posted September 02, 2002 10:59 AM
O'REILLY AUTO PARTS MID-AMERICA RACING SERIES
West Plains Motor Speedway
13th Annual Wal Mart Fall Nationals
Saturday, August 31, 2002
By Larry Olson; Mountain Home, AR
WEST PLAINS MO. Rex McCroskey overcame Bill Frye on the 29th lap, and went the rest of the way to win the 13th Annual Wal Mart Fall Nationals at the West Plains Motor Speedway. Frye was the pole sitter, and lead over the half the race, but McCroskey came on strong at the end and claimed his second O'Reilly Auto Parts Mid-America Racing Series win of the season. McCroskey pocketed $3,000 for his effort.
Frye shared the front row with Omaha, Nebraska's John Anderson, and moved to the lead as the green appeared, with Anderson, David Gibson, Donnie Barnhart and Wendell Wallace falling in behind. Anderson and Frye were dueling side by side for the lead when the caution flag waved on the second lap for Kenneth Crowe, who was spun in turn two.
Anderson faltered on the re-start, falling out of the top five as Gibson, Wallace, Rex McCroskey, and Barnhart fell in behind Frye. Frye was leading Gibson by five carlengths, when the caution flag flew again on lap five for Raymond Merrill, who had spun between turns one and two.
Wendell Wallace powered to second on the restart, with McCroskey coming to third via the double file restart. Gibson had fallen to fifth, but worked back around Barnhart to the fourth spot in turn two on lap six. Frye was 10 carlengths over Wallace by lap eight when Merrill lost the handle again, this time in turn two causing the race's third caution.
This time McCroskey shot into second on the restart, but McCroskey, Wallace, and Gibson then went three wide for the spot on lap nine. Gibson moved back to second with Wallace, and McCroskey falling in behind. Frye was pacing the field by 15 carlengths by lap 13.
McCroskey improved to third, past Wallace in turn four on lap 14. Terry Phillips took over the fifth spot on lap 16. Frye was starting to see traffic by the mid-way point of the race. Phillips moved past Wallace to fourth in turn four on lap 21.
Frye's lead evaporated as the front-runners worked traffic. McCroskey went high, over Gibson for second in turn four on lap 23. The top four were nose to tail at lap 25, but Frye was able to open a couple carlengths on McCroskey by lap 26. McCroskey caught Frye on lap 28, then was able to get under him for the lead in turn four on lap 29.
Frye's right rear tire began to loose air pressure, and McCroskey began to pull away immediately. Phillips drove past Gibson for third in turn two on lap 30, then Wallace was around Gibson on lap 33. Frye's tire problems became more noticeable as Phillips moved by him in turn two on lap 36. Wallace got by Frye on the next lap, then Gibson was around Frye on the backstretch on lap 38. Steve Rushin pushed Frye out of the top five on the white flag lap, driving by him in turn two.
Rex McCroskey came home with the win, with Terry Phillips, Wendell Wallace, David Gibson and Steve Rushin making up the top five. Bill Frye held on for sixth, with Jeff Taylor, Joey Mack, Leslie Essary, and Stacy Taylor rounding out the top ten.
Top Qualifier: Bill Frye
Hard Charger: Steve Rushin
Provisionals: Leslie Essary (2), Jeff Floyd (5)
Lap Leaders: Bill Frye 1-28, Rex McCroskey 29-40
A FEATURE (40 Laps)
1) Rex McCroskey, GRT/Hatfield/Monte Carlo; $3,000
2) Terry Phillips, GRT/Hatfield/Monte Carlo;$2,000
3) Wendell Wallace, GRT/Gaerte/Grand Prix; $1,250
4) David Gibson, Shaw-Rocket/Hatfield/Monte Carlo; $1,100
5) Steve Rushin, GRT/Hatfield/Monte Carlo; $1,000
6) Bill Frye, GRT/Kuntz/Mustang; $750
7) Jeff Taylor, Shaw-Rocket/Kuntz/Taurus; $700
8) Joey Mack, GRT/Kuntz/Mustang; $675
9) Leslie Essary, GRT/Mike's/Grand Prix; $650
10) Stacy Taylor, GRT/Dickens/Monte Carlo; $625
11) Jeff Floyd, GRT/Kuntz/Grand Prix; $600
12) Jerry Buck, GRT/Hatfield/Monte Carlo; $575
13) Gary Stolba, GRT/Hatfield/Monte Carlo; $550
14) Rob Mayea, Rocket/Gray's/Grand Prix; $525
15) Kenneth Crowe, Rocket/Dickens/Monte Carlo; $500
16) John Pafford, GRT/Hatfield/Grand Prix; $500
17) Danny Atkinson, GRT/Atkinson/Intrepid; $500
18) John Anderson, GRT/Hatfield/Grand Prix; $500
19) Donnie Barnhart, GRT/Kuntz/Grand Prix; $500
20) Mike Bowers, GRT/Hatfield/Monte Carlo; $500
21) Stacy Caldwell, GRT/Performance/Monte Carlo; $500
22) Raymond Merrill, GRT/Kuntz/Grand Prix; $500
1st Heat (12 Laps) 1) Bill Frye, Greenbriar AR 2) Rex McCroskey, Springfield MO 3) Jerry Buck, Paragould AR 4) Mike Bowers, North Little Rock AR 5) Terry Phillips, Springfield MO 6) Shane Diamant, North Little Rock AR 7) Jason Snodgrass, Mountain Home AR 8) Chris Comer, Parkland MO
2nd Heat 1) John Anderson, Omaha NE 2) Jeff Taylor, Batesville AR 3) Wendell Wallace, Batesville AR 4) Kenneth Crowe, Port Allen LA 5) Joey Mack, Benton MO 6) Leslie Essary, Crane MO 7) Dewaine Hottinger, Russellville AR 8) Jeff Floyd, Walnut Ridge AR
3rd Heat 1) David Gibson, Ash Flat AR 2) Rob Mayea, Bend OR 3) Stacy Taylor, Jacksonville AR 4) Gary Stolba, Willow Springs MO 5) Steve Rushin, Poplar Bluff MO 6) Raymond Merrill, Sallisaw OK 7) Brandon Ball, West Plains MO 8) Scott Gibbs, Bloomfield MO
4th Heat 1) Donnie Barnhart, North Little Rock AR 2) Stacy Caldwell, Nettleton MS 3) Danny Atkinson, Lebanon MO 4) John Pafford, Germantown TN 5) Jim Greenway, Galena MO 6) Dewayne Kiefer, St. Genevieve MO 7) David Brazeale, Four Corners MS
Last Chance Qualifer (15 Laps, four transfer) 1) Terry Phillips 2) Joey Mack 3) Raymond Merrill 4) Steve Rushin 5) Jason Snodgrass 6) Leslie Essary 7) David Brazeale 8) Shane Diamant 9) Jimmy Greenway 10) Brandon Ball 11) Chris Comer 12) Scott Gibbs 13) Dewaine Hottinger 14) Dewayne Kiefer 15) Jeff Floyd