11) Mitchell Lingauer, (12) Richard Frost, (13) John Minon Jr., (14) Tanner English. Fast Qualifier (among 14 cars): Unzicker. Heat winners: Unzicker, Terry English.
Correction: Adds correct first-place payoff for Unzicker and explains Scogin's distribution of purse