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Orange County Speedway

Orange County Speedway News
Warm Temperatures & Hot Action At Orange County Speedway
Apr 23, 2007 - updated Apr 23rd, 2007 12:14pm
Web posted by Andy Turner

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Orange County Speedway
Press Release:April 21st 2007

Action returned in a BIG way at OCS on Sat., April 21st. Even though the Late Models were AWOL, there were 350 laps scheduled to take place, & no class was a disappointment!!! The weather was beautiful, & the temperature was quite comfortable. However, tempers flared from time to time, as they sometimes do in close competition at OCS (or any other trade). I hope you were there...... but if not, I'll try to "enhance" you with my report on the NAPA 300.

The day's action got off to a roaring start with the ISCARS DASH SERIES (formerly known as the Goodies Dash Series). This is a premiere group of V-6 competitors that tours a large area of the country. A dozen cars made the field, & on the pole was the #64 car of Jacob Hobgood. Alongside him on the front row was Johnny Chapman in car #24. Starting third was #19, driven by Joey Miller, & fourth was Gary Young, in car #26. Rounding off the top 5 starters was Ned Combo, in the #9 car.

As the green flag dropped, Young got by Miller before the first lap was in the book. For the next 3 laps, Miller challenged Young to try & regain the position. Meanwhile, Randy Humphrey got his #93 by Combo on lap 2. The sixth & eighth place starters, (#10 Danny Bagwell & #1 Scott Krebling), also got by Combo by lap 7. Things settled down up front fairly early while cars in the back shuffled around. After leading all of the first 21 laps, Chapman took the lead away on lap 22, while Humphrey moved to third, & Bagwell took over 4th. Then, on lap 25, Bagwell moved on past Humphrey for 3rd, going on to 2nd by lap 28. The polesitter, Hobgood, had dropped all the way back to 5th.

The race's first caution came on lap 31, when the #98 machine of Brandon Davis spun out. In this event, caution laps counted & the green flag appeared again on lap 36 to restart the race. The top 5 contenders were still intact, but trouble brewed behind them. On lap 52, the #33 car of Chris Chapman spun out in turn 4, & he would not return. The green dropped again on lap 56, & on lap 65, the front 5 began to shuffle as Hobgood slid up to 4th & Humphrey into 3rd. 4 laps later, debris & fluid leaks brought out another caution on lap 70, after Miller spun out on car #19. Humphrey's car was losing fluid, & he came out of the race for 22 laps. Immediately after the next restart, the half-way point red flag flew & all cars headed for the pits. Restarting on lap 75 saw 6 quiet laps go by & then on lap 81 Hobgood had climbed back to 2nd place.

Then, he & Johnny Chapman had a very exciting battle for the lead, which Hobgood regained on lap 93. Within 9 laps he had built a 5 car-length advantage. Another spinout brought out the yellow flag on lap 118, & then on the lap 121 restart the dogfight resumed. 14 laps later, a 3 car pile-up at the start/finish line sent car #93 out for good, & Davis's #98 to the rear where he would finish the race. More shuffling occurred as the laps wound down, & Young moved into 3rd place. A bitter war took place up front until lap 146 when Davis spun out again near the flagstand. The race ended with controversy as Chapman appeared to "touch" Hobgood, sending the leader spinning sideways into the wall with a half lap to go!! As the #24 drove into VICTORY LANE, "Hobgood & Co.", confronted him. Many others rushed the area, including security personnel, emergency crew members, other track officials, other crew members, and drivers, and (yes) even some very interested fans! Things were quickly brought under control, and Chapman was awarded the win. Bagwell finished second, Young was third, Krebling was fourth, and Joey Miller rounded out the top five. It was a great race!

The next race was the Limited Sportsman Division, a regular points class at OCS. Prospect Hill's Daryl Carver turned in the fastest qualifying lap of the day with a 14.441 lap. Roxboro's Brian Cole was close behind with a 14.477 lap. Ironically, when the drivers drew their spots the top two reversed their positions. As the green flag dropped, Cole led lap 1 and Carver led lap 2. The pair leap-frogged again on laps 3, 4, and 5. That put Cole back up front for the remainder of the race. Not that the competitors did not make him earn the victory, but Cole's red # 10 Furniture Mart car was dominant up front, building leads up to 6 car-lengths at times.

