A packed house welcomed the over 100-car field back to the 'bullring' for one night of the historic 40th anniversary season at the Tyler County Speedway on Saturday.
Garnering the 2014 season's first checkered flags included Derek Doll, Kyle Thomas, Travis Dickson, Chad Smith, Ron Parrish, Donnie Wamsley, and Brady Reed. A smooth running show including seven features and two crack-the-whip events took the final checkered flag at 10:45 p.m.
It was only fitting that 40 years after the first checkered flag at Tyler County Speedway was presented to a man named Pat Herrick that the 'bullring' kicked off the season with the fourth running of the Pat Herrick Memorial for STARS Modlites. Adding his name to an impressive resume of past champions of the popular event was Fairmont, W.Va.'s Ron Parrish piloting the Randy Kerns RPM Motors, John Buelock, Extreme Motorsports black #21. Parrish would survive a race long battle with Mitch Ward, Brandon Fluharty, Jeff Fornash, and Tracy Fritter to claim the coveted event. Following Parrish across the stripe were veteran Tracy Fritter, Jeff Fornash, newcomer Tyler Frankenberry, and Brandon Fluharty.
A stellar J&R Excavating Super Late Model event presented by Midcap Land and Timber would see young lion Derek Doll vault from his sixth starting position and overtake race-long leader and last season's track champion Butch McGill with just two circuits remaining to claim his first win of the season. Doll, of Greenwood, W.Va., was driving the Marshall Doll owned blue and yellow 87 sponsored by BSI Well Service, Perkins Supply, ASC, Rocket Chassis. He would lead McGill, Mike Benedum, Corey Conley, and Sonny Conley across the line.
It was all Gallipolis, Ohio's Travis Dickson in the Two Brothers Motorsports Modified division as the young hard charger Renegade regular would earn the victory in preparation of Friday's big Renegade of Dirt Modified tour event. Dickson pilots the family-owned AM Commodities, Fannin Farms, Lias Tire, Outlaw by Shaw #16. Dickson would lead perennial track champion Bird Wilson, Lance Elson, New Yorker Rich Michael, and Chris Basich across the stripe.
The 2014 season started out much like 2013 for Pennsboro, W.VA.'s Kyle Thomas as the young ace parked his Peoples Bank FASTRAK Late Model in victory lane once again. Thomas, back in his family-owned #57, would methodically work his way from his seventh starting spot to secure the popular win in the ultra-competitive division that saw 22 cars take the green. A race-long tussle between leader Derek Rogers and former late model ace Robbie Scott would thrill fans before Scott got high out of turn four down the frontstretch, making contact with the wall and bringing out the caution. A workman-like drive to the front for the patient Thomas would eventually see last year's track champion take the lead from Rogers and best Beckley's Aaron Barley, Rogers, Danny Thomas, and Brandon McGrady. Kyle Thomas is sponsored by Powells and Son Farm, Thomas and AJ Logging, Dodd's Sporting Goods, Slicks Auto Detailing, Maka Energy Solutions, Highlines, The Window Outlet, and Small Town Realty.
Sardis' Chad Smith would continue his red hot performance of 2013 by picking up his first victory of the season in the EDGE Hotmod division. The defending track champion aboard the sharp looking black 10s sponsored by Quinet's Restaurant, Litman Excavating, Blake's Auto Glass, and Fast Eddy's Tire and Paint would hold off a determined Travis Thomas, Darren Glover, Lou Ennis, and Kenny Isner to pick up the win.
After a year absence the mighty Front Wheel Drive 4 cylinders returned and perennial winner and champion Donnie Wamsley didn't need a map to find the 'bullring' victory once again. Wamsley would park his familiar 00 Ford Escort sponsored by Barbie's Day Care, East Gate Used Cars, and Frosty's Preowned into the winner's circle ahead of Robert Frohnapel, Scott Critchfield, Mark Critchfield, and Mike Frazier.
In the JJK Mineral MWRA Mini Wedge division it was Brady Reed besting Kylie Cross, Philip Bubeck, Garrett Jones, and Caleb Nolan.
Be sure to join the Tyler County Speedway April 18 for a Friday Night Lights special event this week as the 'bullring' goes green on a rare Friday Night. See the east's top modified pilots head to the Tyler County Speedway as the Renegades of Dirt Modified Tour will converge for a $2,000 to win top prize bringing in the best modified drivers on the planet. Current point leader Kyle Strickler from North Carolina will lead the strong contingent to the 'bullring' in hopes of picking up night one of Monster Modified weekend. Also on the stellar card will be the FASTRAK Northeast Late Model Tour featuring a stout $1,500 payday. All other divisions are on the card as well. Gates open at 4 p.m., mini wedges get underway at 6:30 p.m., racing at 7 p.m. General admission for the stacked card is just $15 while pit pricing is $35. Don't miss the Tyler County Speedway's first stand-alone Friday night show in history!