Bagwell Emerges From Hickory Battle with Firecracker 150 Win
Bagwell Emerges From Hickory Battle with Firecracker 150 Win
Tony Stevens/ISCARS PR
October 8, 2006
Wilson Still Leads Points Going Into Florence Finale
|Bagwell celebrates with his crew in victory lane on Saturday night after claiming their second win of the ISCARS season.|
HICKORY, NC (Oct. 7, 2006) – The ISCARS Dash Touring Series event at Hickory Motor Speedway was aptly named on Saturday night. The Firecracker 150 saw multiple lead changes, lots of rubbing and side by side racing, and a green-white-checkered finish that had Danny Bagwell holding off Eric Wilson for his eleventh career win.
Jake Hobgood edged out Johnny Chapman for the pole position by two one-thousandths of a second in his No. 64 Cedar Creek Collision Pontiac, and he led Chapman, Bagwell, Joey Miller, Ned Combs, and the rest of the field into turn one. Soon thereafter, the field was slowed for a spin by Perry Nantz down the front straightaway which brought out the first caution flag of the evening.
The field resumed racing on lap 5 and Johnny Chapman shot to the inside of Jake Hobgood for the lead. By lap 7, the driver of the No. 24 AlarmSouth/US Restoration Pontiac held the point and opened up a buffer between new second place driver Joey Miller and Hobgood.
By lap 15, the top six had broken away from the rest of the field and began to work through slower traffic. An incident on lap 20 brought on by Bryan Pruett’s contact with sixth place Scott Weaver in turn four brought out the second caution flag of the night. Weaver later retired with motor problems. Chapman jumped out on the restart to a sizeable five car length advantage until Ned Combs, who started fifth on the evening, spun in turn two on lap 31.
After a quick caution, the field restarted on lap 36 and Chapman again resumed his position at the point. Mike Watts, the defending event winner, had moved up six spots to seventh by this point in the race. Scott Krehling, also on the move with his new chassis from Jake Hobgood, saw his night go up in smoke in the No. 1 Cypress Corporation Pontiac. Fluid on the track brought out the yellow on lap 48.
Green on lap 53 was quickly interrupted by another incident in turns one and two. The cars of Bryan Pruett and Kevin Williams met each other with a severe impact after Pruett looped the No. 99 Butler Farm/Ken Pearson Electric Pontiac. Both drivers walked away from the accident but their rides were done for the evening.
After the long cleanup and red flag, the field resumed action on lap 59 and Jake Hobgood was quick on the button, latching onto the back bumper of Johnny Chapman and challenging for the lead in turn three. Hobgood got inside of Chapman, even touching the No. 24, but Hobgood allowed Chapman to save the machine and regrouped for another attempt. Caution on lap 64 for Bert Belter’s spin put a brief hiatus on the battle for the lead until the lap 68 restart, when Chapman jumped out to another sizeable advantage over Hobgood.
Eric Wilson, the winner of the season opening event at Hickory, lingered in the top five most of the night and started to work his way towards the front around lap 76 when he passed a fading Joey Miller before the halfway break on lap 79. Despite a relatively calm first half of the event, the intensity picked up after the lap 84 restart as Chapman jumped out to the lead once again.
While the lead lap cars worked to get around the slower machine of Wally Leatherwood, Jake Hobgood began to get down to business. Hobgood nosed into Chapman and got under the leader, taking the top spot himself in the No. 64 Pontiac. Hobgood pulled out to around a six car length lead, one of the largest of the night for any leader, by lap 95.
With Eric Wilson beginning to rumble in third, he, Chapman, and the rest of the top five chased down Hobgood by lap 100 for a five way battle for the lead. It was a hint of what was to come after the lap 102 caution for Randy Humphrey, Danny Keaton, and Matt Johnson. Johnson’s B&D Quick Stop/CMG Autosports Pontiac was handling better on corner entry than Humphrey’s Pontiac and caused him to misjudge, getting into the No. 93 in turn three and caused Humphrey to spin, blocking the racetrack for Danny Keaton. Humphrey and Johnson continued, Keaton was done for the evening after contact with both the wall and Humphrey.
The green came out once again on lap 108, and once more, the temperature rose up front among the leaders. Returning the favor from earlier, Johnny Chapman nudged Jake Hobgood out of the groove and led lap 111, but the No. 64 was too strong on the top of the racetrack. After battling side-by-side, Hobgood retained the top spot.
On lap 118, Danny Bagwell made his way by the ill-handling car of Joey Miller to assume fourth position. Miller opened the door when he drove deep into turn three and saved his machine from spinning, although he continued to drop through the field. Three laps later, Eric Wilson and Johnny Chapman got into it, again opening the door for Bagwell to take over the third spot.
The leaders continued to swap paint and rub fenders for the top spot until all five almost took each other out in turn number four. Evasive maneuvers by Eric Wilson and Jake Hobgood saved the top five from all returning home on a wrecker on lap 124.
A lap later, Wally Leatherwood spun out of turn four and sprinkled some water on the firefight for the win. That battle, however, resumed with heated fury after the lap 129 restart as Chapman jumped out to the lead and looked like he may have had the car to beat for the win. Jake Hobgood, who was in second, started to slide around on the racetrack, opening the door for both Bagwell and Wilson to bypass him on lap 132, leaving the South Carolina driver in fourth spot as the field closed in on the checkers.
