posted July 31, 2002 05:09 PM
O'REILLY AUTO PARTS MID-AMERICA RACING SERIES
Friday, August 2; Muskogee Speedway
Saturday, August 3; Tri-State Speedway
Sunday, August 4, Monett Speedway
BATESVILLE AR. The O'Reilly Auto Parts Mid-America Racing Series will move right back into action again this weekend. With the season winding down, and point's battles heating up, a critical triple-header weekend is in the offing for the O'Reilly M.A.R.S. competitors
On Friday, August 2, the venue will be the Muskogee Speedway in Muskogee, Oklahoma. Raymond Merrill won his first career O'Reilly M.A.R.S. event there in June. The scene will shift to the Tri-State Speedway in Pocola, Oklahoma on Saturday. Terry Phillips was victorious there in June. The Monett Speedway will serve as the finale for the weekend. Each night will be highlighted by a $3,000 to win, $500 to start 40-lap main event.
The Bill Frye juggernaught continued again this past weekend. Frye has only finished outside of the top five once all season, and Frye notched another Top 5 Friday at the Batesville Speedway. Frye backed that up with his 5th win of the year Saturday at the I-30 Speedway in Little Rock. Frye's points lead is 88 over Terry Phillips, and he will look to protect that this weekend.
Terry Phillips did everything he could do to close in on Frye, but the pair swapped finishes this past weekend. Phillips picked up his 3rd win of the year on Friday, but came home 5th on Saturday, so the 8 points he gained, went right back to Frye. Phillips knows that all it takes is one bad weekend for a point lead to vanish, and is looking to pick up ground this weekend.
Leslie Essary is in third in season points, and is looking to make up ground himself. Essary had good runs in both events this past weekend, coming home with a 2nd, then 6th in the pair of events. Essary needs to climb a 56 point hill to close back in on Phillips.
Jeff Taylor is currently fourth, behind Essary, but his deficite to improve a spot isn't as severe. Taylor needs 18 points to overtake Essary. Taylor managed a 9th place run last Friday at Batesville, but came back Saturday night to run second behind Bill Frye, nearly overtaking him in the closing laps.
Donnie Barnhart is fifth in points, but has seen the top four move out and away from him. Barnhart raced to a sixth place finish on Friday, but was required to attend to a Family emergency and was unable to compete Saturday at I-30.
David Gibson hopes to end a year-long struggle this weekend. Gibson's woe's continued again this past weekend finishing outside of the top ten both nights. Steve Rushin has had similar difficulties this year, but is only 18 points behind Gibson, and could pick up a spot this weekend. Jeff Floyd's season has made a turn for the better. After motor problems put him down in the points, Floyd is poised to make a run at some of the competitors ahead of him. Floyd trails Rushin by only two points, and is twenty markers down to Gibson, so he could see a substancial rise in his fortunes after this weekend.
Joey Mack sits in the final spot in the Top 10, and leads the Kuntz and Company Rookie point standings. Mack, and Dewaine Hottinger have seen their battle tighten back up. Mack recorded his first career M.A.R.S. pole, but finished a disappointing 19th on Friday. Mack came back with a Top 10 at I-30 on Saturday. Hottinger's weekend went in opposite directions from Mack, as Hottinger scored his second Top 5 of the season at Batesville, but struggled to a 15th place finish Saturday at I-30. Hottinger trails Mack by only 8 points in both season, and Rookie points.
Gary Stolba is another driver that has struggled all year. Stolba ran 18th at Batesville, but did rally back for an 11th place run at I-30. Stacy Taylor's fortunes have been similar to Stolba's. Taylor did pick up a top ten at Batesville, but ended his feature run early at I-30 with a dnf.
Raymond Merrill and Mike Bowers round out the Top 15 in O'Reilly M.A.R.S. points. Merrill was involved in a 1st lap altercation at Batesville, and struggled to a 21st place finish. Merrill then had to go to a backup car at I-30 after a heat race wreck damaged his primary car. Merrill was able to place 12th at I-30. Bowers has steadily climbed back into the points picture after loosing several nights of racing early in the year due to motor problems. Bowers picked up a top ten finish Saturday, seeing him rise to his highest points position of the year.
Brad Looney is just outside of the money in the point standings, and sat out last weekend after he was unable to get his motor repaired for the weekend. Looney looks to be back in action all three nights this weekend. Jerry Buck has steadily risen in the points after sitting out the early part of the year without a ride. After Memorial Weekend, Buck became teammates with Steve Rushin, and looks to climb into the Top 15.
Rex McCroseky, Dan Leatherman, Jason Snodgrass, and Justin Fulton are other drivers to look for this coming weekend.
Action will get underway at the Muskogee Speedway at 7pm on Friday. Gates are scheduled to open at 5pm with hotlaps at 6:30. Tickets will be $10.00 for adults, $3.00 for children 6-10, and 5 and under is free. The Super Modifieds, Modifieds, Factory Stocks, Pure Stocks and Go-Carts are on the Card with the M.A.R.S. Super Late Models.
Racing is scheduled for 8pm Saturday at the Tri-State Speedway, with gates to open at 5:00, and hotlaps scheduled for 7:30. Adult ticket prices are $15.00, with children 6-11 admitted for $3.00. Kid's 5 and under are Free. Modifieds, Super Stocks, Factory Stocks, Pure Stocks, and Front-Wheel Drive Cars are going to be on hand also.
Racing will kick off at 7:30 Sunday at the Monett Speedway. Gates will open at 5:00pm and hotlaps are scheduled for 7:00. Adult ticket prices are $15.00, with kids 7-14 getting in for $3.00. Six and under are free at the Monett Speedway. The Bombers and Two-Man Cruisers will be racing at the Monett Speedway as well on Sunday.
Title Sponsor for the 2002 Mid-America Racing Series is O'Reilly Auto Parts. Rookie of the Year sponsor for 2002 is Kuntz & Co. Performance and Balancing.
Major Corporate Sponsors for the 2002 M.A.R.S. season are Competition Cams, Rinehart Trucking, GRT Race Cars, Hoosier Racing Tires, Larry Shaw Race Cars, Schoenfeld Headers, and Turbo Blue Racing Fuel.
Turbo Blue is the official racing fuel for the Mid-America Racing Series.
Associate Corporate Sponsors for the 2002 M.A.R.S. season are Boyd Built Sheet Metal Breaks, Brodix Cylinder Heads, Duralite Racing Wheels, Hatfield Racing Engines, JFR Graphics, Landrum Spring Service, Mudslinger The Magazine, New Vision Graphics, Ringer Gloves, Rockhard Powder Coating, Raceday Embroidery, and Warrior Race Cars.
Raceday Embroidery is the sponsor of the Crew of the Year Award