July 25, 2002
Can Anyone Beat Elston of Fraise?
By Chris Feeney Memphis Democrat Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good. Of course no one at Scotland County Speedway will tell you that Tommy Elston isn't a good driver, but it took a little luck for Elston to extend his winning streak in the late model division at Scotland County Speedway with a win July 22.
By all accounts Thad Trump appeared to have the fastest car in the class on Saturday night. The Kahoka driver had the 46 car hitting on all cylinders as he demonstrated in the heat race by defeating Elston.
It took less than five laps for Trump to move up from his fifth starting spot to take over the lead from pole sitter Jason Krigbaum in the 11 car. Elston followed in the wake of the 46 car, making a big push of his own to knock off six spots from his starting position of 8th to pull in behind the lead car.
But Trump showed no sign of faltering as he held a comfortable cushion as the laps began to rack up. It appeared like Elston might get the break he needed to make a last ditch run when the 66 car of Justin Fuller slid into the guard rail in the front stretch bringing out the race's only yellow flag.
The chance at a run off the restart turned into a sure thing for Elston when Trump's car rolled to a stop off turn one as the cars lined up for the restart after the 46 car apparently dropped it's drive shaft.
That turned the lead over to Elston, who quickly found himself in familiar territory about a half lap ahead of the rest of the field. Brian Harris found SCS to his liking in his first appearance of the season. He brought the 21 car from the rear of the pack to finish second. Boone McLaughlin was another high riser. After a slow start, the Mediapolis, IA, driver came on strong to close out the race in third, edging out Tony Fraise in the 45DW and Krigbaum.
Trump and the rest of the field likely will be back next week to take another run at Elston's winning streak as there is now a $300 bounty for any racer who can beat the 45 car meaning the top driver could take home a $1,000 total purse.
Fraise likely was not too disappointed as just two races earlier he had fended off all the bounty hunters in the opening race of the night to continue his dominance of the modified class.
Early on, to the pleasure of his hometown crowd, it was the Lynn Monroe show. The Memphis driver jumped out to the early lead with a strong start from the second row. He and Kris Eggers of Lancaster traded back and forth, going side by side for a lap and a half before the 97 car broke and went to the pits.
All the while the battle was going on up front Fraise was picking off cars left and right as he sneaked from the fourth row up into contention in just a matter of laps.
Just prior to the halfway point Fraise got around Monroe to take the lead. Bob Dale of Gorin was following in the same tracks as he moved into third after falling all the way back to fifth from his pole position.
Fraise began to pull away as Monroe and Dale battled for second place while Jim Roach moved up to put the 13 car into the running for the spot as well.
With two laps to go Dale was able to pilot the 12 car into the second position. Monroe held onto the third spot until the car quit coming out of turn four. That let Roach by for third followed by Ryan Meyer in the 82M car before the 21 ride of Monroe coasted across the finish line for fifth place.
Fraise continued his winning streak at SCS and to the pleasure of the crowd even offered back the $50 he won by defeating the bounty to be given away as part of the 50/50 drawing for the spectators.
While the dominators won their feature events there was a new winner in the hobby stock feature event. Well, new isn't totally accurate as Tony Becerra has been a familiar face in the winner's circle of past. However the 2 car had been absent from victory lane for quite a while in 2002 due to various mechanical problems.
It wasn't all smooth sailing for the Carthage, IL, driver as he had to endure four separate cautions before the main event even made it to the halfway point.
By the time the yellows stopped flying Becerra had came from the fifth row to pull in just behind leader JR Miller. Two laps later Becerra made into the lead for good. Miller held on to finish second followed by Jeff Soper (43S), Mike Shelton (16) and Mark Holt (11).
Yellow was also a predominant color in the B-modified feature event that followed despite having only 10 cars starting the main event.
Five separate cautions kept the event from getting too many laps on the record book early on. The yellow flag both helped and hindered early leader Jerry Reese in the 2R car. The stoppages helped to extend the race and give points leader Chris Larson added opportunity to move up from the back row where he started.
However late in the race the yellow flags flew on uncompleted laps where Larson had passed Reese, forcing the 67 back into second place and extending Reese's run at the front.
Time finally ran out on the 2R as Larson got by the Memphis driver and got the lap in the record books as well as the final five en route to the checkered flag. Reese was second followed by Jack Evans, Jr. (00), Jerry Poor (86) and Bobby Cookson (8Z).
The heat took its toll on the cruiser field as well as soaring temperatures seemed to keep cars at home Saturday with 13 cruisers taking to the track for the main race.
Early on it was Delonjay and Murry pulling ahead of the field to put the 32 car up front. Former Memphis racing legend Ramo Stott was a guest driver in the 2 car and showed his stuff early with teammate Paul Kropf as they moved into second place.
Another challenger, the 34H of Dave Hudson and Robert Arnold saw its night end abruptly when a three-car crash in turn four sent the car to the pits on a wrecker. The 9Z and 14 cars also were forced out of the race.
On the restart Stott and Kropf managed to get by the 32 car and hold on for the win. Darrin and Jeff Skow of Argyle snuck into second place with the 1 car followed by Delonjay and Murry. Donnie and Greg Peters (87) of Quincy, IL were fourth followed by Jason Overhulser and Josh Soper (36) of Kahoka in fifth.
Many might argue the best was saved for last when the stock car feature took to the track.
Last week's winner, Michael Browning (13) and Rodger Dresden (1) started on the front row. However it was the action right behind them that was most impressive. Coming out of turn two the third through eighth place cars pulled even as five cars went side by side into the back stretch in a battle for third. Jim Redman won the battle and didn't stop there as he quickly moved the 14R all the way to the front. As a matter of fact he didn't stop there either as he continued to fly around the track building nearly a half lap lead. Mike Robinson had a little more trouble with traffic but eventually he brought the 78R through the crowd but never really put a dent in Redman's cushion as the 14R went on to the checkered flag.
Robinson finished second followed by (11) Dennis Harwood of Mt. Pleasant, IA, (85H) Harley Hill of Wayland and (12) Randy Stalder of Washington, IA.