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Deana Groves makes history in Modifieds

By Staff | Jul 26, 2012

Mother Nature cooperated, well almost. Under cloudy skies, the Renegades of Dirt were ready to try again to get the prestigious “Dickson Classic’ in the books. Over 120 race cars and 25 mini wedges showed up to do battle at the ‘Bullring’ and were treated to a lightning fast smooth surface from top to bottom.

Bart Hartman tripped the clock the quickest with a time of 14.321, and collected the $100 from 2 Brothers Racing. Deana Groves, Lance Elson, and Jacob Hawkins scored the prelims as Mike Wilson won the consy. After three tries, the Classic got under way. Groves quickly grabbed the point with Hawkins, Elson, Bobby Kitchen and Jess Hartman in tow.

The race had two complete restarts, with yellows falling on laps one and five. Other than that, Groves set a blistering pace circuit after circuit holding the determined Hawkins behind her. The green continued to fly until Todd Higgins looped his mount in turns one and two with just five go rounds to go. With Hawkins on her deck lid, the ‘first lady of Modifieds’ was poised to hold her position. When the final laps clicked off Groves took the win and put her name in the record books. Driving the Tri Valley Equipment / Melvin’s Automatic Transmissions #GRS2, the second generation driver (her dad is former Late Model standout Dave) became the first lady to win a major Modified touring series event. An excited Groves “was glad to make the history in front of a home crowd”. She also joked that she wondered maybe now she would not be referred to as Dave Groves’ daughter, now maybe it will be “You’re Deana Groves Dad”.

Just last month the young driver from Morgantown West Virginia became the first lady to win a Modified race at Elkins Raceway. Hawkins, Kitchen, Bart Hartman (from nineteenth, needing to use a provisional to get in the race.) and J. Hartman rounded out the top five. Bart Hartman won the ‘dash’ presented by Outlaw Graphics and Auto Services / 2 Bothers Motorsports / KBC Grafix / and Arizona Sports Shirts that was run comprised of the top three heat finishers from last weeks rain shortened event.

In the Wagon Wheel Bar & Grill Super Late Models, Scott Irvin, Butch McGill and Freddie Carpenter notched the heat victories. McGill shot to the lead with Irvin, Mike Benedum, Carpenter, and Jacob Hawkins filling in the top five slots.

On lap two Benedum wrestled the second spot from Irvin. On the next go round Hawkins set Irvin back another spot. With McGill showing the way, Benedum and Hawkins were battling door to door with Irvin and Paul Wilmoth dueling side by side. Hawkins motored to second on lap 11 and began to turn up the heat on McGill.

On the 15th circuit Hawkins pulled even with McGill but couldn’t get around the 45 year veteran. Hawkins continued to pressure McGill as the two entered the back markers. Then on lap 21 Hawkins used the lapped car of Jim Quaigg as a pick and sneaked by for the lead. Just as Hawkins was now out front, McGill tried to drive by the outside of Dannie Ruza, but Ruza drifted high making contact with McGill sending Ruza into the wall. A four lap dash resulted with Hawkins piloting the St Henry’s Night Club / C & R Sanning #20H, holding off McGill for his second checkers of the year Benedum, Wilmoth and Chris Carpenter completed the top five.

Levi Flesher notched the daily double as he took his heat and also won the Bridgeport Equipment & Tool Hot Mod feature. But it wasn’t quite that easy. Flesher driver of the Flesher Auto Salvage / Duffy Equipment #72 withstood the heat from Mike Conkle the entire distance. It would be Flesher’s first career Hot Mod checkerboard at Tyler County Speedway. Conkle had to settle for second. Kenny Isner, Lou Ennis and Chris Thomas were third through fifth.

The Custom Engraving 4 Cylinders had the most dramatic finish of the night. Billy Bunnell shot to lead at the outset and built a big lead. Donnie Wamsley had won all previous eight races was second trying to chase Bunnell down. Time was running out and laps as the checker flag was waving as Bunnell exited turn four. Just as if on cue from a movie, Bunnell’s lost power coasting toward the line. A closing Wamsley edged Bunnell at the stripe by merely inches. Charles Wade, Mike Harter and Zack Jones crossed behind.

