Jarod Hawkins wins Tyler County thriller
An ultra-fast track and 114 competitors from five states made for one of the most entertaining nights of the season at ‘the Bullring’.
The Midcap Land & Timber Late Model feature furthered the reputation of ‘the Bullring’ as four different drivers took turns at the point, and a photo-finish determined the winner in a 25-lap thriller slowed only once by the caution flag.
Front row starters Joe Loudin and Steve Weigle struggled side by side in the races early laps, with Loudin running low with Weigle rim riding, seemingly chained together.
Weigle was scored as leader on the opening laps, with Loudin taking the lead on Lap 3 only to see Weigle regain the point a circuit later, continuing their side by side struggle.
The events only race stoppage came for a Lap 7 backstretch tangle between Butch McGill and Scott Peltz. Peltz would go pitside, along with Loudin who suffered a flat tire, and McGill would restart from the tail.
Bobby Hill, substituting for an ailing Scott Irvin inherited the opportunity to challenge race leader Weigle, taking the lead with a Lap 13 pass. While the lead battle raged, the intense mid pack racing was phenomenal. Steve Wilmoth, Jarod Hawkins and 14th starting Paul Wilmoth Jr. were all charging through the field.
The 11th starting Hawkins, driving with surgical skill, arrived on Steve Wilmoth’s spoiler on Lap 10, moved past the following circuit to take third, then duplicated Hill’s move, taking second from Weigle on Lap 14.
The elder Wilmoth was hung up in a three-wide battle for fifth, and seemingly out of the picture when Hawkins caught Hill in traffic and vaulted to the lead on Lap 18. With Hill, Weigle, Steve and Paul Wilmoth in tow, Hawkins finally had an opportunity to run his prefered line.
As Hill glided off the track with mechanical problems, Paul Wilmoth went to the extreme rim, blasting around the high side and into second with only a lap to go.
Gaining real estate and speed, Wilmoth closed the gap to two lengths going into turn 3, then turned on the afterburners as he and Hawkins headed to the checkered flag.
The crowd rose to see Hawkins turn back Wilmoth’s closing lap heroics by a margin of victory that was less than a foot.
“My car was great until those last five laps” said the victorious Hawkins in the Camp Copperhead victory lane. “I was really holding on at the end. I knew Paul had to be coming, but that finish was a little too close for comfort. I was definitely glad to see the checkered flag”.
The Colfax, W.Va. driver’s ‘Melvin’s Transmissions/Hawkins Wrecker Service No. 37’ becomes just the second repeat winner in the Late Model division.
Wilmoth’s late race surge came up just inches short, with Weigle, Steve Wilmoth and Danny Mitchell turning in top five finishes. Sixth through 10th were Donnie Dotson, Greg Baumberger, McGill, DJ Cline and Richard Frazier. Loudin, Weigle and Dotson were the heat race winners.
Gallipolis, Ohio’s Mark Dickson became the season’s first two-time winner in the Sistersville Center Genesis Healthcare TSMA modified division. The current TSMA national point leader earned his money after the pill draw saw him start last in his heat.
Dickson and Thomas Sigler chased early race leader Donnie Nething, as the trio distanced themselves from the field. Nething stretched his advantage early before the Dickson-Sigler duo reeled the leader back in at the crossed flags. Dickson kept the pressure up, and Nething slipped high on turn 2, allowing Dickson and Sigler the opening they were looking for and both freight trained by, dropping Nething to third.
The second and final caution, a Lap 16 Randy Clark front stretch spin gathered up Sigler, and Nething headed pit side.
Del Cunningham took up the challenge to displace the leader on the four-lap dash to the pay window, but was busied fending off Brian Probst. The battle for second allowed Dickson to ease away from the field, as his ‘Chris Fannin Trucking/Ken Strahler Masonry No. 0’ flashed under the checkered flag five car lengths ahead of Cunningham, whose charge from eighth to second earned hard charger honors. Probst was right on Cunningham’s bumper at the finish, and Steve Higgin’s turned in his season best run in turning son Todd Higgins back to finish fourth and fifth respectively. Nething and Higgins were the prelim winners.
Shawn Jett looked poised to earn his first Litman Excavating FASTRAK Late Model feature, but Gary Knollinger Jr. had other ideas. Knollinger pulled to the inside of leader Jett on lap 3 and the two stayed chained door to door for the next five circuits before Knollinger wrestled the lead away. Jett stayed close, but could never could regain his early edge as Triadelphia’s Knollinger parked his ‘HP Excavating/ Gumby’s Restaurant No. 38’ in victory circle for the second time this season.
With the win, Knollinger continues to make his presence felt in the FASTRAK national point standings. Jett turned back a late charge from 7th starting Kyle Thomas, as Chad Green and Derek Doll completed the top 5 in a race slowed by only a single caution.
