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Hitt tracks racing at his own pace this season

by Danny Carpenter

SPORTS WRITER

(July 7) Racing continues to be an important part of Tim Hitt's life -- it's just that now, he controls which races are important.

After finishing second in the Short Track All-Stars Series last year, Hitt, a Weston resident, didn't want the hassle of trying to make every STARS event.

Hitt's family has a small business, "and it is just too hard to go to every event."

"So this year, we're running what we can run and not worrying about what we can't. It's been more enjoyable."

And it was especially enjoyable last week.

On Wednesday, he finished second in a race in Kentucky. He took a second in a race at Hagerstown, Md., on Thursday.

Then over the weekend, he had first-place finishes in Pittsburgh and at the West Virginia State Championship series at Interstate 79 Speedway.

Hitt started the latter, 40-lap event from the front row along with Steve Shaver.

Shaver held the lead for the first 13 laps before the two drivers raced side-by-side for laps 14 through 18 in lapped traffic.

Then on lap 19, Hitt used a lapped car to get by Shaver, who eventually finished third behind Hitt and Steve Francis.

Starting from the front row was a key to Hitt's victory.

"The time trials have been the important thing all year," Hitt said. "Everyone is pretty well even.

"There is a lot of side-by-side racing now so it was nice to be up front."

There was only one caution in the race, when Frank Wilson went over the Turn 3 embankment on lap 26. Also, Donnie Moran was the only driver to retire from the 22-car field. Hitt won $3,000.

Other top 10 finishers were: Dave Groves, Mike Hawkins, Mike Balzano, Nolan Dalton, Jeff Burdette, Rick Eckert and Robbie Blair.

In other feature racing, Rusty Whitmore won in his first appearance at I-79 in the Semi-late class. He finished ahead of Rick Strickler, Scott Chenoweth, Greg Lemley and Chris Smith.

Jeff Kesling won in Pure Stocks, followed by Brian and Gary Tonkery. Jay Martin and Pat Frazier completed the top five.

Butch McGill won $3,000 in the featured event at Tyler County Speedway on Saturday. He captured the Firecracker 40 for Late Models.

McGill took the lead from Steve Shaver on lap 30. McGill then held Shaver off on the final lap.

Mike Eaton, Scott Peltz and Keith Nosbisch rounded out the top five.

Jerry Haseleu led all the way to win the Semi-late feature.

Mark Dickson battled cousin Chris Dickson for the top spot throughout the AMRA Modified feature, before an engine problem forced Chris Dickson from the race and gave Mark Dickson the win.

Rod White won the Street Stock feature, while Steve Weigle won the Dwarf car feature.

The Elkins-Kerens Speedway postponed its July 4th races and fireworks due to rain.

The 35-lap Late Model invitational and the regular racing program for all other classes, plus the fireworks, will now be held on Saturday, July 11.