MODIFIED EXCITEMENT ROLLS ON, JOINED BY PRO TRUCKS, ALONG WITH BOMBERS & SPORTSMEN
The last time the Pro Trucks division opened at Mobile International Speedway was last April when the division still competed in the same class as the Praytor Realty Super Stocks. Jay Jay Day was the first driver to visit victory lane in the combined series but lost his ride in the process, getting wrapped-up in a dramatic last turn accident with Bobby Baria in a heat race on April 10.
Day snuck his nose under Baria coming out of turn four with the pair colliding and sending Day into the frontstretch wall after completing the pass and taking the checkered flag. The turn of events left that night’s feature without two of the night’s fastest entries, and left the two drivers in a remarkably sour mood.
Despite a fast truck, Day was unable to get his season back on track and enters this season with the same optimism and speed from a year ago. Day set a new track record at Five Flags Speedway last weekend and finished second in the feature race and now looks to finish the job this Saturday night at Mobile International Speedway.
“That was the fastest our truck had ever been (last year) and we’ve been working on it ever since,” Day said. “I think last Friday at Pensacola showed what we are capable of and that we are finally back to where we were early last season.”
While the combined car versus trucks format proved to be a unique addition to the Speedway, an increase in drivers wanting to compete in both divisions have allowed the two classes to split-up and display their talents in double the chances.
Day enjoyed racing against the Super Stocks but believes he couldn’t compete with their increased horsepower, even with the weight provisions levied against the much-faster cars.
“There was just way too much motor to beat on a week-to-week basis,” Day said. “Our little 602 crate engine had nothing for those 604 Pro Late Model engines and I think the competition will be a lot fairer now that they’ve split us back up.”
Chopper Stagner is the defending champion of the division and thus the primary challenger to Day’s goal of winning the 2013 crown. Stagner’s worst finish last season was fourth and he was the fastest qualifier for six of the eight races as well.
Day respects the team but he respects the man as well.
“He has a great truck – there’s no doubt about it,” Day said. “He has a passion for racing and has put a lot of his time and resources into the sport. As a result, I think he will be the hardest to beat. With that said, the Day Racing Team has done their homework and I think we are pretty close.”
Alabama Pipe and Supply Modifieds
Donald Crocker and Donnie Hamrac put on one of the best shows of Speedway history in the Alabama Pipe and Supply Modified division during the 2012 season, with Crocker edging Hamrac in the season championship by 32 points.
Crocker overcame a personal tragedy and a technical issue but persevered to win the crown. His mother, Trela, died on June 10 last year, suffering a heart attack that appeared to come out of nowhere. Crocker not only decided to stay in racing but dedicated his season to his mother’s memory.
Crocker also suffered a second setback when a rules dispute forced him to driver another car. Fortunately for him, Charlie McAdams offered his Modified and Crocker won two races with it en route to the track championship.
That battle is set resume anew on Saturday night in the first Modifieds feature of the season and will be joined by Brandon Howell, the winner of the first event at Pensacola last weekend and Chris Cotto – a long-time Mobile veteran.
Bob’s Speed Shop Sportsman
Steve Buttrick is looking to secure his third-straight feature victory in the Bob’s Speed Shop Sportsman division this Saturday night but will have to hold off defending champion Brannon Fowler and last season’s win leader Chad Robinson in order to do it.
However, the staunchest challenger could be Lee Reynolds who has challenged for wins in both races this season but has been negated by bad luck and circumstance. The right situation could see any of these challengers find victory lane at on Saturday night.
Island Motor II Bombers
Jayme Corry returned to victory lane in the Island Motors II Bombers Division on Mar. 24 and has set his sights on the season championship. Corry was the runner-up to Day Racing teammate Brandon Tipton last season but with the latter graduating to the Pro Truck division, Corry appears unblocked.
With that said, look for the season’s first winner — Brandon Burks — and host of other challengers to look for early season success as well.
Island Motors II Bombers
David Johnson Ldr.
Jayme Corry -3
Ralph Rogers -12
Tracy Soles -13
Matt Manuel -16
Bob’s Speed Shop Sportsman
Steve Buttrick Ldr.
Bob Bryant -16
Brannon Fowler -24
Steven Allday -38
Mark Barnhill -39
Praytor Realty Super Stocks
Bubba Winslow Ldr.
Okie Mason -4
Gary Sutton -9
Jeffrey Belt -13
Jason Johnson -19