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East Alabama Motor Speedway - 2006 Archives


EILAND WINS EAST ALABAMA SEASON OPENER

by Jay Vaquer

Phenix City, ALA – March 18, 2006 - The first race of the season at East Alabama Motor Speedway saw six divisions of competitors with fresh engines, bright paint jobs, and strong racing spirits get back to the weekly business of dirt track racing. The year promises to be full of excitement with many drivers moving up in divisions to faster cars. In the Late Model division several veteran champions were mixed with several fearless and fast rookies, which gave us the formula for a great feature event. Rookie William Thomas in his # 22 Rocket chassis Racing Zone Monte Carlo set fast time qualifying to win the pole for the feature event. When the green flag dropped Thomas blasted his Rocket into the lead ahead of veteran speedster Tod Darda, who began from the outside pole. Thomas approached escape velocity and entered orbit on lap two as he put Brandon Hood a lap down. On lap 6 a bad omen appeared a Thomas’s Rocket began venting plasma leaving a contrail. Matt Woodson’s quest for the lead was seriously jeopardized when on lap 8 a flat tire on his # 88 caused a pit stop under green putting him down a lap. Meanwhile back in the lead, Thomas is slowing in the lap traffic allowing Darda and Bobby Eiland, who started third, to close the gap. Coming out of turn two on lap twelve Thomas re-entered the atmosphere, coasted to the pits, and took a DNF for a mechanical failure. This gave the lead to Tod Darda with Bobby Eiland second, and rookie Marvin Cook third. Shane Renfroe was on a run as he passed Shane Stodghill. Allen Sparks was making his way to the front but was under constant attack by Chad Wallace. On lap 18 Mike Parkerson spun in turn 4 to bring out a yellow flag caution. On the restart many sets of battles occurred. There was the battle of the Jeffs- Jeff Mills and Jeff Culpepper, two veteran Late Model track champions racing side by side. Just ahead of them was the battle of the 34’s- the # 34 of Allen Sparks and the # 34 of Chad Wallace, who were also going at it door to door. In the front, Bobby Eiland wasted no time in getting a fender inside Darda on the restart. Darda knew he was coming and drove a little deeper into turn one than normal and pushed high in turn two. Bobby Eiland, being the consummate warrior, seized the opportunity and shot to the inside taking the lead. Bobby Eiland took the white flag and ran away to the checkers to remind everyone that the 2006 Late Model championship goes through him. Tod Darda finished second, Marvin Cook, in his first Late Model feature finish, a respectable third, Allen Sparks fourth, Chad Wallace fifth, Jeff Mills sixth, Jeff Culpepper seventh, Shane Renfroe eighth, Terry Braswell ninth, and Mike Parkerson rounded out the top ten in tenth.


DARDA WINS AT EAST ALABAMA

By Jay Vaquer
Phenix City, ALA – March 25, 2006 – The odds makers at East Alabama Motor Speedway say that if the local legendary champion Dana Eiland wins the pole and takes the lead, the race is a done deal. Nine times out of ten they are correct, however, this was not the case this Saturday night as Dana Eiland started the Late Model feature from the pole. When the green dropped, Tod Darda, starting from the outside pole had good momentum coming around turns 3 and 4 and passed Eiland down the front straight. Darda drove deep into turn one and went to the high side of turn two. Eiland wasted no time in capitalizing on this small error and darted under Darda to get back out front down the backstretch. Larry Eldridge and Terry Braswell hooked together and spun out to bring out the yellow flag. Allen Sparks sustained collateral damage from the spin out and made a pit stop while Eldridge was towed to the pits for an early DNF. Sparks rejoined the field for the single file restart. The leaders were Eiland, followed by Darda, Marvin Cook, William Thomas, Shane Renfroe, and Shane Thompson, one through six respectively. As Dana Eiland set a scorching pace only William Thomas managed to advance his position when he powered by Cook to take over third place. There were no changes in the running order for the next few laps until Jack Mills coasted to the pits on lap ten. Eiland was now putting the back of the field a lap down as he blew past Tejay Holland. The lap traffic was getting thick and Eiland had to slow down which allowed Darda and Thomas to close the gap. Eiland was now sizing up Sparks, who is usually very fast and must have sustained minor damage in the early mishap with Braswell and Eldridge, and put him down a lap. Thomas wove his way through the lap traffic and also put Holland down a lap, and then on lap 18 passed Sparks. Braswell passed Matt Woodson on lap 20 then he saw the K-9 of Eiland about to put him down. Braswell hammered down and gave it more than he had as he broke, coasting to the pits. The flagman gave the group of slow cars the move over flag to get out of Eiland’s way. Three of them went to the high side and allowed Eiland to pass on the inside. Matt Woodson however went to the inside, giving the preferred line to Eiland but, since it was the opposite of what the other cars did, Eiland had to slow dramatically to avoid a collision. This gave Darda the opportunity to take the lead with only two laps remaining. So much for the odds makers as the white flag came out to announce another exciting finish. Eiland attempted a run at the leader from the inside but did not have the momentum to reach the checkers before Darda. Tod Darda took the win to become the 2006 Late Model points leader. Dana Eiland, having led every lap except the last two, said he was disappointed to finish second. William Thomas finished third, Marvin Cook fourth, Shane Renfroe fifth, Shane Thompson sixth, Larry Harrod JR seventh, Matt Woodson eighth, Allen Sparks ninth, and Tejay Holland rounded out the top ten in tenth.


LEE COOPER PICKS UP VICTORY

April 1, 2006 - The Fastrak Series Southern Region made its 3rd stop of the 2006 season at East Alabama Motor Speedway in Phenix City, AL with a yet another first time winner in three races this season. 21 year old Lee Cooper of Greer, SC battled with local standout Dana Eiland until he had mechanical problems late in the race. The Fastrak drivers rolled into EAMS on the second night of their Alabama ‘double header’ with a great crowd on hand to see Alabama veteran Dana Eiland capture the pole position for the night’s race. In what looked to be a replay of Friday night’s Fastrak race just up the road at Penton Raceway, the first 22 laps of night two of the Alabama Double Header went without caution. Dana Eiland would get to turn 1 before William Thomas, Friday night’s winner, on lap 1 and would lengthen the lead down the backstretch. Thomas started to fall back through the pack while Lee Cooper moved to second, with Chris Carlson and Dwayne Johnson close behind. Johnson would find the high side to his liking on lap 6, and he started to pick off the drivers in front of him. Johnson would close in on the back bumper of Eiland’s K9 car and follow in his tire tracks, sizing Eiland up for the pass. Johnson jumped back to the outside on lap 20 and got up to Eiland’s door off of 4 when the race would be slowed on lap 22 for Scott Childress slowing in turns 3 & 4. The field went back to green with Eiland in control of the action, Johnson and Cooper close behind. The race would see a couple of minor cautions between laps 25 and 30 when Dana Eiland would go high in turn 1 as mechanical problems force him to hand the lead to Cooper, with Carlson in tow. When the race went back to green, Cooper felt pressure from Carlson and 11th place starter Glen McWaters, who methodically picked his way through the field. Carlson would try both the high and low sides to get around Cooper, to no avail while fending off the challenges from McWaters. Cooper took the checkered flag for his first Fastrak win, collecting $2,000 for his efforts.


William Thomas Dominates East Alabama

By Jay Vaquer
Phenix City, ALA – April 15, 2006 – East Alabama Motor Speedway offered the large field of racers and filled grandstand of fans, the perfect way to begin their Easter holiday. First, the weather was absolutely perfect, like an early summer night with warm temperatures and low humidity. Secondly, exciting dirt track racing in six divisions and the Late Model division’s event turned into a historical night to remember for many. William Thomas driving the # 22 2006 Rocket chassis, The Racing Zone, Monte Carlo, in his rookie year as a Late Model contender, won his first home track feature event in a most memorable way. Thomas wasted no time in qualifying as he set the fastest time. His radical approach to speed includes no cracking the throttle through turns 1 and 2, a barely letting off in turn 3. His scorching time of 16.25 placed him comfortably on the pole for the feature event. Tod Darda was the second fastest but failed to start the feature as his motor developed a misfire. Shane Thompson in the #00 2006 Rocket Chassis Fun Carts of Opelika Grand Prix inherited the outside pole position. When the green flag dropped, Thomas blasted out to the lead firing as soon as he reached turn 4. Allen Sparks was feeling sporty and was pulling alongside and looking for a way around Marvin Cook, who was coming off a victory at Penton Raceway the night before and was still hooked up and fast. Jeff Mills, starting from the fifth position, was in hot pursuit of Shane Stodghill when he lost his footing in turn 4 of lap 2. Mills spun and came to a stop on the track and the yellow flag was displayed. Mills was sent to the rear for the restart and Thomas again shot out to a 3- car length lead from Thompson down the front straight. Bobby Eiland, from third place, was all over Shane Thompson, looking for a pass. This exciting game of skill and power had the fans on the edge of their seats. Jeremy Frost lost the handle down the front straight and spun to a stop to bring out the next caution. The top 10 running order was Thomas, Thompson, Eiland, Stodghill, Cook, Fletcher Cavender JR, Allen Sparks, Shane Renfroe, Mickey Benton, and Matt Woodson. Back to green flag racing and again Thomas is so fast he pulls away from second place Thompson who has to battle the relentless attack from Bobby Eiland. Eiland could get even with Thompson in the corners but Thompson gets away on the straight-aways. Mark Patterson dropped to the infield with a mechanical failure as Jeremy Frost loses power and slowly circulates in the groove. Scott Land caught the break down epidemic and coasted to the pits. On lap 11 Thomas was beginning to put the field down a lap as he started picking off the tail. Gordy Scarborough spun out in turn 4 for a brief caution and we were right back racing. Thomas was too fast to be challenged and he gained ground each second. On lap 14 Nick Biddle, in his first appearance of the year after his horrific crash at last years National 100, was fighting a deteriorating condition in his self-rebuilt # 55 as he slowed in the groove. Thomas came up on him so fast that Biddle nearly took him out. After swapping some paint, Thomas continued his light speed quest for the checkers. Meanwhile, back in second place, Eiland had managed to sink his teeth into Thompson. They fought side by side all the way around the track then Eiland got off turn 2 a little quicker than Thompson and he moved into second place down the back straight. Renfroe had worked himself into eighth place and was challenging Sparks for seventh. As they came out of turn three Renfroe clipped the back of Sparks sending Sparks into a spin, which ended with Sparks stopped in turn 4. The caution was blamed on Sparks who was sent to the rear for the restart. This time when the green dropped Eiland was able to stay closer to Thomas as the two pulled away from the rest of the field. Third place Thompson could not get a break as now he had to spar with a hungry Stodghill who wanted that third place. On lap 23 as Shane Renfroe returned to the scene of the crime, his Karma or maybe a sense of guilt got the best of him and he crashed into the turn four wall. It may have also been his worn out tires, at any rate this set up the excitement of a green, white, checkers situation. William Thomas proved he was the man as he powered his way to his first Late Model victory at home. Bobby Eiland crossed the line second but post race inspection found him to have the wrong carburetor and he was disqualified. Second was conceded to Shane Thompson, third was Shane Stodghill, fourth Fletcher Cavender JR, fifth Marvin Cook, Mickey Benton finished sixth, Matt Woodson seventh, Larry Harrod eighth, Shane Renfroe ninth, and Terry Braswell rounded out the top ten in tenth.

