‘Showtime’ Shaver wins 15th annual Topless 50
‘The Bullring’s’ 2009 version of the nation’s second-oldest topless Late Model race was also the daily double for the near capacity crowd in attendance, as the Fastrak N.E. traveling series Late Models made their season debut. The first ever topless event in series history provided a double dose of topless Late Model racing action.
“What a great track!” exclaimed Steve Shaver, as the Vienna, W.Va. driver exited his car after scoring a $4,000 payday in winning the area’s first major event.
“I really believe that you could run anywhere you wanted on this track and be fast” said Shaver.
His proclamation was a testament to the extent the driver nicknamed ‘Showtime’ used in taming ‘the Bullring’s’ high banks in his march to the front of the highly entertaining and fast paced 50-lap headliner.
Keystone state visitor Robbie Blair bolted off the outside front row, initially opening a modest lead over Jared Hawkins before the event’s only caution slowed the action on Lap 11.
When the green flag returned, Blair had Hawkins, Butch McGill, Shaver and Eddie Carrier Jr. stacked up on his bumper. As Hawkins worked on Blair, Shaver began searching for a line around fellow Mountain State late model veteran McGill.
On lap 14 Shaver went to the extreme high line, blasting into third. At that point Shaver had found the line he would use to work to the lead, as he quickly reeled in the lead duo, then employed a “wait and see” attitude to continue his advance to the front.
Sweeping under Hawkins with a classic slide job on lap 18, the fifth starting Shaver completed his run to the front by dispatching leader Blair on lap 20.
Blair fought back challenging for the lead by running a lane lower than Shaver, but was never able to nose past the driver’s door of Shaver’s ‘Drywall Systems Inc./Lakeview Estates No. 30’. By the race’s midpoint, Shaver had begun to encounter the back of the field, and Carrier had moved in to challenge Hawkins for the final podium position.
Every time it would appear that Carrier had the advantage, Hawkins would claw his way back to reclaim the slimmest of margins. With the laps quickly passing, Hawkins and Carrier closed in on Blair, with Hawkins announcing his arrival with two laps to go. Blair stubbornly clung to his advantage, as all watched Shaver flash under the checkered flag to put his name in ‘the Bullring’ record books with his first ever win in the ‘Topless 50’.
“I’ve gotta give a lot of credit to the crew, the car was awesome, and I hope we provided a good show to this great crowd tonight,” Shaver added.
“We were good, but just not as good we needed to be tonight. We like this place, and we’ll be back,” said runner-up Blair afterwards.
“Eddie (Carrier) actually helped me when we were running side by side” said the third finisher Hawkins. “I had to move my line, and that really hooked me tighter. We caught Robbie, but ran out of laps.”
Hawkins’ third place finish, coupled with his fourth place run the night prior at the Midway, Ohio Speedway’s Topless LM invite provided the young Fairmont, W.Va. hotshoe with a $500 bonus, awarded through a joint effort by both track’s promotional teams.
Eddie Carrier Jr. had to settle for 4th, with Tim Dohm rounding out the top five. The very tough sixth through 10th finishers were Doug Horton, Butch McGill, Chris Garnes, Paul Wilmoth Jr. and Chuck Harper.
The evenings fast qualifier was Scott Irvin, who toured the table smooth high banks with a 12.96 lap. Hawkins, Blair, McGill and Garnes were the prelim winners, while Gregg Oliver transfered to the feature via his B-main win.
The Fastrak N.E. series breezed into Tyler County with a great field of Late Models and the series initial points lead on the line. Defending N.E. series champion Max Blair proved that he was ready to defend his title by grabbing the initial lead in the 25 lap main, but good friend and fellow young gun Mike Pegher found an opening, grabbing the point on lap 7.
Outstanding side by side action highlited the ‘Litman Excavating’ Fastrak feature, as the leaders never shook themselves far from the pack.
Wexford, Pa resident Pegher’s ‘Cochran Pontiac No. 1’ was closely followed to the pay window by the 19 year old Blair, whose finish mirrored his father’s earlier efforts. Opening night winner Gary Knollinger was a very close third. Shawn Jett stole the show by starting in the 20th and final position, making his way to 4th in 25 circuits, and Dave ‘Slowride’ Scott completed the top 5. 6th through 10th were Kyle Thomas, Dan Angellechio, Joel Prosser, Jay Watson and Carl McKinney.
