Sunday, November 1, 2009

Terry Phillips Pockets $5,000 in Muskogee

After laying claim to the pole starting spot Friday night by virtue of winning the qualifying feature, Terry Phillips increased his chances of winning the $5,000 payday Saturday night. He would be flanked by Oklahoma hotshoe Jason Hughes with drivers like Kelly Shryock, Jeremy Payne, Greg Skaggs, and Johnny Bone Jr. sitting right behind them in rows two and three.

Phillips raced out to the early lead and the track quickly locked down on the bottom groove. A caution came out on lap eleven of the thirty-lap finale, bunching the field up. Another eleven laps clicked off until another yellow flag was displayed. On the restart, Johnny Bone Jr. worked to the inside of Jeremy Payne to take the third spot away while Phillips sped away from the field. A final yellow on lap twenty-six erased a big lead for Phillips, but nothing was going to stand in his way that night as he pocked the cool $5,000 top prize. Jason Hughes was second, Johnny Bone Jr third, Jeremy Payne fourth, and Kelly Shryock finished fifth.

Other feature winners on Saturday night include Jaren Frailey in the 360 modified class, Dale Richardson in the grand nationals / hobby stocks, and Matt Burnett in the pure stocks.

I was intrigued by one of the comments a driver made while being presented his trophy from a win a few weeks back. Modified track champion Joe Duvall was asked what he thought about the "heavy hitters" that were on hand for the high-dollar top prize, to which he replied "I guess they are heroes to their mamas." That got quite a chuckle from the crowd, and I'll assume he's a character on the microphone from what the announcer was saying later. However, Duvall did not back up his words in the feature as he started 16th on the grid and was the first car to retire from the race.

One note that I failed to mention from Friday night's races: when a caution flag waves, the field races back to the finish line (like the old NASCAR days). If the incident occurs between the leader and the finish line, the red flag/lights are displayed and the field stops and are realigned from the previously scored lap.

Friday night saw Tim Karrick end up on his side during the qualifying feature event. Karrick was unable to make repairs to his car, so his car builder Kelly Shryock loaned him his backup car to run on Saturday. Karrick started ninth and finished in seventh.

Kids wore their Halloween costumes to the races and were given the chance to walk through the pits to go Trick-or-Treating. Drivers handed out candy in front of their haulers to prevent kids from possibly getting injured from sharp parts on the race cars.

The racing action concluded just before 9:00 Saturday night, allowing those of us who traveled a distance to either get an early start on the trip home or get some extra sleep for the next day's travels. Of course the extra hour of sleep from the time change also helped in the lengthy trip back to Iowa!!

It was good to catch up with Wisconsin's Ed Reichert. Ed writes a column for the Hawkeye Racing News and I'm sure contributes to others as well. It's always fun to chat with him about where he's been lately and possible future races he might attend. It sounds like he still has a handful of races left on his 2009 list.

- Racing may be a hobby, but it's DEFINITELY addictive!!

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