Dana Eiland " The Master" at East Alabama
By Jay Vaquer
Phenix City, ALA – April 29, 2006 – East Alabama Motor Speedway has seen many great drivers in the past 30 years and the current Late Model driver Dana Eiland seems to top the list. Dana always brings the best elements of the sport to the track. His crew chief Mike Harris gives him a perfectly set up, and very fast, race car at each outing. Dana supplies the intuitive racing skills, the unrelenting determination to win, and the modest character of a great champion and perfect role model. This Saturday night Dana placed his # K9 Schwartz Chassis Andy’s Auto Parts Grand Prix on the outside pole, next to last weeks winner Bobby Eiland, who set fast time. When the green flag dropped on the feature event Dana and Bobby had a door to door drag race to turn one. Dana seemed to get more momentum on the high side of the track and took the lead coming out of turn two. Bobby drove deep into turn three and got even with Dana in turn four. The K-9 was not to be denied as he firmly took the lead down the front stretch. Jeff Culpepper running in third was several car-lengths behind the leaders and several car-lengths ahead of Marvin Cook in fourth. Cook was in the battle of his life with Friday night’s Penton Racetrack winner Tod Darda who was looking high and low for the pass. Matt Woodson encountered a traffic jam in turn three and spun out in turn four to bring out the yellow flag caution. When the race resumed, Dana took the lead with Bobby shadowing his every move. They raced each other hard and showed the proper racing etiquette by showing respect for each other and keeping it clean. Culpepper was comfortably in third with no one challenging him since Cook, in fourth had his hands full with Darda’s attacks for position. Finally on lap 6 Darda got under Cook and took over the fourth spot and started reeling in Culpepper. Shane Renfroe was working on Mickey Benton and made a clean pass setting his sights on Tim Thomason, who was making his first appearance of the season. As Scott Land broke and coasted to the pits on lap 12, the battle for the lead ensued with Eiland Vs Eiland. The leaders now were in lap traffic and the racing order began shuffling as Jeremy Frost got put down a lap. On lap 19 Nick Biddle suffered a mechanical failure and rolled into the pits. Dana was really hammered down and lapped Woodson, Tejay Holland, Shane Renfroe, and Mickey Benton all in the same lap. Benton slowly rolled into the pits just as Holland seem to loose his steering and crashed hard into the inside retaining wall of turn four to bring out the yellow flag. The restart order was Dana, Bobby, Darda, Cook, Culpepper, Thomason, and Renfroe. When the green dropped Dana blasted out to the lead with Bobby right on him. Darda, Cook, and Culpepper were three wide coming out of turn four. Cook passed Darda down the front straight then when Darda came out of turn two his right front brake locked sending him careening out of control and off the back straight. Culpepper was now looking for a weakness in Cook to take back his third place and Cook was running from the devil to hold on to what he had. Suddenly the white flag came out and Dana Eiland powered his way to the checkers adding to his legend as one of East Alabama’s greatest racers. Bobby Eiland finished second and after the race said he needed one more lap to take the lead but had to settle for a chance next week. Marvin Cook finished third, Jeff Culpepper fourth, Tim Thomason fifth, Shane Renfroe sixth, Matt Woodson seventh, Jeremy Frost eighth, Tod Darda ninth, and Mickey Benton rounded out the top ten in tenth.

JOHNSON GIGANTIC at EAST ALABAMA
By Jay Vaquer
Phenix City, ALA – May 6, 2006 – This Saturday night the race fans at East Alabama Motor Speedway were treated to an awesome display of power and racing savvy by Late Model contender Dewayne Johnson. Johnson, a veteran of the Hav-A-Tampa Super Late Model Series grew up racing at East Alabama and considers it the best racetrack, surface wise, where you can hammer down and run wide open. He placed his TNT Racecars, J&J Motorsports, Beardon Oil # 45 on the pole for the feature event. When the green dropped Nick Biddle from the outside pole ran neck and neck with Johnson down the front straight. Johnson took the lead coming out of turn one as he shot off the corner and immediately began distancing himself from the field. Gordy Scarborough lost power on the start and never got up to speed, slowly circulating at the bottom. There was no change in the running order for the first seven laps as everyone had to give it their all to keep pace with Johnson who was blistering the track. The order was Johnson, Biddle, Jeff Mills, Tod Darda, Bobby Eiland, Mickey Benton, Tim Thomason, Shane Renfroe, Marvin Cook, and Matt Woodson rounding out the top ten. On lap 9, Dana Eiland, who had won at Penton Raceway the night before, developed a broken suspension during practice on his famous # K-9 and was driving Larry Eldridge’s car # 17. It could not endure the demands of the legendary champion and rolled into the pits. On lap 11 Johnson put Scarborough a lap down and was running a full straightaway ahead of second place Biddle. Jeff Mills showed his strength on lap 14 when he caught Biddle and maneuvered a clean pass to move into second place. Johnson was so far ahead of Mills there was little chance of catching him since there had not been a caution to bunch them up. Johnson was still putting the back of the field a lap down as Woodson was his next victim to go down a lap. Bobby Eiland managed to catch Tod Darda and got a fender to the inside in the turns but Darda had the power to escape and hang on to the fourth spot. The first yellow flag came out on lap 22 for debris on the front straight. Now we had a shoot out to the checkers with only three laps remaining. The green dropped and Johnson, with his wide- open vulgar display of power ran away from the pack. Bobby Eiland picked off Tod Darda who seemed to develop a problem and Mickey Benton also passed Darda on lap 23. The white flag came out and homeboy Dewayne Johnson put it on "em as he took the checkers with total domination. Jeff Mills finished second, Nick Biddle third, Bobby Eiland fourth, Mickey Benton fifth, Tod Darda sixth, Marvin Cook seventh, Shane Renfroe eighth, Tim Thomason ninth, and Matt Woodson rounded out the top ten in tenth.

DANA EILAND wins EAST ALABAMA
By Jay Vaquer
Phenix City, ALA – May 20, 2006 – School’s out for summer and the grandstands were packed at East Alabama Motor Speedway. However, there was one more lesson to learn, and the legendary Late Model champion Dana Eiland was on hand to give the class in how to win on the super fast 3/8ths of a mile high- banked clay oval. The young and impetuous Scotty Knowles had won the Late Model event at Penton Speedway on Friday night and was looking for a repeat as he set fast time qualifying to take the pole for the feature event. The only problem was sitting on the outside pole, the famous # K-9 of Dana Eiland, which had been expertly set up by crew chief Mike Harris, was unleashed and totally ready for the showdown. It didn’t take long as the green dropped on the feature and student and teacher put the pedal to the metal. The #K-9 had the bite off the turn four corner to take a small lead in the frantic drag race to turn one. Eiland powered straight through turn one to take a convincing lead and the fat lady was already warming up her vocal chords. Shane Thompson moved his #00 Fun Carts of Opelika Rocket Chassis Grand Prix up to make Knowles’ life a little more difficult and got a fender to the inside but could not make it stick as Knowles maintained his second position. Jeremy Frost and Robby Watson locked up and spun out on the front stretch for the first yellow flag. On the restart, there was no doubt as Eiland powered out to the lead and Thompson was all over Knowles again. On lap 5 Robby Watson took an interest in the cornfield and flew off the back- stretch to go check it out bringing out the next caution. On this restart Tim Thomason got spun into the inside wall of turn four. He was given back his spot and the green came back out. Eiland was smoking the track turning low 16-second laps and only the next three cars of Knowles, Thompson and Tod Darda were able to keep pace. These leaders pulled out from Marvin Cook in fifth and the rest of the field to run and equal distance from each other, about 4 carlengths. By lap 17, Darda, in fourth, was nearly a full straightaway ahead of Cook in fifth when Nick Biddle entered the pits. Suddenly Jeremy Frost, running in the back was about to get lapped by the leaders when he spun out in turn four, came to a stop, and was looking dead at the leaders barreling down on him. Eiland cracked the throttle and went high barely avoiding disaster while Knowles shot to the inside. During this yellow Josh Noles rolled into the pits. On each restart, Eiland would fire in a different place to keep Knowles guessing and by the time Knowles knew when to fire, Eiland was gone. Scott Land lost power and was circulating on the apron as Eiland put him down a lap. The white flag came out and Dana Eiland finished his lesson by taking the checkers in his legendary domineering fashion. Hundreds of fans got the point as they raised their hands in the air to celebrate yet another victory by the great hometown champion. Scotty Knowles came across the finish line second but post race inspection found him to be using an illegal green fuel for which he was disqualified. Shane Thompson was awarded second place, Tod Darda third, Marvin Cook fourth, Shane Renfroe fifth, Larry Harrod sixth, Leon Watson JR seventh, Matt Woodson in the # 88 finished eighth, Tim Thomason ninth, and Marc Gooden rounded out the top ten in tenth.



Richie Stephens Wins Hobby Championship
By Jay Vaquer
The 30 lap $1000 to win Hobby Stock Championship at East Alabama Motor Speedway was won by The Rocket Man Richie Stephens. When the green dropped on the feature event speedster Mikey Mount took the lead from the pole and immediately began pulling away from Allen Flournoy in second. Stephens began his charge to the front from the fifth starting position and passed Winford Minix on lap two. Kenny Mathis lost the handle on lap 3 and went off turn 2 to bring out the first caution. After rejoining the field the green came back out. The running order was Mount, Flournoy, Stephens, Minix, Rodney Gorman, Jerry Luke, Adam Brown, and Roger Arnett rounding out the top eight. Again Mount shot out to the lead and left the field in his dust. Flournoy was working the inside line when the Rocket Man blasted by on the high side to move into second. On lap 5 Allen McConnell rolled into the pits with a mechanical failure followed by Jerry Luke, who, after running a strong qualifying heat race to start fourth, also succumbed to a mechanical failure. The yellow flag came out for a dropped drive shaft on turn four. The green flag came out and again Mikey Mount was a comet being chased by the Rocket Man. Suddenly, the Rocket Man’s father, Richard Stephens SR, driving the # 47, met with disaster as he crunched the inside retaining wall of turn four. This brought out the caution and got him a tow to the pits for a DNF. On the restart Mount was really impressive as he pulled away from the Rocket Man. Rodney Gorman passed Roger Arnett in turn two and was reeling in Adam Brown then Minix got high in turn one and lost it over the top of turn two for the lap 10 caution. Chris Arnett rolled to the watering hole overheating and to the dismay of many fans, the leader Mikey Mount had his right rear tire go down and had to enter the pits relinquishing the lead to the Rocket Man, which pleased his many fans to no end. Before Mount could change his tire and get back on the lead lap, the green came out and the Rocket Man blasted off to an insurmountable lead. By lap 12, Pat Wall who began the feature dead last had moved up to fifth and was hopeful to catch the leader. 15 year old Miles Holton was showing some driving maturity by hanging on to his spot when Scott Sherrer clipped him in the rear sending him into a spin for the lap 14 caution. On lap 15 Jason Anthony and Rodney Gorman were engaged in a battle over fourth spot when Gorman went off the track. He got his spot back and we went green again with Anthony and Gorman door to door. Gorman rolled to a stop coming off turn four with a flat rear tire on an otherwise great looking chrome mangled rim. The green flag came back out and Pat Wall was all over Adam Brown looking for third place. On lap 26 Wall passed Brown in turn 4 then Minix went off turn two for a yellow flag, which set up a green, white, checkered finish. The Rocket Man Richie Stephens, who always puts on a display of blazing speed, was not to be denied as he captured the checkered flag, the beautiful 6 foot trophy, the $1000 prize, and the distinction of becoming the 2006 Hobby Stock champion. After the mandatory tear down on his engine and when the meticulous track tech officials could find no rule infractions, it was official- the Rocket Man really was that fast. Allen Flournoy took the second place trophy. Pat Wall, who crossed the finish line third, was disqualified in post race inspection for being light. Adam Brown got the third place trophy. Roger Arnett finished fourth, Alan Franks fifth, Scott Sherrer sixth, Tracy Baker seventh, Winford Minix eighth, Jason Anthony ninth, and Mikey Mount rounded out the top ten in tenth.

