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Sumter Speedway - 4/24/2004

SUMTER, S. C. - Last Saturday night offered the biggest program of the year for the Super Late Model drivers and fans and they saw speed and excitement like they have not seen for a long time as Ed Gibbons of Manning and Jeff Smith of Kings Mountain, N. C. battled the entire 50 laps with Smith picking up his first win ever at the 3/8-mile dirt oval.

This week, the main attraction will feature cars and drivers who are the backbone of auto racing or in other words, "The heart and soul". The Street class is made up of drivers who love racing, but many do not have the funds nor the desire to compete in the Super Late Model division where cars can cost as much as $75,000 each.

One driver commented that the street class is like fishing from a row boat while others cast their lures from a 20-foot bass boat. A person can catch just as many fish and they taste just as good as those caught from the bigger and more expensive rigs. The purses for the support classes are not as great as those for the more expensive divisions, but the dollar investment is not nearly as great.

Normally, the Street division cars run a 20-lap main event, but the distance will be increased to 30 laps Saturday night. In addition, the purse has been increased and all participants will gather double points toward the season points championship.

Presently, Roger Horne is the points leader after four races and is the defending points champion. Horne has 680 points compared to 625 for Pete McKenzie. Horne has a pair of wins to his credit and the winner normally receives 175 points, but with those numbers doubling Saturday, the points lead could change in a hurry. John McKenzie was the winner in this class last week, while Roger Horne was second. Adam Hill holds down third place in the points while Marty Horne is fourth. John McKenzie and McIver McKenzie are tied for fifth place.

Gibbons, with three wins on the season, leads the Super Late Model division points with a lead of 50 points over Jim Blackwell of Simpsonville and 101 over Gregg Stutts of Red Springs, N.C. Former track champion, Gerald Mintz of Hopkins has had nothing but trouble this season and is fourth while Sumter's Terry Caples is fifth. Dean Bowen of Whiteville, N. C. was the closest competition to Gibbons two weeks and is expected to return along with Roger Dale Hammond of Green Sea.

Arthur Winn came to the track in a new car and became the fourth driver to win in the Thunder & Lightning event, but he can expect plenty of competition from fellow T & L winners, Brandon & Troy Hodge as well as Robbie Disher.

J. D. Norton became the third Pure Stock driver to win thus far as he battled two-time winner, Johnny Welch from start to finish. Norton leads four-time division champion Welch by 15 points. Brian Welch, who is also a single-race winner is third in the points as James Yost looks for his first win of the season as well as holding on to fourth place in the points standings.

Frankie Frye holds the hot hand in the Mini Stock division as he goes for his third win in a row. Points leader, Harry Pritchard was second last week, but couldn't get enought bite to catch Frye, who pilots the car owned and built by Tommy Willard. Local amateur boxer, Zack Secor holds onto second place in the points standings as opening night winner, Woody Barwick, is third.

Gates open for the special night at 5:30p.m. and the racing action follows at 7:30. All active military personnel with proper ID are admitted to the grandstands for $5.

Defending Street class champion Roger Horne looks for his third win of the season
in a special 30-lap, double-points race Saturday night.

John McKenzie hopes to repeat as the winner Saturday night in a special 30-lap Street race.
Posted by Wayne Clayton


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