After the flip-flops of the first 5 laps, Carver's #5, Foust Fuel's/Iron Gate Winery/Cole's Backhoe Service -sponsored machine settled in behind Cole until Chris Denny got by him on lap 9 in his number2 car. Meanwhile, Wil Riley (whose shop is on 86 South in Prospect Hill) took 4th by storm and held on throughout the battle. Much shuffling took place behind them throughout the first half of the race, with Jerry Hinesley's # 46 car becoming the first victim as he slowed on lap 16. He exited the race for good on lap 20. Nearing the halfway point the car's spread out fairly evenly except for Carver, who was reeling in Denny's #2. By the lap 25 mandatory caution, there had been a lot of "touching" in the field, bring several cars to pit road including Kenny Remington's #72 and Brandon Baker's #29. As competition resumed, some conflicts took place, and Baker ended up being black-flagged (which he ignored for several laps). This writer is not at liberty to say what happened, but after the race there was some heated discussions!

Meanwhile, back to the race. On lap 30 a 3 car pile up in turn 4 involved the #16 car of Darrell Wallace Jr, the #6 car of Mark Oakley, and the #44 car of Wally Latta. As the front three stayed the same, the field gradually got smaller. Restarting on lap 31, Wallace grazed the wall near the flagstand on two separate occasions. Cole (who was great all day on restarts), had once again "walked the dog" as he built a nice lead on Denny. Meanwhile, Carver had reeled in Denny and on lap 34, Denny's race came to a disastrous end with a spinout in turn 4. The lap 35 restart found Cole leading, Carver in 2nd, and Riley in 3rd. That's the same order they finished in, followed by Remington and Baker. Great show, you guys!

Next came the Pure Stock Division, and Caswell County's Clint Hyler was making his rookie appearance in the #38 car from the Ronnie Hamlett Construction-sponsored team of Billy Purnell. Hyler had planned to race the whole season, but due to conflicts he had handed over the reins to Caswell's Chuck Rice for the first two races. Although nervous, Hyler drove a very smooth race, stayed out of trouble and finished his first day on the oval without a scratch. Congratulations Clint! I know you made your Dad, little brother, grandma, and grandpa very proud.

As for the race itself, Keith Langston placed his # 71 car on the pole, with Casey Pope beside him. Jeff Wilson, winner of the last race, arrived late and started in the rear. However, he had no trouble working his # 7 through the pack moving into the lead on lap 6. The field settled in after that, with Wilson winning. Pope's #02 took second, Langston third, Matt Phipps took fourth in his # 10 machine and Thomas Penny rounded out the top five in his #51 ride. (Hyler finished 7th)
The Southern Ground Pounders made their first appearance for 2007 at OCS, and they had two classes on hand: the Sportsman and the Modified. The Sportsman stepped up to the plate and their V8 motors were moaning all over the oval. When the smoke cleared the #6 machine of Gary Lloyd crossed the line first, followed by the number #07 of Sam Faucette, and the #7 of Ken Faucette. Rounding out the top five were the #77 of Matt Faucette and the #45 of Ricky Pope.

A huge field was on hand for the East Coast Flatheads as they took center stage next. The #45 of Donovan Freeman sat on the pole, with Johnny Johnson outside in his #99 machine. There was some great action as cars immediately began to battle it out. By lap 4, every car had changed positions except the last two! Johnson and Freeman swamped spots, the #6 of James Rogers lept from 6th to 3rd, the #83 of Ben Brown jumped from 8th to 5th, and Todd Saintsing had jumped from last place to 6th in his # 53 car. Suddenly, car #9 driven Rosey George crashed and was through for the day bringing out a lap 4 caution. On he restart, things got hot again and Rogers moved into 2nd. On lap 7, Danny Clegg brought his #7 into the pits, and he never returned. Pat Martin's # 18 was off the pace by now. This division fielded some beautiful cars from the 30's and 40's, and they put on quite a show! Finishing order was Johnson, Rogers, Saintsing, #28 of Kenneth Tuttle, and Ben Brown rounded out the top five.

