Phenix City, ALA - March 1, 2008 - The 23rd Annual Jimmy Thomas Memorial
was held at East Alabama Motor Speedway on a beautiful weekend opening
the 2008 racing season. The 100 lap $10,000 to win Crate Late Model
feature was dominated by Ronnie Johnson, The Chattanooga Flash. Local
rookie Richie Stephens surprised most by starting the feature from the
pole. When the green flag dropped Johnson and Royce Bray took the high
groove to pass Stephens in turn one. Bray was leading with the Flash in
second, Derrick Rainey third, Jordy Nipper fourth, Stephens fifth, Jeff
Fields sixth, and the patriarch's grandson William Thomas was in seventh.
On lap 8 Larry Harrod got spun for a caution as local legend Dana Eiland
took his K-9 to the pits for a left front flat. On the restart The Flash
was all over Bray challenging for the lead. To the delight of thousands
of fans , this fierce battle for the lead continued until lap 15 when the
Flash took the lead and never looked back. Jordy Nipper and Thomas were
locked in mortal combat over 4th place with Thomas too tough to shake.
Jake Knowles was on a run and making Terrance Nowell's life difficult as
he closed in on lap 23. The Flash encountered thick lap traffic and
weaved his way through effortlessly as he began to put most of the field
a lap down. Jeff Smith and Dana Eiland were sparring for position as the
Flash whizzed by. At lap 44 the Flash darted by Mike Parkerson as he held
a straightaway lead on second place Rainey. After lapping Larry Harrod
and Keith Freeman The Flash was in clean air and picked up his lap time
to low seventeens as the EAMS track surface was blacked over, dust free,
pot hole free, and super fast. On lap 61 Thomas put it on Bray to take
the third position and put Knowles down a lap. On lap 69 there were only
5 cars left on the lead lap. Johnson, Rainey, Thomas, defending Champion
Frankie Beard, and Royce Bray in his # 21 Rolls Royce were the only
drivers still in contention for the win. Stephens and Bobby Eiland
collided in turn three which sent Eiland head over heels off turn three.
Eiland jumped out of the mangled TR Motors 08 physically fine but
obviously upset. After the red flag. on the restart Bray amde a clean
pass on Beard to move into fourth and go after Thomas. Rainey managed to
get on the inside of Johnson and challenge for the lead but the Flash had
all the right answers to hold Rainey back. Johnson came out of turn four
on the high groove and as Rainey came out of turn four wide open, Stacey
Roberts, a lap car, had just been given the move over flag to let the
Flash by but he moved into the lower groove right in front of Rainey.
Rainey had nowhere to go except into the back of Roberts for a horrible
collision which not only took Rainey out of second place but took him out
of the race as well. William Thomas was more than happy to be relegated
second place as the green came back. Nipper was behind Beard and driving
like the devil himself was chasing him. The Flash continued his
unrelenting speed and pulled 10 carlengths ahead of Thomas. As Nipper
tried to hang with the leaders he drifted high going into turn one and
hit the outside retaining wall and came to a stop at the top of turn one
for the lap 94 caution. When the green came back The Chattanooga Flash
lived up to his moniker as he speed to the checkers his second win of the
weekend. Johnson also won the Late Model Sportsman event with brilliant
track strategy and a perfectly set up race car. Johnson, a true Southern
gentleman, said he was very proud to have honored Jimmy Thomas with this
victory and will always cherish the accolade The Jimmy Thomas Memorial
Champion. Jimmy Thomas was also no doubt proud to have his young grandson
William finish second in this field of highly accomplished Late Model
competitors. Royce Bray finished third, Frankie Beard fourth, Terrance
Nowell fifth, Jason Hiett sixth, Jeff Fields seventh, Jeff Fortner
eighth, Hunter Peacock ninth, and Jake Knowles rounded out the top ten in
Eiland Wins Season Opener
By Jay Vaquer
Phenix City, ALA – March 15, 2008 – The 2008 racing season at East Alabama Motor Speedway got off with an impressive start. The high car count and nearly filled grandstands promises a successful year. The Late Model feature was very exciting with intense racing all around the track and thrilling lead changes. The Master of Faster, local legend Dana Eiland, proved he is still the man to beat. A very talented rookie, Richie Stephens, placed his #oo on the outside pole for the feature. When the green flag dropped Stephens and Eiland raced into turn one and Stephens emerged with the lead and began to run away from the pack. Eiland had a strong push in turns one and two and lost momentum as Larry Eldridge slid under him to take over the second position. Larry Harrod was running strong and offered the fans a thrill as he sparred with another strong competitor, Jeff Mills over fourth place. On the restart of the lap 7 caution, Harrod made a swift and clean pass on Mills and went after Eiland in third. When he got back to turn two something broke on his left front suspension and he spun right in front of Mickey Benton who had no other option except to t-bone Harrod. Unfortunately both former Late Model champions went to the pits for DNF’s. When the green came back Dana Eiland was running very high on the track and Eldridge was running the apron. When they exited the corners they would run door to door down the straight-aways. Suddenly, Eiland switched grooves and caught Eldridge off guard and took over second place. Eiland picked up nearly a second on the apron and was there for the lead. Eiland and Stephens swapped positions, which had the fans on their feet to see these lead changes. Finally Eiland got a jump in momentum and pulled to a five car-length lead from Stephens. Pat Wall began to break and lost speed in the center groove to bring out the lap 15 caution. The restart order was Eiland, Stephens, Eldridge, and somehow Matt Woodson had found himself running fourth ahead of Stephen Pearson JR in fifth. When the green came back Eiland’s K-9 had dialed in his set-up and he blasted off to run several car lengths ahead of Stephens who was busy with an ever charging Eldridge. Woodson in fourth had his own space on the track running several car-lengths behind Eldridge and several car-lengths ahead of the rest of the pack. When Eiland ran up on the lap traffic Stephens came flying out of turn 4 wide open and closed on the rear of Eiland. Stephens pushed Eiland in front of the flag stand and while the K-9 wiggled off his line, Eiland maintained control and again sped away from Stephens. The white flag was out and the K-9 sensed another victory as he sped to the checkers to win yet another Late Model victory to add to his prolific legacy. Richie Stephens finished second and was very strong which ensures that he will see Victory Lane this season. Larry Eldridge finished third, Matt Woodson collected his first top five finish in fourth and he did not even scratch his shiny new racecar. Gordy Scarborough finished fifth, Jeff Mills sixth, Richard Mills seventh, Stephen Pearson JR eighth, Pat Wall ninth, and Greg Gatlin rounded out the top ten in tenth.
STEPHENS WINS EAST ALABAMA
By Jay Vaquer
Phenix City, ALA – March 22, 2008 - In the past few years Richie "
Rocketman" Stephens has totally dominated the lower divisions, Bomber and
Hobby, at East Alabama Motor Speedway. There was speculation as to
whether or not his driving skills would extend to the top divisions. This
Saturday night he erased all doubt by winning the outside pole for the
Late Model feature. Former Late Model champion Mickey Benton won the pole
with a blistering time of 15.50. When the green flag dropped on the
feature, Benton fired and blew a transmission seal, which allowed
Stephens and a few others pass before getting to turn one. Dana Eiland
was right on the Rocketman’s rear bumper as they sped away from the
field. Larry Harrod was in third with Larry Eldridge in his shadow and
the excitement was on as they sparred for early positions. On lap 4 Marc
Gooden spun into the wall in turn 4 to bring out the first yellow flag
caution. When the green flag came back Rocketman blasted out to the lead
with Eiland’s K-9 nipping at his heels. Eiland got inside on the apron
but Stephens was in the preferred groove and slipped away down the
backstretch. Uncharacteristically Larry Harrod spun on his own in turn 4
to bring out another caution. After the race Harrod, somewhat embarrassed
when asked why he spun, said that the wires from his race receiver got
tangled in his seatbelt and left arm. Harrod was sent to the rear of the
field and the green flag was back out. Rocketman and Eiland seemed to be
in a higher class as they immediately began leaving the rest of the field
in their dust. A newcomer to the high banks of the 3/8 mile clay oval,
Chris Carlson, lost the handle in turn two and caused a pile up.
Eldridge, Chad Wallace, and Rickey Culpepper spun into each other for
some heavy sheet metal damage but fortunately no structural damage and
they were able to continue. Gooden went to the pits during this caution,
as did Larry Harrod with a flat left rear. When the green resumed,
Rocketman looked just like he did in his Hobby car, running out front and
pulling away from the field with the exception of Dana Eiland who seemed
glued to his rear bumper. Chad Wallace began to run a unique line at the
very top of the track and found some speed in that cool clay. Culpepper
was right on him looking for the pass as they slipped by Benton who was
still running a good race even with the bad transmission. Culpepper
waited for his opportunity and made a power pass on Wallace to take over
the fourth spot. As Culpepper ran down Eldridge Mike Parkerson made a
clean pass on Wallace to move into fifth on lap 16. Rocketman and Eiland
were in lap traffic as they put Greg Gatlin and Pat Wall down a lap.
Debris was responsible for the lap 19 caution. Chad Wallace called it
quits and took his damaged #34 to the pits for a DNF. When the green
resumed again it was Rocketman, leading with the legendary champ Dana
Eiland trying to shake him out of the lead. Stephens held on to the lead
and drove a remarkable race to take the checkers and show the fans and
drivers alike, that he is for real and that he has raised the bar for all
the Late Model contenders. Dana Eiland finished second, Larry Eldridge
third, Ricky Culpepper fourth, Mike Parkerson fifth, Larry Harrod sixth,
Montana Dudley seventh, Jim Moon eighth, Marc Gooden ninth, and Matt
Woodson, who drove an incredible race and did not tear up his race car,
rounded out the top ten in tenth.
STEPHENS WINS AGAIN at EAST ALABAMA
By Jay Vaquer
Phenix City, ALA - March 29, 2008 - It was Deja Vu all over again as
Richie "Rocketman" Stephens won the Late Model division at East Alabama
Motor Speedway for the second week in a row. Anthony Meadows was fast
time qualifyer to earn the pole for the feature and Rocketman was right
there on the outside pole when the green dropped. The first 4 starts
ended in cautions as Meadows was pushing high exiting turn 2 to bring out
the yellow. They went to the single file restart and again as Meadows
came out of turn one he spun on his own. When he went to the pits he
discovered his left front tire was nearly flat and was the cause of his
push. Nonetheless, Meadows was relegated to the rear for the restart. The
order was Rocketman, Montana Dudley, Ricky Culpepper, Larry Harrod, The
Phenix City Assassin Terrance Nowell, Dana Eiland, Larry Eldridge, and
Matt Woodson. When the green dropped Dudley spun in turn two and
collected Harrod and Woodson, who sustained structural damage. It was
still lap 1 and now Rocketman had Slick Rick Culpepper on his tail in
second place. Rocketman kept the pedal to the metal as he never even
cracked the throttle through the corners, running on the apron he pulled
away from the field. Culpepper began to fade and Nowell was there to take
second place. Eiland and Harrod were going door to door when they caught
up to Culpepper and now they were going three wide through the turns. The
grandstands were nearly full, many newcomers showed up to see the Sprint
Cars, and now they were on their feet cheering as the Late Models showed
why they were the top class. The Rocketman was really pouring it on as he
began lapping the back of the field on lap 10. While weaving his way
around Greg Gatlin and Montana Dudley, Nowell caught up and was
challenging for the lead. Nowell was also on the apron and got under
Stephens forcing him off his preferred line. As Stephens passed Mickey
Benton, The Master of Faster, Dana Eiland caught up to the leaders and
began sparring with Nowell. This gave Rocketman a chance to get away as
he continued lapping the field. Pat Wall, Mickey Benton and Dudley all got
lapped by the Rocketman cruising around the speed of light. As the white
flag came out he blasted by Woodson and took the checkers unabated
punctuating his arrival as a serious challenger for the 2008 Late Model
Championship. Terrance Nowell finished second, Dana Eiland third, Larry
Harrod fourth, Ricky Culpepper fifth, Larry Eldridge sixth, Matt Woodson
seventh, Pat Wall eighth, Mickey Benton ninth, and Montana Dudley rounded
out the top ten in tenth.
ASSASSIN HITS ROCKETMAN at EAST ALABAMA
By Jay Vaquer
Phenix City, ALA - April 12, 2008 - The Late Model division at East
Alabama Motor Speedway has exploded with high energy competition as most
of the field were gunning to stop Richie "Rocketman" Stephens' two week
winning streak. When Rocketman won the $100 Extreme Power Sports bonus
for setting fast time with a scorching 16.70 second lap, it appeared he
would make it 3 wins in a row. When the green flag dropped on the feature
Rocketman blasted out to a lead as the outside pole sitter Chase Edge
got shuffled back to fifth. Most of the drivers were in the middle groove
with the exception of Terrance " The Phenix City Assassin" Nowell who ran
by himself at the very top of the track. Nowell looked like he was shot
out of a sling shot as he came out of turn 2 running at least 10 mph
faster than anyone else. As he passed the cars ahead of him Larry
Eldridge and Bobby Eiland got into each other to bring out the lap 2
caution. On the restart again the Assassin went to the high side and shot
by Larry Harrod in second and still had momentum to pass the Rocketman
before entering turn 3. Another caution saved their positions as the
racers were reset to the previous lap for the restart. This time The
Rocketman was aware of Nowell's speed from the top so he went up to the
top to block that game. As if the Assassin had planned on Rocketman
making that move, Nowell dove from the top of turn one to the apron and
took the lead on lap 5. The running order was Nowell, Stephens, Harrod,
Dana Eiland, and driving the Ben Thomas Racing house car was Fast Track
National Champion William Thomas in fifth. Thomas was experimenting
running a 602 crate engine while everyone else had the more powerful 604
crate engine. With the Assassin on the high side and Rocketman in his
shadow, Harrod and Eiland moved up there also. Then Thomas dove to the
apron and passed Eiland and Harrod,demonstrating that power is not the
only solution for speed. Harrod stayed high and developed enough speed to
shoot by Thomas and Rocketman to take second spot as Mark Patterson
entered the pits with a mechanical failure. The Assassin was running away
from the field and the rest of the leaders went to the high groove which
now was blacking over as lap speeds increased. Eiland and Stephens were
locked in mortal combat as they sparred door to door. Eiland on the high
side took third but the Rocketman came back from the inside and had the
fans on their feet cheering. Jeff Mills made a power move in his new
black # 15 to pass Thomas while Nowell began lapping Marc Gooden and
Chase Edge at the rear. Nowell was over half a track ahead of second
place Harrod when the Rocketman hit his after burners to take back second
spot. Debris brought a caution with 2 laps to go. On the restart Thomas
revealed his signature " I'll pass you anywhere on the track" technique
as he picked off Mills and Eiland to move into third. The Rocketman was
all over Nowell but the Assassin was too much as he took the checkers in
the most exciting event of the season. Richie Stephens finished second,
William Thomas third, Dana Eiland fourth, Jeff Mills fifth, Matt Woodson,
who drove a smart and strong race got the sixth spot, Larry Harrod
finished seventh, Charlie Gushue eighth, Montana Dudley ninth, and Chase
Edge rounded out the top ten in tenth.