MEMORIAL DAY at EAST ALABAMA
By Jay Vaquer
Phenix City, ALA- May 27,2006 – Memorial Day comes once a year at East Alabama Motor Speedway but we thank our fallen Veterans every weekend for giving us the freedom to develop and enjoy the greatest pastime on Earth - dirt track racing. The Fastrak Late Model racing series rolled into town to make the weekend special and treat the capacity crowd to added excitement. No celebration would be complete without local legendary Late Model champion Dana Eiland’s participation. Dana’s highly professional and competent crew chief Mike Harris installed a crate engine in the famous # K-9 to conform to the Fastrak rules where participants compete on an equal playing field. As would be expected, Dana was the only driver to break the 17- second barrier with a blistering 16.98 during qualifying to earn the pole position for the feature event. However, the outside pole belonged to another local champion, Dewayne Johnson, who driving the #19 of Jeremy Frost, posted a 17.01. When the green flag dropped on the feature event Dana and Dewayne ran door to door down the front straight and into turn one. Dewayne was so high in the cushion it appeared that he was going to go over the top. Somehow, Johnson stuck to the high groove and came off turn two with the lead. Chad Wallace starting in fourth got a jump on William Thomas starting third and moved up to challenge Eiland in second. Dewayne Johnson demonstrated the fastest way around the 3/8ths mile oval by running in the cushion all the way around. Dana followed his line on the top and these two began to pull away from Wallace in third. William Thomas knew the deal and needed to pass Wallace to join the leaders on the high line. Thomas began an all out assault on Wallace looking inside, then outside and these two skilled drivers put on an exciting show. On lap 6 Thomas ran from high in turn three down to the apron in turn four, passing Wallace and moving into third place. Thomas began to pull away from Wallace who was a full straightaway ahead of fifth place Lee Cooper. Roger Phillip was having a problem getting up to speed and was the first to get lapped by the leaders. Marvin Cook was also running in the back and was about to go down a lap when Anthony Meadows spun in turn 4 to bring out the first yellow flag caution on lap 11. On the restart as Johnson shot out to the lead Thomas got a fender on the inside of Eiland who shook him loose to maintain second place. As unlucky lap 13 would have it a melee ensued in turn 4. Glen Herrington and Jody Knowles got the worst of the deal as they came to a stop in turn four. Josh Noles hit them pretty hard but kept going and was not penalized. Fastrak rules state that if your wheels stop turning on the track then you are penalized so Harrington and Knowles were sent to the rear for the restart. Knowles suffered serious frame damage and required a tow to the pits for a DNF. On the restart, Johnson and Eiland went back to the high line but Thomas stayed in the center groove looking for a pass. Mathew Daniels came to a stop in turn four after an exciting 720-degree spin through turns 3 and 4 to bring out the lap 15 caution. We went back to green flag racing and Dewayne Johnson immediately went back to his "Flat out" style of keeping the throttle wide open, hugging the very top of the track, and creating an enormous amount of momentum that propelled him farther into the lead. William Thomas had a hold on the tail of the K-9 and was looking for an opening. Chad Wallace had his hands full with Lee Cooper trying to get around him. Wallace decided to put the pedal to the metal and not give up fourth place and he pulled away from Cooper. Thomas’s constant attacks on Eiland slowed them both down as Johnson entered turn one, Eiland and Thomas were exiting turn 4. Harrington lost speed and rolled into the pits on lap 29. Johnson put Larry Eldrige a lap down and was moving into thick heavy traffic. Marc Gooden was about to go down a lap and was trying everything to not let Johnson pass. Finally Johnson pushed Gooden down the front straight and he got a clue to move out of the way. Meanwhile Eiland and Thomas had closed in on the leader and things got real exciting as they came off turn 4 three wide. The lap traffic was still thick and slowed the leaders. Thomas saw an opening and went to the inside of turn one to pass Eiland. As they came down the backstretch, Marty Reid had the leaders blocked. Eiland was so fast that when Reid moved up to give room on the bottom Eiland ran up over the side of Reid who spun to a stop on the back stretch bringing out the yellow flag. The field was reset to the previous lap, which nullified Thomas’s pass on Eiland and he was put back into third for the restart. There was some confusion over Reid being sent to the rear, which turned out to be seventh place since Johnson had lapped everyone up to seventh place. On this restart Johnson soon was running seven car-lengths ahead of Eiland, who was seven car-lengths ahead of Thomas who was a full straightaway ahead of Wallace in fourth. There were no changes in the running order as the white flag flew and Flat out Dewayne Johnson paid a special tribute on Memorial Day with a thrilling victory. Dana Eiland finished second, William Thomas third, Chad Wallace fourth, Lee Cooper fifth, Justin Sims sixth, Marty Reid seventh, Marc Gooden eighth, Josh Noles ninth, and Mathew Daniels rounded out the top ten in tenth.

William Thomas wins East Alabama
By Jay Vaquer
Phenix City, ALA – June 1, 2006 – In a rare Thursday night event at East Alabama Motor Speedway, Late Model rookie William Thomas made some remarkable accomplishments. First he won the pole for the feature event during fast time qualifying with an incredible time of 16.15, possibly the fastest time all year considering last week Dana Eiland was the only driver to record a time faster than 17 seconds with a 16.96. When the green flag dropped on the feature, Tod Darda was on the outside pole position. Darda had won the six- lap dash for cash passing Thomas in turn one when Thomas got loose high in the marbles. This time they raced door to door down the front straight and Thomas did not slow down for turn one, he powered through the corner wide open, and took the lead into turn two to begin pulling away down the back stretch. The local legend Dana Eiland arrived late and began the feature dead last. On lap 2 Eiland picked off Jeremy Frost, Scott Land, Mark Patterson, and Nick Biddle as he began his impressive run to the front. Matt Woodson and Shane Thompson went for the same piece of real estate coming out of turn four and collided spinning to a stop to bring out the first yellow flag caution. Woodson was able to continue but Thompson’s Fun Carts of Opelika Rocket Chassis, Grand Prix # 00 had the right front wheel seriously toed out and went to the pits behind Glenn Brewer to take a DNF for the evening. The green flag came out again and Mark Patterson took a ride on the wild side spinning off the backstretch to bring the yellow back out. It was green again and Thomas was seriously fast as he began pulling away from Darda immediately. Allen Sparks saw the K-9 of Eiland charging to the front and he put the pedal to the metal passing Matt Woodson and Marvin Cook. Eiland’s relentless charge to the front was an adrenaline rush for the fans as he whizzed by Larry Eldridge in turn three. On lap 8 when Eiland reached turn 4 he shot by Marvin Cook. Thomas now had a 10 car-length lead from Darda, who was 12 carlenghts ahead of Flat out Dewayne Johnson who was driving the 22D car. Eiland came up on Marvin Cook who had intentions of surrendering his position and a fierce battle for position ensued. After an eye full of the real deal highly competitive dirt track racing, Eiland passed Cook on lap 13. 13 is still unlucky for some and it turned out to be Allen Sparks as he lost power and coasted to the pits ending his impressive run. Dana Eiland’s next victim was Matt Woodson as he continued his run. Scott Land was having trouble keeping up and pulled into the pits as did Dewayne Johnson. Meanwhile William Thomas was not letting up and began lapping the back of the field putting Jeremy Frost down on lap 18. When Thomas came up on Nick Biddle, Biddle did not want to go down a lap and was racing hard and blocking Thomas. The flagman displayed the move over flag but Biddle held his ground. This allowed Darda to close in on Thomas. Finally, Chad Herrington, the flagman threw the black flag at Biddle. With Darda right on his heels Thomas came up on Larry Eldridge who also did not move out of the way. Thomas and Darda were so much faster than Eldridge that when they came out of turn 4 they almost met with disaster on the front stretch . To avoid slamming Eldridge in the rear, Thomas shot to the high side in a jerky motion while Darda went to the inside. They were three wide at the flagstand as the white flag came out. Thomas kept his composure and the lead as again he powered his way around to the checkers to pick up an impressive win and the $1000 payday. Tod Darda finished second, Jeff Mills managed to stay out of trouble and drove a solid race to pick up third. Tim Thomason also won the battle of attrition to finish fourth. The legend Dana Eiland gave his fans plenty to cheer about as he came from dead last to finish fifth. Marvin Cook came in sixth, Larry Eldridge seventh, Matt Woodson eighth, Nick Biddle ninth, and Jeremy Frost rounded out the top ten in tenth.

Thomas Takes Two at East Alabama
By Jay Vaquer
Phenix City, ALA – June 3, 2006 – Thousands of fans filled the grandstands of East Alabama Motor Speedway to pay homage to one the greatest stock car drivers ever at the Dale Earnhardt Memorial race. There was a special ceremony celebrating the life and accomplishments of this great man with a black number 3 Monte Carlo circulating the high- banked clay oval and culminating with a tremendous fireworks display. After which fans were treated to a ride in the car in between the feature races. After the thrilling Late Model feature, stunt man Tricky drove his car off a ramp and into an exploding motor home. The high point of the evening was the Late Model feature where William Thomas, for the second time this week, won the event in a formidable way. Thomas won the pole in his # 22 Rocket Chassis, The Racing Zone Monte Carlo by setting fast time in qualifying. When the green flag dropped on the feature, the outside pole had another intimidator sitting there, the local Late Model legend Dana Eiland in his famous black # K-9 Andy’s Auto Parts Monte Carlo. Thomas and Eiland fired at the same time and raced down the front straight neck and neck. They went into turn one side by side but coming out of turn two Thomas pushed high into Eiland and they slowed down causing a chain reaction behind them. Nick Biddle, starting in the fourth position sustained terminal damage to his # 55 and was towed to the pits for an early DNF. The lap did not count so they lined up double file and came around for the second start. Dana Eiland made a move on the start that would have given him the lead. He laid back just a little going into turn 3 then fired early catching up to Thomas just about the time Thomas would have fired in turn 4 to begin the race. In a split second Thomas realized that Eiland had a run on him and would take him in the race to turn one. Thomas exercised his prerogative as the pole sitter to begin the race at his discretion, so, Thomas did not fire as Eiland and the outside row whizzed by and cars behind Thomas were busy avoiding attrition. The flagman waved off the start and they lined up single file for the third start. This time Thomas blasted off turn four and you could see him pulling away from Eiland down the front stretch. When Thomas has no one in front of him he takes the corners wide open. Eiland stayed on Thomas’s line through the corners but Shane Thompson seemed to lose power coming out of turn two and Marvin Cook could not help but slam him in the rear and the two cars were locked up coming to a stop. Glen Brewer was powering his way off turn one and by the time he saw the cars stopped he had no alternative but to slam into them hard. The yellow flag was out again, for the third time and we still did not have a lap counted. Brewer was towed to the pits for a DNF while Cook, who sustained major sheet metal damage but no structural damage, was able to rejoin the field. Thompson’s # 00 Fun Carts of Opelika Rocket Chassis Grand Prix seemed to recuperate from the hard hit and also joined the field for the fourth start. Again Thomas blasted his Rocket into the lead with the Master of Faster Dana Eiland in hot pursuit. Marvin Cook was fighting some aerodynamic problems due to his ripped up sheet metal and was off the pace as Terrance Nowell blew by. Dennis Hale also shot by Cook as the cars in the middle of the pack could see the leaders way out in front. Thomas was about 5 car lengths ahead of Eiland who was about 8 car lengths ahead of Tod Darda who started third and was running in third at lap 6. Thomas put Gordy Scarborough a lap down then came up on a thick group of cars in the rear. As Thomas waited for an opportunity to thread the traffic, Eiland closed in and was on the hunt looking for anything to put him in the lead. Eiland and Thomas began lapping the field in tandem as they went by Marvin Cook and Tim White. Shane Thompson was not going fast enough for Terrance Nowell and Nowell got into Thompson’s rear and literally pushed him down the front straight. That seemed to aggravate Thompson who became more determined than ever to duel it out and not give up his position. The fans had exciting racing all around the track as the 2 leaders lapped Scarborough, Cook, and Woodson on lap 17. Then Thomas and Eiland lapped Thompson, Tim Thomason, and Terrance Nowell. They had lapped everyone up to the top 3. Top contender Tod Darda suffered an ill- fated flat tire that took him to the pits and out of the running. Tim White followed him to the pits when Dennis Hale coasted to a stop on the back- stretch on lap 25 to bring out a yellow flag caution. When the green came out again there was no ‘Doubting Thomas’ that he was indeed the fastest man on the track. He pulled away to lead Eiland and the two of them were over a straightaway ahead of third place Thompson who was still engaged in a fierce battle with Nowell. The white flag came out and for tonight William Thomas was the reincarnated Intimidator Dale Earnhardt, taking the checkers in his aggressive domineering fashion. Dana Eiland finished right where he started, in second. Shane Thompson finished third, Terrance Nowell fourth, Tim Thomason fifth, Matt Woodson sixth, Gordy Scarborough seventh, Marvin Cook eighth, Tod Darda ninth, and Dennis Hale rounded out the top ten in tenth.

