SOUTHEAST SERIES LEFTOVERS By Matthew Dillner
Hogan Cools Off, John Boy's Lane, Faulk n' Dusty & More
FOR GENTRY IT'S ALL ABOUT LOOKING UP
Randy Gentry bypassed Lakeland Florida's USAR Pro Cup race and showed up to do battle at his old stomping grounds; with the Southeast Series boys at Greenville-Pickens.
GREENVILLE-PICKENS RICH WITH HISTORY
In 1946 Drivers like Speedy Thompson and Buck Baker slid around an old horsetrack in South Carolina. A few years later Greenville-Pickens Speedway was born. Since it's humble beginnings the track has hosted serveral big NASCAR Grand National races and many legendary drivers.
Painted on the walls along the backstretch of Greenville-Pickens are the names of the Speedway's champions. These names include David Pearson, Dub Nelson and Ralph Earnhardt just to name a few.
Nowadays the Speedway is still alive and kickin' hosting weekly NASCAR Racing and Touring shows like last weeks Rock101 150 for the Souteheast Series. Todays drivers know the history and see the writing on the walls.
“I mostly see the names when I come in and then when I leave,” explains Dusty Williams. “During the race.
Dusty passes David Pearson's name on the wall at Greenville-Pickens Speedway. (51 Photos)
sometimes you can forget where you are. I mean, this is hallowed ground. But coming in and leaving you see all the names. It is kind of neat knowing you are trying to conquer a place like these guys were twenty or thirty years ago. This track presents as many challenges now as it did then.
DARNELL NOT HAPPY WITH MOCK PIT STOPS
Erick Darnell took a week off of his NASCAR Touring Double Duty schedule, skippeing the Midwest Series race at Colorado National Speedway to concentrate on the points battle in the Southeast
The homecoming wasn't an easy one, but after fighting through some hardships a third place finish made Gentry feel right at home.
“Considering what all went on today…we lost a clutch in practice and blew a seal out of the transmission," said Gentry. “We dug hard all day. It kind of makes you wonder. You hate missing as much practice as we did. But sometimes a bad thing is a good thing. Maybe that was the Lord’s way of saying ‘hey, you don’t need to change too much. Take your finish, build on that and go on to the next race.”
Series. Well unfortunately for Erick, he wasn't able to make a gain in points at Greenville-Pickens. Darnell lost a bunch of spots during a manditory pit stop and then struggled with an ill handling racecar, finished 9th at races end.
“We kind of got screwed on that pit stop deal,” said Darnell. “It seemed like some of those guys were just rolling through there. I don't even know if they were really doing the jack deal or not. So we lost five or six spots right there with their stupid fake pit stops. The fans can look and tell that we aren't really doing a real pit stop so what the heck is the sense of doing it?”
GREENVILLE GOT THE BEST OF DAVIDSON
Greenville-Pickens is a hard track to figure out even if you have taken thousands of laps around the joint. If you are Chris Davidson (finished 11th), and have never seen the place, it's even tougher.
“I guess that was our initialtion,” said Davidson. “Greenville is tough. It's definitely a place we have to figure out. I think we are going to try and come down here and test before we come back here in August.”
CAROLINA COOLS HOT HOGAN
For a while it seemed nobody could beat Jason Hogan. The 21-year-old opened the season with a runner-up finish and followed it up with two wins in a row. Well at Greenville, nobody could beat Jeff Fultz, not even the red hot Hogan who settled for a sixth place finish.
“You take what ya got,” said Hogan. “Our car was pretty good on the outside believe it or not. So I was able to race up there but you know you can't stay up top here at Greenville all night long. We battled them from up there and did all we could. When they started beating on me I just let them go on instead of tearing up the racecar and finishing 20th or 30th. That is what cost us the championship last year. I will take a 6th place finish and spank there ass somewhere else”.
MOD GREAT MAKES SOUTHEAST SERIES STOP
Former Modifed Great Jerry Cook, who now works with NASCAR at its Research and Development Center, was a surprise visitor strolling through the pits at Greenville-Pickens.
“Im here today because I have never been to Greenville-Pickens before, said the former NASCAR Mod Champ. “I think it's a neat place. A very night racetrack with some great Saturday night racing. Tom Blackwell runs the place and has been here for years and I've know him for years. For some odd reason of all the places I've been I've never got here. So I made it a point to get here.”
JOHN BOY PICKS THE WRONG LANE
Near race's end John Boy Wilkerson had a decision to make. He had JR Norris and the Richie Wauters owned #5 breathing down his neck. He was approaching two lapped cars. One high, the #29 of Alex Karnes, and one low, the #33 of Robert Richardson. Which lane do you pick? John Boy picked high and JR slipped by. The decision resulted in a 5th place finish for Wilkerson.
“The 29 and the 33 were ahead of us,” explained John Boy in his hauler after the race. “The 33 was a fast racecar and the 29 had just come out of the pits or something. He was smoking and leaking stuff. I really thought the outside line was going to go and I got up there and was almost clear. Then the next thing I know the 29 starts slowing down and here comes JR on the inside of me. The inside lane won and there's nothing I can do.”
RICHARDSON DOWN... BUT IS HE OUT?
Robert Richardson's streak of hardship continued at Greenville-Pickens Speedway when he crashed early. The 33 Team got the car back together, and although it appeared more like a Modified than a Late Model, the 33 made some laps and finished 22nd.
“I was just going down the straightaway and the spotter was trying to tell me what way the car was going,” said a dejected Richardson. “The radio cracked up there for a minute and when I checked my mirror and didn't see the car under me. When I went in the corner and he was already underneath me.
“My luck keeps going down the drain. As far as the rookie thing....it looks like JR and them have the thing wrapped up. We are just going to finish out the season and go for top-ten in points.”
DUSTY DIRT TRACKIN'... WITH FAULK'S HELP
In a show that you could easily say was “stunk up” by Jeff Fultz's dominant performance, a few battles mid-pack provided a little excitement.
In the closing laps Mike Faulk had Dusty Williams' #40 completely sideways trying to get around him for the 7th spot.
“There towards the end they started putting on the heat, said Williams. “The harder I drove the slicker my tires got and I started losing ground to Faulk. He bumped me a few times. He was trying to get the position and I was cool with it. I would have done the same thing so I went over and shook his hand after the race.”
“It's not always the fastest way to come off the corner sideways, but sometimes it's the most fun way. Maybe not with a bumper in your rear quarter panel though. It put on a good show at least. “
Faulk also chalked it up to good Short Track racing.
“Those were the most fun laps of the race,” laughed Faulk. “I wish we had another 150 to go. I got into Dusty a few times. It was the last few laps of the race. He was doing what he had to do and I was doing what I had to do. Then we got up to lapped traffic which made it even more fun. We were dicing through there. We got a top ten and have all the wheels straight headed into these speedways.”
Mike Faulk pushed his racecar around the pits during the day and at night was pushing around Dusty Williams. (51 Photos)
Everybody in the Short Track world has been talking about Jason Hogan. Here Chris Romano from LM Racer Magazine interviews the young driver. (51 Photos)
Darnell could never get his #7 hooked up.
Gentry reflects after dropping a clutch in practice. (51 Photos)