Dirty Thoughts 6/08/06 Ralph Latham Memorial

Wow, that’s about all I can say about the way the Ralph Latham Memorial ended Saturday night, just WOW,
maybe OUCH would fit.  As local boy gone big-time comes to the track he calls his favorite trying to take down a
$10,000 payday and lead’s 99.99% of the race only to hit a grease slick laid down by his very own rear end causing
him to loose the lead down the backstretch of the last lap, just OUCH.  I’ll have more on that later…first the dirty
one wants to talk about how lack luster the heat races were, don’t get me wrong there was exciting moments which
I’ll get to, but for the most part they weren’t all that, and the dirty one attributes that to QUALIFYING, when you’
ve got 68 Late Models each taking 2 laps it does nothing but ruin the track.  All year we’ve had fantastic heat races
using the Passing Point system, so the dirty one says all you folks in favor of qualifying can take it, turn it sideways
and stick it where the sun don’t shine cause I hate it.  Not only do you have the track issue, but you’ve got guys like
Scott Bloomquist and others sandbagging to make sure they don’t set fast time so they have more of a chance to sit
on the front row, it’s a joke.  Ok, ill step off my soap box for now…

Late Models
68 of the BEST late model drivers in the country showed up for the Latham this year, when I say the best I mean it,
just hearing the names of the drivers that were in the pits Saturday night got the dirty one all giddy inside.  The
dirty one was hoping that even with a lot of top notch out-of-towners that there would still be a lot of local flavor in
the nights feature.

Heat Race #1 (top 3 transfer)
1.Steve Hillard
2. Mike Marlar
3. Steve Landrum
4. Earl Pearson, Jr

Steve Hillard started on the front row of this race and dominated, not much else to say about that.  Josh Williams
did what he could to stay up front but Mike Marlar would work around the #49 car, as would 6-time champ Steve
Landrum.  Williams looked to hold onto the #4 spot but Garrett Durrett driving over his head caused William to
drop a few more spots back in the running order.  2005 NARA Champion Earl Pearson, jr. was charging for
Landrum but ran out of laps.  

Heat Race #2
1.        Jesse Lay
2.        Dan Schlieper
3.        Shane Clanton
4.        Scott James

When I said there was some excitement earlier this was one of those moments, as fan favorite Jesse Lay would
start on the pole of this race and drive his butt off to get the win.  Schlieper once again staring at the back of a
Florence regular(Roger Williams at the Spring 50) tried everything he could think of to get around “the last outlaw”
but to no avail.  Meanwhile the dirty ones favorite late model driver Scott James would suffer from a poor start and
a poor decision by a fellow NARA competitor Steve Casebolt, but would recover for a 4th place finish and a front
row starting spot in one of the nights consi’s.  Georgia boy Shane Clanton finished just ahead of James in the final
transfer spot for the heat.  The crowd was on it’s feet at the end of this race all celebrating the Lay victory,
congrats to Jesse and the entire team, great job.

Heat Race #3
1.        Greg Johnson
2.        Jerry Rice
3.        Dale McDowell
4.        Bryan Barber

Johnson, looking to win the inaugural Kentucky Speedweeks and the coveted guaranteed starting spot for the
North/South 100, continued his strong week winning the 3rd heat race on the night in convincing fashion.  Another
local favorite Jerry Rice took advantage of his second row starting spot and was able to hold down the #2 spot and
transfer into the nights main event.  Dale McDowell held off Bryan Barber and Steve Francis to get the #3 spot in
the finishing order.

Heat Race #4
1.        Scott Bloomquist
2.        Wendell Wallace
3.        Rick Corbin
4.        Joey Tackett

Big surprise here right, Bloomquist started on the outside pole and very shortly after the race started he took
control and cruised to the victory.  “The little man” Wendell Wallace started in the second row and after having a
little trouble getting around Joey Tackett settled into the #2 spot.  Once again a local driver Rick Corbin was able
to get himself into the nights feature, Corbin seems to always do well when the big boys come to town.  The dirty
one has to give a shout out to Joey Tackett for holding his own in this heat race, that’s right JOEY TACKETT
forced both Wallace and Corbin to do some work to get around him and was able to hold off Don O’Neal for 4th and
a front row consi start.