In the Limited Sportsman division Danny Stroud started the feature from
the pole. Rodgerick Dykes must have been watching the Late Model race as
he went to the high side and found the speed to take the lead. With a few
laps to go, Mikey Mount found his way to the lead and took the checkers.
Rodgerick Dykes finished second, Danny Stroud third, JW Noles fourth, and
Randy Hester finished fifth.
The Bomber division has seen Trevor Elliot win the past two weeks which
made him eligible for the Alabama Rock prize of $300 for three wins in a
row. However, Richie "Rocketman" Stephens' father, Richard Stephens SR
took the lead on lap five and held on to take the checkers. Trevor Elliot
finished second, Trevor's father Jeff Elliot finished third, Shelby Amos
finished fourth, and Christy Noles finished fifth..
The Hobby division started with Jerry Luke on the pole and taking a
convincing lead while holding back the charging Allen McConnell. After
Jeremy Nevels spun out McConnell on lap three for a caution, John Michael
slammed into the rear of Luke and Luke was never as fast after that.
Randy Renfroe and Nevels went door to door in a photo finish with Randy
Renfroe winning the feature. Jeremy Nevels finished second, John Michael
third, Allen McConnell fourth, and Robert Jackson fifth.
The Pony division started with Chance Renfroe on the pole who quickly
went from first to last. Adam Rodriquez moved into first and ran away
from the pack to take the checkers uncontested until post race
inspection. He was found to be running illegal tires and was disqualified
giving the win to Bryan Price, Bobby Duell second, Jacob Brittingham
third, and Chance Renfroe fourth.
The Modified division started its feature with Ricky White on the pole
who went wire to wire for the lead. Randy Register finished second,
Wesley DuBoise third, Andy Smith fourth, and Johnny Greene finished
WHITENER WINS UNITED DIRT LATE MODEL FEATURE
By Jay Vaquer
Phenix City, ALA - April 19, 2008 - Race Director Ken Kinney Jr. brought his United Dirt Late Model Challenge Series from LaBelle, Florida to compete on the high banks of East Alabama Motor Speedway in a 50 lap $4,000 to win event. The Series offers fast and exciting racing with rules set to allow most dirt late models to run without major changes or modifications. Therefore we had our local Late Model Crates compete against Late Model Sportsman cars with more powerful engines. As long as it was a 358 everything, save an aluminum block, was fair game. Mark Whitener from Middleburg, Florida was born to race at EAMS. He posted a fast time of 15.24, which was nearly a half second faster than anyone else to win the pole. On the outside was Jay Johnson from Moultrie, GA and in the second row was Fastrak National Champion William Thomas and our local late model legend Dana Eiland on the outside. When the green dropped on the feature, Johnson won the drag race to turn one while Larry Harrod fired and lost power. Harrod skillfully entered the pits without causing a caution and began searching for the cause of his engine failure. Johnson went high in turn one and dropped three spots to Whitener, Eiland and Thomas, who blasted by on the inside. Ricky Culpepper had a great start in the top ten but got caught up in the mix, forced off the back stretch and now faced a full field of 28 cars chasing victory. Another powerful local competitor, The Rocketman Richie Stephens, bent the left front suspension and had to take an unfortunate DNF from seventh place. Johnny Collins began an all out assault on Thomas challenging for the third place. They put on a great spectacle of highly competitive dirt track racing, swapping positions, which fulfilled the prophecy for excitement. On lap 11 Johnson made the pass for third stick. Former Late Model Champion Jeff Culpepper was having a successful run when he lost power in turn 4 and coasted to a stop on the front straight for a yellow flag caution. Later the crew discovered Jeff's throttle linkage broke, no doubt due to that big lead foot hammered down as he was coming to the front. Jordy Nipper was tangling with the Assassin, Terrance Nowell in eleventh who was really hooked up in turns one and two, but not too well in three and four. They were at it back and fourth then the Assassin took a walk on the wild side off turn one. Bobby Eiland retired to the pit with a mechanical failure while Nipper and another former Late Model Champion, JR Moseley were on a run. Moseley is always fast when the track is hard and was having a good run as he worked on passing Montana Dudley. Coming out of turn 4 Moseley's line took him into a slick spot where suddenly he was along for the ride. While doing a 360 his front nose was amputated giving him the Modified look. Moseley called it a night and went to the pits for a DNF. Johnny Collins was finding out why Dana Eiland is a living legend when he tried to take second place from The Master of Faster #K9 Eiland. At lap 24, a disappointed Ricky Culpepper entered the pits with a failure and a DNF. Whitener was having it his way as he ran through lap traffic at record speeds. He kept an even keel anywhere on the track while running wide open and displayed tremendous driving skills. Eiland could run him down but only wait for the opportunity or luck, to make a pass. To the dismay of many fans, Thomas, in third and poised for his last minute bid for the win, lost power and coasted into the pits for a DNF. When Whitener hit heavy lap traffic Eiland moved his K-9 in for the kill and ran door to door for some serious excitement. Whitener used the lap cars as picks to maintain the lead. The Assassin took a shot and came to a stop for the lap 30 caution. Larry Harrod was down 30 laps but being our current Late Model Champion he showed the "never give up" attitude of a true champ and came back to the race. His crew discovered that a wire had separated in his distributor when he fired at the beginning of the race. When the green came back Whitener kept the pressure on as he gained serious ground from the pack, with the exception of the persistent K-9 nipping at his heels. They were soon a straightaway ahead of Collins in third. Eiland was as fast as Whitener but needed that element of chance to pass. Shane Williams from Deleon Springs, FL who has 11 UDLM Series wins this year, coasted to a stop in turn one. Russell Brown JR got a flat and stopped in turn 4 for the lap 44 caution. There were now 16 cars left on the track, including several lap cars. When the green came back Whitener and Eiland chose the high groove and Collins and Keith Nosbisch, running third and fourth, took the middle groove. On lap 48 the seventeen's tried to cancel themselves out as the #17 of Dusty Cone hit the #17 of Shan Smith and they spun to a stop in turn 4. This set up a green, white checkers situation. Mark Whitener in his # 7 Robert's Construction Russell Brown Racecar was definitely the man as he took the checkers. Dana Eiland finished in second, which is ahead of the other 43 teams who showed up for the event. Johnny Collins finished third, Keith Nosbisch fourth, Shan Smith fifth, Jay Johnson sixth, Jackie Nosbisch seventh, the Phenix City Assassin Terrance Nowell finished eighth with his Crate engine, Adam Bedenbaugh ninth, and local rookie phenom Montana Dudley rounded out the top ten in tenth with his # 55 crate engine.
The Limited Sportsman division started with Russ Ogletree in the lead.
Rodgerick Dykes passed Steven Gaines JR to move into second place on lap 9. Danny Stroud had passed Josh Marchman a few times but cautions made them reset. When Stroud finally got around for good, Marchman and Stroud crashed on the front stretch sending them both to the pits for DNF's. On lap 15 Dykes powered his way into the lead and took the checkers. Mikey Mount crossed the finish line with his right rear wheel dangling on a thread. Russ Ogletree finished second, Steven Gaines JR finished third, Thomas Lewis fourth, and Efrem Holbrook finished fifth.
In the Bomber division Billy Duell, JR took the lead from the outside pole. Richard Stephens SR was all over him and took the lead on lap 2.
They crashed on the front straight and Stephens went to the pits on lap
5. On lap 10 Steven Bryan, already lapped, took out the leader. Duell was able to hang on and take the checkers. Trevor Elliot finished second, Jeff Elliot third, Turkey Leg fourth, and Josh Thigpen finished fifth.
The Hobby division finally saw Jerry Luke win a feature race. Allen
McConnell started on the pole and Luke passed him on the first lap. Luke must be living right as his motor did not blow, his tires did not fall off, and his hood did not fly up and most importantly he drove a mature race, did not spin out, and brought home the bacon. Congratulations. Allen McConnell finished second, John Michael third, Jeremy Nevels fourth, and Chris Arnett rounded out the top five.
MEADOWS MASTERS EAST ALABAMA
By Jay Vaquer
Phenix City, ALA - April 26, 2008 - A victory at East Alabama Motor Speedway is not a gratuitous thing, you must earn it. Late Model driver Anthony Meadows has always been an extremely competitive driver and successful at any track he runs. His victory this Saturday night was his first at EAMS in nearly 3 years. Not only did Meadows win the Late Model feature, he also set fast time qualifying with a scorching 15.66 to sit on the pole when the green flag dropped. Meadows took command with Richie "Rocketman" Stevens on him like white on rice. At the same time Dana Eiland from third was looking for a way to pass them both and the excitement was on. Chad Cardin suddenly lost the handle and went off the back strait for a yellow flag. On the restart Meadows took the lead and with a clear track ahead began to run away from the charging pack. Dana Eiland got the fans to their feet as he put his K-9 inside the Rocketman and it was wisdom against youthful talent Eiland made the inside groove of turn 4 his launch pad and blasted past Rocketman to take the second position. Eiland put the whip to his K-9 and ran down Meadows. On lap five "The Master of Faster" Dana Eiland took the lead to the seemingly endless delight of his many fans. The emotional rollercoaster that went so high had to come back down and suddenly a gremlin attacked the K-9 and Eiland's right front hub came loose and he was carried by momentum off the top of turn two for a yellow flag. He was towed to the pits and while it was on the hook his expert crew quickly fixed it and sent him back to the race, at the rear, for the restart. Meadows fired with Rocketman in his shadow looking for the lead. In seventh spot Bobby Eiland and "The Phenix City Assassin" Terrance Nowell were having a high speed battle for position. Our current Late Model track champion Larry Harrod was looking for a way to pass Jeff Mills running in fourth when Bobby Eiland developed a tire rub, no doubt a fatal shot from the Assassin. Bobby Eiland entered the pits for an early and unfortunate DNF. The Assassin's next victim was Montana Dudley. The Assassin had too much speed as he shot by Dudley and went high in turn two which allowed Dudley to pass right back and another exciting battle was on. Meanwhile, Dana Eiland was charging to the front as he passed Matt Woodson, Kelly Leonard, and Chad Cardin in one fell swoop. The middle of the pack was bunched up running four wide when former Late Model Champion Mickey Benton took a ride on the wild side. As his Grease Monkey #2 Monte Carlo went over the top close to turn three, he flipped over landing upside down. The emergency crew had to fight off concerned family members to extricate Benton, who walked back to his trailer and then collapsed. An ambulance then took him to the emergency room for examinations. After this red flag the green was back and Meadows could taste the victory as he flawlessly maintained the lead from the persistent charges of The Rocketman. Dana Eiland was on a run passing Dudley to move into seventh place. Larry Eldridge and Larry Harrod sped past Rocketman for second and third. Rocketman had broken his suspension and was still racing with only three wheels touching the ground and sometimes only the back two tires on the ground. Nowell was in fifth but nearly a straightaway behind Meadows who took the checkers in championship form. Larry Eldridge finished second, Larry Harrod third, Richie Stephens fourth, Terrance Nowell fifth, Jeff Mills sixth, Dana Eiland seventh, Montana Dudley eighth, Gordy Scarborough ninth, and rounding out the top ten in tenth was the #88 of Matt Woodson.
In the Bomber division Robbie Luke started the feature from the pole. On
lap 7 Billy Duell JR took the lead and shortly thereafter the #90 of
Luke went up in smoke as the engine expired. On lap 12 Shelby Amos moved
up to third and Richard Stephens SR moved into fourth. Billy Duell took
the checkers with Christy Noles finishing second, Shelby Amos third,
Richard Stephens SR fourth, and Jeff Elliot finished fifth.
The Pony Stock division started its feature with Bobby Duell on the pole.
Before reaching turn one Adam Rodriguez and Bryan Price passed him. On
lap 2 Chance Renfroe passed Duell. Rodriguez and Price battled hard for
position swapping paint on the back stretch. Rodriguez seemed to have the
advantage on the outside line until Price took the lead on lap 10. Bryan
Price finished first, Adam Rodriguez second, Bobby Duell third, Kenneth
Catrett fourth, and Chance Refroe came in fifth.
In Limited Sportsman Steven Gaines JR started from the pole. Rodgerick
Dykes and Danny Stroud were quickly challenging for the lead. It was a
close and exciting race in the front. Dykes and Gaines were racing hard off of turn four,
and got together coming down the front straight with Dykes flipping end over end, and
then finishing up with several barrel rolls reminiscent of a Formula one
crash at 200 mph with parts flying everywhere. When he came to a stop his
flattened race car burst into flames. Dykes escaped serious injury and
each driver accused the other of being at fault. The accident also sent Steven Gaines JR
to the pits for a DNF. The melee carried into
the pits where one of Dyke's crew members was arrested after an attack on
Steve Gaines SR. After the fight a race broke out and Danny Stroud was in
the lead and not taking any prisoners as he sped to the checkers. Dustin
Elliot finished second, Josh Marchman third, Paul Walters fourth, and
Mikey Mount came in fifth.