Darda Does East Alabama
By Jay Vaquer
Phenix City, ALA – June 10, 2006 – In preparation for next week’s first ever World of Outlaws Super Late Model show at East Alabama Motor Speedway, many of our local teams were busy swapping out their crate engines for the big strokers. The local boys will be ready to show the big cats that East Alabama is the home of super fast dirt track racing on the high banked clay oval. Of the Late Model teams that did show up for the regular Saturday night show, we had a good mix of past champions and rookies. Marvin Cook won the pole and veteran speedster Tod Darda was on the outside. When the green dropped Cook took the lead with Darda all over the back of him. Cook pushed his luck beyond the limits and lost control coming out of turn two on the second lap. As Cook flew off the track Darda inherited the lead. The racing order for the restart was Darda, Nick Biddle, Matt Woodson, Larry Eldridge, and Mickey Benton rounding out the top five. When the green flag came back Darda shot out to the lead. Woodson felt he had more power than Biddle did and put the move on Biddle to sucessfully take away the second spot. Larry Eldridge tried to follow in Woodson’s footsteps and make the move around Biddle. However, he met with disaster as the two cars collided and hooked together in a spin. Biddle was given his spot back for the restart but when the green dropped he didn’t fire and came to a stop. Now he was the blame for the yellow flag and was sent to the rear for the restart. The order now was Darda, Woodson, Benton, Cook and Eldridge. Darda brought the field around very slowly for the restart. He fired late in 4 but out ran them all to turn one. He was steadily pulling away from Woodson who came out of turn four sideways losing his second position to Benton and Cook moved into third before Woodson got going again. Darda was about a half straightaway ahead of Benton. Cook was right on Benton and was about 10 carlengths ahead of Woodson. On lap 10 Biddle lost power and coasted to the pits. By lap 15 Darda was a full straightaway ahead of Benton and Cook, who were a full straightaway ahead of Woodson and Eldridge. They ran with no changes in the running order to the white flag. Darda was no match for anyone else on the track and took the checkers waved by the nimble wrists of flagman Chad Wallace for a decisive victory. Some drivers considered protesting Darda’s engine after the race but soon realized that Darda is always fast and legal. Mickey Benton finished second, Marvin Cook third, Matt Woodson fourth, Larry Eldridge fifth, and Nick Biddle rounded out the top six in sixth.

Chris Arnett wins Hobby Division
By Jay Vaquer
Phenix City, ALA – June 10, 2006 – A few years back this division ran East Alabama Motor Speedway as the Enduro Class. They were one of the most exciting classes to watch. The name has changed and now they call them Hobbies but the excitement has not changed. Mikey Mount, whose father Steve Mount was an Enduro Champion, has one of the fastest cars in the field and a string of victories to prove it. Mikey was on the pole for the Hobby feature with Don Whitehead on the outside pole. When the green flag dropped, Mount took the lead down the front straight and into turn 1 he took the high groove. Whitehead took the center- line but as he went into turn 2 his car suddenly took a hard right turn narrowly missing the rear quarter of Mount. As he went off the top of turn 2 it appeared that perhaps a tie rod had broken and was sticking down and dug into the ground. Whitehead’s # 27 flipped high into the air and then began a series of barrel rolls with parts flying off everywhere. The red flag came out and the EAMS emergency crew was quick to respond and extricate Whitehead from the twisted wreckage. Whitehead was conscious but suffered a crushed right arm. He was promptly transported to the emergency room. The cars were lined up for the restart and this time Chris Arnett was on the outside pole. They raced side by side with neither driver showing an edge as they entered turn one. Mount drove a very smooth and powerful line at the top of the track to come out of turn with a lot of momentum and a definitive lead as he pulled away from Arnett. Jerry Luke, after completely totaling out his good looking and fast # 89 was driving a borrowed # 47 from Wayne Nix. The full moon must be to blame for Luke’s lack of luck as he entered the pits under green with a flat tire. Rookie Miles Holton was feeling sporty and more confident as he pulled to the inside of Jason Craft in the corners and threatened his position. Craft was able to maintain his position down the straight-aways. Suddenly Mount, way out front, looses power and coasts to the pits relinquishing the lead to Chris Arnett on lap 5. Arnett is now way ahead of Craft in second with Holton shadowing his every move. Rodney Gorman was right behind Holton and way ahead of Richie Stephens, who uncharacteristically was running in the back of the pack instead of his usual position, which is the lead. Allen McConnell was right behind Stephens and seems to be evenly matched. On lap nine Craft had caught up with Arnett and raced door to door all the way around the track on lap 9. Holton had visions of the leaders crashing and moved up to take the lead if anything happened. Unfortunately Holton hit the marbles high in turn 2 and went off the track bringing out a yellow. He drove right back on the track but had to go to the rear for bringing out the yellow. On the restart Holton passed Stephens and went after McConnell. The two locked up in turn four and spun to a stop. The green was back out and Arnett was in control despite the constant attacks from Craft to take the lead. The white flag came out and there was still doubt as to whether or not Craft could take the lead. But, tonight was Arnett’s turn to take the checkers in a hard fought and exciting victory. Jason Craft finished second, Rodney Gorman, third, Richie Stephens fourth, and Allen McConnell rounded out the top five in fifth.

Ricky Culpepper wins East Alabama
By Jay Vaquer
Phenix City, ALA – June 17, 2006 – The fans at East Alabama Motor Speedway were pleasantly surprised to find a pair of teenagers sitting on the pole for the Late Model feature. Ricky Culpepper, who had been driving a Super Street all year, stepped up to the plate in a new Late Model and hit a homer. First he set the fastest time in qualifying to earn the inside pole for the feature event. The outside pole went to Matt Woodson who has be struggling all year to make a top five finish and suddenly he posts the second fastest time to earn the outside pole for the Late Model feature. The fact that the field had great Late Model Champions like Dana Eiland, Jeff Mills, Mickey Benton, and Tod Darda, made the feat even more astonishing. When enthusiastic flagman Chad Wallace waved the green to begin the feature Culpepper got tremendous bite off turn four and shot into the lead down the front straight. Tod Darda was trying hard to pass Woodson in second through the turns but Woodson mustered the power to stay in second place. In turn four Tim Thomason, Marvin Cook, Dana Eiland and Jeff Mills were all scrambling when Larry Eldridge lost control. The yellow flag came out, Eldridge was sent to the rear, Thomason went to the pits to change a flat, and Fletcher Cavender JR retired to the pits for an early DNF. The restart order was Culpepper, Woodson, Darda, Benton, Cook, Mills, and Dana Eiland. When the green came back Culpepper showed this was no fluke, he was really fast and he took the lead and began pulling away from the field. Darda immediately began attacking Woodson looking for that second- place position. Woodson realized its do or die and he put the pedal to the metal and escaped from Darda. Culpepper came out of turn four where Leo Wiggins was off speed in the center groove and Culpepper had to crack the throttle and lose some momentum to avoid a collision. Culpepper showed maturity in dealing with the situation and made the correct split second decisions to maintain his lead. This break in the pace allowed Darda to pull up on Woodson and they ran door to door all they ran around the high- banked clay oval. Darda finally got a nose ahead of Woodson and made the pass stick coming out of turn one on lap 5. They switched lines and now Woodson was attacking Darda from the inside line. Then Eldridge spun again to bring out the yellow flag. On this restart Jeff Mills dropped to the apron to avoid to a collision when Benton slowed after taking the green. Eiland and Cook were engaged in struggle for position and provided some exciting entertainment going door to door. Suddenly Tim Thomason jumped into the mix pulling alongside Eiland. This allowed Cook to get a small lead as on lap 16 Eiland, Thomason, and Mills were three wide coming out of turn four. Culpepper was dealing with the lap traffic when Darda caught up with him. Darda tried to pass for the lead down the backstretch but something in the track going into turn 3, like a dip, threw his steering off. While Darda corrected to regain control Culpepper slipped away again. Out of the lap traffic Culpepper hammered down and got at least 10 car-lengths ahead of Darda, who was about 10 car-lengths ahead of Woodson, who was about 10 car-lengths ahead of Dana Eiland who was now in fourth after starting in tenth. With the track clear, Darda managed to run down Culpepper. When it looked like Darda was going to take the lead, Culpepper pulled more speed out of his hat and got a comfortable lead to take the white flag and the checkers in his first ever and very impressive, Late Model victory. This was perhaps the greatest gift Ricky could have given his father, Late Model Champion Jeff Culpepper, for Father’s Day. Tod Darda finished second, Matt Woodson, third, Dana Eiland fourth, Marvin Cook fifth, Jeff Mills sixth, Tim Thomason seventh, Mickey Benton eighth, Larry Eldridge ninth, and John Green rounded out the top ten in tenth.

Johnson Wins East Alabama By Jay Vaquer
Phenix City, ALA – July 2, 2006 – Twenty-seven Late Model teams showed up at East Alabama Motor Speedway for a rare Sunday night special event. Twenty-five cars made it to the feature event where only one would take the checkers. Dewayne "Flat out" Johnson set fastest time in qualifying to start the feature from the pole. When the green dropped, Tod Darda was on the outside pole and knew his best chance to lead the race would come on the first lap. On the first start Darda had a run coming out of turn three and Johnson picked up on it. Johnson laid back hoping Darda would get penalized a spot for jumping and when Darda realized what was happening he cracked the throttle and that’s when Johnson put the pedal to the metal. Johnson took the lead going into turn one and came out with the lead. Several cars in the middle of the field spun out to bring out the yellow flag and the start was waved off. They lined back up double file and on this start Darda set his line early coming out of turn three and took the lead coming out of turn two. Then another melee in the back brought the yellow back out and this time the field was lined up single file for the restart. With Johnson in the front he chose to run the cushion at the very top of the track and was able to navigate the corners flat out. Darda in second and local legend Dana Eiland in third were able to keep pace as this trio ran away from the second trio of cars. Alan Sparks, Marvin Cook, and Nick Biddle were fighting for position while trying to keep pace with the leaders. Darda had managed to catch Johnson and was all over the back of him looking for a weakness to exploit when they came out of turn four on lap nine and James Mills was off pace in the middle groove. Johnson, Darda and Eiland all braked hard and avoided the collision. When they fired down the front straight Johnson was early to get to the top before entering turn one and sailed through the corners without letting up. Darda saw Johnson up there and came from the middle groove to the top to try and take turn one on Johnson’s line. His angle was off and momentum shot Darda right off the top of turn one. Fortunately for Darda the caution was blamed on a lap car and he was given back his spot for the restart. Within a few laps there were three groups of three cars leading the large field. Johnson, Darda and Eiland made up the first group who was running several car lengths ahead of fourth place Biddle, Cook, and Matt Woodson in sixth. The third group was Josh Noles, Scotty Knowles, and Jack Mills with Jeff Culpepper trying to break in to the group. Lap 13 always seems to be unlucky for somebody and this time it was Tod Darda’s turn. When Dana Eiland shot around Darda to take second place Darda lost all power and coasted to the pits. Biddle found a way around Marvin Cook on lap 18 and Matt Woodson had a strong run going as he too passed Cook. On lap 19 a caution came out for debris on the track. The restart order was Johnson, Eiland, Biddle, Woodson, and Cook in the first five. When the green came back the leaders set the blistering pace and Cook suddenly spun unassisted for the lap 22 caution. During this caution Ricky Culpepper had a flat right rear and went to the pits. On the restart the leaders again blasted out. Woodson looked like he had the power to take third place from Biddle and he made his move. Unfortunately he spun out in turn four and was sent to the rear for the next restart. This brought about a green, white, checkers situation for the restart. As there were no changes in the running order, Johnson claimed yet another domineering victory wire to wire taking the checkers in a perfectly performed race. Dana Eiland finished second, Nick Biddle third, Jack Mills fourth, Scotty Knowles fifth, Terrance Knowles sixth, Jeff Culpepper seventh, Larry Harrod eighth, John Greene ninth, and Marvelous Marvin Cook rounded out the top ten in tenth.