Heat Race #5
1.        Rod Conley
2.        Dan Hoard
3.        Rick Eckert
4.        Jack Sullivan

Ok, I gotta tell you the truth, right here is where the dirty one thought the local driver thing would stop.  Dan Hoard
has been a good driver in the past, but this season he has had his struggles, good news for Dan and team is it looks
like they might have figured it what was the problem.  Rod Conley (the only one of the three brave enough to come
to the Latham) took advantage of an up front starting position to get the heat 5 win.  The aforementioned Hoard
was able to hold off the 10th in NARA point’s driver Rick Eckert for a strong 2nd place win.  

Heat Race #6
1.        Darrell Lanigan
2.        Mike Jewell
3.        Robby Hensley
4.        Matt Miller

I don’t know if it would have made a difference, but Robby Hensley got jobbed on the start of this race, well I
should say the 2nd start of this race.  Because in the first start HE-the pole-sitter, started the race at the cone and
pulled to the lead, but front row mate Lanigan didn’t get a good start and for some reason the flag men thru the
yellow to restart the race, on the next start Lanigan jumped early and Hensley got left behind he and Mike Jewell
who had followed the #29 thru the whole opened up by the early start and imagine this, NO yellow…Anyhow,
Lanigan got the win with Jewell in tow, and Robby was able to hold off a strong Matt Miller for the #3 spot and his
first ever start in a “BIG” race…

Consi #1
1.        Earl Pearson, jr.
2.        Scott James

Pearson and James started on the front row and finished 1-2 to transfer into the night’s main event.  Behind them
drivers named, Frank, Francis, Casebolt and others were left wanting a few more laps.  Earl Pearson, jr. showed
how classy a guy he is allowing veteran Freddy Smith to drive his back-up car in the consi…EPJ continues to earn
my respect…

Consi #2
1.        Jack Sullivan
2.        Don O’Neal

Sullivan held off O’Neal who held off Rick Aukland who got around Matt Miller in the last couple laps.  This was a
pre-cursor to the feature as the top 4 of this race were could have been covered by a blanket with Sullivan out front
and O’Neal ducking under him in the turns while Aukland was blazing a trail on the bottom of the track.  In fact, had
O’Neal not pulled to the bottom off the track on the white flag lap heading into turn 3 Aukland would have passed
him and to earn the spot…this was a great race…

1.        Scott Bloomquist
2.        Darrell Lanigan
3.        Dan Schlieper
4.        Wendell Wallace
5.        Earl Pearson, jr
6.        Shane Clanton
7.        Jerry Rice
8.        Don O’Neal
9.        Jesse Lay
10.        Greg Johnson

