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Topless 50 will rock the hills

By Staff | Apr 18, 2012

The Tyler County Speedway is proud to play host once again to the fans favorite event known as the ‘Topless 50’. The 18th edition of the ‘Topless 50 is presented by Wilson Law Offices of Moundsville, WV.

The 2012 edition of the ‘Topless’ will once again welcome the Tri-State’s best to the ‘Bullring’ to wage war in the areas first big Late Model Invitational of the season. The coveted Wilson Law Offices ‘Topless 50’ trophy will await the winner in victory lane as the nations second oldest topless late model event will go live Saturday Night, April 21st, with a raindate scheduled for April 28.

The winner of the prestigious Wilson Law Offices ‘Topless 50’ will partake in a $4,000 payday. The past winner’s list reads like a “Who’s Who” of regional Late Model racing, including defending champion Jared Hawkins, Steve Shaver, Paul Wilmoth Jr., Butch McGill, Chuck Harper, Doug Horton, Mark Banal, Mike Benedum, Robbie Scott, Sonny Conley, Kenny Johnson and inaugural winner Steve Steele.

An uncensored look at previous seasons ‘Topless’ action, started in 1995, as New Martinsville’s Steve Steele put his name first on the list. Steele passed race long leader Butch McGill exiting turn four coming to the checkered flag, setting the bar high for races to come.

After losing on the final circuit in the inaugural race, in 1996 ‘the Doddridge County Terror’ Butch McGill dominated and won the second annual event.

In 1997 Gary Dalton grabbed the lead early. Eighth starting Kenny Johnson, ‘the South Side Flyer’ worked his way to the front and began a duel with Dalton. Johnson secured the spot on lap 47 enroute to the victory. Johnson, Dalton, Bobby Hill, Chris Stotts and Bill Childers were the top five.

The 1998 race had Greg Mitchell holding the point until lap eight when ‘the Beverly Gearjammer’ Chuck Harper grabbed the spot and never looked back. Harper, Bobby Hill, Denny Chamberlain, Bill Childers, and D J Cline filled out the top five.

In 1999 Mike Balzano was the leader at the outset, but Chuck Harper stole the spot away on lap 10. He would relinquish it to Paul Wilmoth Jr. on lap 17. Harper would get it back on lap 24, only to have Butch McGill take it on lap 31. McGill became the first two time winner as he bested Harper, Gary Dalton, Mike Eaton and Steve Weigle.

What some call one of the best of the annual roofless races happened in 2000. Mike Benedum held off numerous attempts from Doug Horton to take the point. On the white flag lap, Horton, ‘the Bruceton Bandit’ got under Benedum at the flag stand to get the lead and collected his biggest career win. Charlie Maloney was third, Jimmy Cobb and Jeremy Peck were fourth and fifth.

The 2001 version had three different leaders as Chuck Harper held the spot until lap 38 when Mike Benedum took over. ‘The Gambler’ Paul Wilmoth Jr. then snagged the spot on lap 41 to capture his first Topless crown. Benedum, Doug Horton, Robbie Scott and Mike Eaton filled out the top five.

Paul Wilmoth Jr. dominated the 2002 race as he led wire to wire to take his second checkerboard. Mike Benedum would finish second for the third straight year. Bobby Hill, Robbie Scott and Chuck Harper were third through fifth.

The 2003 50 lapper had Steve Weigle in command for the first 17 go rounds. M T Hall then took over until lap 27 when ninth starting Chuck Harper secured it. Harper would become the third two time winner as he crossed the line ahead of Tim Dohm, Mike Benedum (from eleventh), Hall and Robbie Scott.

Tired of finishing second (three times) and third (’03) ‘The Bristol Bullet’ Mike Benedum snared the lead away from M T Hall on lap 39 to put his name on the Topless winners list. Hall held on for second, Robbie Blair was third. Butch McGill and Tim Dohm completed the top five.

In 2005 Jared Hawkins set sail and was the front car until Robbie Scott slipped by on lap 17. Scott would drive on for the win. Hawkins finished second. Chuck Harper (from thirteenth) was third. Bobby Hill was fourth and Sonny Conley was fifth.

“The pass that no one saw”, that is what the 2006 version became known as. Near the half way mark Sonny Conley drove around the front runners on the back straight for the lead. When a yellow fell later in the race, officials were confused on where Conley should be placed. After asking drivers and officials, front runner Bill Childers stated he wasn’t quite sure what place he was in, but Conley did pass him. Conley was given the front spot and would be the eventual winner. It was Conley’s biggest career win.