The Hobby division began with Allen McConnell leading until a right front
flat took him off turn 2 for a caution. Jeremy Nevels took the lead and
never looked back as he took the checkers. John Michael finished second,
Scott Sherrer third, Jeremy Nelson fourth, and Ricky Hedley finished
JC Duboise started the Modified feature from the pole. John Green passed
him and briefly held the lead until Ricky White took the lead on lap two
and held on for the checkers. John Green finished second, Stacy Mashburn
third, Andy Smith fourth, and Scott Prins came in fifth.
ASSASSIN SLAYS FIELD AT EAST ALABAMA
By Jay Vaquer
Phenix City, ALA - May 17, 2008 - Since the grandstands at East Alabama Motor Speedway were packed in lieu of Military Appreciation night, Late Model driver Terrance "The Phenix City Assassin" Nowell demonstrated to our soldiers how you decimate the enemy. The Assassin's all out assault began with fast time qualifying where he won the pole for the feature with a super fast 15.87, nobody else was even close. When the green flag dropped on the main event the Assassin sped out to a comfortable lead while the rest of the pack scrambled furiously to keep pace. Marvin Cook started from the outside pole and was in second when Brandon Register brought his questionable # 68 Bloomquist car into the picture. Even though Register's car said it was a Bloomquist chassis, and he did have the right fuel cell, other drivers said it was most likely a Mastersbilt knock-off. Either way, it was fast and he moved into second place. Bobby Eiland was also on a mission as he began his run to the front passing his way into seventh. Richie " Rocketman" Stephens was also in the game as he moved into fourth on lap 2. Bad luck bit Matt Woodson as he got forced into the front wall to bring out the lap 3 caution. When the green came back Eiland got side ways in turn two and slowed down everybody behind him except Ricky Culpepper who shot by several cars from the very top of the track. Register got inside the Assassin, who was flying around the top of the track, and we had some thrilling laps until the Assassin hammered down, with killer bite off the corners, and left Register and the field in his wake. Register must have felt vulnerable for a second, which was all it took for Eiland to come up and take over the second place position. Suddenly Josh Noles went off the back and a caution was called. The front five at lap 8 were, Nowell, Eiland, Register, Stephens, and Culpepper. Rocketman, who emulates his dirt track idol Scott Bloomquist, probably felt that # 68 was blasphemous, and put him down as he made a clean and powerful pass in turn two to take over the third place position. Bert Tomkins got on the inside of Culpepper and tried to take his position but Culpepper was not having anybody pass him and successfully held back all attempts to pass. Another exciting battle was Jeff Mills and Marc Gooden. Mills was too savvy for Gooden and came out on top of that battle over seventh. Unlucky lap thirteen caught up with Gordy Scarborough as he went off the back for a yellow flag. When this green flag came back out, the Assassin had the checkers in his sights and really poured it on. He led second place Eiland by a straightaway, who led Rocketman by nearly the same distance and Rocketman was about that distance ahead of Register. The white flag was out and everyone held their positions to the checkers. Terrance Nowell put another notch on his big gun as he dominated this race. Bobby Eiland came across the line in second but was found light at the scales and disqualified. Richie Stephens moved into second place, Brandon Register third, Jeff Mills fourth, Ricky Culpepper fifth, Chad Carden sixth, Bert Tomkins seventh, Montana Dudley eighth, Josh Noles ninth, and Chase Edge rounded out the top ten in tenth.
In the Pony division Adam Rodriguez started from the pole. Bryan Price
moved up to challenge on lap five then spun out for a caution. On the
restart Chance Renfroe jumped the start to take the lead. At the next
caution Renfroe was penalized and moved back a spot where he had to spar with Rodriguez. Rodriguez held him back and was going door to door with Price who took the lead on lap 13. Price crossed the finish line less than a second ahead of Rodriguez. Renfroe came in third, Terry McCraine came in fourth, and Bryan Prins finished fifth.
The Limited Sportsman division saw Danny Stroud take the early lead.
Rodgerick Dykes came from the middle to pass Russ Ogletree and Mikey
Mount to move into second. Steven Gaines JR powered around Ogletree to
move into fourth. Dykes slipped under Stroud in turn three for the lead. Then Mount passed Stroud for second. Rodgerick Dykes took the checkers with Mount second, Stroud third, Gaines fourth, and Ogletree fifth.
In the Bomber division Billy Duell JR put his Diversified Mechanical
Chevy in first place on the first lap and never looked back, taking the
checkers. Trevor Elliot finished second, Jeff Elliot third, Shelby Amos
fourth, and John Dozier finished fifth.
The Modified Division began with former Late Model Champion Jeff
Culpepper taking the lead from the outside pole. Rickey White came flying past Culpepper but had so much speed he could not hang on to turn one and went over the top. Johnny Green tried to take the lead but Culpepper's experience on the high banked clay oval prevented that from happening until lap 7. White wasted no time getting back to the front and battled with Culpepper until Greene spun in turn one and got t-boned by Duane Treadwell. White took the lead on the restart and Stacy Mashburn put a swift pass on Culpepper. White won, again, with Mashburn second, Culpepper third, Scott Prins fourth and Johnny Green finished fifth.
The Hobby division had a hard time getting in that first lap and
attrition claimed nearly half the field and half the time. Jeremy Nelson finally won the shortened feature with John Michael second, Allen McConnell third, Jeremy Nevels fourth, and Paul Gains fifth.
MEADOWS WINS EAST ALABAMA
By Jay Vaquer
Phenix City, ALA - May 24, 2008 - Memorial Day celebration at East Alabama Motor Speedway was nothing short of spectacular. The gigantic fireworks display paid tribute to our valiant soldiers who gave their lives for our great country and our freedom to enjoy dirt track racing. Richie " The Rocketman" Stephens showed up for the party in a brand new space ship, a Ben Thomas Racing Scorpion Late Model. He wasted no time showing how fast it was when he posted a 15.47 fast time to earn the pole for the feature. When the green flag dropped the Rocketman blasted out to the lead with outside pole sitter Anthony Meadows in his shadow. Terrance "The Phenix City Assassin" Nowell began his run from sixth and passed track champion Larry Harrod on lap 8 to move into fourth place behind Larry Eldridge. Rookie Montana Dudley lost the handle in turn three and spun for the lap 9 caution. When the green came back Meadows moved to the inside of Rocketman's # 00 looking for the lead then Harrod shot past to take second place. Coming down the backstretch Meadows got into Harrod and sent him flying off the track. Harrod was given back his spot and on the restart Harrod took the lead from the Rocketman and Meadows, Nowell, and Eldridge followed. On lap 14 the Assassin went off turn four to bring out another caution. Harrod pulled down to have the track stewards check his right front wheel which was noticeably bent. They sent him back to the battle and just as the green came out, the Rocketman entered the pits. Then Harrod literally drove the wheels off his # 27 as the bent right front wheel came off and passed him down the front straight. You could hear Harrod singing, " you picked a fine time to leave me loose wheel" as he got towed to the pits. During this caution the Rocketman returned to the fight and Kelly Leonard entered the pits. Lights out, action, and Eldridge was on the inside of Meadows and about to pass when Ricky Culpepper spun in turn three for a caution. The running order was Meadows, Eldridge, Josh Noles, Jimmy Evilsizer, Chase Edge, and Matt Woodson running sixth when bad luck struck Woodson. Just as Eldridge took the lead from Meadows, Dudley went off the track and several cars checked up. Gooden and Woodson were side by side and spun together to a stop in turn four to avoid colliding with the cars ahead of them. After the cars got rolling again Woodson was sent to the rear, sort of like the guy who throws the second punch gets the blame. The green came back out and this time Meadows hammered down, throwing caution to the wind to escape Eldridge and built an insurmountable lead. Josh Noles moved into third as the Assassin took over Evilsizer's fifth spot. Woodson was trying hard to make up the ground he lost going from sixth to last when he spun off turn three for the lap 20 caution. Leonard entered the pits again as the green came out. The Rocketman entered the top ten and rookie Chase Edge, who was driving a very mature race, moved into third. Meadows was clearly the class of the field as he sprinted to the checkers for his second win of the season. Larry Eldridge finished second, Chase Edge third, Terrance Nowell fourth, Josh Noles fifth, Larry Harrod sixth, Jimmy Evilsizer seventh, Marc Gooden eighth, Richie Stephens ninth, and Ricky Culpepper rounded out the top ten in tenth.
In the Limited Sportsman division Rodgerick Dykes was eligible to win the Alabama Rock 3 wins for $300. Dykes took the green on the feature from the pole and gained distance from the pack on each lap. Thomas Lewis gave the fans a scare as he flipped upside down on the front straight but he was OK. Dykes took the checkers with no challenges. Paul Walters finished second, Mikey Mount third, Dustin Elliot fourth, and Steven Gaines JR finished fifth.
The Bomber division began with Billy Duell JR leading until lap 10 when Shelby Amos took the lead. Amos drove another perfect race to the checkers for his second win of the season. Jeff Elliot finished second, Christy Noles third, John Dozier fourth, and Chris Storey fifth.
The Hobby race began with an exciting battle between Allen Flournoy in the lead and Jeremy Nevels in second. Nevels took the lead on lap five and drove to the checkers for the win. Allen Flournoy finished second, Allen McConnell third, John Michael fourth, and Robert Jackson fifth.
In the Modified division Stacy Mashburn seemed to have the race as he ran way out front. Then he spun unassisted in turn four and gave the lead and the win to Ricky White. Andy Smith finished second, Ricky Culpepper third, Herbie Donath fourth, and Stacy Mashburn came in fifth.
In the Pony division Bryan Price and Adam Rodriguez fought over the lead. Price had the lead then spun out and Rodriguez took the lead. Chance Renfroe came up and passed Rodriguez for the lead. Price recaptured the lead as Rodriguez entered the pits for a DNF. Price took the checkers and was later found illegal in a post race teardown giving the win to Chance Renfroe, Bobby Duell was second, Kenneth Catrett was third, Adam Rodriguez was fourth and Cheryl Diana was fifth.
ROCKETMAN ACHIEVES ESCAPE VELOCITY AT EAST ALABAMA
By Jay Vaquer
Phenix City, ALA - May 31, 2008 Late Model competition at East Alabama Motor Speedway has raised the bar for excitement and those seeking Victory Lane. The new track surface on the 3/8 mile high banked clay oval and the Crate Late Model rules are two contributing factors but perhaps equally important is the infusion of new talent in the Late Model division. Rookie Richie "Rocketman" Stephens is having a phenomenal year and has brought a new level of performance to the division. Stephens has combined his unique driving skills with the perfectly set up Ben Thomas Racing Scorpion to introduce the next generation of speed. Rocketman posted a 15.67 in qualifying to earn the pole and the Extreme Power Sports $100 award. When the green flag dropped on the feature Rocketman blasted out to the lead. Local legend Dana Eiland made his presence felt as he very quickly passed Marvin Cook and our track champion Larry Harrod to move into third place on lap two. Larry Eldridge was riding the tail of the comet from second place and presenting a serious challenge for the lead. Eldridge could get inside the Rocketman in the turns but Rocketman had the bite off the corners to stay out front down the straight-aways. Bert Tomkins was having a mechanical failure and entered the pits just as Chad Cardin took a wild ride off turn one flipping head over heels and then barrel rolling out of sight. Cardin emerged unscathed however his car was pronounced DOA in the pits. During this red flag Marc Gooden and Josh Noles entered the pits as well as Brandon Pijnenberg who was a lap down chasing his set-up. When the green came back it was like a jail break with everyone after the Rocketman. Dana Eiland moved inside Eldridge and they battled door to door at the same time Bobby Eiland moved inside Harrod and it was difficult to keep up with all the excitement. Noles spun in turn four for a yellow flag at lap 9. On this restart Larry Harrod pulled out all the stops, hammered down and blew by Dana Eiland and Eldridge to move into second place. Bobby Eiland and Dana Eiland were locked in mortal combat when Bobby passed Dana for third. Dana sank his K-9's teeth into Bobby's rear end and locked down. Meanwhile the Rocketman had hit hyper-drive and was orbiting way ahead of everyone in his own space. Ricky Culpepper began to overheat and dove into the water hole on lap 20. On lap 23 the K-9 got a burst of speed and passed Bobby Eiland. The white flag was out and as the Rocketman ran down the checkers at warp speed, Dana Eiland pulled inside Harrod and in a door to door drag race to the checkers Eiland took second place by a nose. Once again Richie Stephens proved he is for real and really is that fast. Dana Eiland had a great run to finish second. Larry Harrod came in third, Bobby Eiland fourth, Larry Eldridge fifth, Montana Dudley sixth, Jimmy Evilsizer seventh, Skeeter Redmon eighth, Marvin Cook ninth, and Marc Gooden rounded out the top ten in tenth. Matt Woodson was missing from this week's line up as his wife was in the hospital expecting the birth of their next generation dirt track speedster.
In the Limited Sportsman division Russ Ogletree took the lead with Mikey Mount second and three time winner Rodgerick Dykes in third. The track was blacked over and extremely fast after the Late Model feature which contributed to the high number of cautions. Ogletree lost the handle in turn four and spun on his own to pass the lead to Mount. Dykes passed Mount for the lead but Mount read the track perfectly and found speed in the cool sticky clay in the cushion and passed Dykes, who was running the apron, to regain the lead. Danny Stroud came up and passed Dykes in turn four then got spun for the caution. The field was reset to the previous lap and Stroud dropped out. Mikey Mount took the checkers in a very impressive and intelligent fashion. Rodgerick Dykes came in second, Paul Walters third, Chad Marchman fourth, and Russ Ogletree finished fifth.