“The Last Outlaw” Jesse James Lay started on the pole for the race after capturing a heat race win, but it was
Lanigan that lead after the first lap.  Bloomquist got a nose in front of the #29 Rocket at the flagstand to lead a lap,
but quickly fell behind again before the pair found turn 1.  Behind the leaders, Lay began to fade a bit hanging on as
best he could to the top 5, as Wendell Wallace and Dan Schlieper worked by “the outlaw”.  Back in the pack Earl
Pearson, Don O’Neal, Scott James and Matt Miller (who had taken a provisional) were charging to the front,
Pearson being the most successful of the group, at the halfway point he had found his way into the top 6 and was
looking to get around Lay and move into the top 5, which he was able to do.  Meanwhile up front, Bloomquist riding
behind Lanigan just waiting to pounce of his first mistake, but Schlieper and Wallace weren’t gonna just let him get
away without a fight.  The top 4 cars were just car links apart as they began to work on each other, “the Wisconsin
Wildman” diving under the Bloomquist machine lap after lap but unable to hold it, while Wallace was attempting to
move up and take Schlieper’s line away each time only to be forced back to fourth each time.  O’Neal and James
battled for several laps as Donnie O’ had a top 10 spot that James needed to possibly beat Greg Johnson in the
Speedweeks points battle, finally James worked his high-side magic and got around O’Neal coming out of turn 2
only to be forced back when the caution came out.  Matt Miller worked his way into the battle as well and the three
of them battled for position for pretty much the rest of the race with O’Neal getting the best of the 3.  Bloomquist
began to put pressure on Lanigan as the laps started running out, attempting to cause him to change lines or simply
screw up, but the Walton, Ky driver held his own and took the white flag thinking he’d be $10,000 richer in about a
½ mile. Little did he know, his rear end was going out and was laying grease on the track, and in the middle of turn
2 his nose slipped a bit and that was all Bloomquist need to get by.  Lanigan drove it hard into turn 3 trying to get a
nose under the Mooresville Tennessee driver but was unable to get around him and Bloomquist grabbed yet
another victory in his storied career.  A dejected Lanigan was forced to settle for 2nd, just ahead of Schlieper and
Wallace, even though he didn’t win, it was a great race.  Gotta give a quick shout out to Jerry Rice, Jerry’s car
seemed to be VERY fast in the last half of the race and had there been a few more laps may have had a top 5 finish,
also a shout out to Robby Hensley for making the feature and running 15th in a stout field of cars.  Great job to all
and congrats to Bloomer on the win.  One last LM thought, wasn’t it great to see the Doug’s towing truck pushing
one WOO driver’s car (Dale McDowell) and towing another(Rick Eckert), if anyone got a picture of that I’d love to
have it…LOL  Oops, one more thing, Congrats to Greg Johnson for winning the first annual Kentucky Speedweeks
and guaranteeing himself a spot in the $50,000 to win North/South 100…

With last weeks finish still in mind, the dirty one was excited about what might be on tap in the modified division this
weekend.  And I wasn’t disappointed as 29 modifieds made their way to Florence Speedway to try their luck on the
black ice.   

Heat #1
1.        Kevin Hartman
2.        Bill Arnold
3.        David Spille
4.        Shawn Tolson

Hartman with the aide of Billy Vaughan looked strong again in holding off Bill Arnold for his first heat race win of
2006(I think).  Arnold did a good job holding Spille and finishing in the runner up spot.  Tolson seemed to be having
a little trouble was not able to challenge Spille for the #3 spot.  

Heat #2
1.        Ray Branscum
2.        Kevin Cradler
3.        Skylar Marlar
4.        Larry Moreland, jr

Ray Branscum jumped out to an early lead and held onto an ill-handling racecar for his first ever heat race win.  
“The shirtless one” Kevin Cradler held off a strong charge by Skylar Marlar, brother of LM driver Mike Marlar,
for the #2 spot, while an improving Larry Moreland, jr rounded out the top 4.

Heat #3
1.        Tom Webster
2.        Bruce Gould
3.        Corey Conley
4.        Ron Jolliff, jr

Webster using a front row starting spot jumped to the advantage and never looked back, holding for the very
surprising heat race win.  Gould held off Late Model driver Corey Conley, who held off a charging Ron Jolliff, jr.
for the #3 spot.

1.        Larry Moreland, sr.
2.        Mark Thomas
3.        Nick Kurtz
4.        Ron Perkins
“The professor” Larry Moreland, sr. was able to get the consi win coming from tail after being forced there by
loosing a driveshaft in his heat race.  His car owner Mark Thomas worked his way into the #2 spot ahead of Kurtz
and Perkins.

1.        Kevin Hartman
2.        David Spille
3.        Shawn Tolson
4.        Bruce Gould, III
5.        Corey Conley

Hartman took control of this race early and I’m sure was hoping he’d sail to an easy win, Spille coming off his first
ever FLORENCE SPEEDWAY modified win, gave him all he could handle, ducking to the inside over and over
trying to get around the 2005 champ.  Behind them Tolson was on the move coming from the 6th row and was
passing cars like they were sitting still.  Hartman held his line the entire race and was able to get a much deserved
feature win holding off Spille’s late race charge.  Tolson and Gould battled in the ladder stages of the race as well,
with Tolson getting around Gould then slipping a bit giving the position back only to retake the position coming off
of turn 4 and heading to the checkered flag.  This was once again a great modified race, I’ve said it before, the
mods at Florence are extremely competitive and as Conley and Marlar found out you can’t just show up and expect
you’ll dominate our regulars, although Conley had a real nice top 5 finish.  Gotta give a shout out to “racin” Dave
McWilliams who came from the 7th row to finish a closing 6th and to “the professor” Larry Moreland, sr. who
started 21st and worked his way into a top 10 finish, way to go guys.

