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October 18, 1999
RESCHEDULED HAT SHOOTOUT SET FOR SATURDAY NIGHT
WOODSTOCK, GA – The rescheduled $52,000-to-win 10th Annual Hav-A-Tampa Shootout for the United Dirt Track Racing Association Hav-A-Tampa Dirt Racing Series is set for this Saturday night at Dixie Speedway in Woodstock, GA.
The Hav-A-Tampa dirt late models will compete in the 20-lap Pace American Trailers 1st Consolation Race, the 20-lap Polaris ATVs 2nd Consolation Race, and the 100-lap main event to decide the 1999 HAT Championship.
Wendell Wallace of Batesville, AR leads the point standings by 31 points over Dale McDowell of Rossville, GA. Wallace and McDowell were among the 18 drivers that have qualified for The Shootout through six 20-lap Borla Muffler Heat Races that transferred the top three finishers into the big show.
Wallace, the 1996 Shootout winner drove his Monday Trucking GRT/Grand Prix to the fourth heat race win on October 8, and will start the big show from the inside of the second row. McDowell kept pace with Wallace by winning the fifth heat, and he will start his Glenn’s Auto Parts GRT/Monte Carlo from the inside of the third row.
Going into The Shootout, Wallace has a changed attitude from previous races when he stated he wasn’t concerned about the points. He said just wanted to win races and the points would take care of themselves. “The Championship is the priority, and that’s how we’re going to race The Shootout,” Wallace said. “It would be great if we can win The Shootout and the championship, but we’ve come this far for the title, and that’s the big prize. All we’ve got to do is keep Dale in sight.”
The “big prize” Wallace spoke of is the $50,000 check that will be handed to the 1999 HAT Champion at the Annual Hav-A-Tampa Awards Banquet on November 4 at the Wyndam Garden Hotel in Marietta, GA. The top ten point drivers will receive cash awards, along with 1999 HAT Rookie of the Year Dennis Erb Jr. of Carpentersville, IL. If McDowell wins the Shootout, and leads the most laps for a five-point bonus, Wallace has to finish sixth or better to win the title. If McDowell wins the race without the lap leader’s bonus, Wallace has to finish seventh or better to take the championship.
McDowell also has the incentive of collecting “Mickey’s Big $20,000 Bonus” should he win The Shootout. Dixie Speedway owner Mickey Swims puts the bonus money up each year for the driver that wins the HAT race at Dixie earlier in the year.
“We’ve got everything to gain and nothing to lose,” McDowell said. “Wendell and I are good friends, but I know he’s going to make me earn what ever I get on the race track. If Wendell wins the championship, I’ll be happy for him, and I can finish second and still say we’ve had our best season ever.”
Ray Cook of Brasstown, NC will start his English Mountain Spring Water GRT/Mustang from the pole position. The “Tarheel Tiger” set fast time honors among the 81 Shootout Invitees and then went on to win the first heat race to earn the coveted inside front row starting spot.
Bill Frye of Greenbrier, AR is one of five former Shootout winners that qualified on October 8, and one of three that has made the “Elite 18.” Frye starts The Shootout from the outside of the front row after driving his UniFirst Uniforms Warrior/Grand Prix to victory in the second heat race. The 1997 HAT Champion and 1997 Shootout winner Billy Moyer of Batesville, AR will start The Shootout from the inside of the second row after winning the third heat race driving the Petroff Towing GRT/Grand Prix. Moyer has six HAT victories in 1999.
Freddy Smith of Knoxville, TN won the sixth heat race in his Christenberry Trucking and Farms GRT/Monte Carlo. The 1996 HAT Champion, who is fifth in the HAT point standings, will start The Shootout from the outside of the sixth row.
On Saturday night, the top three finishers from each consolation race will fill in the 19th through 24th starting positions. The 25th and 26th starting spots are HAT provisionals that will go to the top two drivers in the HAT point standings that have not made The Shootout starting field through heat races or the consys.
Among the drivers not yet in the big show is the defending and three-time HAT Champion and two-time Shootout winner Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, TN. Bloomquist, who is third in the HAT point standings with five wins in 1999, will start tenth in the second consy.
Steve Francis of Ashland, KY is fourth in the HAT point standings, just five points behind Bloomquist. Francis has been a “gamer” in big money races this season having won the non-sanctioned World 100 and the Dirt Track World Championship race. Francis starts The Shootout from the inside of the fourth row.
The defending Shootout Champion Tim Hitt of Weston, WV is another driver still looking to qualify for The Shootout. Hitt will start fourth in the first consy.
Other HAT top ten drivers still trying to make the show are Rick Eckert of York, PA and Earl Pearson Jr. of Jacksonville, FL. Eckert, who is sixth in the HAT point standings, starts the second consy from the sixth spot. Pearson, who is tenth in the HAT points chase, starts the second consy from the inside of row two.
After Mickey Swims completely refurbished Dixie Speedway for two weeks prior to the October 8 preliminary events for The Shootout, the new clay and steeper banking on the 3/8-mile oval provided good racing action with three distinct grooves of competition. With the October 9 rainout, Swims has had another two weeks to manicure the racing surface.
With a competitive surface, transferring through a consy, or taking a provisional does not mean that winning The Shootout is impossible. Frye won the 1995 Shootout from the back and brought Smith with him for a second-place finish.
This Saturday, the pit gate at Dixie Speedway will open at noon, with the grandstand gate opening at 2 p.m., and hot laps are scheduled for 6:30 p.m.
There will be live music from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., and a HAT drivers autograph session from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.
There are still one-day general admission tickets on sale for $35 for adults, $15 for students 12 to 17, and kids 11 and under are free. For ticket and race day information call (770) 926-5315.
For additional information about Dixie Speedway and area motels go to the Internet at www.dixiespeedway.com. The latest Hav-A-Tampa news, information, points standings, statistics, season schedules, and television schedules can be found on the Internet at the Official UDTRA Web Site at www.havatamparacing.com.