Leader Blues

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

SPORTS >> Race a go after two-week delay

Leader sportswriter

Mother Nature’s record versus area modified race fans is now a perfect 7-0.

The seventh running of the Scrapp Fox Memorial Modified Championship at Beebe Speed-way was originally slated for June 13-14, but rain throughout the week postponed the two-day, $2,000-to-win modified race until this Friday. It will now be just a one-day event.

The postponement hardly came as a surprise. Rain has forced a delay in the original start date every year in the race’s seven-year history. There were three postponements in 2004 alone.

New promoters Harold and Kevin Mahoney are already well versed on the rain curse. The Mahoneys took over the track late last year just before the Scrapp Fox race, and Harold’s memory of the day before is still vivid.

“We had water up to the flag stand,” said Mahoney. “That was Thursday at noon. I started pumping the water out of there, and we ran it that Friday night.”

With hot, dry weather in the area for several weeks now, the track has gone through its traditional metamorphosis to dry-slick conditions, but the beginning of the season was a struggle from week to week during a rainy spring.

“What happened was at the first of the season, we would have three or four inches of water to pump out every week,” Mahoney said. “The dirt I have here is not solid clay, it has some sand mixed in with it. So if it gets wet too deep, it just breaks up.”

The track held up well last Friday, and even stayed tacky for most of the evening. Mahoney said that even with the added cars this weekend, track conditions should not be a concern.

The qualifying heats will be scored on passing points. Drivers will be put into groups of six or eight, depending on the total number of entries, and each group will run two heats. The second heat will be the invert heat, meaning the cars will line up in reverse order from the first heat. Drivers will be rewarded passing points for every spot they advance.

The drivers with the most passing points will qualify for the A-main, while those that lost passing points or did not acquire enough will be forced to run in a last-chance consolation in order to make the field.

It will be a full slate of action on Friday. Along with the Scrapp Fox race, there will be hobby stocks, factory stocks, mini stocks, as well as a fireworks show. Admission prices will be the same as a regular weekly show.

A strong contingent of drivers is expected, including last year’s winner and four-time defending modified track champion Randy Weaver. North Little Rock driver Mike Bowers is expected, along with Bryant’s Casey Findley and Heber Springs driver Donnie Stringfellow. Local legend Wayne Brooks of Bald Knob is also expected to run in the 7B car.

As far as picks from the promoter himself, Mahoney is predicting last week’s winner, Curt Cook, in the 601 machine.

“That’s tough, but if it gets dry, look for that 601 car,” said Mahoney. “He’s won three here, and I know he’s won two or three at (Conway County Speedway in Plumerville). He slipped by Weaver last week. He planned on it getting drier, and I guess he just had his setup right.”

Racing at Beebe Speedway will begin at 8 p.m.