Phoenix, AZ — Billy Moyer of Batesville, Ark. (DIRTcar Late Models) and Johnny Scott of Las Cruces, N.M. (DIRTcar Modifieds) were victorious during Friday’s Barnett Harley Davidson Nationals preliminary program at Manzanita Speedway.
The winners were studies in contrasts. Moyer is a 51-year-old dirt Late Model legend known from coast-to-coast, while Scott is an 18-year-old who is just beginning to make his mark on the open-wheel Modified ranks.
Making his third career start at the famed half-mile oval in Phoenix, Moyer steered his Banner Valley Hauling Victory Circle No. 21 forward from the fourth starting spot to capture the 25-lap DIRTcar Late Model A-Main. He slid underneath Randall Chupp of Troutman, N.C., in turn two to grab the lead on lap 14 and never looked back.
Moyer’s first career win at Manzanita marked the 20th of his resurgent 2008 season – the first time he’s reached the 20-victory plateau since 2001.
“It’s been awhile since I had this many wins,” said Moyer, who is closing in on 700 overall triumphs in his 32-year career. “This day and age it’s tough to get 20 wins, so we’re proud of our season. We just need to get one more tomorrow night to match the number on the car.”
With the checkered flag, Moyer is now locked into Saturday night’s 40-lap Late Model Western World Championship, which offers a $6,000 top prize to close the Barnett Harley Davidson Nationals.
Also earning automatic berths in the weekend finale were runner-up Kelly Boen of Henderson, Colo., third-place Chupp and fourth-place Jesse Stovall of Galena, Mo., who hauled Moyer’s car to Manzanita in his trailer.
Canadian Mike Balcaen of Winnipeg, Manitoba, who made a 36-hour tow to compete in Manzanita’s Late Model season-ender for the second straight year, just missed a guaranteed spot in Saturday’s A-Main, finishing fifth. He started second and led laps 1-2.
Moyer was the fourth different leader of the extremely competitive event, following Balcaen, the polesitting Stovall (laps 3-9) and Chupp (10-13).
“I got off to a little slow start,” said Moyer. “On the first lap Jesse kinda got into that 10 (Balcaen), and going into (turn) one he kicked it out wide to go around him on the outside. When he did that I was up there on the outside of him and I thought I was gonna hit the fence before I ever started.
“Luckily I gathered it back up, and then I let those guys race a little bit so I could figure my car out and where it wanted to run on the track. After a few laps I could run some laps that they couldn’t, so I knew I was probably in pretty good shape.”
Moyer roared away from the pack after the race’s second and final caution flag, on lap 18. He crossed the finish line a full straightaway ahead of Boen, who charged through the field from the 13th starting spot in his Rocket No. 07.
“We didn’t have anything for Billy,” said Boen, the defending Late Model Western World Championship titlist. “If I had five or 10 more laps, I think Billy would’ve been a half-lap ahead instead of a straightaway.”
Boen reached second place on lap 19 by sliding underneath Chupp, who drove Boen’s backup car after making a last-minute deal with the Colorado standout. Chupp – the winner of last weeks’ Blue-Gray 100 at Cherokee Speedway in Gaffney, S.C. – started third.
“This was one of those nights where the fastest car finished first, the second-fastest car finished and the third-fastest car finished third,” said Chupp. “I got up to the lead, but you can’t hide from these guys if you’re not faster than them.”
A field of 30 DIRTcar Late Models assembled for the event, which carries the co-sanction of DIRTcar Racing’s Southwest DIRTcar Late Model Series and Western Allstars DIRTcar Late Model Series.
Stovall turned the fastest lap of the group time-trial session, piloting his Victory Circle Chassis around the track in 19.210 seconds.
Heat winners were Balcaen, Chupp and Moyer. Stovall captured the 8-lap dash to earn the pole position for the A-Main, and Boen topped the B-Main.
