Cook Takes Biggest Career Victory In Hillbilly 100
Ray Cook of Brasstown, N. C. scored the biggest win of his racing career on Monday afternoon at the Tyler County Speedway, capturing the 41st Annual Hillbilly Hundred sanctioned by the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series. Cook won $41,000 after winning his fourth series race of 2009 in a contest that was postponed on Sept. 6 because of rain after 39 laps.Earl Pearson Jr. of Jacksonville chased Cook over the final 61 circuits to finish second, followed by Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, Tenn., Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn. and Dale McDowell of Chickamauga, Ga.
Late Model Dirt Series Championship Points leaders Scott Bloomquist and Josh McGuire started on the front row as McGuire took the lead at the drop of the green flag. With lightning in the background and impending rain on its way, McGuire led Bloomquist, Jimmy Owens, Bart Hartman and Terry Casey to the stripe on the first lap.
A three-wide battle ensued for fourth, between Casey, tenth starting Earl Pearson Jr. and eighth place starting Ray Cook as Pearson and Cook started their ascent to the front.
With McGuire holding a steady pace out in front, he started to enter traffic by lap 14. Bloomquist, Owens, Pearson and Cook started to close on McGuire as an exciting race for the lead was shaping up. Pearson then made up a lot of ground on the frontrunners, as he was using the very bottom of the race track as he passed Owens for third on lap 16. A circuit later, he was by Bloomquist for second.
Pearson then was all over McGuire in the race for the lead, as Pearson took the point from McGuire on lap 21, at the same time as Cook moved by Owens for fourth on the same lap. Cook then hounded Bloomquist and McGuire in heavy traffic, passing both of them to gain the second position.
The first caution of the race came out for Don O’Neal, who broke a drive shaft on lap 32. On the restart, Pearson held the point. But, a lap into the restart, Cook would pass Pearson for the lead. Cook and Pearson then proceeded to put some distance between themselves and the rest of the field.
At this point, a light drizzle would begin to fall, The cars completed lap 39 with a caution for Freddy Smith, who was stopped on the inside of the backstretch. While under caution, the rain started to fall heavier and it would force series and track officials to send the cars to pit area while they waited out the precipitation.
Officials waited for 90 minutes and, as the rain continued, the call was made to postpone the rest of the event until Monday afternoon with Cook leading followed by Pearson, Bloomquist, Steve Shaver and McGuire.
When the race resumed on Monday afternoon, Cook would pick up where he left off with Pearson on his heels followed. The race would go two green flag laps until Dan Schlieper slowed in turn four after slipping out of the groove as he ended up stopping coming off the fourth corner.
When the race went green again for the restart, Steve Shaver, who was fourth, contacted the tire barrier which was protecting the pit exit heading into turn three. That resulted in damage to his car, as Josh McGuire had nowhere to go and also was involved. Both cars were eliminated from competition.
Cook led the next restart, with Pearson, Bloomquist, Owens and Casebolt the top five drivers. Cook was stretching out his lead over Pearson and, with 60 laps complete, he looked to control the race as Casebolt passed Owens to move into the fourth spot.
The fourth caution of the race would come out with 65 laps scored as Ricky Williams stopped on the backstretch. During the caution for Williams, Casebolt headed pitside with smoke billowing out of his car, giving up his fourth running position.
Cook again blasted off from the field on the restart. With 35 laps remaining, he and Pearson entered lapped traffic with 87 laps complete. Pearson was all over Cook for the lead and, as the two battled it out for the lead, both Bloomquist and Owens were closing on the leaders.
Terry Casey, who was running fifth, slowed coming off of turn four to bring out the final caution of the race with five laps to go. This set up a five lap dash to the finish and it was all Cook. The 37-year-old driver went on for his fifth career Lucas Oil Series victory and the richest of his career.
Hillbilly Hundred Feature Finish (100 Laps): Ray Cook, Earl Pearson Jr., Scott Bloomquist, Jimmy Owens, Dale McDowell, Donnie Moran, Brad Neat, Doug Horton, John Blankenship, Eddie Carrier Jr., Dan Schlieper, Freddie Carpenter, Terry Casey, Steve Casebolt, Ricky Williams, Chris Carpenter, Steve Shaver, Josh McGuire, Bart Hartman, Corey Conley, Freddy Smith, Butch McGill, Eric Jacobsen, Don O’Neal, Zack Dohm and Michael Walker.