In the Hobby division Scott Sherrer took the lead until lap 9 when Allen McConnell powered his way into the lead. On lap 11 John Michael passed Sherrer for second. McConnell took the checkers with John Michael second, Scott Sherrer third, Jeremy Nevels fourth, and Phillip Arrington came in fifth.
The Bomber class saw Trevor Elliot take the early lead. On lap 6 Shelby Amos and Jeff Elliot collide and spun. Robbie Luke came out of turn two wide open and slammed Amos, whose Cottenmouth # 52 burst into flames coming to a stop on the back inside wall. Amos got out without incident. On the restart Billy Duell JR and Christy Noles put on an exciting show. Duell passed for second and then took the lead on lap 13. Billy Duell JR put his #721 Diversified Mechanical Money Taker Chevy in Victory Lane. Trevor Elliot finished second, Jeff Elliot third, Chris Story fourth, and Christy Noles finished fifth.
The Pony division had Bill Taylor cross the finish line first but get disqualified at the scales for being light. Adam Rodriguez was happy to take the win with Bryan Price second, Bobby Duell third, Bill Taylor at the end of the lead lap fourth, and Bryan Prins fifth.
Jeff Culpepper put his #10 Modified in the lead and went wire to wire for the checkers ending Ricky White's streak. White finished second, Ricky Culpepper came in third, Randy Register fourth, and Herbie Donath finished fifth.
THOMAS SCORPION STINGS EAST ALABAMA
By Jay Vaquer
Phenix City, ALA - June 7, 2008 - The new Ben Thomas Racing Scorpion chassis seems to be establishing a tradition for winning at East Alabama Motor Speedway. In recent weeks Richie "Rocketman" Stephens has had successful outings with dominating wins in the BTR Scorpion. This week Fastrak National Champion William Thomas showed up with the BTR Scorpion house car and really put it on all the contenders. Thomas began by setting fast time with a blistering 15.52 to take the Extreme Power Sports $100 award and the pole for the feature. When the green dropped on the main event Thomas immediately began distancing himself from the pack. Coming out of turn four Jeff Mills got spun into the wall for a yellow flag caution. On the restart again Thomas pulled away from second place Marvin Cook. who was only 6/100ths of a second behind Thomas in qualifying. When they got to turn four, they were three wide and began spinning again for the next caution. On this restart when they got to turn two Richie Stephens got a flat tire and as Larry Eldridge checked up he got slammed and put out of the competition. The Rocketman fixed his tire and fell in to the rear of the field for the restart. This time as Thomas entered turn two he skated up off his line which was just the opening Cook needed to move into the lead. Thomas was not about to give up the lead and he drove hard into turn three and dove under Cook to retake the lead in turn four. Track Champion Larry Harrod, who started fifth was on a run and seized the opportunity to pass Cook from the apron in turn two and swiftly powered his way into second place. On lap 6 Thomas was already putting the tail of the field a lap down. The Phenix City Assassin Terrance Nowell was also on a run as he came up and passed Cook to take over third. Montana Dudley broke in turn two to bring out the lap 8 caution. The restart order was Thomas, Harrod, Nowell, Cook, Bobby Eiland, Josh Noles, Dana Eiland, Mills, and Jimmy Evilsizer. As Thomas again slipped away from the pack Harrod chose to run the apron and the Assassin went high. This battle heated up as they ran door to door most of the way around the track. The Champ Harrod was definitely hooked up and was too strong to pass as he set his sights on Thomas who was almost a straight away ahead. Matt Woodson, whose wife delivered a 10 pound baby boy last week, congrats on that, was in a battle with the Rocketman who was on his way back to front from last. The Rocketman hit his afterburners and passed both Woodson and Evilsizer. Ricky Culpepper was having issues with his #110 and entered the pits under green. As Thomas continued pulling away from the field and lapping the cars at the end of the line, the Assassin had Harrod in his sights. The Assassin managed to get past Harrod on lap 20 but our Champ was not going down that easily as he found his way back around Nowell on lap 21. As Harrod came up on Woodson, who did not have his new air shocks dialed in, he slowed to avoid a collision and the Assassin was right there to pass Harrod again. And again the Champ was not to be denied as he blasted by the Assassin to get back to second. Bobby Eiland had managed to weave his way through the lap traffic and suddenly was right there in the mix and ambushed the Assassin to move into third. Meanwhile, Thomas was so fast he was putting Mills, who was running ninth, a lap down. When the white flag came out Thomas was about to lap the Rocketman but like a true champion did not risk the race and he took the checkers in an astounding display of speed and driving savvy. Larry Harrod finished second, Bobby Eiland third, Terrance Nowell fourth, Marvin Cook fifth, Josh Noles sixth, Dana Eiland seventh, Richie Stephens eighth, Jeff Mills ninth, and Marc Gooden rounded out the top ten in tenth.
Trevor Elliott Wins The Bomber Division 25 Lap Championship Race
By Jay Vaquer
The lovely and talented Christy Noles started this feature from the pole in her # 16 Camaro. As she entered turn one a charging stampede of wild horses caught up with her and Trevor Elliott came out of turn 2 with the lead. Grady Holmes challenged Chris Story for the third spot. When they came out of turn four Story got out of shape right in front of Holmes, who decided to assist him in losing control of his race car and spun him a little more for a caution. Holmes got third and Story got sent to the rear for the restart. Holmes passed Noles and was challenging Elliott for the lead. They swapped some paint in turn two but Elliott recovered and maintained the lead. On lap 15 Holmes' rear end gave out and Noles pushed him a ways and took back her second spot. Holmes coasted into the pits for a DNF. On the restart Trevor Elliott was strong and stayed in front while his Dad, Jeff Elliott came up to third to sandwich Christy Noles in second. Christy had her hands full as Jeff attacked from high and low. Robbie Luke came out of turn four with his right rear tire about three feet outside of his fender. Finally the tire, wheel and rear axle came out and bounced down the front straight until it stabbed the clay and stuck in front of the flag stand. The # 52 car circulated at the rear of the field since he showed up to race with an illegal transmission and was not allowed to compete. Christy tried to pass Elliot for the lead but Trevor was concentrating hard to not make any mistakes and he took the checkers like a champion holding back the competition. Christy Noles finished second and not only won a beautiful trophy but also won the respect from the other drivers who finished behind her. Jeff Elliott came in third, Chris Story fourth, James Gates fifth, Steve Bryan sixth, and Shelby Amos finished seventh.
In the Limited Sportsman division Chad Scrimpshire started the feature from the pole. Randy Hester and Rodgerick Dykes both passed him in turn one. Dykes passed Hester on lap 9 and never looked back. Mikey Mount moved into third on the white flag lap but it was too late and Rodgerick Dykes padded his lead in the points with another victory. Randy Hester finished second, Mikey Mount third, Dustin Elliot fourth, and Chad Scrimpshire finished fifth.
The Hobby division started with John Michael in the lead. It appeared that his right front brake was stuck as sparks flew everywhere but he hung on for the win. Jeremy Nevels was second, Johnny Beck third, Don Otto fourth, and Jason Anthony, in spite of being light at the scales was sent to the rear of the lead lap and finished fifth.
The Pony division started with Bobby Duell in the lead and Brandie Gatlin pressuring for the lead. Bryan Price moved up and took the lead. Chance Renfroe had a horrific encounter with the turn one inside wall. He was transported to the emergency room where hopefully he will recover and get back in his car soon. He has everyones best wishes. On the restart after the red flag Adam Rodriguez passed Gatlin then spun out on his own for the next caution. Bryan Price took the checkers with Adam Rodriguez second, Jesse Rivera third, Brandie Gatlin fourth, and Kenneth Catrett finished fifth.
Former Late Model Champion Jeff Culpepper seems to have found his nitch in the Modified Division as he came from the pole to the checkers, wire to wire for the second week. Johnny Greene finished second. Jeff's son, Ricky Culpepper came from last to finish third. Gordy Scarborough finished fourth, and Randy Register finished fifth.
THOMAS WINS AGAIN AT EAST ALABAMA
By Jay Vaquer
Phenix City, ALA - June 21, 2008 - Fastrak National Champion William Thomas ran his hometown track of East Alabama Motor Speedway for the second race in a row and had the same outstanding results- a dominating victory. Thomas drove the Ben Thomas Racing Scorpion house car and once again set the fast time in qualifying, a super fast 15.37 to win the Extreme Power Sports $100 award and the pole for the feature. When the green dropped on the main event, the Phenix City Assassin Terrance Nowell was on the outside pole, locked and loaded. Thomas won the sprint to turn one and came out of turn two with the lead from the cushion. The Assassin had Thomas in his cross hairs but Thomas took the counter measures to avoid a hit and began gaining ground when Larry Eldridge and Kelly Leonard spun over the top of turn one to bring out the lap two caution. On the restart the Assassin pulled door to door with Thomas from the inside but again Thomas hit his warp drive and began pulling away. Matt Woodson was struggling with his set up as Leonard and Chase Edge passed him moving into 11th. On lap 8 Thomas was lapping the field taking down Marty Beckwith, Bert Tompkins, and Richard Mills. On lap 10 Thomas was really on a roll as he lapped Pat Wall, Larry Eldridge, Josh Noles, Charlie Gushue, and Matt Woodson. By lap 13 Thomas was half a straight ahead of the Assassin who was about the same distance ahead of Richie Stephens, the Rocketman, running third. When Thomas lapped Edge and Leonard, Noles spun in turn two for the lap 17 caution. The restart order was Thomas, the Assassin, the Rocketman, the legendary #K9 of Dana Eiland, current Late Model Champion Larry Harrod, rookie Montana Dudley, Slick Rick Culpepper, Marvelous Marvin Cook, and Marc Gooden. On this restart as Thomas distanced himself from the pack there was excitement all over the place as Harrod and Eiland sparred over fourth while Cook and Culpepper battled over seventh. Thomas was now over a straightaway ahead of the Assassin and the fat lady was singing as the white flag flew. It was Deja-Vu all over again as Thomas took the checkers for the second race in a row. Terrance Nowell finished second, Richie Stephens third, Dana Eiland fourth, Larry Harrod fifth, Montana Dudley sixth, Ricky Culpepper seventh, Marvin Cook eighth, Marc Gooden ninth, and Kelly Leonard rounded out the top ten in tenth.
In the Bomber Division Christy Noles started from the pole. On lap 3 she
hit a wet spot in turn two and spun out bringing out the yellow flag and
relegating herself to the rear for the restart. John Dozier took over the
lead and held on to take the checkers. Shelby Amos finished second,
Trevor Elliot third, Jeff Elliot fourth, and Chris Story finished fifth.
In the Hobby Division a final hour bump and run caused some controversy.
On the white flag lap John Michael came out of turn four on the high side
and Allen McConnell passed him. Michael ran into the back of McConnell
then moved into the lead and took the checkers. Both parties had opposing
views as to the legitimacy of the act but the official finish was John
Michael first, Allen McConnell second, Robert Jackson third, Jeremy
Nevels fourth and Jason Anthony fifth.
Randy Hester won the Limited Sportsman division. Steven Gaines JR
finished second, Russ Ogletree third, Brand Lewis fouth, and Thomas Lewis
JEREMY SCOTT WINS FIRST EVER O'REILLY USCS RACE IN THE RANDY HELTON MEMORIAL RACE
On a night to remember, it just couldn’t have been bigger. In what was a storybook finish to a dream come true, Jeremy Scott from Franklin, Georgia battled his way to victory lane in the 1st Annual O’Reilly United Sprint Car Series Randy Helton Memorial Race at East Alabama Motor Speedway on Saturday night. It was Scott’s first-ever career feature win in the series he has participated in since 1998. The night’s events commemorated Scott’s close friend Randy Helton and Scott’s own Father Randy Scott who both passed away suddenly since the end of March.
The two former USCS racers (Helton and Scott), must have been riding with the younger Scott who is always competitive, but, drove the “race of a lifetime” to best several of the Nation’s top winged 360 sprint car drivers. Scott started in the K&N Pole Position after the evening’s CnB Mushroom Farms Fast Qualifier Terry Gray from Bartlett, Tennessee drew a six in the K&N Pole Award inversion draw and placed Scott (the sixth fastest qualifier) on the pole for the 27-lap contest. This put past O’Reilly USCS Champion, Marshall Skinner from West Memphis, Arkansas next to him in the front row.
On the initial start, Scott fired early and the yellow light was displayed on the back stretch, but not before the first turn scramble saw the previous night’s winner at Penton Raceway, Danny Martin, Jr. from Sarasota, Florida spin in turn one. Martin, who turned second fast-time, was placed at the back of the field on the re-start.
Scott and Skinner raced off turn four in perfect alignment on the second attempt. Scott raced into the lead down the back straight-away. Skinner chased the leader and challenged on almost every lap applying lots of pressure. Skinner then pulled even with Scott on the front straight-away on laps five through eight and at that point Scott seemed to be slowing slightly. Skinner even pulled some amazing wheelies midway down the front straight-away several times while challenging Scott for the lead. Second generation sprint car ace, Matt Linder from Hoschton, Georgia and defending O’Reilly USCS National Champion, Terry Gray from Bartlett, Tennessee tucked in behind the lead duo for eight laps and battled for the third position.
On lap eight the field slowed when veteran Bob Auld from Largo, Florida spun on the slippery high speed surface and brought out the yellow. With Scott leading, this placed Skinner then Linder, Gray and 2007 East Alabama Outlaw Sprint Car Nationals Champion 17 year-old, Derek Hagar from Marion, Arkansas on Scott’s rear bumper. After the re-start on lap nine, Gray passed Linder for the Show position.
On lap ten the yellow waved again for former TBARA pavement series Champion, Shane Butler from Bushnell, Florida who looped in the same spot as Auld. The paved track star moved to the rear of the field and with seventeen laps to go, Scott had Skinner, Gray, Linder, Hagar, Danny Martin, who had advanced back into the sixth position after going to the rear of the field, all anxiously waiting for their chance to take it away from him.
