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Parkersburg’s Burdette wins in Tennessee

We are putting 2018 in the rear view and looking forward with excitement to what 2019 will hold in store!

I’m sure there will be ups and downs but I’m wishing you and your families the very best year ever.

First of all I’m so excited to announce the birth of my first great grandson. Theo Rayne Stevens made his entry into this wild and crazy world last Monday night and Megan, dad Riley, and baby are doing well. Could this be the next racer in our family? Time will tell, but big sister Hailey is really interested in driving like her mom. Thanks to everyone who prayed for our family through this pregnancy.

This time of year there are a few races run around New Years. The Ice Bowl is held each year on the dirt at Talladega Short Track in Alabama. Last weekend, 411 Speedway in Seymore, Tennessee, Held the Hangover weekend. Two days of late model dirt track action. There were three nights of races with 30 or 40 lap features and paying $4,000 to win.

The first night John Owenby barrel rolled his racer in an 8-lap Last Chance Qualifier. He was done for the weekend and took a ride to a local hospital for evaluation. David Crabtree set a new track record of 13.012 seconds around this fast 3/8ths-mile dirt oval. The first nights race was 30 laps and was dominated by local racers from 411. Scott James took the win over Mack McCarter. Several “name drivers” were in the field. Jackie Boggs finished 12th, Arthur Walker finished 19th, Ray Cook and Cotton Flinner were the first cars out of the race in 21st and 22nd, respectively.

Afternoon two saw Donald McIntosh take the 30- lap victory over Cory Hedgecock. Tyler Bare finished fourth. The rest of this day’s field was regional racers.

The third and final nights racing was a 40 lap feature and included a feature for the Open Wheeled Modifieds. North Carolina’s Ray Cook was able to take the win over Mike Marlar in the 40-lap late model show. The Modified portion of the program was won by Parkersburg’s K.C. Burdette over late model star Jimmy Owens who was making a special appearance in the Mods. This was a true photo finish as Burdette won by 0.005 seconds. Overall it was a great way to shake of the cobwebs and see a little dirt track action in the dead of winter.

In the next few weeks the Chili Bowl Midget weekend will take place indoors in Tulsa Oklahoma. A literal who’s who of auto racing will be there to see which teams will make the 24-car final feature from the 300 plus cars that show up to race. These races take place over a full week and offer young drivers to show their talents in the smaller car features along with the actual headline Midget Car races. The 24-hour sports car race will kick things of on the Road Course at Daytona International Speedway. As you are reading this it’s only about 45 days till the Daytona 500. Daytona is the place dreams are made and sometimes hopes are shattered. I have many memories from Daytona but my favorite was in 1976. The undisputed kings of the sport Richard Petty and David Pearson waged an intense battle to the finish which resulted in both cars crashing within sight of the finish line. David Pearson was able to keep his car moving and crossed the finish line beat and battered at about 20 MPH winning the race. I was helping Frank Warren on his crew and as we were loading up after the race, the teenage sons of the legendary Wood Brothers came and asked me to help them with something. They had been told to get rid of the bent up front end which had been cut off of the Pearson winning car. It was so damaged it would not fit on their transporter truck for the ride back to Virginia. The two young Wood boys and myself carried the entire nose which included the radiator, oil cooler all brackets, front fenders, grill, bumper and the hood from this iconic race winning car to the dumpster in the garage area. The tracks frowned on damaged sheet metal being left behind and we were afraid we’d get in trouble. Today that front end would easily be worth thousands of dollars if not six figures. Back then it was just un-useable trash.

Here’s wishing each of you and your families the very best New Year and all the blessings God has in store. Remember at the end of the straightaway there is always Another Left Turn.