Night two of the 41st annual Hillbilly Hundred weekend brought 64 steel block Late Models to the Bullring, as promotional super team Carl Short and BDS Promotions hosted an overflow crowd to an outstanding night of short track racing action.
The evening’s headliner was the always popular Hillbilly 50 for the steel block late model division cars. As fans have come to expect, the race featured plentiful passing and three-wide action on the expertly prepared high banked quarter mile.
Freddy Carpenter jumped off the front row at the start of the 50 lap main event, threatening to run away from the field as he blistered the track by using the top groove. Carpenter’s son, Tyler, battled Buck Rine for control of the runner-up position, with some frantic three and even four-wide battles going on throughout a tightly bunched mid-pack field.
Of note was the effort of Zack Dohm, who started 17th in the 20 car field. Without the aid of caution periods, Dohm had picked his way through the field, employing a seldom used low line. Dohm clawed his way to second by the 28th circuit and began to reel in leader Carpenter.
Dohm completed his charge to the point after a four lap side-by-side battle with Carpenter netted the races first lead change on lap 40. Attempting to regain the lead, Carpenter spun in a complete 360 dropping two positions. But he was saved as a caution, credited to Butch McGill, reverted races restart to the scoring on the field’s last fully completed lap.
Dohm led the field as the odds-on favorite to back up his win in the Hillbilly Qualifier race. Carpenter, always a crowd pleaser, blasted into the track’s extreme high line and used the momentum to retake the lead with just six laps left. Dohm tried in vain to find the speed needed to overhaul Carpenter, but the magic of the night belonged to “Fast Freddy,” as Carpenter wheeled his #C4 to a convincing and popular win, all to the tune of a career-best $4,000 race earnings.
Dohm’s sparkling run was good for an impressive runner-up finish, with young Tyler Carpenter’s third place finish allowing him to join his father in the final podium finishing position. Ninth-starting Roy Roush had a strong finishing kick to run fourth with Corey Conley rounding out the top five. Steve Lucas, Tracy Fritter, Dan Shrigley, Buck Rine and Donnie Dotson completed the top 10. Heat wins went to Rine, Freddy and Tyler Carpenter, Fritter, Shrigley and Shane Hitt. The three consolation races were taken by Conley, McGill and Tracy Sampson.
The Hot Mod main was a 20 lap game of fox and hounds when Glen Underwood worked furiously to turn back a multitude of pursuers who constantly swapped the runnerup spot. Travis Dickson initially hounded leader Underwood before being freight-trained when attempting a pass using Dohm’s earlier low line. Kenny Isner took the challenge to the race leader by applying the chrome horn to signal his arrival at Underwood’s bumper.
The race’s only caution for the stalled Jason Schott entry set up a four-lap shoot out, with Dickson working his way back to second when Isner bobbled in a lead pass attempt.
One circuit later, Greg Conger found an opening below Dickson to take second. But, the laps and real estate were in Underwood’s favor as the popular driver scored his second win of the ’09 season and cashed the $750 winner’s check in the inaugural Hot Mod Ridge Runner 20.
Conger’s patience in a hotly contested battle was rewarded with a runner-up finish, with Dickson, Rod Nething and Isner completing the top five. Sixth through tenth went to were Travis Thomas, Luke Fairburn, Bob Long, Mike Lauer and Jim Hughes in tow. Underwood and Dickson took prelim wins.
Alma’s Danny Thomas has closed the regular season with authority and carried his momentum into the Hillbilly weekend by scoring a win in the Lil Hilly 20 for the Pure Stock division. Brad Thomas led early before mechanical gremlins ruined his run and Danny Thomas inherited the point.
First turning back Ryan Wilson, then Thomas Sigler, who was substituting for Scott Rooks, Thomas never missed his marks, leading the final eight laps to park his #7 in the victory lane.