The United Rental Industrial Division crate Late Model had two failed attempts to get started, and on the third try Mother Nature decided enough was enough and she unleashed a thick blanket of fog. Chad Green, Kris Southern and Daniel Hill were heat winners. Joe Bowie took the consy.

The Herrington Yoak Pre Owned Auto Mod Lites also fell victim to the fog. Beau Newlon, Mitch Ward and Josh Baldwin snared prelims and Daniel Eddy took the checkers in the consy.

Trey Watson won his second MWRA Mini Wedge feature as he crossed the line ahead of Brandon Weigle, Georgie Tennant, Wesley Baker and Kaitlyn Frazier. In the B feature Brady Reed won his career first as he bested Jackson Jacobs, Josh Gump, Hayden Jacobs, and P J Wright. Trophies were sponsored by #88 Tennant Racing.

At Intermission business and drivers donated bicycles to be given away, some included, Danny Thomas Racing, Isner Racing, Chris Basich, Mike Basich, Wetzel’s NASCAR Collectibles, 2 Brothers Motrsports, Witschey’s Market, Mountain Dew, ACE Hardware, and the Tyler County Fair Association.

This week at the Bullring will be the STARS sanctioned Herrington Yoak Ford / Pre Owned Auto Mod Lite 2nd annual Pat Herrick Memorial for $1,000 to win. The fogged out Mod Lite feature will be made up on August 4. Also this Saturday will be the makeup United Rental Industrial Division crate Late Model feature, plus regular racing in all other classes. And it’s Dusty’s Birthday party!

The third Annual Black Diamond 125 advance tickets are on sale now, to order your tickets or reserve your seat call the ticket office at 304-771-5661.

Three day advance general admission prices are $50 with children 7-12 years of age only $15, children age six and under are admitted free, and three day advance pit credentials are priced at $60. Reserved seating on the top 4 rows is also available at a $5 upcharge, which will cover all three days. Single day grandstand admission will be available for purchase any day of the event.

Additionally, ticket ordering forms are included in all “Black Diamond” brochures.

For more information regarding the Black Diamond 125 or the Tyler County Speedway check us out online at www.tylercountyspeedwayonline.com or www.blackdiamond125.com.


Renegades of Dirt Modified Tour (26): Deana Groves, Jacob Hawkins, Bobby Kitchen, Bart Hartman, Jess Hartman, Mark Dickson, Anthony Kincade, Lance Elson, Travis Dickson, Chris Basich, Matt Holcomb, Kevin Miller, Todd Higgins, Del Cunningham, Kenny Riddle, Brent Trimble, Gerald Deitch, Mike Wilson, Rick Aukland. DNS; Dan Arnold. Heats; Groves, Elson, Hawkins. Consy; Wilson. DNQ; Junior Payne, Rick Mardis, Cody Henthorn, Cody Rogers, Tom Martineck, Chris Arnold.

Super Late Models (19): Jacob Hawkins, Butch McGill, Mike Benedum, Paul Wilmoth Jr., Chris Carpenter, Scott Irvin, Freddie Carpenter, Charlie Maloney, Donnie Dotson, Richard Frazier, Ricky Conley, Steve Weigle, Derek Doll, Bryan Eaton, Buck Rine, Jim Quaigg, Dannie Ruza, Rick Armstrong, Sonny Conley, Heats; Irvin, McGill, F. Carpenter.

Hot Mods (22): Levi Flesher, Mike Conkle, Kenny Isner, Lou Ennis, Chris Thomas, Steve West, Chad Dotson, Curtis Watson, Brad Dickson, Anastasia Jones, Jennifer Chicklo, Chad Smith, Lindsey Smarr, Codi Eaton, David Kile, Cody Brightwell, Jonathon Sheets, Travis Thomas.

4 Cylinders (9): Donnie Wamsley, Billy Bunnell, Charles Wade, Mike Harter, Zack Jones, Jason Frazier, Justin Freeland. DNS; Samantha Frazier, Frank Jones.