By Kyle Brandt
IRVINGTON, Ala. (June 4, 2014) – During most race nights at Mobile International Speedway (MIS), trying to keep your fenders clean and your car in one piece is the order of business. However, this Saturday night at MIS, there will be a reprieve from that mantra- at least for a little while.
When the night’s five feature races come to a close, the infield at Alabama’s fastest half-mile will clear out- making room for the annual demolition derby.
A crowd favorite when it rolls around every year, the drivers entered in the demolition derby will actually make it goal to crash their car as much as possible in an attempt to be the last car running when it is all said and done. Sure, its sounds easy, but getting your car to survive the carnage that will ensue on Saturday night is the real challenge.
With $1500 awarded to the eventual winner, demolition derby drivers from all over the southeast United States and beyond will descend upon MIS for what is sure to be a can’t miss event.
If you’re a fan of automobile carnage, beating and banging, smoking engines, wobbling tires and bent hoods, then Mobile International Speedway is the place to be on Saturday night, June 7th.
Pro Late Model:
The last time the Pro Late Model division was on track at MIS, Josh Bragg and Wayne Niedecken, Jr. split the night’s 20/30 split features.
Now, a month later and the season half over, a tight five-way battle for the division’s point standings takes center stages and is getting hot just like the weather outside.
Bragg, the two-time and defending champion of the PLM class at Mobile, has a scant 10-point lead on Mobile’s Dustin Smith. Beyond that, it is four points back to Niedecken, Jr and Garrett Jones who are tied for third. With so little separating the top-five in the standings, and the opportunities becoming more limited with each passing week, the intensity level will certainly be on the rise during Saturday night’s doubleheader.
Just like one month ago, time trials will determine the starting lineup for the first race- a 20-lap dash for the checkers. Then, to determine the starting lineup for the second race, a 30-lap event, the field will be inverted based on their finishing order in the first race. Simply put, if you win the first race, you will start in the back for the second. With a limited numbers of laps available for those who start in the rear in the second race, a flat-out and wide-open strategy will be needed in order to make it to the front of the field to score precious points.
It is hard to believe that it has been over a month since the Modified division was last on track at MIS, but such is the case.
In an extremely close two-way battle that played out throughout the entire 25-lap feature, Donald Crocker of Citronelle parlayed a late-race pass of Semmes’ Donnie Hamrac to score the win and the valuable 100 championship points that come along with it. Despite points leader Okie Mason’s somewhat disappointing fourth-place result that night, Crocker still remains fourth in the point standings- and a staggering 91 points back.
As the season reaches the halfway point, the championship picture has separated into two separate battles. At the top of the standings just six points separate the top three drivers of Mason, Mike Maddox and Sal Hebert, Jr. leading in to Saturday night’s 25-lap feature.
At the same time, just 15 points separate fourth from eighth in the standings, which is led by Crocker.
It is not a new story that the Sportsman division has become one of the most exciting to watch at MIS. Two weeks ago, when the division was last in action there, racing fans were treated to a thrilling four-way battle for the second position that raged on for a huge portion of the 25-lap feature.
With the thrilling battle taking place behind him, Irvington’s Mark Barnhill dominated the race to score his second win of the season and score precious points on his championship competitors. However, with Brannon Fowler and Lee Reynolds, the top two in points, finishing right behind him, he would remain in the third spot.
Despite closing the gap on Fowler and Reynolds, the challenge remains for Barnhill, and he will need to continue to score wins, or hope bad luck falls on his competitors in order to reel them in even further.
Considering the parity in the division, Saturday night’s 25-lap feature could easily be won by any one of the drivers who take the green flag- making the event a must-see for racing fans.
Can Barnhill take the fight to Fowler and Reynolds and take the checkers again? That question, and many more, will be answered after 25 hard fought laps on Saturday night.
The drivers of the Bomber division at MIS have raced five times so far this season, but one man has captured the checkered flag in all of them.
After winning three-straight races, a bounty was placed on B.J. Leytham. Despite $200 dollars being offered to the first driver to cleanly beat him, however; the Mobile native has continued to win. With the added pressure of the bounty appearing to make him even stronger, Saturday night marks a final chapter for Leytham and his bounty.
Although it is unknown what could happen during the division’s 20-lap feature on Saturday night, one thing is for sure- somebody will walk away with the $200 bounty at night’s end.
If Leytham continues to win, and scores an unprecedented sixth consecutive win at Alabama’s fastest half-mile, he can and will collect his own bounty money. On the other hand, however; if Leytham’s streak comes to an end, and one of his fellow competitors beats him without wrecking him, they instead will take home the extra cash.
Having come close to beating Leytham in previous weeks, his teammate, Gene Denmark of Dauphin Island, and Donnie Phillips of Theodore have both finished inside the top-three in each of the last two races and appear to be the favorites to dethrone Leytham.
Despite the unknowns, one thing is for certain: bounty money will be awarded on Saturday night. The question is, however; whose pocket will it go home in?
With a thrilling demolition derby, long with competition from the Pro Late Model, Modified, Sportsmen and Bomber divisions, Mobile International Speedway is the place to be for race fans this Saturday night, June 7th. Priding themselves on being a family friendly entertainment destination, children five and under are always admitted to the grandstands free of charge.
About Mobile International Speedway: Mobile International Speedway is the longest continuously operating sports facility in Mobile County. It was built in 1964 and has presented weekly motorsports events every year since then. As an indication of increasing community acceptance and enthusiasm, both the Mobile Bay Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Mobile Sports Authority became MIS partners beginning in 2013.
Family attendance and participation have been the keys to the track’s continued success. Kids 5 and under are always admitted free to the grandstands. Family nights and family-oriented shows have always been staples of the annual MIS schedules. Over 30,000 people will attend the 14 scheduled MIS events in 2014.