On lap eleven Gray drove past both Skinner and Scott on the high side of turns one and two of the high-banked 4/10ths mile Alabama speed plant into the lead. Gray led the next six laps and appeared to be pulling away from the Scott and Skinner tandem. Not to be denied his first win, Scott dove low in the corners and threw several scary slide jobs at the six-time series Champion before finally making one of the maneuvers stick off turn four to re-gain the lead on lap eighteen.
The race went green the final seven laps and Scott seemed to gain momentum the closer to victory lane he got. Several lapped cars came into play over the final two laps and Scott raced past the finish line with approximately a three car-lengths lead over Gray. Skinner followed in the third position with team-mate Derek Hagar on his tail in fourth place and Danny Martin rounded out the top five.
2005 O’Reilly USCS Asphalt Thunder Champion, Wayne Reutimann, Jr. from Zephyrhills, Florida who started eighth, lead the next group in sixth followed by Matt Linder in the seventh position. Shane Butler and Bob Auld raced back from the rear of the field to finish eighth and ninth respectively. Sixteen year-old Rookie driver Jon Stinson from Horn Lake, Mississippi rounded out the top ten finishers.
A special commerative 8-lap dash race, the Randy Scott Memorial Dash was contested to remember the former USCS driver who raced for half a decade with the series and then spent the last five seasons supporting son Jeremy Scott’s efforts. The Randy Scott Memorial Dash was won by veteran USCS driver Brian Thomas from Commerce, Georgia.
Previous night feature winner, Danny Martin, Jr. won the 6-cars, 6-laps Lucas Oil Power Dash. Terry Gray started sixth, then raced to the win in the Engler Machine and Tool First Heat. Danny Martin, Jr. collected the victory in the Butlerbuilt Second Heat after also starting in the sixth position.
The Hoosier Tire Young Guns award went to 17 year-old Derek Hagar who finished fourth in the feature race. Sixteen year-old Jon Stinson from Horn Lake, Mississippi garnered the Rookie of the Race honors.
Terry Gray set fast time of 12.97 seconds around the high-banked EAMS 4/10ths mile oval. Gray also garnered the evening’s Huggins Cams Hard Charger Award.
ROCKETMAN ROCKS EAST ALABAMA
By Jay Vaquer
Phenix City, ALA- June 28, 2008- Richie "Rocketman" Stephens returned to the East Alabama Motor Speedway Victory Lane with tremendous style in the Late Model Division. The Rocketman was the only driver in the field to break the 16 second barrier with a super sonic 15.94 qualifying lap to earn the $100 Extreme Power Sports award and the pole for the feature event. A mere 17 one-hundredths of a second behind the Rocketman was Fastrak National Champion William Thomas, after winning for the last two weeks in a row, his 16.11 qualifying lap put him on the outside pole for the feature and the stage was set for another great race. As the cars entered turn three to take the green flag, Matt Woodson and Kelly Leonard were spinning to a stop on the back stretch to abort the green. On the restart Rocketman chose the apron through turns one and two and Thomas stayed up in the cushion. The Rocketman maintained the lead as Thomas, Dana Eiland, and Slick Rick Culpepper, who also had a blistering qualifying lap with a 16.16, kept the pace. Jake Knowles, driving Shane Thompson's # 00 Fun Carts of Opelika Monte Carlo, was putting Slick Rick through a series of tactful attacks to take over the fourth spot. Culpepper held his ground but the Rocketman and Thomas had slipped away from the pack and Dana Eiland in third. Thomas was on the attack looking to power under him since the Rocketman man was now orbiting on the high groove. Leonard spun in turn two to bring out the lap 5 yellow flag caution. Bobby Eiland was having issues with his # 08 and he entered the pits with Leonard. Green was displayed and the excitement was on as our track champ Larry Harrod was knocking on Dana Eiland's door for third place. Eiland stayed in the upper groove and was able to outrun him down the straights and maintain the third position. While Harrod was attacking Eiland, Knowles suddenly appeared and threatening to pass from high and low. Harrod decided to hang on to what he had and let Eiland go to keep Knowles back. Bobby Eiland was working his way back to the front when misfortune struck and he found himself slamming the turn four wall with a hard impact. Ben Summer had some collateral damage as he got collected. Eiland got out of the car, shaken not stirred, a little dizzy but still in one piece, which is more than can be said for his car which was towed to the pits DOA. After this red flag condition, the green was out and so was the Assassin, Terrance Nowell. The Assassin bushwhacked Jake Knowles in turn 4 to move into fifth position on lap 14. Dana Eiland provided a scare to his many fans as he went off the backstretch coming out of turn two. Harrod and the Assassin blasted by then the trusty # K-9 popped back on the track and held his ground for 6th, no caution, no foul, only the Master of Faster Dana Eiland could make it look so effortless. The Rocketman, driving his brand new Ben Thomas Scorpion seemed to muster extra speed as he pulled away from Thomas who was driving the Ben Thomas Racing house car. Richie Stephens was the man as he took the checkers in a field of highly skilled drivers. William Thomas finished second, Larry Harrod third, Terrance Nowell fourth, Dana Eiland fifth, Jake Knowles sixth, Ricky Culpepper seventh, Marvin Cook eighth, Chase Edge ninth, and Bert Tompkins rounded out the top ten in tenth.
Freddie Slaughter must have even surprised himself to see just how fast he was for this big race. Slaughter won the pole in fast time qualifying to start the 25 lap main event from the pole. Rodgerick Dykes started from the outside pole and by lap 2 was in the lead and leaving everyone in his dust. Randy Hester came up to pass Slaughter for second position. Dustin Elliott went off the top of turn 2 to bring out the yellow flag caution for lap 3. The restart order was Dykes, Hester, Slaughter, Paul Walters, Sam Moore, Chris Arnett, and Mikey Mount in seventh. Hester was trying desperately to catch Dykes when he spun on his own in turn two and went from second place to last place for the next restart. Dykes had no problem in pulling away from the pack. Moore was on a run and was right there to challenge Slaughter for second place. Hester was working his way back up front when he and Russ Ogletree ran into each other and stopped on the track to bring out the lap 12 caution. Hester entered the pits just before the green restart. Mount was about to pass Paul Walters but got too high and allowed Chad Scrimpshire to slide by for fifth at lap 15. Moore was all over the back of Slaughter looking for a way around but Slaughter was having perhaps the best race of the year and was able to hold him back. Mount was having a problem with his set up as he went off the back of turn two for the lap 16 caution. On this restart Dykes could be seen gaining ground from the pack on each lap and driving a very smooth line. On lap 20 JW Noles made a complete 720 degree spin in turn two, brought out the caution, then went to the pits for a hit of Dramamine. On this restart Dustin Elliott spun right in front of Mount who had no option but to t-bone the man and sustain race ending damage. The green was back out and Dykes was clearly the class of the field and drove to the checkers without a challenge. On the white flag lap Slaughter, who had driven the race of his life to maintain second place for the entire race, suddenly was airborn off turn two. Dykes claimed the victory, Sam Moore finished second, Chad Scrimpshire third, Chris Arnett fourth, and Steven Gaines JR finished fifth.
Randy Renfroe started the feature from the pole with Danny Earl Warren on
the outside. Warren led the first lap while John Michael was coming to
the front from the rear. By lap 4 Michael was in second place and took
the lead on lap 6. On lap seven the # 7 of Warren took the lead back. On
lap 8 Phillip Arrington suffered a flat left rear tire and spun out in
turn 4 to bring the yellow flag out. On this restart Michael passed
Warren in turn two and was pulling away when Allen McConnell spun in turn
two to bring the yellow back. Larry Guilford was on a run and came up to
pass Robert Jackson to move into third. Guilford was relentless and was
challenging Warren for second, door to door, until finally making the
pass stick on lap 12 to move into second place. Warren came back and
passed Guilford as Guilford suddenly lost his speed and began back
peddling. Michael was running away from everybody as he was over a
straightaway ahead of second place. Rickey Headley went off turn one to
bring out the lap 20 caution. On the restart Michael was way faster than
anyone else in the field and easily ran away from the field. Scott
Sherrer and Jeremy Nevels spun into each other trying to avoid Warren who
spun on his own for the lap 22 caution. With three laps to go John
Michael powered his way to his third win in a row to claim the Alabama
Rock 3 for 3 award of $300, the beautiful 6 foot trophy, and the accolade
of Hobby division Champion. Robert Jackson finished second, Randy Renfroe
third, Alan Franks SR fourth, and Danny Warren finished fifth.
Several years ago Drew Roberts was racing Motocross and collecting
trophies for his numerous wins. Then he had an automobile accident which
broke his back and left him in a wheelchair. Roberts did not sit around
and feel sorry for himself, instead he fitted a dirt track race car with
hand controls for throttle and brakes and lived out his dream life of
being a competitive racer. His inspirational drive and character paid off
this Saturday night as he out ran the field of tough racers to take the
checkers. Christy Noles finished second, Trevor Elliot third, Jeff Elliot
fourth, and Richard Stephens SR finished fifth.
In the pony stock division Bryan Price picked up the checkers ahead of Adam Rodriguez,
Jesse Rivera, Brandie Gatlin and Chance Renfroe.
In the Modified Division Jeff Culpepper out gunned the competition for the third week
in a row. The former Late Model Track Champion said he prefers the Modified division
over the Late Model Crates due to the power and control transferring to the ground.
Randy Register finished second, Jeff's son Slick Rick Culpepper came in third.
Andy Smith finished fourth and Herbie Donath rounded out the top five.
ROCKETMAN BLASTS EAST ALABAMA TOP TRACKS SERIES
By Jay Vaquer
Phenix City, ALA - July 4, 2008 - Thousands of race fans filled the grandstands at East Alabama Motor Speedway for this year's 4th of July festivities. Aside from the gigantic fireworks display and the demolition derby, the Top Tracks Challenge Series for Late Models rolled into town to compete on the 3/8ths mile high banked clay oval. It didn't take long for the Top Track boys to realize they were in over their heads when the top ten qualifiers were all local drivers. Topping the list was Terrance "The Phenix City Assassin" Nowell who posted the fastest lap at 16.56 to earn the $100 Extreme Power Sports award and the pole for the 40 lap feature. When the green flag dropped on the feature Slick Rick Culpepper was on the outside pole and when they reached turn one the Assassin was clearly in the lead. The Rocketman Richie Stephens fired up the after burners on his Ben Thomas Racing Scorpion and blasted into second place and was lining up a hit on the Assassin for the lead. When they got back around to turn 2 the Assassin felt the Rocketman had a target lock on him and he pushed a little high which was all the Rocketman needed to power into the lead. The Assassin did not roll over and play dead, he fought back and the fans were on their feet as these Fourth of July fireworks were awesome in their excitement. This high speed battle landed the top two nearly a straightaway ahead of Slick Rick who was running third and nearly the same distance ahead of Josh Noles who was dialed in running fourth. Local legend The Master of Faster Dana Eiland was on a run and shot by Todd Morrow for fifth but Morrow was coming back and that was another exciting battle. Track Champion Larry Harrod was also coming to the front as he passed Dewayne Aldridge to move into the mix. Jake Knowles, driving Shane Thompson's # 00 Fun Carts of Opelika Monte Carlo was looking pretty sporty as he came up to challenge Dana Eiland and Aldridge. The Rocketman was orbiting in his own space and speed as he began lapping the rear of the field taking out Larry Eldridge and Chase Edge on lap 15. Mike "The Head Man" Head was having mechanical issues and circulated slowly on the apron. On lap 20 there were 4 lap cars between the Rocketman and the Assassin when Alan Brewer slid off the top of turn two which was blacked over and very slippery. The lap 23 restart order was Rocketman, The Assassin, Slick Rick, Noles, Morrow and Harrod. Eiland's # K-9 suddenly came up lame, something like a broken ball joint, and Knowles and Aldridge went by. The Rocketman, faster than a speeding bullet and more powerful than a locomotive, was now turning in laps nearly a full second faster than qualifying and was quickly a full straightaway ahead of the Assassin in second place. At lap 32 the Rocketman was lapping the rear of the field when Montana Dudly spun out in turn 4 for a yellow flag caution. Eiland and Head both entered the pits for unfortunate DNFs. Lights out and back to the action the Rocketman was just too much for anybody to present a serious challenge and he blasted his way into the record books for another feature win in this phenomenal rookie year. Terrance Nowell finished second, Josh Noles third, Todd Morrow fourth, Larry Harrod fifth, Jake Knowles sixth, Ricky Culpepper seventh, Chad Wallace, in perhaps the best looking car, finished eighth, Brian Burke came in ninth, and Jeff Fields rounded out the top ten in tenth.
RICHIE STEPHENS WINS AT EAST ALABAMA
By Jay Vaquer
Phenix City, ALA - July 12, 2008 - It is impossible to predict the outcome of a Late Model feature at East Alabama Motor Speedway. This Saturday was no exception as our talented field of Late Model drivers hit the track for fast time qualifying. When Richie "Rocketman" Stephens turned a 15.78 it looked like he was going to run away with another one until Scott Knowles took the track in a really sharp looking # 66 to show you can be beautiful and fast as he set a super fast 15.56 to earn the pole for the feature event. When the green dropped Knowles powered his way into the lead and immediately began to distance himself from the Rocketman who started on the outside pole. Soon the Rocketman was 10 car lengths behind Knowles but 10 car lengths ahead of Terrance " The Phenix City Assassin" Nowell running third. Rookie Montana Dudley was hooked up and sparring with our track champ Larry Harrod over fourth place when Slick Rick Culpepper hit a slick spot in turn two and found himself off the back straight for the lap 4 caution. When the green came back Rocketman made a few futile attempts to take the lead but Knowles had some serious bite off the corners and again began leaving the field behind. Culpepper began his mission to get back to the front and whizzed by Marc Gooden on lap 12. The fans were really surprised when Knowles entered turn three and large chunks of rubber came flying off his right rear tire. When he got to turn four a long strip of rubber began sawing off his rear quarter panel and the Rocketman blasted by to take the lead. Knowles retired to the pits for a DNF under the ensuing caution. When the green came out the Assassin opened fire on the Rocketman and was trying to pass from high and low then the Rocketman hit that warp drive to put him in orbit leaving the Assassin and the field a faint image in his rear view mirror. By lap 16 the Rocketman was an unbelievable full straightaway ahead of the Assassin. Our champ Larry Harrod, who was sporting a new color change from red to black in hopes of changing his luck, put the moves on Montana Dudley and moved into third looking to take out the Assassin. Chase Edge and Larry Eldridge were sparring over position when Slick Rick came up on the them and passed them both. Gordy Scarborough was having a really good run as he was holding on to fifth place. Matt Woodson seemed to be getting control of those new suspension parts as he stayed ahead of Roger Arnett and kept his eighth position. The white flag came out and the Rocketman took the checkers at the speed of light. Terrance The Assassin Nowell was second, Montana Dudley third, Larry Harrod fourth, Gordy Scarborough fifth, Larry Eldridge six, Ricky Culpepper seventh, Matt Woodson eighth, Roger Arnett ninth and Marty Beckwith rounded out the top ten in tenth.
