West Virginia Auto Racing
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State racing goes out
with a bang in July
The racing for the month of July in West Virginia ends with a bang.
The Frigidaire All-Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Cars will make its lone 1997 Mountain State appearance today, in the "West Virginia Motor Speedway Miller Racing Open Wheel Challenge" paying $4,000 to the winner. This will be the first time since 1992 that the All-Stars have raced on the 5/8-mile monster dirt oval.
Drivers expected to be on hand include former WVU basketball standout Dale Blaney, who will be flying the Mountaineer colors and logo on his wings, Sarah Fisher, Frankie Kerr, Keith Kauffman, Jeff Shepard and the Jacobs brothers, Kenny and Dean.
Pit gates will open at 4 p.m. with general admission gates opening at 5 p.m. Hot laps are slated at 6:30 p.m., with time trials at 7 p.m. and racing following at 8 p.m.
Also on hand will be AMRA Modifieds for the Sly Fox AMRA Modified Invitational paying $750 to win.
___Skip Arp, stalking Bart Hartman nearly the entire race, snagged the lead when Hartman had traffic trouble and won the Ironman 100 at Florence Speedway in Union, Ky., for his first Hav-A-Tampa victory in 14 months.
Arp, who has seven top five finishes this year but hasn't won a series race since May 11, 1996, at Lake View (S.C.) Speedway, pocketed $15,000 after taking the lead on lap 91 and pulling away from Hartman. Bob Pierce, who led the first 24 laps, finished third while Rick Aukland and Wendell Wallace rounded out the top five.
Defending race champion Jack Boggs finished sixth while Johnny Virden rallied from his 14th-starting spot to finish seventh. John Holt, series point leader Billy Moyer and Donnie Moran rounded out the top 10. Polesitter Mark Miner dropped out of the race on lap 39 while running fourth and placed 22nd in the 24-car field.
The race was slowed by caution just two times, the first when Miner slowed on the front stretch on lap 39 to retire and give up his fourth position. The second yellow flag appeared on lap 51 when Jerry Rice, who had been battling hard in the middle of the pack, bashed the front- stretch wall and came to a stop at the entrance to turn four.
An angry Rice climbed from his car and was visibly upset with Donnie Moran as the field drove past, then threw a dirt clod at the No. 99 the next time around. Hav-A-Tampa officials disqualified Rice for unsportsmanlike conduct, withholding points and purse money.
Miner was the fast qualifier of the 45 Late Models who attempted to qualify for the event with a lap of 16.639 seconds around the half-mile oval. Heat winners Miner, Pierce, Aukland and Arp, while David Gibson and John Gill won the consolation races.
Steve Francis of Ashland, Ky., won the dust-shortened HAT feature worth $10,000 at Carter County Speedway in Olive Hill, Ky. The race was cut from 100 to 51 laps because of dusty track conditions and time.
Billy Moyer (17.619 seconds) was the fast qualifier among 28 cars, but lasted just 11 laps in the feature. Jack Boggs, Joe Meadows, Freddy Smith, and Mark Miner rounded out the top five.
HAT Point Standings: Billy Moyer-3,431, Wendell Wallace- 3,293, Freddy Smith-3,173, Donnie Moran-3,093, Dale McDowell-3,007, Clint Smith-2,957, Skip Arp-2,882, Marshall Green-2,71, David Gibson-2,586 and Ray
___Scott Bloomquist, taking the lead from former teammate Ronnie Johnson on lap 84, rallied from his 13th starting spot to capture his first STARS victory of 1997 in the first series event at Volunteer Speedway in Bulls Gap, Tenn.
Johnson, who led twice for a total of 59 laps, settled for second place ahead of STARS point leader Steve Francis, Steve Shaver and Steve Smith. H.E. Vineyard, Mike Balzano and Delmas Conley finished sixth through eighth as the only other drivers on the lead lap, while Booper Bare and Rick Eckert rounded out the top 10 at the 4/10-mile oval in eastern Tennessee.
Heat wins went to Shaver, Eckert and Smith while Randle Chupp won the dash. Wade Knowles won the B-main. Scott Sexton led qualifying for the 38 Late Models in attendance with a 13.467-second lap.
STARS Point Standings: Steve Francis-6,160, Tim Hitt- 4,790, Mike Balzano-4,730, Rick Eckert-4,710, Steve Shaver- 4,060, Rod Conley-3,970, Bart Hartman-3,080, Barry Bragdon- 2,930, Delmas Conley-2,750 and Gary Stuhler-2,350.
____ Todd Andrews of Duke Center, Pa., won the opening 35-lap race on the Mid-Atlantic
Championship Series Thunder in the Mountains tour at Sharon Speedway in Hartford, Ohio.
_ Robbie Blair of Titusville, Pa., outdueled Chub Frank for the victory in the 35-lap second leg of the MACS Thunder in the Mountains tour at Tri-City Speedway in Franklin, Pa.
_ The third leg on the Mid-Atlantic Championship Series Thunder on the Mountains tour was rained out at Bedford (Pa.) Speedway.
_ Gary Stuhler of Greencastle, Pa., took the lead on the ninth lap and cruised to a $3,000 victory on the fourth leg of the Mid-Atlantic Championship Series Thunder in the Mountains at Port Royal (Pa.) Speedway.
_ Floyd Cline of Marion Center, Pa., earned his biggest career win, pocketing $5,000 by capturing the finale of the MACS Thunder in the Mountains tour at Challenger Raceway in Indiana, Pa.
_ In a battle of brothers, Joe Kosiski tracked down race-long leader Steve Kosiski and made a pass in Turn 3 on the final lap for a NASCAR Busch All-Star victory at Park Jefferson Speedway in Jefferson, S.D.
_ Rex Richey drove the Calvin-Cheek owned No. 23 that has previously been driven this year by Pierce and Stan Massey in the Hav-A-Tampa event at Florence Speedway.
_ Bart Hartman has led 199 of his last 300 racing laps, but has only one win to show for it after breaking down on the last
lap in a STARS race at Hagerstown, Md., last week, then losing to Arp in the waning laps at Florence.
_ Bill Frye of Greenbrier, Ark., stayed perfect on the Midwest Late Model Racing Association circuit this year, winning a 40-lap feature worth $2,500 at I-30 Speedway in Little Rock, Ark. The polesitting Frye took the lead from Terry Phillips on the third lap and rolled to his fourth consecutive MLRA victory. Frye's series win streak is second only to Phillips' five- race win streak on Aug. 7-31, 1996.
_ Fittingly, Rick Aukland ended the 1997 UMP Summernationals with a victory worth $10,000 in the Gopher State 50 at the Steele County Fairgrounds in Owatonna, Minn. Aukland clinched the UMP Summernationals points title and completed the tour of seven states with five victories, 13 top-five finishes and 17 top-10 finishes in 20 outings.
___Answer to last week's question: Who was the last driver to win both Pocono Raceway NASCAR Winston Cup races in the same year? Tim Richmond in 1986.
This week's question: Who has the most career victories in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series?
Updated July 28, 1997
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