posted August 30, 2002 08:57 AM
O'REILLY AUTO PARTS MID-AMERICA RACING SERIES
Friday, August 30; Batesville Speedway
Saturday, August 31; West Plains Motor Speedway 13th Annual Fall Nationals
Sunday, September 1, Monett Speedway; 31st Annual 4-State Dirt Track Champ.
By Larry Olson; Mountain Home, AR
BATESVILLE AR. The O'Reilly Auto Parts Mid-America Racing Series will barely have time to catch it's breath, before it heads back out for three more big events this Labor Day Weekend. Down to the last five events of the 2002 season, this weekend will see three of those events in the tradition laden holiday weekend.
The weekend will open at the Batesville Speedway, the fourth visit of the year to the series' home track. From there, the O'Reilly M.A.R.S. cars will head to the West Plains Motor Speedway. The West Plains longest running special, the 13th Annual Fall Nationals will start the weekends tradition, plus it will wind up this years racing at West Plains. Finally, the O'Reilly M.A.R.S. series will sanction one of the longest running special events in the Nation, the 31st Annual Four-State Dirt Track Championship at the Monett Speedway.
Each night will pay the winner $3,000 to win, with $500 to start the 40 Lap Feature event.
Bill Frye came away from the Tennessee swing a bit beaten and banged up, but with his point lead still in tact. Frye heads Terry Phillips by 92 points coming into this weekend. Once again, if Frye faulters, Phillips could be right there to make the point chase tight for the final weekend.
Phillips also struggled at the Tennessee ¼ miles, finding himself two spots behind Frye each night. Phillips runs well at the three tracks this weekend however, and will look to make some gains on Frye.
Jeff Taylor and Leslie Essary will do battle again for third place in the points. Only 10 markers separate the pair. Essary picked up ground during the Tennessee swing, and had the best weekend of all the O'Reilly M.A.R.S. compeititors picking up the win at Clarksville, and a second at Memphis. Jeff Taylor, still third in M.A.R.S. points took a 14th place dnf at Memphis, but rebounded to a third place run at Clarksville.
Jeff Floyd is 5th in series points, and has made up more points than anybody over the last half of the season. Floyd's resurgence continued this past weekend, winning his second career O'Reilly M.A.R.S. feature Friday at the Memphis Motorsports Park. Floyd backed that up with a top five at Clarksville, moving to his highest point of the season in series points.
David Gibson slipped to sixth in points this past weekend, but not by much. Two points separate Gibson from Floyd, and those two will have a heated battle all the way to the end this year. Gibson notched a Top 10 Friday at Memphis, but an encounter with the Clarksville Speedway's wall ended his night early on Saturday.
Steve Rushin is 7th in the standings going into Labor Day Weekend. Rushin finished outside the Top 10 both nights, but continued to protect his position in the M.A.R.S. Top 10.
Joey Mack has risen to 8th in series points, and had a good weekend, putting some distance between himself and Dewaine Hottinger in the Kuntz & Co. Rookie chase. Mack took a provisional on Friday, and finished outside of the top 10, but rebounded Saturday picking up his second top five of the season.
Dewaine Hottinger was unable to put his car in Friday's feature at Memphis, but did score a Top 10 on Saturday. Hottinger trails Mack by 36 points in the Kuntz & Co. Rookie of the Year Standings, and will be motivated to re-take lost ground this weekend.
Wendell Wallace took a weekend away from racing to be with an il family member, and slipped to 10th in Series points. Wallace should be back in action this weekend.
Gary Stolba sits just one spot outside of the Top 10 in series points, but has seen his fortunes improve over the last few weeks. Stolba picked up a Top 10 Saturday at the Clarksville Speedway.
Other drivers that are expected to be on hand this weekend is Donnie Barnhart, Raymond Merrill, Stacy Taylor, Jerry Buck, Brad Looney and Mike Bowers.
Racing will get underway Friday at the Batesville Speedway at 8pm. Gates open at 5:30, and hotlaps are scheduled for 7:30. Modifieds, Super Stocks, Hobby Stocks, Super Stars, and Front Wheel Drive cars will be on the card with the M.A.R.S. Late Models.
Racing will kick off at 8:00pm on Saturday as well, with Gates scheduled to open at 6:00pm and hotlaps at 7:30. Racing in the IMCA Modified, Super Stock, Hobby Stock, Cruiser, and Front Wheel Drive classes will also accompany the M.A.R.S. Late Models.
Racing will start at 7:30 on Sunday at the Monett Speedway. Gates are scheduled to open at 5:00pm with hotlaps at 6:45. Racing in the Modified and Bomber Class will accompany the M.A.R.S. Late Models.
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