NO DOUBTING THOMAS FOR NeSMITH CHEVROLET DLMS EAMS BONUS BUCKS
By Roby Helm
PHENIX CITY, AL – July 19, 2008 - William Thomas of Phenix City, AL bagged the Alabama Bonus Bucks on Saturday night with his second win in as many nights in the 40-lap NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series main event at East Alabama Motor Speedway driving the J.W. Miller Land and Timber Scorpion.
The $2,500 Saturday night win for Thomas followed up a $2,500 victory on Friday night at Penton Raceway in Penton, AL. By winning both races, Thomas took the $2,000 bonus, plus an extra $100 for fast time honors Saturday night from Extreme Power Sports to bring his weekend earnings to $7,100. Thomas out qualified the 32-car field on Saturday night with a lap in 15.540 seconds.
Thomas was unchallenged on both Friday and Saturday nights. He led both races wire-to-wire to lead a total 80 laps. The only driver that came close to Thomas all weekend was Richie Stephens of Phenix City, AL, who finished second on Saturday night at East Alabama Motor Speedway driving the K&R Racing Scorpion.
Derrick Rainey of Powder Spring, GA took the third spot in the Hays Family Racing/Barto Enterprises Warrior. Rainey, who also had a second-place finish on Friday night at Penton Raceway, vaulted from tenth to fifth in the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series National point standings over the weekend.
Eric Cooley of Fulton, MS took the fourth spot in the Tiffin Motorhomes Mastersbilt and earned the Sunoco Race Fuels Rookie of the Race Award. Jeff Fields of Aragon, GA finished fifth in the J&J Transport Mastersbilt, and Jordy Nipper of Gray, GA drove the Universal Concrete Rocket to a sixth-place finish.
Frank Ingram of Woodstock, GA claimed the seventh spot in the Dixon Hauling and Grading Rocket, and Jeff Smith of Rocky Face, GA started 18th in the Hooters GRT and finished eighth to earn the Hard Charger of the Race Award.
Point leader Chip Brindle of Chatsworth, GA was ninth in the CSC Trailer Repair/Brindle Brothers Auto Parts GRT, and Dana Eiland of Salem, AL came back from an early race spin to round out the top 10 in the Andy’s Auto Parts Swartz.
Thomas took the lead from the pole position at the start of the race followed by Stacey Roberts of Sylvester, GA in the Sunbelt Ford Rocket, Stephens, Steven Roberts of Sylvester, GA in the John Patterson Rocket, and Royce Bray of Hull, GA in the I-85 Garage and Towing Warrior. Stephens moved up to the second spot on lap two, using an inside move to get by Stacey Roberts.
For the most part, the drivers used the high side of the race track with a cushion close to the edge of the track – a track that has no walls or guard rails in the corners, or down the backstretch. This led to several miscues for several drivers.
Bray got around Steven Roberts for the fourth position on lap three just before the first of six caution flags came out on lap five when Hunter Peacock of Macon, GA in the Nasworthy Mechanical Bullitt slid off the track in turn one. Thomas led Stephens, Stacey Roberts, Bray, Steven Roberts, Cooley, Eiland, Rainey, Fields, and Brindle back to the green flag.
Chris Tays of Corinth, MS in the Bud Coley Trucking/Circle H Concrete Trak-Star was making the biggest moves of the race in the early going, as in the first five laps, he moved up from his 22nd starting spot to 14th. On the restart, Bray was also on the move, passing Stacey Roberts for the third spot.
Gene Nasworthy of Gray, GA spun his Nasworthy Mechanical TNT off turn one on lap six, in the same spot as his teammate Peacock. The restart order was Thomas, Stephens, Bray, Stacey Roberts, Cooley, Steven Roberts, Eiland, Rainey, Fields and Brindle. After the field went green, Ingram jump into the top ten, as he was running ninth on lap ten.
Stephens got a challenge from Bray, who moved by Stephens into the second spot on lap 12. Eiland had moved up to the sixth spot, but spun off the high side of turn three on lap 13 to bring out the third caution flag of the race, sending him to the back of the back for the restart.
Thomas led Bray, Stephens, Stacey Roberts, Cooley, Rainey, Steven Roberts, Ingram, Fields, and Brindle down for the restart that saw Rainey go from sixth to fourth. The caution came out on lap 15 when Matt Woodson of LaGrange, GA spun in turn four collecting Peacock. Both drivers were able to continue.
Stacey Roberts drove by Rainey on the restart to reclaim the fourth spot, but Rainey came right back to get back by Stacey Roberts on lap 17. Bray was trying to follow Thomas’ tire tracks on the high side of the race track, but jumped the cushion in turn one, and slid off the track, and out of second-place when the caution flag came out.
Bray had to go to the back of the pack for the restart, and his misfortune earned him the Dominator Race Products Hard Luck Award. Thomas was now followed by Stephens, Rainey, Stacey Roberts, Steven Roberts, Cooley, Ingram, Fields, Brindle, and Nipper for the restart.
Cooley got by Steven Roberts for fifth on lap 25, and Fields had moved up to the sixth spot by lap 26. Tays continued his march through the field, as he moved up to tenth on lap 28. By lap 35, Thomas was starting encounter lapped traffic, and Stephens began to close in to challenge for the lead.
The key move for Thomas came on lap 38 when he found an opening between two lapped cars, and got by them just before the hole closed in front of Stephens. By the time Stephens cleared the lapped cars, Thomas was gone with the checkered flag in sight.
The final lap was a wild one after Thomas, Stephens, Rainey, Stacey Roberts, and Cooley took the checkered flag. Steven Roberts spun in turn four, and collected Tays. In the ensuing scramble, Fields took the sixth spot, followed by Nipper and Ingram. Fields came from 11th to ninth. Everyone behind Stacey Roberts moved up one spot when his car was light at the post-race weigh-in.
In preliminary action, the two 12-lap Qualifying Races were won by Nipper and Ingram.
ROCKETMAN TRACK CHAMP AT EAST ALABAMA
By Jay Vaquer
Phenix City, ALA - July 26, 2008 - Severe weather threatened East Alabama Motor Speedway this Saturday night but turned out to be just enough to cool things off and give the drivers a moist and tacky rich red clay surface to do their thing. In the Late Model division we had a spectacular race with the gifted rookie Richie "Rocketman" Stephens taking on the legendary champion Dana Eiland. Dana came for battle with a new pedigree blue K9. He was sporting the Ben Thomas Racing BTR Scorpion house car, the same one in which William Thomas won previous races. In the other corner the Rocketman, with a brand new Crate 604 in his Championship winning BTR Scorpion. Rocketman had already won the points for the year to be the 2008 EAMS Late Model Track Champion but he had something else to prove to his fans and haters. The Master of Faster Dana Eiland threw the first serious blow by setting the fast time in qualifying with a 16.03 to earn the pole for the feature. Another talented rookie, Chase Edge had also just installed a new 604 Crate and was on the outside pole when the green dropped. Eiland put the whip to the blue K9, barely cracking the throttle in the turn one corner and began leaving the pack in his wake. Edge and Larry Eldridge, running second and third, seemed evenly matched as Eldridge was persistently attacking the position. Bert Tompkins also came dressed for the occasion with a great looking graphics package and newfound speed to be running fourth, just ahead of the Rocketman in fifth. On lap 8 Marty Beckwith went off the backstretch to bring out the first yellow flag caution. On the restart again Eiland was outrunning the field as he pulled away. Suddenly Matt Woodson was stopped, spun around in turn one and the next caution was thrown. On this restart Rocketman's set up and warp drive came online as he blew past Tompkins to move into fourth. With the Rocketman on his heels Eldridge made every effort to pass Edge and they battled door to door. The Rocketman slid under in turn four to make it three wide but there were no changes in the running order as everyone seemed equal, with the exception of Eiland's blue K9 bird dog who was way out front. Edge was giving it all he had to stay ahead of the charging group behind him when at the end of the front straightaway his new power plant failed spewing water and sending Edge on a one way ride over the top of turn one. The track stewards had the field take a couple laps through the water to dry it up and then we went green. Eldridge running second was determined to not let Eiland get away from him and he stayed glued to the K9's tail down the front stretch and into turn one. The K9 stepped into some of that slick water and pushed up into the cushion with Eldridge right behind him. The Rocketman saw his opportunity and fired his Scorpion under Eldridge and Eiland and came out of turn two with the lead. Eiland ran down the Rocketman and even went door to door, which had all the fans on their feet, some cheering, some booing, but everybody got into this race. Finally the Rocketman delivered the knock out blow and got five car lengths ahead of the K9 and clearly made his point. It didn't matter about his old engine and all the protest, he made this great move to take the lead, because he is a bonafide champion. The Rocketman took the checkers because he is the real deal and deserves the title of 2008 Late Model Champion. Dana Eiland finished second and while his crew chief Mike Harris said the BTR is a very fast car the fans will see him running his Swartz black K9 again. Larry Eldridge finished third, Bert Tompkins fourth, Gordy Scarbrough fifth, Kelly Leonard sixth, Mike Parkerson seventh, Matt Woodson eighth, Pat Wall ninth, and Ben Summer rounded out the top ten in tenth.
BRANDIE GATLIN WINS PONY STOCK FEATURE
By Jay Vaquer
In the Pony Stock division Brandie Gatlin picked up her first feature victory ever this Saturday night. She side stepped the melee which took Bobby Duell out of the race with a bent frame after spinning on the back straight and hitting the inside retaining wall head on. She also avoided disaster after a collision with Bryan Price early on and held back the challenges of Chance Renfroe to take the checkers in a well deserved effort. After the race Brandie was spotted with that gleam of victory in her eyes which may lead to her abandoning her moonlight job as official score keeper at EAMS. Chance Renfore finished second, Patrick Sheets third, Bryan Prins fourth, and Cheryl Diana finished fifth in the # 88 truck.
Lil' Nip Nips NLMS at East Alabama
By Jay Vaquer
Phenix City, ALA - August 2, 2008 - Ray Miller's National Late Model Series rolled into East Alabama Motor Speedway and as always put on a tremendous display of high energy dirt track excitement. Over 30 Late Model teams competed for the 40 lap $3,000 to win feature event. Mark Whitener set fast time in qualifying with a 16.33 and after the shuffle draw started third behind Todd Mitchell, who in his first appearance in two years won the pole. Many fans were disappointed in not seeing the local legend Dana Eiland in the line up after a fast qualifying lap. Seems that right after that fast lap as he entered the pits his motor expired. When the green dropped on the feature, Mitchell led the first lap then Russell Brown JR drove under him in turn one to take the lead. Jordy Nipper moved into fourth passing Johnny Collins as Mark Whitener passed Mitchell for second. Lil' Nip took advantage of the opportunity and was quick to shoot by Mitchell to take the third position on lap 5. Brown was fast and pulling away from the pack except for Whitener and Nipper who attacked from high and low. On lap 10 Mitchell broke and rolled into the pits for an early DNF. Turn two was slick and Brown decided to change his line and run on the inside groove which turned out to be a bad decision as Whitener gained momentum on the cushion and swept by to take the lead. Again Lil' Nip wasted no time in following Whitener past Brown and moved into second on lap 14. Mitch Fulford moved into fourth as Tod Darda put it on Steve Jones and moved into seventh place. David Whitener broke and brought out the lap 16 yellow flag caution. On the restart it was Whitener, Nipper, Brown, Fulford, Clay Bedenbaugh, Jeremy Faircloth, Darda, Steve Jones, Ben Faircloth, and Jason Fitzgerald rounding out the top ten. The track was picking up speed as it was almost totally blacked over which changed the complexion of various set ups. Gordy Scarborough, who was running a crate engine, was tagging along at the rear as the #27 entered the pits. Jeremy Faircloth passed Fulford to move into fourth on lap 26. JR Moseley had his hands full holding back his good buddy DeWayne "Flat out" Johnson who was sporting a new black TNT with a duct tape X on the side. These two put on an awesome display of high speed cat and mouse as Moseley was looking to break into the top ten. Lil' Nip again made a heads up move to pass Whitener and take the lead on lap 32. Steve Jones suffered a flat right rear and brought out the yellow. On the restart Moseley used his experience as former EAMS Late Model Track Champion to break into the top ten. At the front Lil' Nip could taste victory as he put the pedal to the metal and ran ten car lengths ahead of Whitener to take the white flag. Jordy Nipper was obviously more than pleased to take the checkers as he celebrated in Victory Lane. Mark Whitener finished second, Russell Brown JR third, Jeremy Faircloth fourth, Mitch Fulford fifth, Tod Darda had a great run and finished sixth, Jason Fitzgerald seventh, Clay Bedenbaugh eighth, Ben Faircloth ninth, and JR Moseley rounded out the top ten in tenth.
