Phoenix, AZ — Veteran Billy Moyer of Batesville, Ark., and teenager Johnny Scott of Las Cruces, N.M., scrawled their names all over the 2008 Barnett Harley Davidson Nationals at Manzanita Speedway.
Moyer, 51, completed a sweep of the two-day program’s DIRTcar Late Model action on Saturday night, rolling to victory in the 40-lap Late Model Western World Championship A-Main.
The 18-year-old Scott, meanwhile, was perfect in the DIRTcar Modified ranks, adding a triumph in Saturday night’s 30-lap Nationals A-Main to his preliminary-feature score the previous evening.
Driving his familiar Banner Valley Hauling-sponsored Victory Circle car, Moyer duplicated his winning effort in Friday night’s 25-lap DIRTcar Late Model preliminary feature. He inherited the lead after Jesse Stovall of Galena, Mo., spun in turn four on lap eight and marched on to pocket the finale’s $6,000 top prize.
Defending Late Model Western World Championship winner Kelly Boen of Henderson, Colo., finished second, about a half-straightaway behind Moyer at the checkered flag. Western Allstars DIRTcar Late Model Series standout Bobby Hogge IV of Salinas, Calif., placed third, followed by Randle Chupp of Troutman, N.C., who drove a car from Boen’s stable, and Stovall.
Moyer’s victory was his 21st overall of the 2008 season, matching his trademark car number. His trip to the famed half-mile oval in Phoenix closed out his most successful racing campaign of the decade.
“We started out the year strong in Florida and ended the year strong here, so we can’t be any happier,” said Moyer, who reached the 20-win plateau for the first time since 2001. “Everything’s clicked all year.”
Moyer didn’t cruise to Victory Lane on Saturday night, however. A power-steering problem made the second half of his A-Main run a bit harder than he would have preferred.
“Something in the power steering went wrong with about 20 (laps) to go,” said Moyer, whose weekend earnings totaled $7,500. “There’s oil all over and the tank’s dry, so a line broke or something.
“Luckily the track was slick enough where I didn’t have to steer much. I could just roll the center. If (the power steering woes) happened last night when the track was heavier, I don’t think I could’ve held on.”
Boen, who reached second place on lap 36 when he surged underneath Hogge in turn three, made up ground on the struggling Moyer during the final circuits but not nearly enough to mount a challenge.
“I seen Steve (Norris) telling me somebody was getting close, but there wasn’t much I could do,” Moyer said of his crewman, who flashed him signals from the infield. “I was just trying to keep from wrecking the thing.
“Really, I was just lucky that Dean Moore and some of those other guys gave me a break when I was lapping them near the end. I knew I had to get through them lapped cars quicker, and they gave room so I just had to slide underneath them.
“If that power steering hadn’t went out,” he added, “we would’ve really shown them something. The car was nice, real nice.”
Boen, 44, certainly acknowledged Moyer’s speed.
“I honest wish I could tell you what we needed to do (to threaten Moyer), but I don’t know,” said Boen, who started sixth in his Rocket car. “I honestly thought my car was as good as it could be, but (Moyer) was just a little better.
“He’s been fast his whole life,” he continued. “Guys like me who race for a hobby, when we gotta race somebody like him who races for a living, we definitely have our work cut out for us. But still, when you get this close to beating him and you don’t get it done, it’s kinda sad.
“I really wanted to win this race again, but we fell short.”
Hogge, 31, was smiling after capping his first-ever visit to Manzanita with a strong third-place finish in his family-owned Victory Circle car. He started fourth and ran second behind Moyer for laps 9-36.
“That was intense for me,” said Hogge, who led the Western Allstars DIRTcar Late Model Series with seven victories in 2008. “It wasn’t a hard-to-drive track, but it was tough mentally trying to hit my marks every time. I knew Billy wasn’t gonna make any mistakes, so I couldn’t make any either.
“There was a little while there (before a caution flag on lap 12) when I actually started gaining on him because he was running the middle and bottom of (turns) one and two. But I think under that yellow he might’ve gotten a signal to move up to the top, and that was it.
“It was just awesome to somewhat keep pace with someone like him and Kelly Boen.”
No one passed more cars than the 28-year-old Stovall, who charged from the back of the pack in his Victory Circle car to salvage a top-five finish after spinning out of the lead on lap eight. He started from the outside pole and paced the race’s first eight laps.
“Really, I’m still new in this whole (dirt Late Model) deal, and I got in trouble because I was trying to conserve my tires (while leading),” said Stovall, who is completing his first full season as a dirt Late Model racer. “That’s not really my style. I’m more up-on-the-wheel, so I didn’t know how hard to drive it in to go easy on my tires and I ended up spinning myself out.
“I guess I have to chalk this one up as a learning experience.”
