August 8, 2002
Megonigle Wins Second USMTS Stop At Scotland County Speedway
Is there a more impressive sight for race fans than the four-wide parade lap that has become synonymous with the United States Modified Touring Series (USMTS) which made its second stop of the 2002 racing season at Memphis Speedway on August 3rd.
The colorful cars that traveled to the region from across the Midwest, intermingled with local favorites, circle the track as each driver flies the Stars and Stripes from his window. The fans come to their feet and cheer on the parade of cars in anticipation of one of the best races of the season.
The 24-car field did not disappoint the SCS crowd Saturday night as they saw some of the finest open-wheel racing of the year.
A total of 44 modified cars traveled to Memphis for the Saturday Night Excitement sponsored by Walker Motors of Memphis. The huge number of competitors required four heat races as well as a pair of B-main races to set the field for the main event.
Mark Burgtorf opened up the night with a victory in the first heat event, which featured many of the local competitors. Jim Roach was second followed by Tony Fraise to earn births in the feature race. Chris Eggers headed the heat race early on but got together with the 3 car in turn four. The collision caused a small fire in the 97X car bringing out the fire crews stopping the race momentarily.
The remainder of the heat races had their share of yellow flags as well as the cars were pushing hard to make it into the feature contest.
The second heat contest was won by Scott Megonigle of Cedar Rapids in the M2 car. Justin Boney of Desota, KS, picked up the victory in the third heat race while Kelly Smith of Kirksville was the victor in the fourth heat race of the night.
The top eight cars on the night had a special redraw prior to the start of the contest. Three regulars at SCS along with a fourth familiar face were among the top eight cars at the start of the field. Tony Fraise drew the unlucky eighth spot and started along side Burgtorf. Kelly Smith was just one spot better at sixth. Jim Roach had the best redraw as he started on the front row in hole #2 along side the 17 car of Mike Spaulding, last years feature winner at SCS.
Rounding out the front eight were Boney, Megonigle and Todd Klees of Rochester, MN in the 12EZ car.
Spaulding jumped to the head of the pack as the green flag flew but the action was short lived as Smith spun in turn one bringing out the yellow and ending the 0 car's shot at the coveted USMTS win.
The second start for the night turned out even worse. Turn one was again the culprit as no fewer than four cars were caught up in a chain reaction collision which ended the nights of the 12 car of Johnny Bone, Jr. of Pea Ridge, AR as well as the 18L car of Michael Long of Quincy, IL.
The third time was the charm as the race got underway and finished the first lap of the 30-circuit race.
Spaulding was unable to hold onto the top spot for long as Boney took over the lead on the fourth lap. His hold on the position didn't last long either as Megonigle came all the way from the third row to take his seat at the head of the class.
Burgtorf came in tow with the M2 car getting by Boney to take hold of the second spot. Bruce Hanford of Davenport, IA, followed in the tracks of the hard charging Burgtorf, moving the 61 car into third place ahead of Boney.
At the same time Roach had slipped back to the seventh spot while Fraise was holding onto the eighth position.
The hardest chargers of the night proved to be the 3 car of Kelly Shryock of LeMars, IA and the C40 of Mike Chasteen of Creve Coeur, IL.
Chasteen won the B-main to enter the main event starting on the seventh row. Shryock had to take a provisional to get into the field and was forced to start on row 11 just in front of the two SCS provisional spots given to Bob Dale of Gorin and Jim Fuller of Memphis.
Chasteen moved up in the standings to battle Hanford for the third spot. He didn't stop there as the next pass got him by Burgtorf into second place where he ended the race. Chasteen could have used a yellow flag and a restart as he appeared to be reeling in the M2 car but the final 20 laps were caution free allowing Megonigle to hold on for his second win in as many visits to SCS. The M2 car found its way to the winner's circle in the first visit of the year by USMTS to Memphis back in June.
Shryock improved 19 positions to finish in fourth spot behind Burgtorf. Hanford held on for the fifth place finish ahead of Russ Olson of Cedar Rapids. Tim Donlinger of Rochester, MN was seventh with Boney finishing eighth. Fraise took home the ninth place finish with Jim Lynch of Bloomfield rounding out the top 10. Roach was 12th while Dale finished 19th and Fuller was 20th.
The USMTS wrapped up a full night of racing at the speedway.
The B-modified division was the first to take the track. Jerry Reese started on the pole and led for the first five circuits before giving way to Kelly Smith and the 41x car. Smith came from his starting spot on the thrid row to take the lead. That was short lived as Chris Larson got through the traffic at the midway point to pull into first place.
Larson started on the fourth row and took some time to get through the traffic but once in the lead he never relinquished it on his way to victory lane. Smith finished second ahead of Jim Redman in the 4B and Jack Evans, Jr. Bobby Cookson finished fifth. The heat wins went to Reese and Smith.
The hobby stock class nearly rivaled the modifieds in size with 32 cars forcing a B-main event. That trimmed the field to 23 cars for the feature race.
Jim Walker of Mystic, IA, started on the second row in the main event. He quickly got by the pole setters to place the 80 car ahead of the field building a large cushion on the second place car of Larry Newman (20).
Tony Becerra and Mike Shelton (16M) of Ottumwa IA moved up to make a challenge for the lead but spent the majority of the time battling for the third spot, swapping the position back and forth.
The cushion disappeared late for Walker but he managed to hold off Newman to take the checkered flag. Miller got by Becerra for third while Russell Fett grabbed fifth place with the 32 car.
Michael Browning got a big cheer from the grandstands as many of his hometown Edina fans made the trip to Memphis to see the 13 car make its second trip to the winner's circle in 2002.
Browning led the stock car feature race from start to finish. He lost two main challengers midway through the race when the 27R of Ryan Cook got together with 14R Jim Redman sending both to the back of the pack.
Dennis Harwood started next to Browning on the front row and he stayed with the 13 car throughout the contest to take second. Harwood had to hold off a late push from the 78R of Mike Robinson. Robinson and Josh Walker had been trading places much of the race as they moved up the ladder but they ran out of time to make it to the front. Walker finished fourth and the 05 of David Wietholder was fifth.
The two-man cruiser race rounded out the evening. Josh Morse and James Hudson started fast and never looked back as the 2J coasted to an easy victory. Donnie and Greg Peters held off the 32 car of Delonjay and Murry to take second place. Dave Hudson and Robert Arnold finished fourth in the 34H while Lance Stott and Paul Kropf were fifth.
After the contest the 2J car was disqualified along with the 34H car for "restrictor plate tampering". That handed the win over to the Peters team in the 87. Hudson and Arnold lost their fourth place finish as well on the DQ.