Walters Wins Limited Sportsman Division
By Jay Vaquer
There were many surprises and excitement in the very exciting and
challenging Limited Sportsman event. It looked like Freddie Slaughter,
who when he hooks up is super fast, was going to run away with the event. Then the consistent Rodgerick Dykes seemed to be the one to win but suddenly, Paul Walters, who had been battling his way through the war of attrition, emerged as the victor. Walters took the checkers for the first time this year with Rodgerick Dykes finishing second. Josh Marchman finished third, Mikey Mount fourth, Chad Scrimpshire fifth, Dustin Elliot sixth, Randy Hester seventh, Jason Price eighth, Danny Stroud ninth, and Allen McConnell SR rounded out the top ten in tenth.
EILAND'S REVENGE AT EAST ALABAMA
By Jay Vaquer
Phenix City, ALA - August 9, 2008 - Last week's story featured the 2008 East Alabama Motor Speedway Late Model Champion Richie " Rocketman " Stephens and the track's living Late Model legend Dana " The Master of Faster" Eiland. As fate would have it, these two ended up in an exciting duel for the checkers in which, after winning the pole for fast time qualifying and leading most of the race, one small miscalculation by Eiland gave the victory to the Rocketman last week. This week Bert Tompkins continued his rise to the top winning the pole with a blistering 15.62, which was over a half second faster than any of the NLMS contenders a couple of weeks ago. It seems like the high banked clay oval has a mind of its own and determines how fast the surface is going to be regardless of how it's prepared. The Rocketman posted a 15.77 to earn the outside pole for the feature. When the green dropped Tompkins sped to turn one and chose an inside line which, after turning the corner he had to cut right to keep from skating up the track while the Rocketman stayed high in the cushion and very smoothly rolled into the lead coming out of turn two. On lap 2 Anthony Meadows, who started third, ran out of track and went over the top to bring out the yellow flag caution. Adam Brown coasted into the pits just before the green came back out. Josh Noles and Kelly Leonard went door to door on the restart and Noles won the battle and moved into fourth behind Larry Eldridge. Dana Eiland started the feature from sixth and was sizing up Noles looking for a pass when Gordy Scarborough spun in turn three to bring the yellow out again. On this restart The Master of Faster decided to put the whip to his black #K9 and drove hard into turn one. He then made a hard left turn and dove downhill to the apron passing Tompkins and Eldridge on his way into second place which thrilled his hundreds of fans as they all stood to cheer on the hero. Eiland proceeded to run down the Rocketman and was on his tail when Leonard got spun out for a yellow flag caution. On the restart the order was Rocketman, Eiland, Tompkins, Eldridge, Leonard, Chaz Haskins, Anthony Meadows, Montana Dudley, and Gordy Scarborough, who was working his way back to the front from dead last. When the green came back Eiland had prepared himself with momentum to take the lead from the Rocketman. The K9 blasted by to take the lead and it was on. When they reached turn three Eiland took the inside groove and the Rocketman took the cushion which gave him more speed than the K9. The Rocketman came up fast on the back bumper of the K9 and gave him that love tap which upset the K9's line. The Rocketman dropped to the inside and took the lead back. This move had all of the Rocketman's fans on their feet cheering and all of Eiland's fans on the feet protesting the move. Being the great champion he is, Eiland set up the Rocketman, who was blocking his every move, and in turn four Eiland shot his K9 back into the lead. It just does not get any better than this for race fans. The Rocketman had his teeth sunk deeply into the K9's tail and was not letting go. If Dana made even the slightest error the Rocketman was poised to take back the lead. Going into turn three the Rocketman went high in the cushion looking for the slightest bit of speed when his rear end broke loose and in slow motion carried him off the track to bring out the caution and relegate himself to the rear for the re-start. It looked like the K9 was out of the woods but Bert Tompkins was also riding on a rocket and blasted his way into second and was matching the K9's lap speeds. Eiland and Tompkins were a full straightaway ahead of third place Eldridge when the white flag flew. Once again, The Master of Faster thrilled his fan base with an exciting and well earned victory, taking the checkers and perpetuating his legacy. Bert Tompkins finishing second has officially become a serious contender in the Late Model division. Larry Eldridge finished third, Gordy Scarborough drove an excellent race to come from last to finish fourth, Chaz Haskins finished fifth, Richie Rocketman Stephens came in sixth, Kelly Leonard seventh, Montana Dudley eighth, Anthony Meadows ninth, and Marty Beckwith rounded out the top ten in tenth.
ROCKETMAN AND MONSTERS AT EAST ALABAMA
By Jay Vaquer
Phenix City, ALA - August 15-16, 2008 - Two thrilling nights of capacity crowds and dirt track excitement marked the late summer program at East Alabama Motor Speedway. In the ATV competition children from seven years old and up competed on the prepared infield with high jumps and special tricks. Free passes were handed out for the Friday night show so all the local school kids could see what some of their peers were up to on the dirt surface. The Monster truck show ran both nights and thousands of fans were treated to the awesome display of deafening 1500 horsepower Monsters jumping and spinning on the red clay. Saturday night the Late Model division ran their last points race of the year with this year's champion Richie "Rocketman" Stephens and the eternal champion, the legendary Master of Faster, Dana Eiland putting on a great show of speed and racing savvy. The Rocketman set the tempo with a qualifying time of 15.75 to win the Extreme Power Sports $100 award for fast time and started the feature from the pole. Rising star Montana Dudley was second fastest and was on the outside pole when the green dropped on the feature. The Rocketman blasted out to the lead and Eiland wasted no time in moving his # K9 into second place. On the second lap misfortune struck Dudley as he got caught up in a three car collision in turn one. Chaz Haskins and Brandon Pijnenburg went to the pits with severe damage. When the green came back the Rocketman chose to run a line in the middle of the track and Eiland chose to run the apron under him. Another speedster Anthony Meadows had moved into third place from seventh by lap six. Pijnenburg came back on the track with all of his right side sheet metal missing and his nose and hood were also gone. He fired down the front straightaway and had plenty of speed but when he reached turn one the car would not turn and he went for that unpleasant ride off the top of turn one. Smoother than smooth Slick Rick Culpepper was suddenly in the mix sparring with Mike Parkerson over fourth place. Culpepper passed him in turn one then Parkerson came back from the inside and after getting his nose in the lead pushed high in turn two which cut the track off for Culpepper who,
rather than tearing up his car, went off the backstretch for a yellow flag penalty. On the restart
Rocketman achieved escape velocity and was in orbit running several carlengths ahead of Eiland. Josh Noles
came out turn four and hit a slick spot which put him into the outside wall and ended his day. Jimmy Evilsizer
broke on lap 16 and rolled into the pits. Parkerson had the pedal to the metal as he went past Larry Eldridge for fourth on lap 17. Matt Woodson's decision to change his luck by going from a red car to a shiny blue GRT was running strong as he passed Scott Prins for seventh. Back in outer space the Rocketman was going where no man has gone before as he pulled away from Dana Eiland, by 10 carlengths, to take the checkers in championship form. Dana Eiland finished second, Anthony Meadows third, Mike Parkerson fourth, and Larry Eldridge rounded out the top five in fifth.
LIL' NIP NAILS TOP TRACKS at EAST ALABAMA
By Jay Vaquer
Phenix City,ALA - August 30, 2008 - You can always count on holidays to be spectacular at East Alabama Motor Speedway and this year's Labor Day celebration was nothing short. A tremendous fireworks display, hard hitting demolition derby, and a very exciting dirt track program featuring the Top Tracks Late Model Series was definitely the "A" ticket for the thousands of race fans who came to share the excitement. When the Late Models took the track for qualifying everyone was turning middle 16's until this year's Late Model Track Champion Richie "Rocketman" Stephens blistered the track with a 15.94. It seemed he would take the pole until Jordy "Lil' Nip" Nipper stole the show with a 15.86 to win the Extreme Power Sports pole award and begin the feature on the pole. When the green dropped the Rocketman blasted out to the early lead running his preferred line at the top of the track. He began to distance himself from Lil' Nip in second and The Master of Faster Dana Eiland in third. Suddenly Matt Woodson's throttle linkage broke, no doubt due to that big heavy lead foot, and he was off the back side for the first caution. On the restart the order was Rocketman, Nipper, Dana Eiland's K9, Todd Morrow and Jake Knowles when the green came back out. As the Rocketman began pulling away Knowles, driving Shane Thompson's Fun Carts of Opelika # 00, make a strong move to the front and passed Morrow and Eiland's #K9. The Master of Faster wasn't going to have any of that and came right back to third on lap 6. Rocketman was orbiting up in the cushion when his right front wheel picked up some loose clay. It appeared he had a bent tie rod or something and he could not hold his line which was the break Nipper needed to take the lead on lap 7. Eiland came up and went door to door with the Rocketman. As Slick Rick Culpepper and Brian Jackson entered the pits with mechanical failures, Eiland and Knowles went by the Rocketman to move into second and third respectively. Lap 13 never fails to be unlucky for somebody and this time it caught The Head Man, Mike Head as he lost power and coasted to a stop for a yellow flag. The top five on this restart were Nipper, Dana Eiland's K9, Knowles, Rocketman, and another Eiland speedster, Bobby Joe Eiland in fifth. Lil' Nip and Dana Eiland blast out to nearly a straightaway lead from Knowles and Rocketman who are locked in mortal combat swapping paint in the turns. Numerology came into play on lap 18 as the #88 of Matt Woodson and the #88 of Bill Peters entered the pits simultaneously.. Then on lap 20, the #00 of Jake Knowles and the #00 of the Rocketman both entered the pits. Now the top five were Lil' Nip, the famous #K9 in second, Morrow in third, Bobby Joe Eiland in fourth, and rookie Montana Dudley was in fifth. Mike Parkerson had been battling his way to the front and picked off Dudley to move into fifth. As Parkerson went after Bobby Joe, Morrow suddenly broke and everyone went by on lap 25. Josh Noles began running hot and entered the pits headed straight for the water hole. While most of the attention was on the leaders, Phillip Anderson was quietly working his way to the front and was knocking on Parkerson's door to take away the fourth spot. Parkerson decided to pass Bobby Joe Eiland from the apron and we had another type of fireworks display as sheet metal sparked when Bobby Joe, Parkerson and Anderson were three wide in turns three and four. Anderson was able to move into third from the high groove and went after The Master of Faster, which proved to be the wrong thing to do. Kelly Leonard had a problem in turn 2 and brought out the lap 34 caution. The restart order now was Lil' Nip, who was driving the perfect race, Dana Eiland second, Anderson third, Bobby Joe Eiland fourth and Parkerson fifth. When the green flag came out Anderson got by the K9 in turn two to move into second. When they got to turn three Anderson blocked the K9 on the inside. The Master of Faster quickly changed his line and went to the cushion generating a lot of momentum coming out of turn four. When Anderson saw him coming up on the outside by the flagstand, he tried to move up to block. That's when the K9 did not flinch or budge an inch and collided with Anderson taking a big bite out of Anderson's right rear tire then speeding away into second place. Anderson had to go to the pits which ended his great run and bid for the win. Some drivers have to learn the hard way, you don't tug on Superman's cape and you don't mess with The Master of Faster. Brian Burke moved up and passed Parkerson for fourth just before Kelly Leonard and Chad Scrimpshire crashed in turn 4 on the white flag lap. Jordy Nipper sprinted to the checkers in a well deserved victory. The local legend Dana Eiland came in second and really gave his fans a great show. Bobby Joe Eiland was back in great form as he turned in a third place finish. Brian Burke finished fourth, Mike Parkerson fifth, Montana Dudley sixth, Alan Brewer seventh, Bobby Mayse eighth, Chris Ferrell ninth and Richard Goode rounded out the top ten in tenth.
THOMAS WINS STATE RULES at EAST ALABAMA
By Jay Vaquer
Phenix City, ALA - September 13, 2008 - In preparation of the Alabama State Championship to be held the weekend of the 27th at East Alabama Motor Speedway many drivers came to test their set-ups and look for speed in this year's competition. In the Crate Late Model division Shane Stodghill and Bobby Eiland set fast time in qualifying with Eiland's 15.62 earning the pole and Stodghill taking the outside pole with a 15.67. When the green dropped on the feature Eiland led the way into turn one but Stodghill came out of turn two with the lead. Fastrak National Champion William Thomas was in third place with this year's EAMS Late Model track champion Richie " Rocketman" Stephens trying to pass from fourth up in the cushion. The leaders were so fast that within a few laps they were running a full straightaway ahead of Chase Edge in fifth. On lap 5 Stodghill lost all power as his coil wire came off on the back stretch and he coasted to a stop to bring out a yellow flag caution. On the restart Bobby Eiland led the pack into turn one and William Thomas was trying to take him from the inside. When they got to turn three Thomas drove deep into the turn and came out of turn 4 with more momentum than Eiland. The extra speed sent him into the rear of Eiland's car and slowed down Thomas's J.W. Miller Land and Timber BTR Scorpion. Rocketman made an attempt to capitalize on Thomas's misfortune however, Thomas's superb driving skills enabled him to maintain control and fend off the Rocketman to stay in second place. Thomas was quick to catch up to Eiland and began attacking from the apron, looking to pass under Eiland. Lap 13 proved unlucky for Eiland as Thomas shot past him in turn one to take the lead, hammer down, and pull away from the pack as the fat lady sang "turn out the lights, the party's over". As Thomas ran wide open Eiland didn't have a chance to pass and stayed a good 10 car lengths ahead of Rocketman who was about the same distance ahead of Edge. The white flag was out and just like last year Thomas claimed the victory in a very domineering fashion. Bobby Eiland finished second, Richie Stephens third, Chase Edge fourth, Montana Dudley, fifth, Marc Gooden sixth, Chad Scrimpshire seventh, Shane Stodghill eighth, Rodgerick Dykes ninth, and Bert Tompkins rounded out the top ten in tenth.
