September 6, 2001
Points Leaders Prevail In Scotland County Raceway Season Finale
Only two drivers in the five division season finale at Scotland County Raceway chose to go for the big bucks, giving up top two row starting spots to head to the back of the pack, and neither figured into the conclusion of the race as the pole sitters took three of the five feature races.
Promoter Ron Anderson added a little spice to the conclusion of the 2001 season at SCR by offering a double purse for any of the top four points drivers in each feature event who would voluntarily start at the rear of the race and come on to victory.
The lure of a possible $1,200 purse was enough to make Chris Smyser give up his second row starting spot to begin at the rear of the 12-car field. The large cheer from the crowd may have had something to do with the decision as well as Smyser asked the fans to help him make his decision.
Points leader Denny Woodworth chose to stay up front along with Jon Fuller who was second in points and #3 points man Jody Wood. Jason Krigbaum moved up to the second row with the departure of Smyser to the back.
Smyser looked poised to give the crowd something more to cheer about as he passed three cars on the opening lap after the green flag fell. But his run would be short. Justin Fuller hit turn one hard and slid up the track collecting the #07 car as well as the #10 car. Smyser was unable to check up and rode through the fracus, losing his right front tire in the collision.
Fuller and Jim Gillenwater (#10) were able to stay on the track but the field was narrowed to 10 cars.
None of that may have mattered though as Woodworth ran at the front for all but the first couple of laps. Jon Fuller actually charged to the front after lap three and held the top spot until spinning out in turn four bringing out the races second yellow flag.
Woodworth reclaimed the lead but it was far from smooth sailing for the #45DW car as he had to fend off not one, not two, but three different challengers in the 25-lap event.
The #25 car posed the first threat as Lonnie Bailey rebounded from the early crash to move all the way up to second position behind Woodworth. That was not a comfortable spot either as Krigbaum and Tony Fraise in the #6 car also were challenging for the top spots.
Krigbaum moved into second place before being forced to retire after the #11 car dropped its drive shaft.
Fraise was the next driver to hold down the two spot. But he was not able to hold off Bailey and fell back to third. One thing remained constant, Woodworth, who never fell off the pace and went on to the checkered flag.
Bailey was second followed by Fraise, Wood and Gillenwater.
The only other car to go to the rear to chase the double purse was in the stock car class where Louis Lynch took the #71 car from the three spot to the back row.
Just like Smyser, he made a big push to open the race and passed several cars to move all the way as high as fourth spot. But he went out with a flat tire.
Lynch was not the only car headed to the pits as he was joined by Harley Hill and the #85 car with a flat tire as well.
Race leader Don Kansellar was close behind him when the motor on the #28k car gave way.
That left points leader Josh Walker in the #78 car to battle with the #14R car of Jim Redman. Redman ultimately won the battle and took the checkered flag. Walker was second followed by Pete Agee in the #14 car and Ryan Reese in the #55 ride.
The other three classes stayed firm at the top four spots.
The A-modified division was adjusted as the #4 points man, Mark Burgtorf was racing in Eldon where he won the Deery Brothers Late Model event. So the #69M car dropped from the second row, boosting Fraise into that spot.
He, Jim Fuller, Lynn Monroe and points leader Jim Roach all stayed at the front of the pack, figuring 25 laps was not enough time to pass the rest of the 22-car field.
Hindsight may have altered the decision making as the field was quickly narrowed and two of the top four drivers were taken out of the race.
The front four points men stayed in place to open the race and ran 1-4 for several laps before Fraise finally slipped past Fuller into third. All the while Steve Grotz was moving the #22G car up from his fifth row starting spot followed by Mike Delozier in the #16 who was right behind him off the sixth row start.
A pair of disabled cars brought out the first two yellow flags of the night. With 11 laps down the field went back to green. It was short-lived as the yellow flag flew again when Fraise tried to get a jump on the start and collided with Monroe. Fraise went to the pits with a flat tire while Monroe had to go to the back of the field at no fault of his own. He was followed by Delozier who also got collected in the crash.
That was just the start of Monroe's bad luck as just a lap later he got collected with the #35H car and was done for the night.
All the while Roach remained at the head of the class. He was building a big cushion between cautions as the rest of the field battled for the second spot. Fuller held that position until Kevin Cale got by him with the #3x car. On the next lap Grotz got by the #88 car and took Bob Dale and the #12 car along with him into third and fourth.
The #22G car was not done yet as it passed Cale and went to second. But the writing was on the wall for Grotz as his car was blowing smoke and also sparking from a wheel and he was forced to retire just a lap later after pushing Roach for the lead.
That set up the finish order as Roach held on for the checkered flag and the win. He was followed across the finish line by Cale, Dale, Delozier and Fuller.
With the victory, Roach wrapped up the 2001 track championship in the A-Modified class.
The B-modified feature was even more rough on the top points earners. Only one of the four finished the race and he had his best run of the year.
Memphis driver Jerry Reese jumped out in front from his second row starting spot on the opening lap. He moved ahead of points leader Danny Daggs and runner-up Jim Gillenwater and quickly began to pull away from the crowd.
Both of the later drivers were short lived for the feature race as Gillenwater left with a flat tire before Daggs blew the motor on the #04 car. Third place points man Bobby Cookson had similar troubles, falling back in the pack before ending up on the infield.
Reese got his main challenge from Jack Evans, Jr. in the #00 car. A string of yellow flags took its toll on Reese who managed to hold off Evans on several restarts before finally giving way with just three laps to go. Reese held on for second place followed by Jerry Poor in the #86 car and the #67 ride of Larry Larson.
Daggs maintained a large enough cushion in the points race to still claim the B-Modified track championship.
The largest field of the night came to the track for the Hobby Stock feature event with 24 cars taking to the track.
Tony Becerra and Roger Dresden started side-by-side on the front row. The two made things interesting early on as they battled for the top spot. Becerra opened with the lead but gave way to the #1 car of Dresden after the race's first restart. The yellow came out when the #74 car rolled in turn four.
Dresden's run at the front was short lived as the #1 car spun in turn four and was towed off the track.
Becerra regained the lead but quickly got a challenge from Jeff Soper and the #43s car. All the while the #3 car driven by Louis Lynch quickly made its way up to challenge, knocking off the #23 car of Larry Hooper to take over third place.
Lynch ultimately got by Soper to take second but was unable to reel in Becerra who went on to claim the win in the feature as well as the season points championship.