posted June 24, 2002 01:38 AM
Hommel Flies to the “NAPA Full Force 40” Victory Lane!
Columbus, Mississippi-The NAPA Full Force 40 for the Super Late Models may go down in the Columbus Speedway history books as one of the most thrilling and drama filled events ever. The stage was set with the top drivers in the state of Mississippi plus a few out of state interlopers on hand chomping at the bit to attack the Columbus Speedway Highbanks for the second night of NAPA Mississippi Mayhem weekend.
Action would get underway for the 31-car Super Late Model field entered for the action with Midsouthracing.com Pole Qualifying. Typically qualifying is not the most exciting part of the evening but as the qualifying order wound down to the later qualifiers in the field it became a show within itself. The provisional pole sitter had been Laurel’s Jason Smith with a 14.35-second lap until current track record holder Anthony Rushing took his turn on the clock. Rushing would not disappoint the Columbus faithful as he lived up to his moniker as the “Kosciusko Kamikaze” with a qualifying run that tripped the timing light with a 13.90-second lap that brought the crowd to its feet in both awe and in a display of appreciation for Rushing’s effort. The show was evolving with the top sixteen qualifiers locked into the field and the remainder of the twenty-four car starting field to be filled from the B-Main. The top four qualifiers included Rushing, Smith, Tombo Callahan, and current Southern All Star’s point leader Duayne Hommel. The B-Main would see Keith Miller from Sumrall, Mississippi take the win with Josh Fuller running a very close second.
The “NAPA Full Force 40” would come to life as the field fired in anger and three and four wide racing quickly began. The action was quickly halted as a pile up on the front stretch took its toll with JD Henry and Hattiesburg’s Trevor Boyd being done for the night. A complete restart would take place with Jason Smith jumping from the outside pole to lead Rushing, Hommel, and the unbridled pack of drivers into battle. The top three ran nose to tail on the extreme high side of the track as they quickly reached lapped traffic by lap 8 and begin to maneuver through lapped cars at a blistering pace until the caution flag flew on lap 10.
The ensuing battle would once again rage back under green flag conditions for the lead with Smith and Rushing battling side by side for the lead and for the next four laps it would become a three way dance with Hommel joining the fray providing two and three wide, edge of your seat action for the fans. By lap 16 Hommel had worked past Rushing for second and began heavy pressure on Smith for the lead. The racing was fierce throughout the pack as well with drivers from mid pack making their move forward including Wren Turner pawing the ground around the bottom of the speedway moving up from his 12th starting spot and bringing 13th starting Mike Boland with him. The battle for the lead would take a brief respite for a lap 28 caution with the top order consisting of Smith, Hommel, Rushing, Callahan, Scott Dedwylder from 10th, and Wren Turner lurking outside the top five in 6th.
The stage was now set for an incredible finish as it was getting ready to be breathtaking. The subsequent restart would have Smith push slightly up the banking in turn four and allow Hommel to dive below for the lead and take Rushing with him into second place. Hommel set sail with Rushing ever so close as Hommel would slam the outside wall in turns 1 and 2 on lap 30 and ride the wall all the way around until the turn 2 exit allowing for Rushing to take the lead and for Smith to move back into second place with Hommel regaining some form of composure sitting in third place and regaining speed with his now battered mount.
It would appear Hommel adopted a “wreckers or checkers” attitude and began one of the hardest driving charges ever witnessed as he began to attack the top of the track without any abandon. Hommel would start to reel in Smith as he would slam the turn 2 wall with sparks flying off of the rear quarter panel with his right spoiler support flapping in the wind and made quick work into second place and set his sights on Rushing who had a ˝ straight away lead and was running the bottom of the track. Hommel would have the crowd on their feet as he was relentlessly rim riding and wall grazing as he caught Rushing by lap 36 charging like a man possessed. The two fearless drivers battled side by side with Hommel barely edging past Rushing to recapture the lead on lap 37 as a caution would fly setting up a 3-lap showdown in the 40-lap main event.
The final 3 laps would see Hommel hold off a valiant effort from hard charging Rushing to earn the win and also see Wren Turner of Munford, Alabama claim third place in a three way fight at the stripe with Mike Boland fourth and Laurel’s Jason Smith rounding out the top five in the thrilling and crowd pleasing affair. Scott Dedwylder would finish a strong sixth with Tombo Callahan of Weir in seventh. “The Sandman” Robbie Bilbrey would move up from fifteenth to eighth, as Powder Springs, Georgia driver Derrick Rainey was ninth, and B-Main winner Keith Miller completed the top ten.
The East Tennessee Ace Duayne Hommel of Newport, Tennessee would take his first ever Columbus Speedway win worth $3,000 plus the $1,000 high point bonus from Hoosier Tire South and claim his eighth overall win of 2002 driving his Miller Brothers Coal and Hawkeye Trucking sponsored Pro Power Warrior Monte Carlo . Hommel commented in post race ceremonies “there are not many tracks in the country you can unload at and race like you do here!” as Johnny Stokes had prepared a magnificent playground for the talented drivers on hand and the large throng of fans who had just witnessed greatness at the “Home of Mississippi Mayhem”…Columbus Speedway.
1-Duayne Hommel 2-Anthony Rushing 3-Wren Turner 4-Mike Boland 5-Jason Smith 6-Scott Dedwylder 7-Tombo Callahan 8-Robbie Bilbrey 9-Derrick Rainey 10-Keith Miller 11-Josh Fuller 12-Ronny Lee Hollingsworth 13-Jeff White 14-Shawn Edwards 15-Terry Wilson 16-Rick Rickman 17-Scott Slay 18-Scott Shepherd 19-Eddie Rickman 20-Tony Gray 21-Robbie Harvey 22-James Cline 23-JD Henry 24-Trevor Boyd
Rains came after the Super Late Model race ended, postponing the remaining race, and setting up a night of double features for all the local divisions on Saturday night June 29th along with a Super Late Model main event. Columbus Speedway will offer rides in the Johnny Stokes 2-seater Super Late Model this Friday night June 28th from 7:00pm until 10:00pm. Columbus Speedway will host a Full Racing Program on June 29th as part of the Columbus Speedway Weekly Racing Series including double feature for the local divisions. Event information for June 29th is grandstand gates open at 5pm with the driver’s meeting at 6:30; practice at 7:30pm; and racing at 8:00pm. Adult admission is $10 with children under 11 admitted free. Additional Columbus Speedway information can be found on the Columbus Speedway Internet home at www.midsouthracing.com or by calling the Columbus Speedway event hotline at 662-241-5004.