PENNINGTON ALABAMA STATE SUPER LATE MODEL CHAMPION
By Jay Vaquer
Phenix City, ALA - September 28, 2008 - East Alabama Motor Speedway
proudly hosted the 30th Annual Alabama State Championship over a four day
weekend. It was truly one of dirt track racing's premier events with
hundreds of race teams from across the United States and thousands of
race fans each day enjoying the beautiful fall weather and the wildly
exciting nine divisions of highly competitive racing. The event
culminated Sunday night with the Super Late Model feature. During the
qualifying most fast drivers were hitting around 14.80 then hometown
favorite, Fastrak National Champion William Thomas in his brand new JW
Miller Land and Timber Rocket Chassis Vic Hill powered Monte Carlo, who
had already won the pole, and subsequent events for the Crate Late Model
feature and the Sportsman feature, turned in a scorching hot 14.40 and
appeared to win fast time until the incumbent champion, Terrance "The
Phenix City Assassin" Nowell turned in a blazing 14.39 to relegate Thomas
to second. Both of these times set track records for daytime lap speed
and no one expected to see anyone faster. Enter 18 year old Travis
Pennington in a black and white Rocket chassis #01. With lightning speed
he shocked everyone as he turned in a 14.32 to set the new track record.
After running away with a win in his heat race, he was on the pole for
the feature. When the green dropped on the main event, Pennington
immediately took the lead as Clint " Cat Daddy" Smith shot past the
outside pole sitter Jake Knowles to take second place. On lap 4, William
Thomas shot past Dewayne "Flat Out" Johnson who brought out the caution
with a flat right rear.
The restart order was Pennington, Smith, Knowles, Jeff Fortner, Stacy
Holmes, Benji Cole, Nowell, Riley Hickman, Dana "The Master of Faster"
Eiland, and William Thomas rounded out the first ten. The green was back
out and Aaron Ridley got a jump on Dennis "Pure Hale" Hale and Thomas
got by Eiland then Johnson got collected by the inside wall of turn two.
On lap 10 Cat Daddy started blowing blue smoke out the rear. Eiland's K9
suffered a flat tire and went to the pits along with Johnson. Cat Daddy
called it quits and entered the pits on lap 19 as his smoking problem was
increasing. Pennington was really in a different reality as he gained
ground on the field with each passing lap. Knowles now in second could
not get close enough to pressure Pennington, who was clearly the class of
the field. Hickman went flying off turn three for the caution and on the
restart the Assassin was up to fourth from starting eighth. On lap 22,
the #22 of Thomas was running sixth and Hale was up to tenth. John Greene
entered the pits and took a DNF just before Aaron Ridley smashed the
guard rail putting both of Clint Smith's GRT's out of the race. The
Assassin was quietly picking off the competition and suddenly was running
in third at lap 26. Thomas has a great system for picking off the
competition on the restarts and Holmes was his next victim as he dropped
inside in turn one and shot by moving into fifth on lap 28. James Ward
was having a serious run as he started dead last and was now running
ninth. Gar Dixon brought out the next caution but was able to enter the
pits, change the tire and rejoin the field for the green. Pennington
would fire on these restarts and simply pull away from whoever was in
second. This time it was Knowles but he had his hands full as the
Assassin had him in his sights and was making his life a living hell
attacking from high and low. Dickson's new tire didn't want to turn on
turn one and he went for that ride on the wild side off turn one for
another yellow flag caution. On this restart again Thomas worked his
magic as he picked off Fortner and moved into fourth at lap 40. Ronnie
"The Chattanooga Flash" Johnson was having problems in his borrowed #57
and suddenly his run went to Hale as he and Dennis Hale crashed in turn 4
at lap 44 to bring out the yellow and they both went to the pits for
unfortunate DNFs. On this restart Holmes went over turn one and brought
the yellow right back. Attrition was mounting as on lap 44 we had 16 race
cars still in the competition. On the restart Thomas put it on the
Assassin this time as he powered into third and went after Knowles in
second. He ran down Knowles and began his attack from the inside. Thomas
could get even, and even slightly ahead, in the turns but Knowles had
that high side momentum to propel himself back into second down the
straight-aways. This exciting battle brought us to the white flag as
these three youngsters, none of the top three are over 22 years old, gave
everyone what you hope to see in such a great event. Travis Pennington
took the checkers to become the youngest driver to ever win the coveted
title of Alabama State Super Late Model Champion. Jake Knowles finished
second, William Thomas third, Terrance Nowell fourth, James Ward fifth,
Gar Dickson sixth, Jeff Fortner seventh, Brian Smith eighth, Riley
Hickman ninth, and Frank Wilson rounded out the top ten in tenth.
THOMAS CRATE LATE MODEL ALABAMA STATE CHAMPION
By Jay Vaquer
Phenix City, ALA - September 28, 2008 - Phenix City's own William Thomas captured the East Alabama Motor Speedway title of Alabama State Crate Late Model Champion. Thomas dominated the race in his JW Miller Land and Timber Ben Thomas Racing Scorpion, like last year, winning the fast time qualifying with a 15.35, no one else was even close, and began the feature from the pole. When the green flag dropped on the feature Thomas took the lead solidly down the front stretch and through the turn with his patented Mr. Smooth line. By lap 2 he was already a full straight-away ahead of second place Blake Stewart. The line up of talented racers followed with Bobby Eiland in third, Mike "The Head Man" Head in fourth, Jordy "Lil' Nip" Nipper fifth, Frank Ingram sixth, and Billy Franklin running in seventh. Travis Pennington, starting in twelfth, was driving William Thomas' Fastrak National Championship winning GRT which was nearly identical to the BTR William was driving this year, and he was also very fast. He came up on Ronnie "The Chattanooga Flash" Johnson, slid to the high side and went right on around, then took off after Ingram running sixth. Just as Thomas was about to begin lapping the rear of the field Kelly Leonard spun off turn two, brought out the caution, went to the pits and swapped a tire, then rejoined the field for the green flag. On lap 14 Lil' Nip stopped on the backside with a mechanical failure then retired to the pits. When the green came back Pennington was mounting a very strong charge to the front and he passed Mike Head to move into fourth. Richie " Rocketman" Stephens, this year's EAMS Crate Late Model track champion, was having a bad day. During qualifying he went off turn one can got his arm stuck through the steering wheel as he hit the outside retaining wall very hard. The Emergency response team said he was fortunate to not have snapped his hand clean off and escaped with a real sore wrist. On lap 19 Rocketman spun out in turn two and brought out the caution. When the green came back out Thomas could escape the field with ease and run by himself in the lead. The next fastest car in the field was Pennington who shot by Bobby Eiland to move into third at lap 26 while Thomas was lapping the rear of the field again. Another fast mover was local legend Dana Eiland, starting 19th and now was quietly picking off spots, running in sixth and working on Ingram. At lap 36 Eiland and Ingram were door to door most of the way around the 3/8ths mile high banked clay oval. Thomas had just put Chase Edge a lap down when Head and Montana Dudley spun in turn 2 for the lap 40 caution. Head entered the pits then when the green came back Stewart made his most convincing bid to take the lead from Thomas as he pulled even for while but nothing doing, this was Thomas' race and today he was the man as he pulled back into the lead and left them all behind. Pennington was now working over Stewart to take second place while Dana "The Master of Faster" Eiland passed Frank Ingram for fifth at lap 44. Pennington moved into second, Stewart gave him a nudge on the rear quarter panel as he whizzed by on the front stretch and it looked like Thomas was going to regret letting Pennington drive that super fast GRT. Time ran out, the white flag was out and William Thomas continues to build his statistics and claim another Alabama State title.
Travis Pennington finished second, Blake Stewart third, Bobby Eiland fourth, Dana Eiland fifth, Billy Franklin sixth, Frank Ingram seventh, Jeff Fields eighth, Ronnie Johnson ninth, and Larry Boutwell rounded out the top ten in tenth.
THOMAS VS THOMAS FOR SPORTSMAN ALABAMA STATE TITLE
By Jay Vaquer
Phenix City, ALA - September 28, 2008 - In East Alabama Motor Speedway's Alabama State Championship events Bobby Thomas holds the record in Super Late Model with an astounding 10 wins. Due to the increased costs of running the Super Late Model division Bobby has dropped to the Sportsman event where he had a brand new BTR Scorpion built to compete in this years event. However, the defending champion is Bobby's young nephew, Fastrak National Champion William Thomas, who also is running a brand new BTR Scorpion in this event. In qualifying Bobby posted a 15.39 which was nearly a half second faster than anyone else until Ronnie "The Chattanooga Flash" Johnson rolled off the trailer with no practice and became the first qualifier to break the 15 second mark with a lightning quick 14.94 to move to the top. The next to last car to qualify was William Thomas in his JW Miller Land and Timber BTR Scorpion. William turned in an unbelievable 14.82 and for the second year in a row earned the pole for the feature. When the green dropped on the main event William held onto the lead down the front stretch. Bobby, who started fourth, used his skill and experience to weave past Ricky Williams and The Flash to come out of turn two in second place. William put his magic to work and on lap 5 he was running several car lengths ahead of Bobby when Larry Eldridge spun in turn 4 to bring out the yellow flag caution. Mike Nasworthy got towed to the pits just before the green flag came back. The order was William, Bobby, The Flash, Ricky Williams, Larry Harrod, Terrance "The Phenix City Assassin" Nowell, Jordy " Lil' Nip" Nipper, Parker Herring, Glenn McWaters, Cale Simons, and Tod Darda. William blasted out to the lead and immediately began pulling away from the rest of the field. The Flash was all over Bobby looking for a pass on the inside and the fans were getting the high quality dirt track excitement they came to see. On lap 14 William was putting Bobby Joe Eiland a lap down, then picking off Mitch Fulford and
Larry Eldridge. Harrod was closing in on the Flash and looking for a way around when McWaters brought out the caution with a flat. On the restart again William ran wide open all the way around the 3/8ths mile high banked clay oval and was in a class of his own as on lap 28 he was a full straightaway ahead of Uncle Bobby in second. Larry Harrod broke on lap 29 and had to get pushed to the pits for an unfortunate DNF. Eldridge and Simons also entered the pits during this caution. The green was back out in no time and as Thomas dusted the field, The Flash was locked in a death match with Bobby Thomas which was really exciting as he would pass then Bobby would pass right back. EAMS Late Model track champion JR Moseley gave everybody a scare when he threw a rod on the front straightaway and came to a stop with his engine on fire. JR was quick to bail out and the track officials extinguished the fire in no time. When the green came back William Thomas powered his way to the checkers for the second year in a row and continues to add some quite impressive statistics to his Alabama State race resume. Bobby Thomas finished second, Ronnie Johnson third, Terrance Nowell fourth, Jordy Nipper fifth, Ricky Williams sixth, Tod Darda seventh, Parker Herring eighth, Steven Endicott ninth, and Marvelous Marvin Cook rounded out the top ten in tenth.
34th NATIONAL 100 TO JIMMY MARS
By Jay Vaquer
The 2008 National 100 Late Model feature offered $30,000 to win the 100 lap event. Several competitors broke the track record during fast time qualifying and Casey Roberts wound up the fastest of the fast and began the feature from the pole. When the green flag dropped Dennis Franklin, Brady Smith, and Billy Moyer passed Roberts on the first lap. Brian Birkhofer passed Roberts on lap 4 as Aaron Ridley brought out the caution with a flat tire. The restart order was Franklin, Moyer, Smith, Dennis Erb JR, Birkhofer, Roberts, Mike Marlar, Randle Chupp, Vic The Thrill Hill and Ed Basey. Scott Bloomquist and Chris Madden arrived late and missed qualifying but made the field in the last chance race and began in the rear. They began moving up through the field working as a pair as they passed Travis Pennington. Bloomquist passed Clint Cat Daddy Smith to move into 13th on lap 10. Suddenly smith stopped on the track then rolled into the pits to take an early DNF. On the restart Bloomquist picked off two more positions and went around Hill to move into 9th on lap 15. James ward passed Pennington and William Thomas was looking for the pass from the inside of Pennington when Ricky Williams slowed on the track, brought out the yellow then went to the pits for a DNF. During this caution many drivers changed helmets. When we went back to green Gar Dickson ended up in the inside wall for another caution. As we went green again this time Smith had a flat tire which sent him over turn 2 for the caution. Moyer moves into second as Bloomquist passed Chupp and begins to reel in Birkhofer. Suddenly Bloomquist pulled into the pits and changed both of his rear tires on lap 21. On the restart Moyer slid high and was passed by Erb and Roberts. Madden passed Chupp and Chupp passed right back then he slowed to a stop with a flat right rear. Bloomquist had moved into 10th on lap 32 as everyone's' left rear was leaving rubber on the track and the track was changing the preferred groove. Bloomquist moved into seventh as Moyer was putting pressure on Franklin who moved up to the cushion looking for cool clay to cool his tires. Just as Franklin hit the lap traffic on lap 46 Ray Cook blew his engine and brought out the caution. Madden pulled into the pits and changed his tires and fueled up. Thomas followed suit. On the restart Moyer went off turn one and was sent to the rear. Bloomquist changed his line and began running the apron as Roberts passed for position. Jimmy Mars was now challenging Franklin for the lead. On lap 57 Mars does a slide job up the hill in turn 4 to take the lead. Moyer and Thomas battle for 15th while Pennington passes Hill in turn 2 at lap 64. Moyer suddenly lost power and pulled into the pits. Smith got into the back of Dickson to bring out the lap 67 caution. During this caution Bloomquist went back to the pits and changed tires again. Blankenship came back to the race for the restart. As Roberts began to fade only the top three have not entered the pits, Jimmy Mars, Birkhofer, and Franklin were still running strong. Chupp passed Erb to move into 4th. Birkhofer began to pressure Mars and the high speed cat and mouse game was on for the lead. Mars had the perfect set up and drove the perfect race to claim the checkers and become the 2008 National 100 Super Late Model champion. Brian Birkhofer finished second, Dennis Franklin third, Randle Chupp fourth, Dennis Erb JR fifth, Casey Roberts sixth, Brady Smith seventh, Scott Bloomquist eighth, Chris Madden ninth, and John Blankenship rounded out the top ten in tenth.