Sistersville’s Mike ‘Bird’ Wilson dominated the Sistersville Center Genesis Health Care TSMA modified main by leading flag to flag in his unsponsored No. 20. Wilson, who also won the heat, was chased to the stripe by Brian Probst, Mark Dickson, Thomas Sigler and Lou Ennis.
Ellenboro’s Brian Shaffer’s ‘Ellenboro Exxon/Big Al’s Guide Service No. 44’ took the lead from Mike Mason on the second lap of the ‘WXCR Classic Rock’ Pure Stock main event, then turned back the hard charging Brad Thomas to break into the ’09 win column. Danny Thomas, Jeff Fornash and Mason rounded out the top five.
St Marys’ Josh Sigler scored his second feature win in as many attempts in the ‘Sigler Fabrication Hot Mod’ division. Early race leader Travis Dickson’s contact with the frontstretch fence gave Sigler the lead on lap 9, with Greg Conger providing pressure the final 6 circuits. Luke Fairburn, Mike Lauer and Lyndsey Smarr trailed the lead duo to the finish line.
Mitch Herrick put Bob Butcher’s No. B4 in the winner’s circle in the ‘Wayside Furniture Mod Lite’ main event. Bret Irvin, Jacob Lash, Lynn Bartlett and Bobby Kimball were second through fifth.
Mitch Eddy held off Joey Price and Josh Golden to win the ‘Custom Engraving and Awards’ Junkyard Warrior race, while Anastasia Jones remains undefeated by scoring her third feature win in as many attempts in the ‘Bridgeport Equipment & Tool’ MWRA Mini-wedges, narrowly edging Chris Thomas and Daniel Eddy.
Next Saturday will be ‘Salute to Dirt Night’ at the Bullring, where an Adult admission ticket is only $8 with an accompanying child admission. In addition to an evening full of giveaways for attendees, the Hot Mod division will showcase their talents in the $500 to win ‘Hot Mod 500’ invitational. “Your kids you coupon”, next Saturday night at ‘the Bullring’!
Midcap Land & Timber Late Model ‘Topless 50’: Steve Shaver, Robbie Blair, Jared Hawkins, Eddie Carrier Jr., Tim Dohm, Doug Horton, Butch McGill, Chris Garnes, Paul Wilmoth Jr., Chuck Harper, Greg Baumberger, Scott Irvin, Scott Peltz, Steve Wilmoth, Gregg Oliver, Donnie Dotson, Ricky Williams, Joe Loudin.
Litman Excavating Fastrak Late Model Topless 25: Mike Pegher, Max Blair, Gary Knollinger Jr., Shawn Jett, David Scott, Kyle Thomas, Dan Angellechio, Joel Prosser, Jay Watson, Carl McKinney, Chris Schnieder, Chad Green, Derek Doll, Cody Hardesty, Shane Hitt, John Watson, Daniel Hill, Jim Quaigg, Zack Dohm, Tom Copeland, Brian Rush, Butch Lambert, Bobby Powell, Bud Watson.
Sistersville Center Genesis Health Care TSMA Modifieds: Mike Wilson, Brian Probst, Mark Dickson, Thomas Sigler, Lou Ennis, Steve Higgins, Jason Schott, Rick Schmitt.
WXCR Classic Rock Pure Stocks: Brian Shaffer, Brad Thomas, Danny Thomas, Jeff Fornash, Mike Mason, Cody Henthorn, Randy Bohan, Al Wagner, Scott Meeker, Zack Travis, Jamie Thomas, Donnie Dotson III, Dan Shuman.
Sigler Fabrication Hot Mods: Josh Sigler, Greg Conger, Luke Fairburn, Mike Lauer, Lindsey Smarr, Devin Verardi, Travis Dickson, Travis Thomas.
Wayside Furniture Mod-Lites: Mitch Herrick, Brent Irvin, Jacob Lash, Lynn Bartlett, Bobby Kimball, Brandon Fluharty, Tony Tatgenhorst, Jim Ruckman, James Watson, Matt Kimball, Zack Watson, Chris Kincaid, Kyle Gist.
Custom Engraving Junkyard Warriors: Mitch Eddy, Joey Price, Josh Golden, Eddie Starkey, David Bunnell, Donnie Wamsley, Jay Siglinger, Highley, Anthony Lopez, John Sinnett, Gary Stull, Shayne Brown, Barker, Jamie Sigler, Josh Fulks, Brandon Doll, Justin Williams