Hickory drivers enjoyed great racing success nearly 30 years ago
Posted: Wednesday, August 7, 2013 11:48 pm | Updated: 11:52 pm, Wed Aug 7, 2013.
By TOM GILLISPIE Special To The Record
HICKORY, N.C. -- The 1984 Busch (now Nationwide) Series standings had a distinct Hickory Motor Speedway flavor.
Sam Ard, a Hickory regular, won eight races in 1984 and took the championship. Jack Ingram, a two-time HMS champion, also won eight races and was second in points that year.
No. 3 was Tommy Houston, a two-time HMS champion. Houston won two races, had two poles and posted 22 top-10 finishes in 29 starts.
No. 4 in points that year was Dale Jarrett, a Newton-Conover High graduate and the 1999 NASCAR Winston Cup champion.
Even fifth-place Ronnie Silver, of Asheville, had a strong HMS connection. He later won two Busch Series races at Hickory.
Most impressively for Ard, he only started 28 of 29 races and had a whopping 26 top-10 finishes.
Four other HMS drivers were among the leaders in Busch points in 1984 -- L.D. Ottinger was seventh, Bosco Lowe 12th, Glenn Jarrett (Dale’s brother) 13th and Morgan Shepherd 22nd (three wins in just 15 starts).
Last week at HMS
Adam Beaver won the 4-Cylinders race from the pole, with Chase Pollard, Donnie Harmon, Matthew Elledge, Nathaniel Kanupp, Dennis Trivette, Rob Lewis, Eddie Gilbert, Randy Freeze and Curtis Pardue filling out a 10-car field.
-- Austin McDaniel started on the pole and got his Late Model division-high fourth victory of the season. Shane Lee, Christian Calvo, Jesse LeFevers, Keith Bumgarner, Annabeth Barnes, Ashley Huffman and Matt Piercy finished out an eight-car field.
-- Landon Huffman won the Limited Late Model race, with pole-winner Jeremy Pelfrey, Lee, Casey Pierce, Monty Cox, Travis Byrd, Evan Duggins, Dylon Wilson, Chris Hudspeth and Kyle Mansch filling out the top 10 in a 19-car field.
-- Darren Dickinson took the Renegades feature, followed by Gregory Austin, Carroll McKinney, Robert Divanna, Blake Walker, Daniel Moore, Shawn Hayes and pole-winner Kenneth Roberts in an eight-car field.
-- Kevin Townsend took the Street Stocks race from the pole, with Marshall Sutton, Kevin Eby, Mark Whitten, Larry Mosher, Troy DeMarmels, Ethan Johnson, Chris Cycak, Kim Smith, Jonathon Smith and Danny Gibson filling an 11-car field.
-- Jeremy Birch won the Super Trucks race. Pole-winner Doug Barnes was second in the six-truck field, followed by Spencer Boyd, Jason Smith, Dakota Slagle and Whitney Lail.
The first six NASCAR Truck Series champions all drove Chevrolets. Who was the first non-Chevy driver to top the truck standings?
A ZLOOP Challenge, with a 100-lap Late Model race, will be featured Saturday, with Limiteds, Street Stocks and Renegades also racing.
-- On Aug. 17, they’ll have Late Models, Limiteds, Street Stocks, trucks, Renegades, 4-Cylinders and Ford Focus Midgets.
-- The track is open on Aug. 24, Oct. 5, Oct. 26 and Nov. 2 and available for rent.
-- The Bobby Isaac Memorial race is set for Aug. 31, with a 150-lap Late Model race, plus Limited Late Models, Street Stocks and the Sportsman Classic racers.
Hickory’s division leaders this week are Kanupp in 4-Cylinders; Don Fenn in Classic Sportsman Racing; McDaniel in Late Models; Lee in Limited Late Models; McKinney in Renegades; Eby in Street Stocks, and Birch in Super Trucks.
The ZLOOP Challenge leaders are McDaniel (360), Lee (342), LeFevers (328), Piercy (328) and Grant Wimbish (304).
Hickory’s national and state leaders
Through July 30, two Hickory drivers — Anthony Anders and Brandon Dean — are 14th and 16th, respectively, in NASCAR’s national Division I Asphalt standings.
Josh Berry is 31st nationally, followed by McDaniel (73rd), David Garbo Jr. (74th), Lee (84th), LeFevers (114th), Matt Piercy (131st), Calvo, C.J. Hulsey (175th), Ashley Huffman (264th), Wimbish (269th), Reid Lanpher (282nd), Trey Gibson (309th), Justin Carroll (347th), David Roberts (481st) and Moore (487th).
-- Dean is eighth in the North Carolina standings, with Berry 18th and McDaniel 20th.
-- Through Aug. 1, Lee is 14th in NASCAR’s Division II Asphalt standings (Limited Late Model), followed by Landon Huffman (22nd), Pelfrey (40th), Cox (57th) and Pierce (62nd).
-- Eby (Street Stocks) is 46th in Division III, followed by Sutton (56th) and Jonathon Smith (78th),
Upcoming birthdays include Taylorsville native and 1960 NASCAR champion Rex White (84 on Aug. 17), hall-of-fame crew chief Dale Inman (77 on Aug. 19), and Hickory brothers Jerry (60) and Dennis Punch (65) on Aug. 20.
Hickory native Jerry Punch, on sharing his birthday with brother Dennis: “I’ve had half a birthday cake my whole life.”
Greg Biffle drove Fords to a Truck Series title in 2000. Three more Chevy drivers won titles in the series before Dodge’s Bobby Hamilton took the title in 2004.
Tom Gillispie, the author of “Angel in Black: Remembering Dale Earnhardt Sr.,” writes about racing at Hickory Motor Speedway for HDR Sports. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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