An ‘out of stater’ came to the Bullring in 2007 and stole the show. St. Clairsville Ohio’s Mark Banal led wire to wire and was never seriously challenged enroute to the victory. Ricky Williams, Paul Wilmoth Jr., Josh McGuire and Robbie Blair crossed behind.

For his third trip to victory lane, Paul Wilmoth Jr., would lead all 50 circuits in the 2008 edition. Mike Balzano gave chase but had to settle for second. Tim Dohm, Eddie Carrier Jr., and Doug Horton rounded out the top five.

Two oval track travelers put on a show in 2009 as Robbie Blair held off ‘Showtime’ Steve Shaver for the front spot until lap 20. Shaver took over and didn’t give it back. Blair crossed in second. Third through fifth were Jared Hawkins, Eddie Carrier Jr., and Tim Dohm.

In 2010 Gary Dalton returned to Tyler County and grabbed the lead at the drop of the green with the UFo series sanctioning the race. Doug Horton passed Dalton on lap 4, but Dalton regained the spot on lap 14. Paul Wilmoth Jr. then outdragged Dalton for the lead on the restart of lap 19. Wilmoth would add his fourth Topless trophy to the case. Robbie Scott (from eleventh), Jared Miley (from nineteenth), Doug Horton, and Eddie Carrier Jr. (from twelfth) were second through fifth.

In what would become the Hawkins brothers show, the 2011 edition had its share of excitement. Tim Dohm grabbed the early lead and stayed there for most of the event. Jared Hawkins started 13th and with the UFo series using the double file restarts, motored into third on a lap four restart. Dohm continued showing the way as Hawkins moved into second on lap 24. Hawkins then pulled even with Dohm on lap 26 but couldn’t make the pass. As the laps clicked off, Hawkins again pulled to the door of Dohm on lap 40 but again could not get around him. Then on lap 48, Dohm slowed exiting turn two allowing Hawkins to zip by. The younger Hawkins, Jacob climbed from 17th to second on the lap 49 restart. The elder brother Jared, was able to fend off his pesky younger brother Jacob, for the win. Robbie Scott, Paul Wilmoth Jr., and Mike Benedum filled out the top five.

The payoff for the Wilson Law Offices “Topless 50”: 1st-$4,000 2nd-$1,800 3rd-$1,200 4th-$1,000 5th-$800 6th-$700 7th-$600 8th-$550 9th-$525 10th-$500 11th-$475 12th-$450 13th-$440 14th-$425 15th-$400 16th-$390 17th-$350 18th-$325 19th-$325 20th-$325.

One hundred fifty dollars is paid to all cars that DNQ that make one lap on the track under their own power.

General Admission will be $18 with Pit Admission priced at $35 for the Wilson Law Offices “Topless 50.” Fans arriving between 4:00 and 5:00 PM will receive a $2 discount off of grandstand admission. Gates are scheduled to open at 4 p.m.with warm-ups at 6:45 and racing at 7 p.m.

The rain date for the “Topless 50” is Saturday, April 28. Also on the schedule will be the United Rental EDGE Crate Late Models, Two Brothers Motorsports TSMA Modifieds, Bridgeport Equipment TSMA Hotmods, Herrington-Yoak Mod Lites, Custom Engraving 4 Cylinders and Mini Wedges will kick-off the evening.

The Wilson Law Offices are located at 515 Jefferson Avenue, Moundsville, West Virginia. Richard Wilson, a practicing attorney since 1991, has represented clients primarily in personal injury cases, Social Security claims, and other liability claims including defective products, premises liability, and insurance bad faith claims. If your accident isn’t part of the racing action, call Rich Wilson at 1-304-843-2300.

Celebrating the 38th year of continuous operation and billed as the nations raciest bullring, Tyler County Speedway is a lightning quick high banked mile oval that produces three and four wide racing action and is located three miles south of Middlebourne, WV on State Route 18 at the scenic Tyler County Fairgrounds. Ideal for a weekend getaway or a day of family fun, the fairground has facilities for camping, picnicking, playground areas and nearby fishing available.

For a complete schedule, the latest news, results, and race status, visit www.tylercountyspeedwayonline.com or follow us on Twitter and “Like” us on Facebook. The speedway office can also be reached at 304-771-5661 or on raceday at 304-758-2660.

Don’t miss this once a season experience, as ‘the Bullring’ gives you a birds eye view of the fastest talent in the tri-state area in the 18th running of the Wilson Law Offices ‘Topless 50’!