Allen Sparks Tribute at East Alabama
By Jay Vaquer
Phenix City, ALA - March 24, 2007 - The grandstands were filled at East Alabama Motor Speedway on an unseasonably warm spring night for the second race this season. Missing from the regular Saturday night line-up was the Late Model number 34 of Allen Sparks. Last year during a post season race at Cochran Speedway Allen suffered a fatal heart attack while on the track. Because he was in a race car his insurance company would not pay the beneficiaries. Condolences were fine but what Allen's family really needed was cash. During the intermission a special tribute was held with Allen's car on the track and all the drivers went through the grandstands taking up a collection which was given to Allen's wife. When the Late Model feature lined up to take the green flag, the number 34 led the field for a few laps then pulled off the back straight just before the green flag came out. Terrance Nowell was on the pole and track Champion Tod Darda was on the outside. They powered wide open into turn one and Nowell came out of turn two with the lead while Darda had his hands full of a charging Dana Eiland in third. Larry Harrod and JR Moseley were battling hard over fourth when Ricky Culpepper came up to get into the mix. On lap 5 Joey Miles spun in turn four to bring out the lap 5 caution. Suddenly Darda began smoking and rolled into the pits with a mechanical failure. He said one of his fan belts broke and the smoke was steam so he called it quits and took an early DNF. When the green came back Nowell blasted back out to the lead but this time he had an unrelenting K9 on his heels. Eiland took the inside groove and got a fender on Nowell in the turns but Nowell had more momentum in the upper preferred line and was able to escape on the straights. JR Moseley was looking like he finally found his lost Championship form, maybe its his new Barry Wright chassis, but he was fast and challenging Harrod for third. Chad Marchman was also looking sporty as he was trying to take seventh away from Ricky Culpepper, who had just won the Modified feature. Culpepper was strong and had all the blocks and parries to keep Marchman at bay. Parrish Duncan suddenly lost power and coasted to the pits on lap 11 for a DNF. Lap 13 proved lucky for Marchman as he made a pass on Culpepper but proved unlucky for our leader as Nowell came to a stop on the back straight to bring out the caution. When he fired up and drove into the pits to the watering hole it was obvious he was running hot and brought out the caution to buy time to cool off but the field went green before he could get back on the track. The fat lady was warming her vocal cords as the Master of Faster, Dana Eiland took the lead. The K9 picked up the scent of the checkers and took a full straightaway lead from second place Harrod who was struggling with a persistent JR Moseley. On lap 17 Culpepper ran over some debris which not only flew into his cockpit but also cut down his tire bringing out a caution. When the green came back out Dana Eiland put the whip to his K9 and again stretched out to a comfortable lead. Surprisingly Harrod went off the backside, let Moseley take second place, then came back on the track and went to the pits for a DNF. Dana Eiland shot by the white flag and demonstrated to the large crowd why he is the legend, taking the checkers for the second week in a row. Eiland also showed that not only is he a great champion but he is also a great humanitarian as he donated his entire first place prize money to Allen Spark's family. Following this kind gesture, another great champion, Rodgerick Dykes, after winning the Super Street division feature, also donated his first place prize money to the Sparks family. Such altruistic compassion speaks volumes for the quality and character of the East Alabama dirt track racing family. Dana Eiland finished first with JR Moseley taking second place. Jerry Summers came in third, Chad Marchman fourth, Marc Gooden fifth, Ricky Culpepper sixth, Joey Miles seventh, Larry Harrod eighth, Leon Watson, JR ninth, and rounding out the top ten in tenth was Gordy Scarborough.

Thoughts And Prayers With The Sparks Family

Allen Sparks Tragically Lost His Life Saturday Night November 25 At Cochran Motor Speedway. Sparks Apparently Suffered A Heart Attack While Competing In The NLMS Race Event. Sparks A Long Time Racer Here At EAMS Will Be Greatly Missed. Everyone At EAMS Sends Their Thoughts And Prayers To The Sparks Family.

Henry Allen Sparks June 21, 1950- November 25, 2006 PHENIX CITY, ALó Henry Allen Sparks, 56, of Phenix City, AL, died Saturday, November 25, 2006 at Bleckley Hospital in Cochran, GA. Graveside Services will be held at 3:00 PM EST, Wednesday at Lakeview Memory Gardens in Phenix City with Rev. Gene Garner officiating. The family will receive friends at the funeral home this evening from 6-8 PM EST. Mr. Sparks was born June 21, 1950 in Columbus, GA, son of the late John Henry Sparks and Gertha Mae "Pat" Garner Sparks. He was owner of Allen's Body Shop and attended First Assembly of God Church. Mr. Sparks is survived by his wife of 28 years, Sherry Tharpe Sparks of Phenix City, AL.; three sons, Jared Sparks of Phenix City, AL., Jonathan Sparks of Phenix City, AL., Scott Sparks of Phenix City, AL.; grandchild, Keeley Sparks of Phenix City, Alabama; two sisters, Barbarta Sparks of Phenix City and Patsy Bohde of Hawkinsville, GA.; brother, Jackie Sparks and wife Elaine of Phenix City, AL.