William Thomas Trumps East Alabama By Jay Vaquer
Phenix City, ALA – July 3, 2006 – The Top Track Crate Late Model Challenge Series rolled into East Alabama Motor Speedway to participate in the Gala 4th of July celebration. The grandstands were filled to capacity to commemorate America’s independence from some undesirable leaders with a gigantic fireworks display, a demolition derby, multi-divisional heats and features, absolutely thrilling Late Model dirt track racing, and the perfect way to enjoy a truly American freedom. The Late Model qualifying started the fireworks when two hometown boys won the pole positions for the Top Track feature in a field of 27 qualifiers. William Thomas is no stranger to setting the fastest track times and nailed the qualifying lap setting the pole on the inside. On the outside pole was another local teen, Ricky Culpepper, who recently clicked on in a Late Model, set fast time and won his first Late Model feature only days ago and has become a major contender. When the green flag dropped on the feature Thomas and Culpepper went door to door down the front straightaway. Entering turn one Thomas was on the inside groove with Culpepper high in the cushion at the very top of the high- banked clay oval. Thomas restrained from sliding into Culpepper and taking him out while Culpepper, employing a move he obviously learned from his apprenticeship with Late Model Champion Randall Chupp, stayed hammered down around the top and beat Thomas back to the flagstand to take the lead. The Head Man Mike Head was quick to get around Jake Knowles, who was driving the # 00 Fun Carts of Opelika Rocket Chassis Grand Prix of Shane Thompson, and advance to third position. Jordy Nipper lost the handle and spun in turn 2 to bring out the yellow flag caution. Shane Chitwood pulling into the pits during this caution proved to be an ominous omen for Culpepper. When the green flag came out Culpepper led the field slowly through turns three and into turn 4. At the very last moment before exiting the turn Culpepper fired pulling away from the field in an awesome display of psychological prowess and power to the ground. Culpepper was firmly in the lead as he entered turn three however, he had an appointment with destiny called Shane Chitwood, who had come out of the pits and was circulating way off speed in the center groove. Culpepper came up on him quickly as he exited turn four and braked to avoid disaster, but it was too late as suddenly William Thomas was right on him with plenty of momentum and determination to take the lead. As Culpepper passed Chitwood he moved back to the upper line and Thomas pulled up to his door on the inside. The super fast game of cat and mouse gave the fans the thrill they were seeking and a look into future. Thomas has the uncanny ability to run fast anywhere on the track and his line is not necessarily in a groove. On lap seven Thomas came out of turn 4 like a prison break taking the lead and blasting out. Culpepper was not giving up and was looking for a clean way around Thomas when on lap 10 he spun in turn two and hit the inside retaining wall to bring out a caution. Chuck Padgett coasted into the pits during this yellow flag. The top of the restart order was Thomas, Head, Jake Knowles, Terrance Nowell, Glen Brewer, Mickey Benton, and Chad Wallace rounding out the first seven as Thomas took the green and launched his # 22 the Racing Zone Rocket Chassis Monte Carlo into the lead. With a clean track ahead Thomas quickly set sail and padded his lead on second place Mike Head. Nowell suddenly stopped in turn 2 and brought out a caution. He then went to the pits to fix a flat, relinquishing fourth place to Glen Brewer and Mickey Benton moved up to fifth. On this restart Thomas and Head shot out and began leaving the field in their dust and an extremely aggressive battle for third ensued. Brewer was on the inside and Benton was on the outside as these two warriors put on an awesome show side by side. Jake Knowels appeared to miss a gear as he did not accelerate off turn 2 and slowed dramatically giving Brewer nowhere to go except into the back of him. Marvin Cook also slammed into them and suffered collateral damage. Under the Top Track rules the pit stewards are not allowed to bend sheet metal off tires during cautions, but Cook was able to continue despite his ripped sheet metal. The caution was called on Knowles, who was sent to the rear for the restart while Brewer, slightly damaged yet still competitive, returned to his spot where the Glenn and Mickey show was about to turn serious. On this restart Thomas pulled out all the stops and you could watch him gain ground each second from Head. Glen Brewer and Mickey Benton were apparently evenly matched as neither could run away from the other and they began swapping paint. Benton seemed to get a slight lead coming out of turn four as they touched at the flagstand. It looked like Brewer had taken a right turn into Benton and kept him pinned to the front wall as sparks and pieces of Benton’s car lit up the night sky. Benton came to rest perpendicular to the front outside wall and, as if to cap of the horrendous scene, Josh Noles came out of turn 4 full speed with no idea he was about to T-bone Benton in a hard fast collision. The red flag came out and the EMS crew helped Benton out of his car. When Benton saw Brewer had made a lap after the wreck and was waiting to restart at the flag stand, he charged in Brewer’s direction to show what he learned at anger management class. The Sheriffs quickly got control of the situation when a near riot broke out in the pits with the opposing sides equally adamant in their interpretations of the event. As the cars were about to restart suddenly Benton, in his car, came flying out of the back pit entrance and slammed Brewer’s rear quarter panel. He should have taken that police course in executing the pit maneuver to disable a car since he was going to be penalized and he did not even take Brewer’s car out of the race. This really got everybody fired up as tempers were bursting like the rocket’s red glare and the bombs in the air as finally the sheriffs took a couple of representatives from the opposing sides for a ride in a squad car to sort things out. The DJ was playing "Bad boy bad boy, what ‘cha gonna do, what ‘cha gonna do when they come for you…" and the restart order line up was Thomas, Head, Brewer, Wallace, Tracy Watson, David Eubanks and Alan Brewer the first seven. Then the race broke out again, green flag, party time, and Thomas was putting it on them bad. Head was pushing it to the limits to hang as Thomas began lapping the field. Chad Wallace came up to challenge Brewer and another hard fight over position began as Wallace vied for third spot on laps 19 through 22. Thomas lapped Michael Dant and took his time to put Shane Chitwood down a lap. When second place Mike Head was coming into turn 4, Thomas was going into turn one and still pulling away. Aubrey Merritt and Jake Knowles both went down a lap on lap 31. Ricky Culpepper passed Jack Mills as he moved into 13th after being sent to the rear for the early caution. Craig Scott, in his unique Dragon’s Eye # 0 put the moves on David Eubanks to move into seventh as the laps were winding down. Thomas continued to pour it on relentlessly as he lapped Chuck Padgett, Jacob Grizzle, Richard Thomas, and Dusty Chitwood. The white flag came out and Thomas took the checkers over a half lap ahead of second place Mike Head. Chad Wallace finished third, Glenn Brewer won the battle of attrition to take home fourth place, Tracy Watson finished fifth, Alan Brewer sixth, Craig Scott seventh, David Eubanks eighth, Phillip Cobb ninth, and Terrance Nowell rounded out the top ten in tenth.

Darda Does It Again At East Alabama
By Jay Vaquer
Phenix City, ALA – July 8,2006 – Tod Darda from La Grange, Georgia came down to East Alabama Motor Speedway this weekend with one objective to win. He went to work immediately and set the fast time qualifying to earn the pole for the Late Model feature event. When the green flag dropped for the feature, Darda was surrounded by equally ambitious opponents such as former Late Model Track champion Jeff Mills in his #15 Benning Auto Parts Scorpion Chassis Grand Prix sitting on the outside pole. Behind him in row two was another Late Model Track Champion Jeff Culpepper who is always relentless in his pursuit of victory. When the lights went out Darda fired sooner than expected coming out of turn three and took the lead pulling away from Mills down the front stretch. He hit his marks through the corners and went super-sonic down the backstretch. Mills in second, and Marvin Cook in third, Jeff Culpepper fourth and Matt Woodson running fifth, had to scramble to keep pace with Darda. In the middle of the pack the warriors were getting it on as Nick Biddle and Ricky Culpepper were swapping paint and the crowd loved it. On lap 4 Jeff Danner spun in turn 2 to bring out the first yellow flag caution. On the restart Darda fired in turn four and ran away from Mills. Marc Gooden closed in quickly on Ricky Culpepper and passed. Jeff Culpepper was suddenly all over Marvin Cook, who was looking for a way around Mills. On lap 11 Ricky Culpepper and Marc Gooden go door to door all the way around the high banked clay oval. Leon Watson JR lost power and pulled into the pits as the 2 spun in turn four for the lap 12 caution. When the green came back Darda was still untouchable. Ricky Culpepper had a run on Gooden and blew by him. With a ton of momentum Ricky flew into turn 2 where Nick Biddle had his line blocked. Ricky braked hard to avoid disaster and this allowed Gooden to take advantage of the situation and slide back into sixth, ahead of Ricky Culpepper. Suddenly Ricky had Nick Biddle on the side and the fight was back on. They went door to door until lap 17 when Ricky firmly took the seventh place. The front four leaders, Darda, Mills, Cook, and Jeff Culpepper were so fast that they ran over a straightaway ahead of Matt Woodson in fifth. Woodson, in the # 27 for the first time ever, was having a great run. He was not quite as fast as the leaders, but he was faster than everybody else behind him. On lap 22 Daniel Goodman called it quits and slowly coasted to the pits while Ricky Culpepper and Marc Gooden sparred over sixth place. Ricky and Gooden swapped a little paint in the turns, slowed a little, and then Ricky emerged from turn two ahead of Gooden. Gooden closed back in going into turn three but was not on secure turf as he spun to a stop in turn four to bring out the yellow. On this restart the leaders strung out to their normal track positions with Darda, whose set up was dialed in perfectly, showed no signs of slowing down. Ricky Culpepper was not looking for trouble, he was just fighting hard to win the race when fate led him to Matt Woodson. Ricky was on the inside as they entered turn three. When they got into turn four Ricky pushed high into the side of Woodson who spun to a stop. The caution was blamed on Ricky and he was sent to the rear for the restart. When the race began again, Darda was beyond reproach and firmly dominated the lead to the white flag lap. As Darda took the checkers, Nick Biddle and John Green, still on the white flag lap, spun to a stop in turn 2. Jeff Mills ran and finished a solid second. Marvin Cook came in third, Jeff Culpepper, who told his son Ricky Culpepper in the # 110 he was going to out run him, and he did finishing fourth. Matt Woodson brought home a top five finish ending fifth, Marc Gooden finished sixth, Ricky Culpepper came back from the back to finish seventh, John Green came in eighth, Nick Biddle ninth, and Daniel Goodman rounded out the top ten in tenth.

