THREE CARS DQ’D IN DRAMATIC END TO BLIZZARD RACE By Steven Neely
Bradberry Takes The Top Spot As Drama Unfolds
Former NASCAR Southeast Series Champion Charlie Bradberry had the car to beat in Friday night’s Rex Brooks Memorial 100 at Five Flags Speedway as the Blizzard Series opened its 2006 season.
However, all the drama unfolded in his rear view mirror in the fight for second.
A crowd of team members from the top-five cars gathered and paced nervously in the inspection area. After about an hour and a half of inspecting the carburetors, Five Flags Speedway’s chief technical inspector, Ricky Brooks, announced that three cars would be disqualified.
“The 72 (Mercer), 07 (Scofield), and 38 (Carlson); their carburetors are illegal,” said Brooks. “The 72 and 07 had raised boosters, and on the 38, the bore of the carburetor was too big.”
Pensacola wasn't very good to Eddie Mercer on Friday night.. (51 Photos)
Officials subsequently ruled that everyone from Joey Senter on back would be bumped up three positions.
“This is only our sixth super late model race, and to come out here and run good with these guys is awesome,” said Senter, holding the second-place trophy that had just been given to him thanks to the disqualifications.
On the flip side of the ruling were others who were dismayed by the news.
“You can’t blame anybody, if the carburetor was wrong, it’s wrong. It’s a technicality, an oversight,” said
There were a lot of interested observers in the tech area after the race.
Local favorite Eddie Mercer, the defending Snowball Derby winner, fought back from a pit road miscue to finish second, unofficially, followed by Jeff Scofield, Scott Carlson and Joey Senter.
“My spotter said that the whole field was coming (to the pits), so I dove down and I didn’t even bother to look to see if the pits were open,” Mercer said of his pit road penalty during the event. “We’ll learn from it. I’ve been racing too long to do stupid stuff like that.”
The intense action on the track might have only been surpassed by the intense waiting in the technical inspection line after the race.
Scofield, who still found a silver lining in the misfortune. “They threw Mercer out, they threw out the 38 of Carlson, so hey, we got our name thrown out with the best of them.”
After starting from the pole with a lightning quick 17.19-second lap and quickly jumping to the lead, Bradberry decided to settle in the back half of the top-10. Meanwhile, veteran short track racers Dave Mader III and Augie Grill took turns leading the event.
Ultimately, both would face problems at different times in the race.
Grill was involved in a crash just past halfway and Mader III was trapped in traffic after opting to pit for fresh tires with only 20 laps to go. This allowed Bradberry to climb back into the lead and win the first race of the five-race Blizzard Series at the Pensacola, FL, track.
“Everybody was driving real hard to start with,” said Bradberry. “I couldn’t save my tires that way and I kind of just let a couple of them go, and it paid off.
“I never showed my car at the first part of the race because I was just trying to ride a little bit,” said Bradberry. “I could just take off and go that fast anytime I wanted to.”
With everything happening in the tech area, Charlie Bradberry collected the trophy.
He credited his team’s strategy to get off-sequence with the rest of the leaders
“We couldn’t have worked it out to pit when we did any better.”