BENTON -- The 2001 season has been a difficult season for former Auto Tire and Parts Racepark Winged Sprint champion Todd Rowland, but to end the year with a win could not have been any sweeter for the Jackson racer.
Rowland celebrated the win in victory lane with country music singer Tanya Tucker. Tucker decided to stop by and enjoy some racing action at Auto Tire and Parts Racepark in between her travels. The country music star was traveling through the Benton area when she found out about the track running Winged Sprint car and wanted to enjoy the races.
After winning the second heat race Daron Clayton started on the front row with Rowland for the Winged Sprint feature and quickly jumped to the lead at the drop of the green flag. Clayton looked to be in command, when the #50 of Larry Gould spun bringing out the first caution. The race would see a complete restart.
On the restart Rowland would not let Clayton get another jump on him as Rowland jumped out to a quick lead. Clayton fell into second, Lowe Cannell moved into third and Shawn King fourth.
While bidding for the lead on the sixth lap Clayton made contact with a lap car sending him into spin, bringing out another caution.
The final 19 laps of the feature would see the race being slowed by four more caution flags. The cautions proved to be helpful to Rowland as it gave him open track to hold off his competitors.
Jeff Davis moved into the top-five on the fourth lap and worked his way up through the field inheriting second when the car of King's made contact with Gould and the 91 car of Cannel pulled off the track with a flat.
Dean Adams Jr. fought his way through the field to finish third. Adams also benefited heavily from the mishaps of King and Cannel to go from fifth to third.
Kenny Conrad and Steve Zelch Jr. battled for the fourth and fifth spots for the final nine laps of the event with Conrad coming out on top.
The win for Rowland was his second on the year. The driver of the 14r enjoyed victory lane with singer Tanya Tucker as she was the first to greet the driver giving him a much-deserved hug as he stepped out of his car in victory lane.
Although the race was interrupted by seven caution flags it did not hamper Dietrich Bollinger's bid for his third Pure Street feature win. The youngster held off Patrick Naeger and Billy Hopkins to score the final checkers of the season.
The start of the race found Bollinger, Johnny Houart and Naeger gunning for the top position. Bollinger took the advantage and held on for four laps. After a caution flag on lap five the field was bunched up for a restart, just what Houart needed.
When the green flag fell Houart was able to sneak around Bollinger for the lead. Houart led for the next five laps and looked to be well on his way to victory lane when he turned sideways in turns three and four allowing Bollinger to take the lead once again. The track surface proved to be very tricky to the Pure Street drivers, as the straight-aways were rather abrasive while the corners became dry-slick.
Bollinger led the final five of the event to earn the win. Naeger battled his way up to second, with Hopkins grabbing third, Kevin Holman finished fourth and Darrick Bruce rounded out the top-five.
The Southern Missouri Dwarf Car Association paid another visit to the racepark with Ron Wick coming out on top. The win snapped the Griffin Racing Team stranglehold on victory lane at the racepark.
Wick just out to the early lead at the start of the race with Robert Griffin and Jimmy Brown in tow. Wick moved out to a healthy advantage leaving the battle behind him at Dennis Martin, Griffin, Brown, Steve Copeland and Chris Spegal fighting out for the next six positions.
The race would be slowed by four caution flags; with the final caution flag being waved on the 13th lap, setting up a two-lap showdown. Wick's lead would not be affected as he took his third Southern Missouri Dwarf win on the year and his first at Auto Tire and Parts Racepark.
Martin held onto second being chased by Griffin who took third, Copeland finished out fourth with Jeff Morgan rounding out the top-five.
The Open-Wheel Modified feature enjoyed a familiar face in victory lane as Chris Hall scored his fifth victory of the year. Danny Sissom took the initial lead with Jess Short and Hall falling in behind him. On the third lap Sissom spun on the tricky track surface allowing Hall to take over the lead, bringing out the first caution flag. Short maintained second with Jeff Parmer running third and Karl Adams maintaining fourth.
Five more caution flag would wave before the 20-lap feature event would be complete. After Hall inherited the lead on the third lap he would virtually go untouched throughout the event.
Terry Johnson was able to manhandle a ill handling car to move into second on the 19th and stay put for the remaining lap. Short picked up a season best third place finish, Terry Baker finished fourth and Parmer completed the top-five competitors.
The cruiser division saw its ninth different winner visit victory lane at Jeff Trankler and Wayne Bartles enjoyed the victory laurels. Trankler and Bartles led all ten laps of the feature event scoring their best finish on the year.
Tim Borgfield and Al Besher battled their way through the field at one time taking over the top-position but could not hold onto for a complete lap.
Paul VanPool and Brian Hahs ran second for until lap five when Borgfield and Besher took over the spot. VanPool and Hahs held onto third in the final rundown.