DANA EILAND PREVAILS at EAST ALABAMA
By Jay Vaquer
Phenix City, ALA – July 15, 2006 – The Monster Trucks thundered into East Alabama Motor Speedway for a special Friday and Saturday event. Hundreds of fans were treated to rides in Predator’s specially designed truck with seating for ten. Some local daredevils, including 7 year old Logan Smith, provided thrills on ATV’s displaying their talents in defying gravity and getting air. Tator Holmes added to the excitement by jumping a passenger car through the Monster Trucks’ road course. After 4 divisions of stock car racing, the evening culminated in the main event, the Late Models. Tod Darda of La Grange, GA has been especially strong this year and it was no surprise to see him win the fast time qualifying to earn the pole for the feature. The local Late Model legend Dana Eiland set the second fastest time and was on the outside pole in the famous # K-9 Andy’s Auto Parts GRT Chassis Monte Carlo expertly set up by crew chief Mike Harris. Perhaps the move of the race happened before the race when the lights went out just before the green flag dropped on the feature. Darda was like a cat in a cage, ready to jump out and start the race while Eiland rolled through turn three freely. When Darda fired in turn 4, Eiland already had more momentum and they ran evenly into turn one. Eiland went above the groove, in the marbles, and hung to the very top edge of the track, wide open, to pass for the lead and come out of turn 2 pulling away from Darda. The pace was so fast that most drivers were more concerned with keeping up rather than passing whoever was in front of them. Benji Sivell was the first one to lose it on his own and spun on the front straight to bring out the first yellow flag caution. They lined up single file for the restart and as the green came back Marvin Cook broke and rolled into the pits. Eiland stretched out to a comfortable lead while Dennis Hale, running in third was looking to pass Darda. On lap 7 Eiland was already lapping the back of the field as Leo Wiggins was the first one to go down. Sivell spun out again, this time in turn 2 to bring out another caution. He called it quits and retired to the pits for an early DNF. The restart order was Eiland, Darda, Hale, Jeff Mills, Ricky Culpepper, Jeff Culpepper, Jack Mills, Daniel Goodman, Matt Woodson, and John Green rounding out the top ten. As they fire to restart, Goodman went off the track for another yellow flag. The fired again and this time Woodson got inside Jack Mills and they fought over seventh place. This time Eiland did not pull away from Darda as it seemed like Darda’s set up was coming to him and he is able to get inside Eiland in turn 4 but Eiland powers away down the straightaway. At the half way mark Gordy Scarborough went off the backside to bring out a caution. On this restart Darda has his teeth firmly planted in the K-9’s tail and he wasn’t letting go. Eiland’s set up was perfect as he ran wherever he wanted and managed to escape all of Darda’s attacks. On lap 15 Jeff Andrews spun into the wall and Wiggins called it quits going to the pits. The green flag came out and Darda was determined to get the lead and Eiland was doing his thing showing the crowd why he is the living racing legend. Eiland had all the moves to maintain control, indomitable speed, and most importantly, the lead. On lap 20 Dennis Hale seemed to break a suspension part as he flew off turn 2, unassisted, to bring out a caution. Hale went to the pits and the green was back out. Ricky Culpepper was now shuffled up to fourth and his dad, Jeff Culpepper was right behind him in fifth and not cutting him any slack since he bet he would finish ahead of him. Jeff Mills started in third place and was now running in third as he always seems to quietly surface near the lead at the end of a race. Matt Woodson caught up with John Green and was looking the pass when the white flag came out. Eiland, still running just above the blackened groove at the top of the high banked clay oval now had his set up dialed in at the end for speed and he was running away from Darda as he thrilled the fans with his legendary dominance. Tod Darda finished second, Jeff Mills finished third. While Ricky Culpepper finished fourth, ahead of Dad, he was later disqualified when he crossed the scales and was found light. So, Jeff Culpepper was officially fourth and did finish ahead of Ricky. John Green was fifth, Gordy Scarborough was sixth, Matt Woodson finished seventh, Ricky Culpepper was awarded eighth, since Eiland had lapped everyone else. Jack Mills finished ninth and it was Pure Hale Dennis Hale rounding out the top ten in tenth.

VICKERS VICTORIOUS at EAST ALABAMA
Phenix City, ALA - August 5, 2006 - Ray Miller brought his National Late Model Series into East Alabama Motor Speedway this weekend to provide the thousands of fans with one of the most exciting spectacles on dirt. This extremely competitive group of professional full jig Late Model drivers blended with East Alabama's own local champions in what proved to be a night to be remembered in the $3000 to win 50 lap main event. Series driver Alex Vickers won the fast time qualifying to earn the pole position for the feature event. Local legend Late Model champion Dana Eiland made his presence known by earning the outside pole position with the second fastest time. The second row had series driver Phillip Cobb on the inside and local champion Shane Thompson in his # 00 Fun Carts of Opelika Rocket Chassis Grand Prix on the out side. The third row had our 2006 Late Model points leader Tod Darda on the inside and rookie speedster William Thomas, making his debut in a Ben Thomas Racing BTR Scorpion chassis,on the outside and the stage was set for a serious shootout. When the green flag dropped on the feature the thunderous roar of 26 Late Models hammering down shook the earth as Dana Eiland out ran Vickers to turn one. The lead was ephemeral as a spinout in the middle of the pack caused a pile up and the start was waved off by flag man Chad Herrington. On the second start, again Dana Eiland had the momentum to take the lead coming off turn three and when Vickers realized he was beat, he did not fire. The third start was single file with Vickers leading. Thompson was quick to pass Cobb and move into third. when Darda and Thomas passed Cobb it was obvious his machine was laying down on him and he was out of the game. Vickers and Eiland set a blistering pace with lap times in the low 16's and they quickly pulled away from Thompson in third. Marvin Cook was also experiencing a mechanical failure and could not get up to speed and came to a stop on the front straight to bring out the lap 5 caution. Cobb and Stacy Roberts went to the pits during this caution. On the restart, two more local Champions, Jeff Mills, in the # 15 Benning Auto Parts Snap On Tools BTR Scorpion Chassis Monte Carlo and Mike Parkerson engaged in a fierce battle for seventh going door to door all the way around the high banked clay oval. At the same time Eiland had caught Vickers and would get ahead through the corners but Vickers had tremendous bite off turns 2 and 4 and would retake the lead. This battle had many fans on their feet cheering on the local champ. On lap 12, the leaders put Cobb a lap down and as they sped into turn one, Bo Allen lost the handle in turn two spinning to a stop. To avoid disaster, Vickers went to the high side, shooting off the track in turn 2 while Dana Eiland took the inside way around Allen. The lap 14 restart order was Vickers, Eiland, Thompson, Darda, Thomas, Anthony Meadows, Mike Parkerson, Jeff Mills, and in the ninth was the 4 time defending NLMS champion Ivedent Lloyd. On this restart Meadows passed Thomas in turn 4 then when Thomas reached the end of the front straight his rear end locked up sending him into the outside wall. Thomas was towed to the pits for an early and unfortunate DNF. Attrition was mounting as the next victim was Dana Eiland. eiland was pursuing his relentless charge on Vickers when his front a-frame broke on his famous # K-9 Swartz Chassis Andy's Auto Parts Monte Carlo. Eiland hit the front wall full speed and in a horrific crash came to a dead stop. The Champ emerged unscathed but his trusty steed was pronounced DOA. In the aftermath of this accident collateral damage claimed Shane Thompson, Anthony Meadows, who plowed into Eiland. Ricky Culpepper also had no choice but to slam into Ivendent Lloyd, who was also towed to the pits for an early DNF. The restart order now was Vickers, Darda, Parkerson, Mills, Mike Nasworthy, Mike Eubanks, DeWayne Johnson, and Ricky Culpepper. When the green came back out the new order provided new battles all around the track. Johnson was all over Eubanks, Darda was making a serious bid for the lead going inside Vickers who was using every trick in his repertoire to keep Darda at bay. Johnson made the pass and was charging hard to get to his normal position, which is the lead. Allen Sparks was making Steve Jones fight hard to keep his position when Ricky Culpepper broke and coasted into the pits. The lap traffic got very heavy and it looked like downtown Atlanta at rush hour. Vickers managed to weave his way back into a clear track but Darda got caught behind the thick group of lap cars. Vickers overcame all the obstacles to take the checkered flag in a hard fought and well earned thriller. Tod Darda finished second, Mike Parkerson third, Jeff Mills fourth, Dewayne Johnson fifth, Mike Nasworthy sixth, Jimmy Sharp seventh, Mike Eubanks eighth, Mark Whitener ninth, and Steve Jones rounded out the top ten in tenth.


EILAND ICES EAST ALABAMA
By Jay Vaquer
Phenix City, ALA - August 12, 2006 - As the 2006 racing season winds down at East Alabama Motor Speedway the competition heats up. Some great names showed up for this weeks Late Model feature in preparation for next weeks $2000 to win Late Model Summer Sizzler event. Aside from Terrance Nowell and Tim Thomason, Dennis Hale made a rare appearance to remind everyone how fast he has always been. Hale set the pole with fast time qualifying and led the field when the green dropped on the feature. Local legend Dana Eiland, after totally destroying his famous Swartz Chassis # K-9 in a horrific head on collision with the front wall last week, picked up right where he left off and put his # K-9 Andy’s Auto Parts GRT Chassis on the outside pole. Eiland’s crew chief, Mike Harris, had the car perfectly set up to be fast at the start and get faster as his tires dialed in. Eiland was right on the back bumper of Hale forcing Hale to put the whip to his # 888 Pure Hale Monte Carlo. William Thomas, from the fifth position was challenging our points leader Tod Darda, who was busy trying to pass Marvin Cook, whose bad luck streak seemed to be over as he was super fast running in third. On lap 5 Lynn Robins lost the handle in turn 2 and spun unassisted to a stop to bring out a yellow flag caution. On the restart Eiland chose to attack Hale from the inside. Eiland could get ahead in the turns but Hale had the power to the ground and could break back into the lead on the straights. These two seemed to run faster during the battle as soon they were nearly a straightaway ahead of third place Cook. On lap 12 the pressure from Eiland was too much for Hale’s #888 as the engine expired in turn two and Hale coasted into the pits for a DNF. With Eiland inheriting the lead the party was over. Eiland powered away from Cook and gained ground on each lap. Josh Noles was having some problems as Thomason blew by to move into sixth. Darda was now moving to the inside of Cook and a fierce battle over second ensued. On lap 19 Steve Richardson blew up and rolled into the pits. Daniel Goodman also could not get up to speed and rolled into the pits. On lap 21 Noles took a ride on the wild side flying off the top of turn to bring out a caution. With the green back out, Thomas was suddenly door to door with Darda in turn 4. Darda turned it up a notch and got some distance from Thomas and tried to reel in Cook but the white flag came out. Dana Eiland, once again showed the fans and drivers alike how professionalism and the right attitude are keys to success as he took the checkers adding to his already legendary status. Marvin Cook turned in a strong second place finish. Our points leader Tod Darda finished third, William Thomas, in his new BTR chassis, finished fourth, Terrance Nowell finished fifth, Tim Thomason sixth, Matt Woodson hung in for seventh, Josh Noles eighth, Nick Biddle ninth and Lynn Robins rounded out the top ten in tenth.


