posted July 02, 2001 02:43 AM
Mark Williams Wins Pure Street Thriller
June 29, 2001
David & Sara Darnell
Mark Williams picked up his first Pure Street Feature win, in one of the best races seen at the Malden Speedway this year. Williams held off the fierce challenge of both Gene Fowler and Jared Wagster to pick up the win. Claudie Cook bested another stellar Modified field for his second win of the year. Greg King went green to checker to take his sixth Late Model feature of the year. Tim Griffin is the third member of the ďRacing GriffinsĒ to win at Malden in the Dwarf cars, and the duo of Jason Pennington and Eric Allison won their fourth Cruiser A-Main of the year.
The Pure Street feature this week was simply a great race. Mark Williams of McDougal Arkansas took the lead on lap four, but could never let up, with two of the best breathing down his back. Pole sitter, Mark Morgan, jumped out to the lead with Williams, Fowler, and Wagster in tow. On the third lap, the group came out of turn four dead even, racing four wide. As they settled back down the back straight Fowler had a slim lead inside Williams. They raced side by side for a lap before Williams took the lead down the front straight. Morganís car suffered mechanical problems, and he was forced to retire from the race. Slowed only once for a lap 8 caution, the lead trio was never more than five car lengths apart. Williams got a little room as Wagster pulled even with Fowler for second on lap 12 and the pair raced wheel to wheel for a full lap. Fowler held on to the position, and closed back to Williamís bumper, but that was as close as he could get. Williamsís victory snapped a four race winning streak for Wagster. Rounding out the top five were Pat Thompson and Greg Perkins. Morgan, Williams, and Wagster won the heat races. Wagster holds a 44-point lead in the season standings over Williams, with Fowler in third, 66 back.
Week in, week out, the Modified class at Malden has continued to put on an excellent show with some of the best drivers in the three state area. Claudie Cook picked up his second win in the past four weeks as he moved up from the third starting position. Cook, Jeff Greene, and Ronnie Vernon opened the racing with a three wide show for the first two laps. Greene won the early battle, with Vernon settling into second. Cook had his hands full holding off Eric Hickerson for the third spot. Cook got a good run out of turn two on lap four and out run Vernon down the back straight to take second. A lap later, Cook was challenging Greene for the lead. Cook pulled even on lap six and the pair went two full laps side by side before Cook was able to nose ahead. On lap 14, Robby Arnoldís car burst into a fireball coming down the front straight bringing out a red flag situation. Arnold was uninjured, but unable to continue racing, suffering his first non-top 10 finish of the year. Cook got an excellent jump on the restart as the top four pulled away from the field. Greene closed the gap some the final five laps, but never mounted a serious challenge. Hickerson took third from Vernon; as he won a two lap side by side battle. This is Hickersonís second top five finish in as many starts. Tony Palmer picked up fifth. Vernon, Greene, and Cook won the heat races. Cook extends his pointís lead to 42 over Larry Hull for the season.
Greg King won his sixth Late Model Feature of the year at Malden, going green to checkered in a dominating fashion. King jumped out from the pole to win the drag race with Scott Tracer to turn one. Terrill Sentell and Keith Getson were battling for the third spot. On lap five, Sentell looked low under Tracer for second, but slid around collecting Getson in the mishap. Getson was unable to continue the race. Once the race restarted, King pulled away again, extending his lead to 2.1 seconds by the finish. Tracer was a solid second. Sentell, Dwayne Brooks, and Jr. Cornell put on a show for third. Cornell spun out on lap 19 after King had taken the white flag. The cars racing for position had to slalom around him in turn four to complete the race. Sentell suffered a mechanical problem on the final lap, but was able to just hold on to third, edging out Brooks. Larry Hillis took advantage of Cornellís spin to grab fifth, wheels down this week. King and Tracer won the heat races. Tracer maintains a very slim four-point lead over King in the season standings. Getsonís DNF drops him to 18 behind the leader.
On behalf of all the Malden Speedway officials, we would like to welcome back to the track, Vernon Knuckles of the Gaines Racing team pit crew for Greg King. Mr. Knuckles was in a horrific auto accident just over a month ago and made his first return to the speedway this week. Welcome back and good luck in your continued recovery.
Gene Fowler won the Super Street feature, also going green to checkered. Fowler dominated his heat race, setting up an apparent duel with Doug Moore, owner of a five feature race win streak. Moore suffered an apparent blown engine on the final lap of his heat race, giving way to Randy Martin. Mooreís night of racing was over. Martin was not able to challenge Fowler, but was the best of the rest as he won an early back and forth battle with Steve Martin for second. Paul Keena took fourth, with Bobby Barnes grabbing fifth following a couple weeks off for illness. Moore had built a huge lead in the points standings allowing him the luxury of a week like this. His lead remains 32 over Steve Santie for the season.
The Dwarf cars made their regular month end appearance at the track and for the third time this season a Griffin has took the Malden checkered. For the third time it was a different Griffin. This time Tim Griffin took the honors. Dennis Martin jumped out to the lead and the duel was on. Martin slid high in turn four on the fifth lap, giving Griffin the opening he needed for the lead. John Griffin joined the leaders a lap later. Martin and John Griffin had a fierce battle for second while Tim pulled away to a comfortable lead. Martin held off John Griffin for the second spot. Robert Griffin and Ron Wick rounded out the top five.
A field of 24 Cruisers was whittled down to a 9-car A-Main feature. Jason Pennington and Eric Allison picked up their third feature win in the points season, fourth overall. Brad Felps and Allen Shaw took second, followed by Arthur and Arnold Simpson for third. The B-Mains were split in two, with Scott Austin and Darrell Ham winning the first one in the Z71 car. Kyle Snider and Adam Brown won the second B-main in the Lucky 13. The Simpsonís OOPS car remains atop the season standings with an 11-point lead over Ham and Austin.
Friday July 6 is another Special night of racing at the Malden Speedway. The MARS Late Model series will make their second appearance of the season. Come see 30+ plus of the best Late Model drivers the Mid South area has to offer. Also added prize money in the other classes has been announced. Modifieds will be racing for $750 to win ($1,000 to win if there are 30 or more cars). Super Street will pay $500 to win ($600 with 15 or more cars). And the Pure Street feature will also pay $500 to win. Pits open 4:00 p.m. Grandstands open 5:00 p.m. with racing beginning at 8:00.
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