Bagwell caught Chapman with twelve laps to go and put intense pressure on the race leader. Visibly slower than Bagwell but having track position, Chapman began to noticeably change his line in the closing laps to compensate for his car’s inability to turn in the middle of the corner. On lap 144, Bagwell was able to position himself beside Chapman and force Chapman’s error in turn three. The No. 10 Torbert Trucking/Five Brothers Produce Mercury took the top spot and seemed to be on cruise control to victory until lap 148 when a spin on the frontstretch by Mike Watts and the No. 17 Mercury brought out the final caution of the night.
The green came out on lap 153 and Eric Wilson spun the tires on the No. 4 Huntington House/John Boy & Billy Pontiac while trying to get a jump on Bagwell. Wilson drove his car hard on the outside groove for two laps trying to run down the leader. Closing onto his bumper in turn three of the final lap, Wilson looked low but was unable to make a move on Bagwell who took home his second win of the season and 11th all-time.
“The car was great tonight and really ran well. I got lucky getting around Eric and had to race Johnny real hard for the lead, but it is definitely fun when you can run that hard and especially when you win,” said Bagwell in victory lane. “The bad part is that Eric finished right behind us, so we’ve still got about a 50 point gap to make up at Florence, but we still got our second win of the season, so I’m proud of my guys for that.”
“That was the best racing I’ve been involved with in quite a long time and it was a lot of fun. I’m glad Danny won, he’s a lot of fun to drive against, and it just shows what can happen when you get aggressive,” said Wilson after chasing Bagwell to the line. “I saw him in my mirror for 120 laps and in the last 30 laps he got aggressive and came after us. He was a bit more aggressive than I was and got around us in some of the traffic and the beating and banging that was going on. We ought to be able to go to Florence and keep our nose clean and win us a championship, so we’re happy with second.”
“I had a handful, I did. It was good in the first half but we didn’t make enough changes at halftime and that hurt us a bit in the long run,” said Johnny Chapman, who ended up third after leading a large portion of the event. “Jake got into me a little bit and I thought it was a little too early in the race, but I’m a tough competitor, and he is too, so we just rubbed a little bit and that’s the way racing goes. I always want to come here to my home track and win, and that just didn’t happen tonight, but we’ll get them next time”
The ISCARS Dash Touring drivers close out their season at South Carolina’s Florence Motor Speedway on October 28. Despite challenges from Danny Bagwell and Jake Hobgood, Eric Wilson will attempt to claim his first series championship with the rest of the field clawing to get a piece of the glory before the 2006 season is over.
For more information on ISCARS, visit www.iscarsonline.com, and be sure to catch the latest episode of ISCARS Full Throttle on local Comcast, America One, and Cox Communications affiliates. If those providers aren’t available, current and archived shows are always available around the clock at www.theautochannel.com.
OTHER NOTES OF INTEREST:
ROOKIE LUCK: Joey Jones had a 20 point lead in the rookie standings coming into Hickory, two races’ worth, but ended up finishing 20th after a mechanical failure less than 50 laps into the event. Regardless, because of his lead, Jones clinched the 2006 ISCARS Rookie of the Year title by starting the Firecracker 150.
RUNS IN THE FAMILY: Chris Chapman isn’t a driver very familiar to most Dash Series fans, however, he may become a household name. Much like his cousin, Johnny, Chris ran in the top ten all night at Hickory and came home with a solid fifth place finish in his No. 33 AlarmSouth/Conover Construction Pontiac.
DOUBLE TROUBLE: Gary Moore has always been a fixture in the Dash Series, at times bringing four or five cars to the track for various drivers. On Saturday, that meant double the headaches as he brought two cars to the track for Kevin Williams and Bryan Pruett, respectively. Both drivers had issues in practice with Williams hitting the wall and doing significant damage to the machine. Parts were brought in from Asheville, NC, to repair the No. 00 so he could start the race. Unfortunately, Pruett spun soon after a restart in turn one and sat broadside in the track leaving Williams nowhere to go in the accident. He t-boned the No. 99 and both cars were done for the evening, ready to be transported back to Moore’s shop for repairs. Neither driver was injured in the accident.
GROWING PAINS: It’s no secret that the ISCARS Dash Touring Series has been experiencing growing pains for the past couple of years, struggling with small car counts. At Hickory, however, the series had its largest car count ever since being sold by NASCAR with 22 cars showing up to fill a complete field and rumors of other drivers buying cars from former competitors and looking to appear at Florence or at the season opener in 2007. ISCARS President, Randy Claypoole, expressed his sincerest gratitude towards the teams in the drivers meeting and shared how excited he was about their attendance and plans for the 2007 season.
9 LIVES AREN’T JUST FOR CATS: Ned Combs, a resident of Newton, NC, the actual municipality in which Hickory Motor Speedway lies, showed his hometown fans that the senior member of the tour still has what it takes to get the job done. Combs qualified fifth in a superspeedway car from Daytona, one not suited for the tight confines of Hickory Motor Speedway. Despite a spin early in the event, he recovered to finish ninth in front of friends, family, and even his cousin Dean Combs who was in attendance. Dean Combs is the all-time series leader with 60 wins.
1. Danny Bagwell
2. Eric Wilson
3. Johnny Chapman
4. Jake Hobgood
5. Chris Chapman
6. Mark Howard
7. Joey Miller
8. Matt Johnson
9. Ned Combs
10. Randy Humphrey
11. Mike Watts
12. Wally Leatherwood
13. Perry Nantz
14. Bert Belter
15. Danny Keaton
16. Davis Myers
17. Kevin Williams
18. Bryan Pruett
19. Scott Krehling
20. Joey Jones
21. Scott Weaver
22. Darren Holler