Old Dominion Speedway / September 29, 2001

Case Wins Season Finale; Track Champions Crowned ……..

It was a night of firsts Saturday night at the Old Dominion Speedway in Manassas, Va. Earl Case from Fairfax Station Va., driving the Idylwood Exxon Shop Chevy, picked up his first ever Bailey’s Late Model Stock Car feature in the 100 lap event. In addition, track champions were officially crowned, with drivers from 3 of the 4 weekly divisions collecting their first ever track championships. Dustin Storm from Prince Frederick Md , driving the team FAXWORLD Chevy, had already clinched the Bailey’s Late Model championship last week, edging defending track champ Mark McFarland. It was Storms first track championship at ODS. Jimmy Hardin from Pomfret Md., a veteran at ODS for many years in the Late Model division, hooked up with Ronnie Wolfe in the Redman Fleet Service Grand Stock division this season, and won his first ever track championship in the division. Hardin picked up 7 feature wins and 6 Lustine Chevrolet Quick Qualifier awards enroute to the championship. Rookie driver at ODS Sean Dawson from Stephen’s City Va., took home the track title in the D&K Electric / Aldie Construction Mini Stock division. The youngster collected 4 feature wins on the way to the title. Interestingly enough, Dawson never led the points chase until the final tally at season’s end. Dave Gibbs, the veteran driver who migrated from Vermont after many successful years of racing there, took home track title number 2 in the Gaston Automotive Speedway Sportsman division. Gibbs picked up 7 feature wins on his way to his second title.
The first race of the evening was the Mini Stock feature, which came down to a battle among point leader Adam Flis, Sean Dawson, and Steve Loughman. Flis had a 2 point cushion over Dawson, and an 18 point lead over defending track champ Loughman. All Flis had to do was finish ahead of Dawson, and the title would be his. But the night started out on a sour note as just a few laps into the event, Flis and James Pack made contact in turn 4, sending Flis into a spin with some damage to his Beltway Citgo Ford. But he was able to return, but was now at the end of the 14 car field. When the green waved, Flis started to make his was up through the field, and seemed to not have any lingering problems from the earlier incident. But a few laps later, he and Junior Amburgey made contact on the back straight, sending Flis backwards into the fence, The damage was a bit more severe this time, forcing Flis into the pits for repairs. He was able to return, but tempers flared as he and Amburgey played bumper tag on the back straight under the caution. The black flag was displayed for both drivers, ending their night at that point. This gave the opportunity to Dawson who only had to finish the 30 lap event to secure the championship. Dawson led a few laps before being passed by eventual race winner Vince Langan. Lanagan took over the top spot with just a few laps remaining, and took home his third feature win of the 2001 season. James Pack came back from the end of the field to finish second, while Dawson came home third. Rounding out the top five were Loughman, and Mike Carte. Dawson wound up beating Flis by 16 points.
In yet another wild feature, Jeff Sisak held on for the win in the 25 lap Speedway Sportsman feature. Gibbs came into the race with a 24 point lead over rookie James Lucas, who had made the jump from the Legends division to the Speedway Sportsman class. With only 12 cars in the field, Gibbs only had to start the car to secure the championship. The green was displayed, and before a lap could be completed, contact was made between Ted Queen and Gibbs, sending Gibbs into a spin. The incident also collected Lucas, which put both of the point leaders to the rear of the field. The restart saw Gibbs and Lucas charge to the front. But when Gibbs caught up to Queen, more rough driving ensued on the back straight as Gibbs gave Queen a shove entering turn three. Gibbs got under Queen exiting turn four, but Queen ran Gibbs down into the grass on the frontstraight, prompting the black flag to be displayed for both drivers. The battle was then for the top spot on the restart, as Les Miranda came through the field, and pressed Sisak for the final laps, but came up a bit short as the checkers waved. Rounding out the top five were defending track champ Scott Lunceford, Lucas, and Jeff Kauffman.
When the Grand Stock race began, Jimmy Hardin just had to finish at least six spots ahead of Jerry Black to secure the title. But when the green waved, Hardin’s car did not come up to speed, and he began to fall back deep into the 15 car field. In the meantime, Black was battling early leader Bryan Short for the lead, eventually taking the top spot. Black did what he had to do, but Hardin’s Chevy seemed to come back to him, and he picked up spot after spot, eventually finishing in the fifth position. With that finish, he beat race winner Black by just 4 points.
The Late Model Stock Car division title had been wrapped up last week, and many drivers such as Mike Colabucci, Stan Owens, and track champ Dustin Storm opted not to compete this week. This left a 19 car field with just 4 former Late model race winners included. When the green waved, polesitter Clarke Simpson, driving the Dave Moon entry after teammate Mark McFarland had problems with his engine in practice, battled outside polesitter James Ramsey for the top spot. Ramsey beat Simpson to turn one, and led the first several laps before be overtaken by Lustine Chevrolet Quick Qualifier Case. Case then had his hands full with defending track champ Mark McFarland and 5 time track champ Danny Fair. The three veterans battled throughout the event before a cut tire sent Fair into the fence in turn three with just a few laps remaining. McFarland tried despartaly to get around Case, but Case was just too strong, and beat McFarland to the stripe by less than a car length. Rounding out the top five were James Penny, Mike Southard, and Ramsey.
This conclude the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series portion of the schedule at ODS. However, kart racing and SBRA Drag Racing continues throughout October and into November. In addition, the Legends division has a special 50 lap, $1000.00 to win event on Saturday night, October 13th. This event will determine the Legends track champion for 2001. Kevin Yeatts currently leads that division. Check back frequently to the Old Dominion Speedway website for upcoming events.