ROBBINS CAPTURES LEE FIELDS MEMORIAL 100
The 2013 version of the Lee Fields Memorial kicked off a Labor Day Weekend Holiday in grand style Saturday Night at Mobile International Speedway. A highly anticipated event made even more so by the fact that the two previous events at MIS had been rained out, Saturday’s action was all race fans could have hoped for. Nearly 100 competitors packed the infield, and although Mother Nature once again tried to play a role in the outcome, the persistence of track officials and the patience of the racers and fans eventually won out and a great night of racing was completed.
The evening began with a fitting tribute to Lee Fields himself, as the 2012 Track Champions paraded around the Speedway in a fleet of restored, former Pace Cars, used during Lee’s tenure as promoter of MIS. Ida Fields, current track owner, gave the command to start the 100 Lap Pro Late Model Feature, and the 17 car field, including fast qualifier Hunter Robbins, took the green flag with defending track Champ and current points leader Josh Bragg setting the early pace. Robbins and short track standout Mike Garvey joined the battle for the lead and these three drivers kept the fans on the edge of their seats, while the rest of the field sliced and diced as well. Mobile favorite Steven Davis had steering problems early in the event, and lost several laps making repairs. As Bragg began to lose the handle on his BRG Machine, Robbins and Garvey continued to trade the lead, but when the checkered fell, it was the Ronnie Sanders owned #18 of Robbins back in Victory Lane, garnishing the Lee Field Trophy and the Winner’s Belt. Garvey came home second, and a strong finish from Wayne Niedecken Jr. rewarded him a podium finish in third. Bragg was fourth, and courtesy of several timely cautions awarding the “free pass”, Steven Davis finished 5th, just ahead of 13 year old Garrett Jones. Bryce Dulabahn, currently challenging Bragg for the 2013 Track Title, fought mechanical woes all night, but hung tough for a 10th place finish.
The Pro Truck feature displayed their largest field for 2013, with several out of town drivers joining the action. But it was once again a local driver showing the way, as Jay Jay Day led the entire event to take the checkered flag. The win was anything but easy, however, as Day was challenged most of the race by Chopper Stagner and Ray Hoey. Stagner fell victim to problems in the late stages fading to a fifth place finish. Following Day in first, was Hoey, with Howard Langham finishing a strong third and Ricky Vice coming in fourth.
The Sportsman Division feature was made even more interesting when points leader Steve Buttrick accepted the “Intimidator Charter Challenge”, and opted to start on the rear of the field. He advanced quickly but could not catch fast qualifier Mark Barnhill who took the Victory. A strong run by Jonathan Langham brought his car home second, followed by Brannon Fowler, Buttrick, and Bob Bryant rounded out the top five.
What may have been the closest finish of the night came in the Bomber feature, as BJ Leytham and points leader Jayme Corey had the crowd on their feet the entire distance. Track officials were ready at the line for a photo finish, but Leytham got a run off of turn 4 and took the win by no more than 3 feet. Donnie Phillips had a strong run to finish 3rd, with Hunter Ward and Colin Craft rounding out the top 5.
The Super Stock feature race continued on long after Bubba Winslow took the checkered flag over Randy Thompson and Michael Sanford. All three of these cars failed post race technical inspections, each with a different infraction, thus awarding the win to Okie Mason. Jason Johnson wound up second, Matt Taylor was third, Dave Nolen fourth, and Jessie Reid finished fifth. This turn of events also moved Mason into first place in the final 2013 points standings.
Donnie Hamrac was able to break Donald Crocker’s streak in the Modified division, taking the win in the 25 lap feature event. Crocker managed a second, with Brandon Howell, Chris Cotto, and Jacob Permenter completing the top 5.
A large field of riders were on hand for the Southern Motorcycle Asphalt Racing Series event, presented by Hall’s Motorsports. Manni Franquist started the night by picking up the win in the Novice feature. Pro rider Rob McClendon once again dazzled the fans by winning the Pro feature in convincing style, even crossing the finish line on one wheel.
MIS will be back in action this Saturday night with a make-up race from the August 17th rain out. The Pro Late Model and the Pro Truck division Championships will be decided. Sportsman and Bombers will also be on the card, and it will be Kid’s Night, with 12 and under age group getting free admission and a ride in a Race Car or the track Pace Car.