Scott, meanwhile, was flawless in the 20-lap Barnett Harley DIRTcar Modified A-Main, outrunning Manzanita standout Anthony Madrid of Phoenix to record his first career win on the inner one-third-mile oval.
Running a Hughes Chassis, Scott advanced from the third starting spot to take the lead for good on lap four. Madrid, who ranks third on Manzanita’s alltime win list and was bidding for his ninth victory in 15 Modified events at the track this season, grabbed second on lap seven but was unable to mount a serious bid to overtake the teenager.
Scott, who started driving a Street Stock at age 11 and moved to the Modified division at 13, withstood a green-white-checkered finish after a lap-18 caution period to defeat Madrid by a couple car lengths.
Royal Jones of Las Cruces, N.M., finished third, followed by Ricky Thornton of Chandler, Ariz., and Richards Johnson of Los Lunas, N.M.
Thirty-six DIRTcar Modifieds were signed in for the program.
Heat winners were Royal Jones, Jason Noll of Mesa, Ariz., Jeremy Osborn of Glendale, Ariz., and Bobby Hogge IV of Salinas, Calif. The B-Mains were captured by Jeff Gibson of Glendale, Ariz., and Robert Adams of Tucson, Ariz.
Three wild accidents marred the eventful night of competition, but fortunately all of the drivers involved escaped serious injury.
The action began during the first Late Model heat when Jim Beaman of Littleton, Colo., slammed an inside barrier entering turn three, causing his car to violently swap ends in the air. Later, following the checkered flag of the division’s B-Main, John Kuchar of Brighton, Colo., ducked low on the homestretch to avoid another car and bounced over the inner one-third-mile oval’s banked first turn, sending his car into a serious of barrel-rolls.
And on the sixth lap of the Modified feature Max Sadler of Springerville, Ariz., flipped entering turn three, landing upside down.
The Barnett Harley Davidson Nationals conclud on Saturday night (Nov. 15) with the Late Model Western World Championship and the $5,000-to-win finale for the DIRTcar Modifieds. Racing is scheduled to start at 7 p.m.
For more information, visit www.manzanitaspeedway.us or call 602-276-7575.
Additional info on all of the series, sanctioning and member tracks of DIRTcar Racing is available at www.DIRTcar.com.
DIRTcar Late Model A-Main Finish (25 laps):
1. Billy Moyer
2. Kelly Boen
3. Randall Chupp
4. Jesse Stovall
5. Mike Balcaen
6. Mike Kirby
7. Bobby Hogge IV
8. Chris Shannon
9. Dean Moore
10. Nick Bartels
11. Lonnie Parker Jr.
12. Dino Napier
13. Mike Stadel
14. Brad Williams
15. Chet Buckley
16. Rob Mayea
17. Ron Bartels
18. Joey Moriarty
19. Rob Sanders
20. John Lowery
21. Jason Noll
22. Anthony Madrid
Scratch: John Kuchar
DNQ: Tommy Hussak III, Jim Beaman, Mark Carrell, Kevin Nichols, Mark Fowler, Matt Michelli, Wes Hall
Barnett Harley DIRTcar Modifed Modified A-Main Finish (20 laps):
1. Johnny Scott
2. Anthony Madrid
3. Royal Jones
4. Ricky Thornton
5. Richard Johnson
6. Richie Davis
7. Don Earven
8. Jeremy Thornton
9. Troy Cooke
10. Reeve Stanley
11. Jay Foster
12. Dave Jorgensen
13. Dave Craft
14. Vince Lucas
15. Rene Madrid
16. Jeremy Osborn
17. Danny Bradford
18. Jason Noll
19. Robert Adams
20. Jeff Gibson
21. Bobby Hogge IV
22. Bumper Jones
23. Max Sadler
DNS: Fito Gallardo
DNQ: Scott Logston, Bryan Ledbeter, D.J. Wood, Stormy Scott, Chris McCurdy Jr., R.C. Whitwell, Ryan Henesey, Darrell Nelson, Jerry Walters, Tim Ward, Steve Carter, Glenn Thurman