Daniel Hill and Jett earned prelim honors.
The ‘Sigler Fabrication’ Hot Mods saw Glen Underwood grab the initial lead, with Travis Dickson, Travis Thomas and Devin Verardi all in close pursuit. After a pair of side by side laps, Dickson found a narrow opening on the high side, and squeezed through to grab the lead near the mid-race point. Dickson never looked back, and duplicated his father Mark’s earlier efforts in a rare family “Daily Double” as his ‘Pauls Discount Auto Glass/ Melvin’s Automatic Transmissions No. 16’ scored his second win of the season. Underwood held off Thomas, Verardi and Greg Conger, who completed the top five finishers.
Underwood was the heat winner.
Butler, Pa’s Levi Spinnewebber has become a fixture at ‘the Bullring’ recently, and was rewarded for his long tow with a dominant win in the ‘Wayside Furniture’ Mod-Lite division.
Spinnewebber grabbed the lead Lynn Bartlett on the third trip around the smooth high banks, and set his ‘E & E Developments/ Cabinet Connections No. 10’ on auto pilot in the caution free main. Spinnewebber was chased to the finish by 8th starting Jacob Lash, Bartlett, Brett Irvin and Mitch Herrick. Tony Tatgenhorst and Bartlett garnered prelim wins.
Danny Thomas led the opening lap before Alma, WV’s Brad Thomas flexed his muscle and took the lead and feature win in the WXCR Classic Rock Pure Stock feature. Thomas ran unchallenged from that point on, as his ‘Deb’s Bar’ sponsored No. 1 scored top honors for the second time this season. Danny Thomas was second, with Jeff Fornash, Cody Henthorn and Mike Mason rounding out the top five finishers. Danny Thomas was the heat winner.
West Union’s Josh Golden was dogged by Rod Nething for the entire distance, but was indeed “golden” in winning his first ‘Custom Engraving’ Junkyard Warrior main of the season. Nething was a close second, with Joey Price, Donnie Wamsley and Brandon Doll rounding out the top five.
Steven West scored his second Bridgeport Equipment and Tool MWRA Mini-wedge win of the season, besting Tony Cochran, Anastasia Jones, Jordan Doty and Gunnar Travis.
Midcap Land & Timber Late Models: Jarod Hawkins, Paul Wilmoth Jr., Steve Weigle, Steve Wilmoth, Danny Mitchell, Donnie Dotson, Greg Baumberger, Butch McGill, DJ Cline, Richard Frazier, Robbie Thomas, Rick Armstrong, Rick Conley, Billy Brown, Randy Clark, Josh Coffman, Bobby Hill, Charley Maloney, Joe Loudin, Scott Peltz.
Sistersville Center Genesis Healthcare TSMA Modifieds: Mark Dickson, Del Cunningham, Brian Probst, Steve Higgins, Todd Higgins, Dusty Boley, Lou Ennis, Thomas Sigler, Dillon Spence, Randy Clark, Donnie Nething, Ted Beaver.
Litman Excavating FASTRAK Late Models: Gary Knollinger Jr., Shawn Jett, Kyle Thomas, Chad Green, Joel Prosser, Daniel Hill, Dave Gorrell, Brian Rush, Jim Quaigg, John Watson, Shane Hitt.
Sigler Fabrication Hot Mods: Travis Dickson, Glen Underwood, Travis Thomas, Devin Verardi, Greg Conger, Kenny Isner, Bob Long, (DNS) Lyndsay Smarr.
Wayside Furniture Mod-Lites: Levi Spinnewebber, Jacob Lash, Lynn Bartlett, Brett Irvin, Mitch Herrick, Jamie Watson, Kyle Gist, Brandon Fluharty, Bobby Kimball, Chris Kincaid, Darren Glover, Steve Weekly, David Smith, Rodney Settle, Jim Ruckman, Tony Tatgenhorst (dns) Robby Archer, Zack Watson.
WXCR Classic Rock Pure Stocks: Brad Thomas, Danny Thomas, Jeff Fornash, Cody Henthorn, Mike Mason, Justin Hart, Scott Meeker, David Kile, Chris Ice.
Custom Engraving Junkyard Warriors: Josh Golden, Rod Nething, Joey Price, Donnie Wamsley, Brandon Doll, Bill Doll, Josh Fulks, Derek Rogers, Jonathon Sheets, Jessica Savage, David Bunnell, Jay Siglinger (dns) Ivan Wamsley
Bridgeport Equipment & Tool MWRA Mini-wedges: Steven West, Tony Cochran, Anastasia Jones, Jordan Doty, Gunnar Travis, Brandon Weigle, Daniel Eddy, Stevie Magyar, Shane Wrightand Scott Perrine.