|THREE BLACK CARS (INCLUDING AUSTIN|
MCDANIEL'S 12) GO THREE WIDE DURING A
RECENT LATE MODEL RACE AT HICKORY MOTOR
SPEEDWAY. (PHOTO BY SHERRI STEARNS)
By Tom Gillispie
There hasn’t been a lot of racing lately at Hickory Motor Speedway.
Since the first of July, they’ve been out twice because of touring series, the Koma Modifieds on July 5 and the Crash-A-Rama on July 26. And they were rained out on July 19 and this past Saturday.
“Circumstances are something you have to work around,” track general manager Kevin Piercy said Monday. “Last week (Saturday) we had an opportunity to get rained out.”
He said that weather forecasters had predicted a 60 to 70 percent chance of rain. Since competitors had to be there at noon, and they could face a wet day, he canceled the program.
“All (TV) stations were consistent (with rain),” Piercy said. “But they made a mistake; no rain.”
So HMS missed an opportunity to race.
HMS officials have had to rearrange an already short schedule, because NASCAR wants them to crown champions next month.
They moved Round 8 of the Paramount Kia Big 10 Challenge to this Saturday.
“We only have a certain number of dates left, and we need to get in 10 Challenge races,” Piercy said.
Round 9 of the Challenge will be during the Bobby Isaac Memorial race, on Aug. 30, and Round 10 will be on Sept. 13, Championship Night.
Piercy says that, counting Saturday, he’s missed on rain maybe “four or five” times during his tenure, since 2009.
If you go Saturday…
• A 100-lap Late Model (Challenge) race is featured, and the Limiteds, Street Stocks, trucks and 4-Cylinders will also race.
• Grandstands open at 4:45, followed by qualifying. Autographs are at 6, with pre-race at 6:30 and racing at 7.
• Admission is $11 for most adults, $9 for teens and seniors, free for kids 12 and under.
John Settlemyre won five straight HMS track championships from 1977 to 1981. Who preceded and followed Settlemyre as track champions?
• The track is open for rental on Aug. 23, Oct. 4 and Oct. 11.
• The Bobby Isaac Memorial race is set for Aug. 30, and that 150-lap race will count as one of the Paramount Kia Challenge races.
• On Sept. 6, twin races are set for Late Models, Limiteds and Street Stocks. A single 4-Cylinder race is scheduled.
• On Sept 13, Championship Night, they run a 100-lap Challenge race, plus Limited Late Models, Street Stocks, trucks, Renegades and 4-Cylinders.
• The PASS Super Late Models are set to race on Sept. 20.
• On Sept. 27, the Fall Classic will feature a 100-lap Limited race, plus features for the trucks and Renegades.
• The X-1R Pro Cup Series is scheduled for Oct. 18.
• The last scheduled program of the season is the Fall Brawl, with races for Late Models (150 laps), Limiteds (50 laps) and Classic Sportsman.
• The most recent winners at Hickory (Aug. 2) were Shane Lee (Late Model), Josh Berry (Paramount Kia Challenge), Mark Johnson (Limited Late Model), Kevin Eby (Street Stock), Spencer Boyd (Super Truck), Matt Elledge (4-Cylinder), Robert Hapeman (Classic Sportsman), and Kenneth Roberts (Renegades).
• Hickory’s points leaders are Matt Elledge (4-Cylinders), Bob Park (Classic Sportsman), rookie William Byron (Late Model), Taylor Stricklin (Limiteds), Kenneth Roberts (Renegades), Kevin Eby (Street Stocks), Spencer Boyd (Super Trucks).
• The PASS South Series is scheduled to race Saturday at South Boston (Va.) Speedway.
Hickory’s Tyler Church is leading the PASS South standings, 28 points ahead of Mooresville’s Cole Timm. Newton’s Brandon Setzer is seventh in the standings.
National and state leaders
• Payton Ryan, who races at the Motor Mile, Hickory, Myrtle Beach and Southern National, is 27th in NASCAR’s national Division I standings.
• Dillon Bassett, who has three Late Model wins this year, is top-ranked in NASCAR’s Division I North Carolina rankings. Josh Berry is 10th, and Ryan is 13th. Points leader William Byron is 15th.
• Taylor Stricklin (Limited Late Model) is 20th in NASCAR’s national Division II standings.
• Kevin Eby and Kevin Townsend (Street Stock) are 49th and 50th, respectively, in NASCAR’s national Division III standings.
Three-time track champion Andy Loden (2006, 2007, 2008), on leaving HMS after his last title: “I’d won at Hickory three years in a row. That's enough. It was time to move on.”
Tommy Houston (1975 and ’76) was the track champion before John Settlemyre, and Gary Neice followed Settlemyre in 1982.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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