Jones Nets Mopar Loot with Last-Lap Pass
The victory was the first of Jones¿ USAC sprint car career while Chris Madden, a regular visitor to victory lane at the four-tenths-mile clay oval, topped the 25-lap feature for the O¿Reilly Southern All Star late models.
¿That right there started a year ago when I spent every penny I had to build a car,¿ Jones explained. ¿We led last year¿s race here until the car broke and I wasn¿t going to let Troy win again. It was a handful out there tonight, and I¿m worn out.¿
The Olney, Ill., driver took home $5,000 for his evening¿s work.
Cline, who lives in nearby Mooresville and won the race a year ago, settled for second.
¿We didn¿t have the fastest car tonight,¿ Cline said. ¿This is my home track and I really wanted to win this race again, but I just lost it.¿
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver and former USAC star Tracy Hines finished third with Don Droud fourth. J.J. Yeley, the 2003 USAC sprint car champion who now drives in selected NASCAR events for Joe Gibbs Racing, rounding out the top-five in the 23-car field.
The eight-lap heat races for the USAC sprint cars were won by Davey Ray, Cory Kruseman, Josh Ford and Josh Wise with series point leader Jay Drake recovering from a poor heat race showing to win the 12-lap sprint car semi-feature.
Drake topped the 40-car USAC sprint car field with a track record lap of 14.448 seconds in time trials.
The sprint car portion of the program was marred by numerous flips, two of which resulted in injuries.
Jimmy Weller III of Liberty, Ohio, was airlifted to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte after his car slammed the turn-one wall and flipped during the second heat race. The 18-year-old driver¿s condition was still being evaluated late Wednesday night.
William Moore of Kannapolis, N.C., was transported by ambulance to NorthEast Medical Center in Concord after suffering a broken right elbow and a concussion during a grinding flip in turn one during time trials.
Madden of Gray Court, S.C., lined up fourth in the Southern All Star late model finale and battled with series point leader Shane Tankersley the entire 25-lap distance. The pair swapped the lead twice before Madden retook command with just two laps remaining.
¿That was a tough one,¿ Madden said after making his third visit to victory lane at The Dirt Track. ¿Tankersley bobbled and we capitalized on it. It always feels good to win.¿
Second-generation driver Jackie Boggs charged through the field from the 26th starting spot to claim third-place money with Jeff Cooke and NASCAR NEXTEL Cup veteran Ken Schrader rounding out the top-five in the 27-car field.
Brian Spivey of Norwood, N.C., notched the Road Hawg feature victory, topping the 10-lap season finale for the division that puts the ¿stock¿ back into stock car racing.
The Mopar Sprint Car Nationals concluded The Dirt Track @ Lowe¿s Motor Speedway¿s fifth season. The track is slated to open its 2005 schedule April 7-8 with a program of DIRT big-block modified, small-block modified and pro stock racing.
USAC Valvoline Sprint Car Feature (30 laps): 1. Levi Jones; 2. Troy Cline; 3. Tracy Hines; 4. Don Droud; 5. J.J. Yeley; 6. Davey Ray; 7. Matt Westfall; 8. Josh Ford; 9. Mat Neely; 10. Johnny Heydenreich; 11. Tom Hessert; 12. Ed Hassler; 13. Billy Rose; 14. Lee Boss; 15. Rob Chaney; 16. Dickie Gaines; 17. Jon Stanbrough; 18. Jay Drake; 19. Cory Kruseman; 20. Josh Wise; 21. Bud Kaeding; 22. Dave Darland; 23. Marc Jessup.
O¿Reilly Southern All Star Late Model Feature (25 laps): 1. Chris Madden; 2. Steve Tankersley; 3. Jackie Boggs; 4. Dennis Franklin; 5. Jeff Cooke; 6. Ken Schrader; 7. Billy Hicks; 8. Chuck Harper; 9. Larry Blankenship; 10. Stacy Holmes; 11. Kelly Thacker; 12. Buckshot Miles; 13. Damon Eller; 14. Shane Quattro; 15. Michael Ray Mason; 16. Jimmy Owens; 17. Damon Kotke; 18. Johnny Stovall; 19. Noel Tucker; 20. Ed Basey; 21. Tim Christie; 22. Skippy Johnson; 23. Ricky Weeks; 24. Petey Ivy; 25. Steve Lucas; 26. Terry Cardwell; 27. Mike Duvall.