Super Dirts
Only 17 Super Dirts made it to the track Saturday night, down a bit on the car count, come on fellas let’s get that
back up in the 20-25 range again.  Anyway, even though the counts were a little low the racing was still top notch…

Heat #1
1.        Timmy Proffitt
2.        Mark Robertson
3.        Paul Crowell
4.        Doug Wagner

Proffitt with yet another impressive heat race victory, passed several of the top cars in the STACKED heat in
heading to the front, assuring himself of a front row starting position for the nights feature.  Mark Robertson
worked under Crowell after a late race slip up opened the door, but Crowell was able to regain control and hold off
“Mr. Clean” Doug Wagner for the show spot in the running order

Heat #2
1.        Jim Shell
2.        Adam Dixon
3.        David Willoughby
4.        Josh Chapman

Yes that’s right Jim Shell, the 60 years young driver of the #77 Super Dirt grabbed the heat race win.  Adam Dixon
did all he could to prevent Shell from the getting the win, but the ageless driver held off the youngster.  In his first
ever SDS race, “wild turkey” David Willoughby was very impressive and only a little inexperience and maybe an ill-
handling car kept him from getting the win in his first ever heat race, look out boys it looks like we’ve got ourselves
a natural.  An improving Josh Chapman worked around a struggling Dwight Workman to grab the #4 spot in the
heat race.

1.        Timmy Proffitt
2.        Doug Wagner
3.        Randall Dooley
4.        Stan Freeman
5.        Adam Dixon

As the green flag dropped, Proffitt quickly jumped to the lead, followed closely by Dixon, Willoughby and Shell
heading into turn 1.  Willoughby jumped to the outside of Dixon and made the pass moving into the #2 spot, only to
later have his night shortened by what looked like a flat tire (not sure).  Jim Shell and Mark Robertson got together
coming off of turn four and it looked like Shell just ran over Robertson, but the dirty one has learned that
Robertson actually broke something in the motor and Shell had no place to go.  So with Willoughby, Shell and
Robertson all out with problems, that left Doug Wagner to battle Proffitt for the win.  Wagner tried his best but was
unable to get around the points leader before the checkered fell giving Proffitt yet another feature win in 2006.  6th
row starting Randall Dooley was probably the fastest car on the track, but his deep starting position kept him from
taking advantage, also 5th row starting Stan Freeman was very fast as well.  Dooley and Freeman have turned their
seasons around and the dirty one is warning Mr. Proffitt and the rest of the top 5, these guys are coming…

All in all this was a great night of racing dedicated to a great former champion Ralph Latham, the stands were
packed and the fans vocal and were treated to a great night of racing.  The local flavor in the late model race would
have made the man as proud as it did the rest of the Florence Speedway regulars, thus once again proving the
strength of our late model division.  Speaking of strength, our modified division just keeps getting better and better
and I wouldn’t be surprised if we didn’t see yet another first time Florence Speedway winner real soon.  

Watch for an interview coming out this week with Timmy Proffitt, I have a few others I’m working on as well and I
hope to have them out in the coming few weeks.  The dirty one will be at Eldora for the Dream 100 this weekend, I
hope to see a lot of Florence drivers make the trek up to Rossburg for the chance to make the race, but for those
that don’t, good luck wherever your race, and we’ll see you in a couple weeks.

But until then, keep in mind, the dirty ones comments are mine and mine alone. They are in no way intended to
offend or put down your favorite driver/brother/son or father. If you have anything you’d like to add please feel free
to email me at
bryant.scudder@insightbb.com and I will be glad to do so. Remember to keep your racing clean and
your thoughts dirty!

The dirty one!!!!!

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