Next up was the Grand Stocks, the third points race division to compete on this beautiful spring day. The West Yanceyville-based team of Billy Purnell was well represented as they fielded four cars. One member of that team was Defending Grand Stock Champion James Turner, and he experienced engine problems on his # 51 machine during practice. "Doctor" Purnell nursed it back to health and Turner turned in the third fastest qualifying lap. The best time turned in was by fellow teammate Tommy Chandler in his # 38 ride. In fact, his was the only sub-16 second lap of the day for their division. Rookie Cory Purnell (another team member) turned in a good time, but he drew an even better number starting second in his #35 car. Keith Edwards drew the pole on his #93 car. Chandler drew 3rd and Turner had to start 6th because he won the last race. Meanwhile the fourth team member James "Pops" Meyers had a fire under his hood during practive and had to start last. At the beginning of the race, he had another fire and had to park his # 36 machine for the day.

As the race progressed, Edwards and the #41 car of Michael Hatley were locked in a strong fight for the lead and Chandler breathing down their necks. Hatley gained an early lead with Turner and Purnell trying to advance to the front. The #14 car of Chris Elliott experienced problems and came out of the race next . Turner moved up to 4th quickly, behind Chandler. Hatley took the lead for several laps leaving Edwards in a dogfight with Chandler. When a little daylight appeared, Chandler dove his #38 in and tried to pass but his car slid up and into Edwards. With both cars damaged, Chandler dropped back to the rear, gathered himself, and went on to finish 6th. Brad Hancock's #28 was a force to be reckoned with as he challenged Turner quite often. Meanwhile Edwards and Hatley resumed their battle for the lead with the #93 regaining the top spot. Edwards never gave that spot up again, but other battles were brewing. Elliott soon joined Myers on pit road, finishing nextto last. The best battle of the whole race was between Hancock and young Purnell. They fought lap after lap as Hancock had fourth place and Purnell wanted it. Hancock blocked every move that Purnell tried... that is until the last lap. Purnell put his #35 inside and got a nose ahead of the #28, finishing in a well-deserved fourth place. A proud father (Billy) and a proud sponsor (Uncle Ronnie Hamlett) were beaming with pride. Well done, Corey and the rest of the guys. Final order of the finish was Edwards, Hatley, Turner, Purnell, and Hancock.
The 7th race of the day was the Southern Ground Pounders Modified Divison. Darrell Gwynn led from beginning to end in his car #16, but it wasn't easy. There were four cautions with the first falling on lap four and the next one six laps later. Gwynn and car # 77 seemed like a one-two punch on every restart, the third one coming on lap 14 as Robert Isley spun outin turn one in his #98 machine (he would return to the race later). On lap 16, the #14 car spun out in turn three, giving up fourth place. More spins and exciting moves followed but #14 regained composure and 4th place. The #77 car, which was in second most of the race, began to have problems and was forced to drop out of the race. Gwynn went to Victory Lane followed by Gary Lloyd's #6, car #5 in third, car #14 in fourth, and Rodney Dye rounded out the top five in #72.

The final race of the day was the Mod 4 Divison. Six cars made that field, with Billy Tillman's #16on the pole. Beside him was the #43 of Sammy Pacitti. Durham's Phillip Penny started third but jumped into the lead on the first lap! Tillman dropped to third, while Pacitti held his own. Harold Sunny's #87 car was not running right al day but he tried to run it. On lap 2, the #90 of Jason Richardson was off the pace and he pitted on lap four. On the next lap, Pacitti was involved in an incident with the # 45 of Rey Riera, and caution flew on lap 6. There was major damage and both cars were unable to continue. There was a lot of debris and fluids strewn about the track. After a lengthy clean-up, only Penny and Tillman were able to take the green flag but # 87 came back out of pit road to try to finish the event. Final results were Penny, Tillman, Pacitti, Riera, Sunny and Richardson.

This brought the conclusion of a great day of racing at Orange County Speedway! The next scheduled races will be on Saturday, May 5th. Be sure to mark your calendars! The green flag will drop at 7:00 pm, and will go under the lights for the first time this year. The Late Models will be back, the Limited Sportsman, the Pure Stocks, and two Grand Stock races. Do not forget for the entire season all college students, faculty and staff with a picture ID will be admitted for half-price. Visit www.OCSTrack.com for additional information.


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