Thomas led Sigler, Mike Mason, Derek Smith and Justin Sinnett to the pay window. Sixth through tenth went to Ryan Mitchell, Kevin Dotson, Kenneth Lilly, Wilson and Rick Van Dyne. Wilson, Sigler, Brad and Danny Thomas were the heat race winners, and consi race wins went to Matt Smith and Cody Henthorn.
Chris Lauer brought his broom to ‘the Bullring’, as the Barlow, Ohio driver swept his heat as well as the feature in the four wheel drive 4-cylinder main.
Lauer was dominant in his first ever appearance, leading Brandon Davis, Keith Marlow, Donnie and Ivan Wamsley in the evening’s nightcap. Lauer, Spike Rizer, Grumpy Adkins and Davis were the heat winners, and Donnie Bartlett and Anthony Lopez shared honors in the two consolation events.
Carl Short and BDS Promotions opened the 41st annual Hillbilly Hundred weekend in grand style, as Mark Dickson, Kyle Thomas and Mike Hay earned bullring bragging rights with wins in their respective feature events.
The TSMA sanctioned open wheel modifieds headlined on the first of three nights of the Hillbilly race weekend, sporting a 44 car field featuring the region’s finest drivers. After an opening lap, caution reset the field behind pole sitter Jacob Hawkins, the White Lightnin 25 began in earnest. Four-time and 2009 modified track champion Mark Dickson raced Hawkins hard for a lap before taking control of the lead.
Behind the lead duo, JR Nolan, Jesse Wisecarver and Kenny Johnson scrapped for position as Mike Wilson and DJ Cline clawed their way into contention. A lap 13 caution for defending race winner Shawn Davis eliminated Dickson’s slight advantage, bringing the field back to his rear bumper.
Once back under green, Dickson again began easing away from the field. But, a battle royale for position two through eight kept fans riveted, as the open wheelers put on some outstanding three-wide racing on the well manicured high banks. Hawkins, busied with challenges from Wisecarver, desperately tried to close the gap, but never was able to mount a challenge for the lead. Dickson’s #0 crossed the checkered flags to become the first ever two time winner of the White Lightnin 25.
The victory lane house call was worth $2,000 , as Mark Dickson scored his class leading third bullring feature win of the season and put an exclamation point on his ’09 track championship.
A Who’s Who in area modified racing followed the race winner, as Hawkins, Wisecarver, Cline and Wilson completed the top five. Kenny Johnson, Louie Krushansky, Brian Probst, Kevin Morehouse and Jess Hartman rounded out the top 10. Hawkins was the fast qualifier and opening heat winner. Dickson, Wisecarver and JR Nolan were also heat winners, as Morehouse and Hartman were the B-main winners.
The FASTRAK sanctioned crate engine Late Models were primed for a $1,500 pay day, but it was Pennsboro’s Kyle Thomas who cashed the winner’s check at the conclusion of the Brown Jug 30.
The hard charger was harassed by Mike Pegher, but was as smooth as silk throughout the event, constantly turning back every attempt to steal his thunder. Pegher could only watch as Thomas grew his lead over the final third of the race, avoiding potential last lap disaster and overtaking an erratic back marker that threatened to eliminate his hard earned advantage.
Thomas persevered and brought the #57 to his second bullring win of the season and biggest pay day of his young racing career.
Pegher had to be content with runner-up money, leading Shawn Jett, eighth-starting Aaron Barley and Joel Prosser to the pay window. Shane Hitt, Derek Doll, Dusty Hamrick, Gary Knollinger Jr. and defending race winner Zack Dohm completed the top 10. Steve Adkins, Thomas and Pegher were the prelim winners with Derek Doll transferring via his win.
Mod-lite ace Mike Hay sped away from a great four car lead battle to once again master the bullring when he by-passed Mark Marcucci on lap 10 of the Sour Mash 20.
Delaware driver Jimmy Wills looked to have the dominant car early, but mechanical trouble ended his race and gave Marcucci a needed opening. Racing side by side with Hay for five laps, Marcucci finally surrendered the lead, with Hay speeding off into the distance to continue his Mod-lite dominance. Matt Hay clawed his way to the runner-up position as the Hays’ celebrated a 1-2 finish in victory lane. Marcucci, Rick Ament and Kenny Meadows rounded out the top five.