Chris Shannon of Merced, Calif., who won the 2008 Western Allstars championship, was a solid sixth-place finisher. Rob Mayea of Bend, Ore., was seventh, followed by Mike Balcaen of Winnipeg, Manitoba, who pitted during a lap-17 caution period, Nick Bartels of El Segundo, Calif., and 2008 Southwest DIRTcar Late Model Series Rookie of the Year Joey Moriarty of Phoenix.
Twenty-seven cars were entered in Saturday’s program, which was co-sanctioned by DIRTcar Racing’s Southwest DIRTcar Late Model Series and Western Allstars DIRTcar Late Model Series.
Shannon recorded the fastest overall lap of the group time-trial session, rounding the oval in 20.410 seconds.
Heat winners were Moriarty, Balcaen and Shannon, and Keith Noyes of Phoenix captured the B-Main. Shannon also won the 8-lap pole dash, which included the top-four finishers from Friday night’s A-Main (Moyer, Boen, Chupp and Stovall, all of whom didn’t have to run a heat race on Saturday) and the top-two finishers in each of Saturday’s heats.
Lonnie Parker Jr. of El Mirage, Ariz., who recorded his fifth consecutive SWDLMS title in 2008, failed to qualify for the Western World Championship A-Main. He was running second in the third heat race when he slammed the spun car driven by Kevin Nichols of Bakersfield, Calif., between turns three and four, badly damaging the right side of his machine.
In the companion DIRTcar Modified headliner, the up-and-coming Scott authored a memorable run on the inner one-third-mile oval to pocket $5,000 for his first Nationals triumph at Manzanita.
Scott, who hauled his self-owned Hughes Chassis nearly 400 miles to compete in the Nationals, had to overtake Manzanita star Anthony Madrid of Phoenix to emerge victorious. Madrid, of course, is one of Manzy’s most accomplished racers, ranking third on the track’s alltime overall win list (with over 120 victories) and holding three Modified track titles (including 2008) and a 2005 Modified Nationals triumph.
With Madrid drawing the pole position for the feature, Scott had his doubts about pulling off a sweep of the weekend. But he came from the fourth starting spot to pass Madrid for the lead on lap 10 and controlled the remainder of the distance.
“I was worried when (Madrid) picked the pole,” said Scott, who started racing Street Stocks at the age of 11 and moved to the Modified division at 13. “But after we got going a little bit and I started catching him, I knew I could beat him.”
Scott crossed the finish line several car lengths ahead of Tucson, Ariz.’s R.C. Whitwell, who passed Madrid for second on lap 17. Madrid, who battled brake problems throughout the night, settled for third place after leading laps 1-9, while Royal Jones of Las Cruces, N.M., was fourth and D.J. Wood of Peoria, Ariz., took fifth.
Don Earven of Globe, Ariz., flipped off turn one on lap 10 while trying to avoid a multi-car pileup. He escaped the crash uninjured.
With the top-10 finishers in Friday night’s A-Main transferring directly to the Nationals finale, Saturday’s Modified program included a C-Main won by Robert Adams of Tucson, Ariz., and a B-Main captured by Jay Foster of Phoenix.
Additional info on all of the series, sanctioning and member tracks of DIRTcar Racing is available at www.DIRTcar.com.
DIRTcar Late Model Western World Championship A-Main Finish (40 laps):
1. Billy Moyer
2. Kelly Boen
3. Bobby Hogge IV
4. Randle Chupp
5. Jesse Stovall
6. Chris Shannon
7. Rob Mayea
8. Mike Balcaen
9. Nick Bartels
10. Joey Moriarty
11. Anthony Madrid
12. Dean Moore
13. Rob Sanders
14. Brad Williams
15. Matt Micheli
16. Dino Napier
17. Mike Kirby
18. Mark Fowler
19. Ron Bartels
20. Mike Stadel
21. Keith Noyes
22. Mark Carrell
DNQ: John Lowery, Tommy Hussak III, Lonnie Parker Jr., Kevin Nichols, Mike Tahtinen
DIRTcar Modifed Modified Barnett Harley Davidson Nationals A-Main Finish (30 laps):
1. Johnny Scott
2. R.C. Whitwell
3. Anthony Madrid
4. Royal Jones
5. D.J. Wood
6. Ricky Thornton
7. Scott Logston
8. Darrell Nelson
9. Jay Foster
10. Fito Gallardo
11. Jason Noll
12. Rene Madrid
13. Danny Bradford
14. Reeve Stanley
15. Chris McCurdy Jr.
16. Tim Ward
17. Troy Cooke
18. Bumper Jones
19. Richie Davis
20. Jeff Gibson
21. Richard Johnson
22. Jeremy Thornton
23. Don Earven
24. Bryan Ledbeter
DNQ: Dave Craft, Stormy Scott, Dave Jorgensen, Robert Adams, Jeremy Osborn, Ryan Henesey, Vince Lucas, Jerry Walters, Bobby Hogge IV, Steve Carter, Max Sadler, Glenn Thurman, Dennis Gates