posted April 02, 2002 05:23 PM
Tirello Claims Historic Victory In Mississippi
Jackson, MS - March 30, 2002 - History was made Saturday night at Jackson Motor Speedway despite threatening skies and a brief shower that help up the start of heat races for a few tense minutes. The first ever Goddard Performance Mississippi Modified Championship Series event, presented by Boland Performance of Cuba, AL began with 25 IMCA / UMP cars signed in to do battle for the first series win. Vic Dolohite of Brandon, MS made history by putting the # 1T Trick Race Cars car across the line to win the first ever heat in series competition ahead of Randy Leanord and Garrett Derrett. Brant Tirello showed his strength in the second heat, coming from the rear of the field to take the win and the Styling Sign & Decal Top Qualifier honors. The # 08T Hot Chassis of Tirello was followed across the line by Jimmy Whitlock and Kendall McPhail. Tirello's car owner, Gregg Hollingsworth, followed suit by winning the third and final heat in the # 008 Hot chassis ahead of Tony Henry and Glendale Shoemake.
In the Boland Performance sponsored feature event, two early cautions by anxious drivers caused some bent machinery to be towed off the track, with Tirello holding the early lead over Tony Henry and Jimmy Whitlock. Back under green, a furious battle for second between Henry, Whitlock, Derrett, and Gregg Hollingsworth allowed Tirello to open a gap by lap 8. With cars dancing and sliding all over the 1/4 mile track, Henry, who had slipped back several spots since the restart, slid up on the wheel and began to storm back to the front. The # 008 of Hollingsworth went after Durrett following a mid race caution for a car stopped on the track, taking the position to move into second. Whitlock worked by Derrett for third from fifth place with just a hand full of laps to go, ending a multi lap door to door battle between the two and setting the stage for Henry to go to work Henry's # 21 Crossgates Exxon car three wheeled under Hollingsworth and Whitlock through turns one and two with just 5 laps to go, moving into second just before the two laps to go signal. Not finished yet, Henry pulled alongside Tirello for a few car lengths on the white flag lap, but Tirello fought back down the back stretch and into turn three. Henry gave it one last try, three wheeling off the extreme bottom of turn four with Tirello riding his momentum in a higher line to the checkered. At the line, Tirello took the win by barely a foot over Henry, Hollingsworth, Whitlock, and Derrett. Mark Herbert's # L88, a consolation race transfer, steadily moved up the entire race to claim fifth over Kent Hollingsworth, Randy Leanord, and Michael Blount. Tommy Mercer and Kendall McPhail completed the top 10.
Jackson Motor Speedway officials showed their appreciation to the drivers by putting every car that would roll into the main event, in a popular move among the teams. In post race inspection, series officials and speedway officials weighed the ballast required for aluminum head cars to ensure that the playing field was as level as possible, causing some tense moments for one top 5 car until each competitor involved among the leaders was satisfied with the results. Tirello and Derrett ran all steel engines, while Hollingsworth, Henry, and Whitlock ran aluminum head pieces.
The Goddard Performance sponsored series runs next at Simpson County Motorsports Park on April 26th, with racing action presented by Tony Barker Racing Engines and Boland Performance.
Styling Sign & Decal Top Qualifier - Brant Tirello
Jimmy Smith Racing Tires Hard Charger - Mark Herbert
VP Racing Fuels by dryslick.com Hard Luck Award - Doyle Bratton
Goddard Performance Mississippi Modified Series Points
08T - Brant Tirello - 167
21 - Tony Henry - 135
008 - Gregg Hollingsworth - 132
13 - Jimmy Whitlock - 125
L88 - Mark Herbert - 115
58 - Garrett Durrett - 109
48 - Kent Hollingsworth - 107
69 - Randy Leanord - 105
121 - Michael Blount - 97
100 - Tommy Mercer - 92