EILAND INSUPERABLE at EAST ALABAMA
By Jay Vaquer
Phenix City, ALA - August 19, 2006 - The 2006 racing season at East Alabama Motor Speedway is coming to a close with a tremendous showing of literally thousands of fans and a full field of super fast Late Model competitors. It was fitting that this race, the 40 lap $2000 to win Late Model feature, would be won by the local legend Dana Eiland, who demonstrated that there is no substitution for professionalism. Eiland came out and set fast time in his # K-9 GRT Chassis Andy’s Auto Parts Monte Carlo to win the pole for the main event. The second fastest time was clocked by rising star William Thomas in his # 22 Scorpion Chassis BTR Joe Miller Land and Timber Monte Carlo. As the 24 car field circulated to take the green flag for the feature, the fight was already on. Thomas took a page from the veteran Eiland’s book on how to start the race from the outside pole position and led Eiland by a nose down the back straight. As they entered turn three, Eiland recognized the play and realized that Thomas already had the advantage on the start by developing momentum on the high side before Eiland could fire to take the green. Eiland countered by firing early in turn three to take the lead in turn four as the green flag came out. Flagman Chad Herrington did not like that start since the spot to fire is at the cone in turn four so he threw the caution flag and they lined back up to try it again. This time as they entered turn three Eiland took a slightly higher line and let Thomas stay slightly ahead of him. Eiland slowed coming out of turn three which, had Thomas fired, would have made Thomas guilty of jumping the start. Thomas was aware of that ploy and restrained. The moment Thomas slowed, Eiland dove downhill to the inside firing at the proper spot and giving himself an insurmountable lead. Thomas was glued to Eiland’s back bumper and was looking for a pass on the inside when they reached the turn one corner. Had it been anyone else Thomas would have made the pass since he knows how to run wide open anywhere on the multi-groove high banked clay oval. However, the “ Master of Faster” Dana Eiland has his car prepped by expert crew chief Mike Harris who has it dialed in super fast with plenty of power to the ground at the start of the race and as the tires heat up it gets faster as the race continues. On lap two an uncharacteristic mistake by Anthony Meadows caused him to spin out in turn 2 to bring out the yellow flag caution. On the restart speedster Tod Darda got inside former track champion Jeff Culpepper and these two provided the thrill as they battled over third place. Terrance Nowell was running in third several car lengths behind Thomas and several ahead of Culpepper and was uncontested for his position. Another former track champion, Jeff Mills was having mechanical problems and could not get up to speed. Rather than destroying his motor, which had low oil pressure, he took his # 15 BTR Scorpion Benning Auto Parts Snap On Tools Monte Carlo to the pits on lap 6 for an early DNF. As Eiland put Daniel Goodman down a lap, Larry Eldridge blew up and came to a stop at the top of turn three with an engine fire for another yellow flag. The restart order was, Eiland, Thomas, Nowell, Jeff Culpepper, Tod Darda, Tim Thomason, Marvin Cook and Allen Sparks. When the green came out the battle for the lead ensued with the rookie and the veteran playing a thrilling high speed chess match with Thomas getting door to door with Eiland in the turns and then Eiland blasting out to a lead in the straights. A serious battle was heating up between Sparks, Cook, and Dwayne Johnson, who was charging to the front. Sparks passed Cook with Johnson on the inside. Sparks had to brake hard and collected Cook which had Cook’s nose piece dragging on the track and upset the cars handling, but no caution. Johnson pulled inside Sparks but Sparks was able to fend off the charge and keep his position. Cook lost his smooth line but was still able to hold off Shane Stodghill and Ricky Culpepper. Gordy Scarborough went off the back to bring out a caution. During this caution Cook pulled up on Sparks to let him know he did not appreciate the damage to his # 40 and gave him a little bump. Then Sparks caught up to Cook to exchange some words when Cook, frustrated by knowing he was out of the competition for the points championship, turned right into Sparks. The track officials have a zero tolerance for violence on the track and black flagged both competitors. The green flag came back out and Johnson had moved up to challenge Tim Thomason. They swapped some paint but Thomason held his ground when suddenly Scarborough slammed hard into the front wall. He was towed to the pits as attrition was mounting and at lap 21, the halfway point, the car count was down to 16 from the starting 24. The green came out again as Thomas was not giving up on trying to pass Eiland and even though he could get door to door in the turns, Eiland driving the preferred line could get away and maintain his lead. Eiland decided to really hammer down and he got a comfortable lead from Thomas and ran like a scalded K-9. Johnson was still trying to pass Thomason and put the pressure on by making hard contact in turn 4. Thomason knew he was coming on the inside and tried to give it more in turn two but spun out to bring out the caution and get sent to the rear for the restart. On this restart Larry Harrod got a jump on Ricky Culpepper and took away the seventh spot. Matt Woodson broke into the top ten by keeping a heads up and driving a solid race. Darda was still trying to get around Jeff Culpepper but had to deal with Johnson who was relentlessly trying to get to the front and was challenging Darda at every opportunity. Darda made a small error going a little bit high in turn four which was just enough of an opening for Johnson to capitalize and make the pass taking away the fifth spot. On lap 33 Nick Biddle lost power and coasted into the pits, no foul, no caution. Johnson was now trying to pass Jeff Culpepper but Culpepper was not intimidated and had all the correct Reponses and power to keep Johnson back. Suddenly the white flag was out and Dana Eiland, once again demonstrated why he is the legend and local hero as he took the checkers in a wire to wire thrilling victory. William Thomas took second place and showed that he has the potential to become a future Late Model track champion and following in Eiland’s footsteps become a local hero as well. Terrance Nowell crossed the finish line third but was disqualified at post race tech. Third place was awarded to Jeff Culpepper who also won the beautiful third place trophy. Dwayne Johnson came in fourth, Tod Darda fifth, Shane Stodgehill sixth, Larry Harrod seventh, Ricky Culpepper eighth, Matt Woodson finished ninth, and Anthony Meadows rounded out the top ten in tenth.

Nowell wins battle - Darda wins war at East Alabama
By Jay Vaquer
Phenix City, ALA - September 2, 2006. It was a thriller down to the last points race of the 2006 season for the Late Models at East Alabama Motor Speedway. Tod Darda was leading the point standings with 532 and Marvin Cook was in second with 492. During the Late Model qualifying Terrance Nowell captured the pole for the Late Model feature while Darda was the second fastest and Cook was the third fastest. When the green flag dropped on the feature Nowell blasted out to the lead. Darda and Jeff Culpepper shuffled in behind but were losing ground. Marc Gooden went off the track to bring out the yellow flag. After being sent to the rear for the restart the green was back out and again Nowell was nothing but speed and power as he pulled away from the field. Local legend Dana Eiland had a brake malfunction during qualifying and started deep in the field. Eiland was in the running to pick up the Columbus Cottonmouths Hat Trick award of $500 to any driver to win three races in a row. On lap 5 Eiland passed Tim Thomason and began working on Ricky Culpepper who was hooked up and running fast. Larry Harrod and Allen Sparks put on a great show as they went door to door all the way around the 3/8's mile high-banked clay oval. On lap 11 Eiland scooted past Ricky Culpepper and was on a run. Marvin Cook literally saw his bid for the Championship go up in smoke as his car burst into flames down the backstretch. The fireball came from the engine compartment and extended the length of his car. The flames extinguished themselves as he rolled into the pits for an unfortunate DNF. On the restart it was Nowell, Darda, Jeff Culpepper, Sparks, Harrod, Eiland, Ricky Culpepper, Thomason, Leon Watson Jr and Matt Woodson rounding out the top ten. Eiland put the whip to his K-9 and passed both Harrod and Sparks on lap 13. Eiland then made up the length of half a straight-away to catch Jeff Culpepper running third. When Eiland hammered down out of turn two to put the pass on Culpepper, he suddenly broke and coasted to a stop. The yellow came out and Eiland fired back up and drove to the front straight where it was clearly obvious the something in his right rear suspension had broken as his wheel vibrated intensely. The green came back out and Nowell was definitely in charge, as Darda seemed content to hold on to second place and not jeopardize the championship. Harrod and Sparks were still locked up in mortal combat as everyone else in the field ran where they were. Watson came up to complicate Woodson's life and was looking high and low for a way around. Woodson knew he would move into second place in the points if he could hold on to his position and like a true warrior under pressure he kept his cool and drove a very smooth line in spite of Watson's challenges. Suddenly the white flag flew and Terrance Nowell took the checkers uncontested wire to wire. Tod Darda finished second but won the 2006 Late Model Championship. Jeff Culpepper was happy to have a third place finish since he finished ahead of his rising star son Ricky. Allen sparks came in fourth, Larry Harrod fifth, Ricky Culpepper sixth, Tim Thomason seventh, Matt Woodson eighth, Leon Watson JR ninth, and Marc Gooden rounded out the top ten in tenth.

EILAND'S K-9 OUTFOXES NOWELL at EAST ALABAMA
By Jay Vaquer
Phenix City, ALA - September 16, 2006 - In preparation for one of the greatest Southern dirt racing events, the Alabama State Championships, East Alabama Motor Speedway held a precursory event called the State rules race. Contenders in all divisions are allowed to run special equipment as opposed to the weekly racing rules. In the Late Model Sportsman division, local legend Dana Eiland demonstrated one of his many ways to get to Victory Lane by turning a disadvantage into an advantage. Terrance Nowell won the last points race of the season in a dominating fashion. Once again he showed tremendous speed and control as he set fast time qualifying to earn the pole for the feature. Dana Eiland's GRT Chassis Andy's Auto Parts Monte Carlo # K-9 was mere hundredths of a second off and won the outside pole for the feature. As the large field of talented teams came down the backstretch to take the green flag, Eiland was already making his move. Since Nowell had the pole, Eiland had to wait for Nowell to fire at the green flag to begin the race, which gives the advantage to the pole sitter. Eiland however rolled around the very top of the track keeping his front fender slightly ahead of Nowell. As they entered turn three Nowell set his angle to blast off the corner but Eiland remained rolling very smoothly on his line. Nowell fired at the right place and ran down the track to the front straight. As Eiland came out of turn four he had already accumulated momentum and when he added that to hammering that K-9, he rolled right into the lead before reaching turn one. The party was over. Barring a flat or some part failure, Eiland's K-9 is a show dog that once in the lead, can't be surpassed. Nowell could run with him, but there are no weaknesses in Eiland's driving skills to give Nowell an opportunity for a pass. On lap 2, Tim Thomason, who started third, lost power in turn 2 and a precipitous yellow flag signaled the first caution. Thomason drove off the back and headed to the turn one pits and racing resumed. The K-9 exhibited its championship form by making every lap in the low 16's. Nowell and powerhouse former champion Jeff Mills driving the Ben Thomas Racing Scorpion chassis Snap-On Tools # 15, running in third, were able to keep pace with Eiland and this trio began to run away from the pack. Scotty Knowles and Mickey Benton, running fourth and fifth respectively were several car-lengths behind the leaders. On lap 7 Travis Allen cut down a tire and went off turn 2 to bring out the next caution. On the restart there were no changes in the running order for the leaders but it was different world in the middle of the pack as Todd Mitchell and Ricky Culpepper were getting it on in an exciting battle over seventh place. Marc Gooden went off the back for a quick caution and we were right back to green. Now Rodgerick Dykes was involved in the battle with Mitchell and Ricky Culpepper and they amazed everyone at how they could come out of turn 4 three wide and nobody hit anybody else. Ricky Culpepper could get inside Dykes in the turns but Dykes was strong off the corners and held on to his coveted sixth spot. John Green spun to a stop in turn 4 and the yellow was out again for the lap 12 caution. Again the leaders were busy staying in orbit but Mickey Benton was all over Scotty Knowles trying to shake him off that fourth place. Also the Culpepper, Mitchell and Dykes battle had everyone's' attention as they fought hard for position. On lap 17 Paul Holloway lost power and rolled to the pits. Suddenly the white flag was out and once again Dana Eiland delighted the hometown fans with a victory as he took the checkers. Terrance Nowell finished second, Jeff Mills third, Scotty Knowles fourth, Mickey Benton fifth, Rodgerick Dykes sixth, Rickey Culpepper seventh, Todd Mitchell eighth, Leon Watson JR ninth, and Jeff Robinson rounded out the top ten in tenth.



