DUNN EARNS FIRST WIN OF 2005 IN A CONTROVERSIAL WAY by Jeremy Troiano
To Say Big 10 Regular Season Finale Was Wild Is Understatement
The Big 10 Super Late Model Series at Concord Motorsport Park changed up the way they crown they champions before the 2005 season started. Taking a page out of the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series, the track announced that the first seven races would be the regular season, with the top-10 drivers in points after those first seven events being eligible for the title over the final three.
With Saturday night’s event at Concord being event seven and the last chance to make it into the “playoffs,” things were a little tense. With a few drivers already locked in to the championship chase, others were right on the verge. Some were on the outside looking in.
when Dunn dove his #1 into turn three and got into the back of Schoenfeld, turning him around. Schoenfeld kept the car off the wall and got it righted and fell into line in fifth position.
During the caution flag, Schoenfeld pulled up to his previous number on spot. In the process, he pulled up to Dunn and showed he wasn’t happy with him. Officials eventually got Schoenfeld back to the fifth position, where he would finish.
The race finished rather uneventful, with Dunn taking the win, followed by Ted Musgrave and Clay Jones.
However, when Dunn made the slow trek to Victory Lane, Schoenfeld again pulled up behind Dunn on pit road and give him a bump. As the two cars separated, one Schoenfeld crew member came over to Dunn’s car to voice his displeasure. In the process, Schoenfeld whipped his car around and pulled it in right near the Victory Lane area.
Eventually, Dunn’s car was pushed to Victory Lane and order was restored. Schoenfeld climbed from his car before Dunn and yelled at the youngster, walking back to his pit area visibly disgusted.
Kevin Love (#6), Dennis Schoenfeld (#43) and Chris Dunn (#1) all played into the finish of Saturday night's wild Big 10 race. (51 Photos)
“I don’t know,” said Dunn of the incident in Victory Lane. “The momentum he was carrying down there into the corner decreased big time. I think he was just slowing down to protect the bottom of the corner. I just got into him. He slowed down more than I anticipated.
“I just got into him. I wish it wouldn’t have happened, because I fell like we were good enough to get by him clean. That is racing though and I’m happy to be here (in Victory Lane).”
For Dunn, it was his first win of the year in the Big 10 Series. It also locked him into the championship series.
“We’ve got good equipment,” added Dunn. “I knew we did. And we’ve got good people. It was just about putting it all together. The car was running good tonight and we finally got back to Victory Lane.
“This is a good way to enter the chase. We were barely in the top 10. I think we were ninth coming into the night. So this puts us in there. It is good to be there and we can carry momentum into the last three races.”
Dunn's victory came at Schoenfeld's cost.
Maybe all that pressure made for the results of the race on Saturday night. It was a race that was wild, with little love loss shown between all of the drivers.
In the end, Chris Dunn found his way to Victory Lane. But his trip there wasn’t without a little bit of controversy. And his trip there was temporarily blocked by the #43 of Dennis Schoenfeld, who parked his car in front of Dunn’s in pit lane before Dunn could pull into Victory Lane.
It played out like this.
Schoenfeld took the lead on lap 92. After that, Dunn was hot on his trail. The two battled nose-to-tail until lap 108,
It was all little consolation for Schoenfeld. Coming into the night, he was second in the points and looked like he had a shot at ending the night first in the point standings and going into the final three races as the number on seed. That would have also have earned him an extra $1,500.
After Freddie Query had motor problems early in the event and dropped out, it opened the door for Schoenfeld to earn the top spot. All he had to do was finish in the top three to take over the points lead.
The spin dropped him from first to fifth, and out of the top spot.
“I got fu**ed, period,” said a pissed off Schoenfeld. “I got run over. If they want to drive like idiots, I guess that is the way they will drive. I try not to drive like that. But some people like that I guess.
“It is hard enough to get around this place without people out there running all over you and getting run over. It is stupid.”
The night was filled with a lot of bumping and banging and lots of cars spinning out other cars.
“I don’t know why they drove so stupid out there tonight. They were a bunch of damn squirrels I guess. The lapped cars did it to. They wrecked the leader once. Hell, I don’t know.”
Musgrave’s second place finish wasn’t without a little bit of craziness either. Early in the event, he suffered a spin off the nose of Preston Peltier’s #5. Musgrave righted the car and continued on, without losing a lap, and eventually coming back to finish runner-up.
And Jones, who is a rookie at the track, finished a season best third, but it wasn’t enough to make the championship chase. He currently is 11th in the points, missing out on the post season championship by a mere six points.
Love's night ended against the wall after dominating the first 91 laps.
That is how Schoenfeld grabbed the lead on lap 92. Former Concord track champion (in Late Model Stocks) Kevin Love started on the pole and looked to have the dominate car on Saturday night. He jumped out and lead every lap from that start until lap 92, often pulling out to straightaway leads or more over his nearest competitors.
That all came to a crashing halt on lap 91 though, when he went to pass the lapped car of Dan Propst. As Love dove to the inside to pass Propst, Propst came down the track, apparently to get out of the leader’s way. Unfortunately, Love was already to the inside of the #00 of Propst. That caused Love to crash hard into the inside wall, ending his night.