The Chattanooga Flash Strikes East Alabama, Again
By Jay Vaquer
Phenix City. ALA - October 1, 2006 - The 28th Annual Alabama State Championships were held at East Alabama Motor Speedway as one of the South's premier dirt track racing events. The 4- day gala event offered nearly 400 racing teams in nine divisions, from several states, an absolutely perfect weekend of great weather, non-stop racing excitement, and the total enjoyment of one of America's greatest traditional freedoms. In the Super Late Model division, Ronnie Johnson, The Chattanooga Flash, from Chattanooga, Tennessee, made a brilliant strategic move, which electrified the thousands of fans, shocked the other 25 highly skilled and successful race teams, and with blinding rays of white light, captured the accolade of 2006 Alabama State Champion. It was no surprise to see Jake Knowles win the pole for the feature event in view of his 2006 Jimmy Thomas Memorial Championship victory. Terrance Nowell, with some previous top five finishes was a local favorite to win and earned the outside pole, and admiration of his many fans with the second fastest qualifying time. The incumbent Alabama State Champion, Clint Smith from Senoia, Georgia, with four previous victories, arrived after qualifying and took a provisional to enter at the rear of the field. When the green flag dropped on the feature, Jake Knowles fired first at turn 4, but by the time they reached turn one, Terrance Nowell was in the lead pulling away from the pack. Ricky Williams, who raced in the inaugural Alabama State race in 1979 won by Ben Thomas, starting from the inside second row, was able to keep pace with Nowell and moved into second. Knowles was in third as this trio quickly separated themselves from Stacy Holmes and the rest of the full field. On lap 3 Clint Smith had moved up 4 positions as he began one of his famous "from last to first" runs like last year's Championship. Ethan Hunter suddenly got a flat tire catching Lavon Sparks and Kenny Hall checking up and spinning into each other coming to a stop in turn four to bring out the lap 5 caution. Since the track officials made the use of Race-ciever radios mandatory, it was easy to set the field into their correct positions in an Alabama Double File restart and we were back to green flag racing. Again Nowell blasted out and got a comfortable lead from Williams. Holmes was attacking Knowles from the inside but Knowles always managed to keep his position. By lap 9 Clint "Cat Daddy" Smith had moved up 12 spots and was watching Jack Pennington putting the moves on William Thomas running in tenth. Nowell was in the lap traffic weaving through with Williams as his shadow and they began lapping the field putting Ethan Hunter and Byran Sumner a lap down. As soon as they came up on a clear piece of track, Williams would pull inside Nowell in the turns looking for the lead but Nowell had the power to stay in front. The Chattanooga Flashstarted in fifth and was biding his time, avoiding attrition, and still running in fifth at lap 22. Jack Daughtry and Byran Sumner entered the pits on lap 25 then Mike Head come to a stop in turn four to bring out the yellow caution flag. The lap 29 restart leaders were Nowell, Williams, Knowles, Ronnie Johnson, Johnny Cloer, Sam Simmons, Robert Grant, Clint Smith, Jack Pennington and Stacey Holmes rounded out the first ten. When the green came back William Thomas entered the pits with a mechanical failure. Devin Jones, Lee Sutton, Sam Simmons, and Jack Pennington chain react into a spin in turn four to bring the yellow back out. By lap 30 Cat Daddy, starting last in row 12 had moved into row 6 and was looking at passing the Chattanooga Flash in fifth. Aaron Ridley pulled into third place ahead of Cloer. Robert Gant and Knowles were at it and there was racing excitement at its best all around the track. Clint Smith powered around Ronnie Johnson to take fifth. Numerology came into play as Cat Daddy's JP Drilling, Base Race Fuels, Integra Racing Shocks, Oval Craft Aluminum Designs, Race-Tek Racing Engines, Hoosier tire, GRT Race Cars Pontiac GTO # 44 passed the # 44 of Johnny Cloer on lap 44 to move into 4th place. Jack Pennington lost power and rolled into the pits on lap 49 as did Byran Sumner. Robert Gant passed Cloer to move into fifth and Cat Daddy passed Ridly to move into third on lap 75. Smith next moved on his life long friend Ricky Williams looking for second place. On lap 80 Cloer had a flat which brought out the yellow. The Flash entered the pits and it looked like he was done for the evening but this was part of his ingenious plan to win the race. Johnson made it back out and stayed at the end of the lead lap but ahead of all the lap cars. Green was back out and the 100-lap event was coming to a swift close. The top 5 leaders were Nowell, Williams, Smith, Ridley, and Jake Knowles and they were still blistering the track with super fast times. On lap 90 the Cat Daddy used up one of his nine lives when a flat forced him into the pits. His crew changed one tire and he was back in the hunt with only ten laps left and he went to the ninth position as everyone else had been lapped. When this green flag came out the Flash executed his perfect battle plan. He charged the field, outside the preferred line, running a unique groove at the top of the track he found cool, sticky clay which, with his two new rear tires from his last pit stop allowed him to stick like glue and run in a world of his own. He was several seconds faster than everyone else on the track and he passed them at will. He took Knowles out and went to fifth spot. He charged right on faster than lightning and the crowd stood in awe as he whizzed past Ridley and Ricky Williams. Then, on lap 95, Ronnie Johnson, once again validated his moniker, The Chattanooga Flash, taking the lead and powering away from Nowell. Johnson was so fast there was no hope of anyone catching him as he took the checkers in front of the thousands of cheering fans in disbelief. Terrance Nowell finished second, Ricky Williams third, Aaron Ridley fourth, Lee Sutton fifth, Clint Smith sixth, Jake Knowles seventh,Stacey Holmes eight, Johnny Cloer ninth, and Sam Simmons rounding out the top ten in tenth.

McDowell Wins National 100 at East Alabama
By Jay Vaquer
Phenix City, ALA - November 5, 2006 - The 32nd Annual National 100 at East Alabama Motor Speedway, like a fine wine, just keeps getting better and better with age. This year's 4 day event with nine divisions, culminated the 2006 racing season with one of most spectacular Super Late Model events ever. When track specialist and CEO Billy Thomas decided to cut a steeper angle on the banks of the 3/8 mile clay oval, he expected more competition on the upper grooves. However, he, along with the thousands of fans and hundreds of drivers, was pleasantly surprised at the increase in track speeds. Forthwith unheard of, nine of the top ten Super Late Model qualifiers broke the 15 second barrier while the track's record of 14.52, held by 8 time champion Scott Bloomquist was broken twice. Shane Clanton of Locust Grove, GA turned in a 14.51 and Chris Madden, from Gaffney, SC set the new track record and won the pole for the feature with a blistering 14.48 second lap. As a full moon rose in the clear Alabama sky, the green flag dropped on the main event. Madden fired first but was slow getting out of the gates as Clanton took the lead going into turn one and Dale McDowell followed him around Madden to take second place. The full field of 26 cars shook the earth as they unleashed the thousands of horsepower down the front straight. Clint Smith, Brandon Register, and Scott Bloomquist ran three wide through turns 2, 3 and 4. By lap 4 Clanton and McDowell were putting a lap on Mike Head. When they came up on Ronnie Martin, who was off the pace, Clanton and William Thomas bumped briefly which caused Martin to spin to a stop bringing out the yellow flag caution. Clanton sustained minor body damage and lined back up at the lead for the Alabama double file restart. This time Madden outran McDowell to turn one to take the second place spot. Bloomquist, who started in 22nd because he arrived on Sunday, missing the qualifying on Saturday night, but dramatically went from last to first in the consi-race Sunday morning, was on a run as he passed Dennis Erb, JR from Carpentersville, IL to move into 15th. Ronnie Johnson, the Chattanooga Flash, shot by Jake Knowles as he was also coming to the front. Just as Clanton hit the lap traffic, Dewayne Johnson lost power and coasted to a stop in turn two to bring out the lap 14 caution flag. Mike Head and Dewayne Johnson rolled into the pits as the green was back out. Local hero Dana Eiland fired in turn three and broke in turn four spinning to a stop bringing the caution back out and he rolled into the pits smoking. The green was back out and former National 100 champion Randle Chupp, from Troutman, NC sped past Johnny Cloer,JR and now had to do battle with the Flash. As if this wasn't enough excitement, Clint Cat Daddy Smith and Bloomquist were going at it door to door for the eleventh spot. The crowd got a chance to breathe when Jack Pennington broke to bring out the lap 30 caution. William Thomas dove into the pits with a flat during this caution. On this restart Cloer spun out in turn 2 and collided with incumbent Champ Rick Eckert. Eckert slipped away but Cloer blocked the track and the melee ensued as they piled up behind him. Ronnie Johnson got t-boned hard. Eric Jacobsen, who came all the way from Santa Cruz, California for the event spun to a stop with the Flash. With some many cars involved the red flag was displayed while the ambulance attended the Flash, who appeared to have suffered a fractured arm. Johnson walked to the ambulance and was whisked away to the trauma center for x-rays and most all of the cars went to the pits. Unfortunately, Johnny Cloer and team mate Clint Cat Daddy Smith's cars were both pronounced DOA in the pits and forced into early retirement with DNFs. Only 16 cars were able to respond to the green flag and Shane Clanton was still in the lead and dominating. Clanton and Madden pulled away from McDowell and Eckert running third and fourth who were pulling away from the rest of the field. William Thomas fired his afterburners on his JW Miller Land and Timber Rocket chassis Monte Carlo and blasted by John Blankenship of Williamson, WV on lap 38 to move into 13th. Ricky Williams was trying to hang with Thomas but has having trouble getting around Blankenship. On lap 42, Clanton and Madden put a lap on Jacobson as they were still turning in 15- second laps. Scott Bloomquist was unsuccessfully working his psychology on Chupp looking for a pass when William Thomas caught up with Bloomer and was waiting for an opportunity to pass them both. Clanton hit the lap traffic again and all the leaders bunched up behind him. Then Jake Knowles went off the backstretch and brought out a yellow. Knowles, Vic Hill, and Terrence Nowell all went to the pits. Then Madden had a flat and had to go to the pits and the line up shifted. The leaders, in order, were Clanton, McDowell, Eckert, Steve Francis from Ashland, KY, Petey Ivy, Erb, Chupp, and Bloomquist. Clanton and McDowell distanced themselves from the pack. Then the moonlight madness began having its weird effect on the racers as Ivey had a flat and went to the pits. Then Jacobson's left rear tire was about to wobble off and he went to the pits. At lap 58 the top ten contenders were; Clanton, McDowell, Eckert, Francis, Erb, Chupp, Bloomquist, Thomas, Williams, and Knowles. The green flag was out and Francis, Thomas, and Chupp found themselves three wide. Madden, who was coming back from the rear found out it was no picnic trying to pass Ricky Williams who was still trying to pass Thomas. Then on lap 67 Williams went to the inside of Thomas and made the pass. When Madden followed him past in turn 4 it was obvious Thomas had developed a mechanical problem. Chupp also slowed to a stop in the groove and brought out the yellow. He went to the pits, changed a tire and came back out for the restart. Bloomquist got a great restart and powered his way into 4th at lap 71. Now Eckert had a rear view mirror full of the number 0 barreling down on him. Hill put a pass on Chupp to move into 7th place on lap 75, which was the cut off point for the Alabama Double File restart. Now all restarts would be single file. Clanton, McDowell, Eckert, and Blooquist seemed to run even faster as they stretched out a full straight-away from Williams in fifth. Bloomquist caught up with Eckert and was getting on the inside in the turns but Eckert was great off the corners and escaped down the straights. Suddenly Francis had a flat and spun off the back to bring out a caution on lap 89. On the single file restart Ivey was charging hard and bumped into Thomas which forced Nowell off the track and the yellow was back out. Ivey was sent to the rear of the cars on the lead lap and the green was back out. As they reached turn one Nowell did a bump and run on Thomas and passed only to find himself off the back stretch and then stuck on the top of turn three. During this caution the full moon lunacy was getting stronger. Suddenly Vic Hill ran out of fuel and coasted to a stop. A wrecker pushed Nowell off the top of turn three and he fired off and seemed fine. Then Knowles rolled into the pits seemingly out of fuel. Thomas's left front wheel seemed to be coming off, like a broken shock or suspension part and he rolled into the pits. Unbelievably, Shane Clanton's left rear wheel came off in turn four and he went to the pits. After changing the tire his engine would not fire as he was out of gas. He jumped out of his race car and stormed around realizing that after leading all of 93 laps, his bid for victory was over. Then Randle Chupp's wheel flew off in turn one- all this under caution was too much and since Chupp had turn one blocked with the wrecker the race was red flagged, again. But the full moon was not finished as Nowell suddenly ran out of fuel and coasted into the pits and Ricky Williams also went to the pits. When the remaining cars stopped on the front stretch the crew members started running out on the track with gas cans and air tanks and it was like a mad house trying to re-establish order. When things were about to go green again Jake Knowles rolled into the pits. Finally, lights out, green flag, and McDowell is in the lead with Eckert second and Bloomquist third. Then, with 5 laps to go, another caution fell when Vic Hill drove up the track and hit Nowell knocking him off the track. The race director made a prudent call and put both cars back where they were and went green. McDowell ran the fastest laps of his life to get to the checkers and claim the $30,000 to win, the beautiful six-foot trophy, and the honor of becoming the 32nd National 100 Champion. Rick Eckert picked up a sporty $10,000 for second place. Scott Bloomquist finished third, Chris Madden fourth, Dennis Erb JR fifth, Steve Francis sixth, Terrance Nowell seventh, Vic Hill eighth, Randle Chupp ninth, Petey Ivy tenth, and rookie William Thomas rounded out the top eleven in eleventh.



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