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October 4, 1999
HAT SHOOTOUT COULD BE RICHEST 1-DAY PAYOUT IN DIRT LATE MODEL HISTORY
WOODSTOCK, GA – The 1999 United Dirt Track Racing Association Hav-A-Tampa Dirt Racing Series championship has come down to one race, two drivers, a few points, and what could be the richest one-day payout in the history of dirt late model racing.
The 10th Annual Hav-A-Tampa Shootout at Dixie Speedway this Friday and Saturday night will decide the 1999 Hav-A-Tampa Championship between Wendell Wallace of Batesville, AR and Dale McDowell of Rossville, GA. Wallace leads McDowell by just 31 points after the first 37 races of the HAT season. If Wallace can win the 100-lap main event on Saturday night at The Shootout, he would take home the $52,000 top prize, and the $50,000 in point fund money that goes to the 1999 HAT Champion for a total of $102,000.
McDowell can earn even more. Having won The Shootout Qualifying Race at Dixie on February 28, McDowell is eligible for track owner Mickey Swims’ “Big $20,000 Bonus” if he can win The Shootout.
The championship scenario looks like this: If Wallace finishes ahead of, or one position behind McDowell, the championship is his. Should McDowell win the race, he’ll earn 175 points. For McDowell to win the championship, Wallace would have to finish worse than sixth in the race. If McDowell wins the race and leads the most laps, he would pick up an additional five bonus points. That would mean that Wallace would have to finish worse than fifth for McDowell to win the title. McDowell could earn another two bonus points for fast time honors, and if he takes the maximum number of points at 182, Wallace would have to finish fourth to take the championship.
A Shootout win, the 1999 Hav-A-Tampa Championship, and Mickey’s Big Bonus would mean a $122,000 paycheck for McDowell. Even if McDowell wins The Shootout, Mickey’s Big Bonus, and finishes second to Wallace in the point standings, he’ll earn a $104,000 paycheck. If McDowell also earns fast time honors at The Shootout, add another $3,000 to those totals. Wallace, McDowell and the 225 other Shootout invitees will see something all new at The Shootout this year. All of their notes on chassis set-ups and tire compound choices are out the window, as there will be an entirely new surface on the 3/8-mile oval.
Swims has brought in new clay from his other track in Rome, GA, and has completely redone the racing surface at Dixie Speedway, and even added more banking to the turns of the race track. Among the other point battles to watch will be the one for third place in the HAT Championship chase. Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, TN has a five-point advantage over Steve Francis of Ashland, KY. Bloomquist is the only multiple winner of both the HAT Championship (1994-95, and 98) and The Shootout (1993-94).
The 227 drivers that have been invited to participate in The Shootout were chosen by UDTRA Officials and Hav-A-Tampa track promoters during the first 37 events of the season based on performance. The top five eligible drivers were picked by UDTRA officials, and the promoters made one choice at each event.
Former Shootout Champions Wallace, Bloomquist, Billy Moyer of Batesville, AR, Bill Frye of Greenbrier, AR, Tim Hitt of Weston, WV, Buddy Morris of Rome, GA, and Tony Reaid of Acworth, GA have received lifetime invitations to participate in The Shootout. Other top Shootout invitees include the 1996 Hav-A-Tampa Champion Freddy Smith of Knoxville, TN, 1993 HAT Champion Clint Smith of Griffin, GA, Rick Eckert of York, PA, Skip Arp of Georgetown, TN, Ray Cook of Brasstown, NC, Earl Pearson Jr. of Jacksonville, FL, and the 1999 Hav-A-Tampa Rookie of the Year Dennis Erb Jr. of Carpentersville, IL.
Among the new “Young Lions” of dirt late model racing that have been invited to The Shootout are Brian Birkhofer of Muscatine, IA, fresh off his first career HAT victory in the OctoberFast 100 in Muskogee, OK, Marshall Green of Dalton, GA, a three-time HAT winner in 1999, and Shannon Babb of Decatur, IL.
Dixie Speedway boasts a strong local contingent with current track champion Vernon Smith of Rome, GA, former track champions Granger Howell of Kingston, GA and Phil Coltrane of Canton, GA, plus ten other local contenders.
The action begins this Friday night at 7 p.m. with Hav-A-Tampa Qualifications in which $3,000 will go to the fast qualifier, six 20-lap Borla Muffler Heat Races, and the 15-lap $5,000-to-win Isky Dash for 1999 HAT Fast Time Award Winners.
On Saturday night, the lion’s share of the $200,000 purse will be paid out in the 100-lap main event that will be preceded by the consolation races. Beginning at 2 p.m., there will be live music in the grandstand area, and there will also be a special HAT Drivers Autograph Session for the fans at 4 p.m.
The Dixie Speedway Bomber and Super Bomber Divisions will be in action on both nights, with the Sportsman Divisions joining on Saturday night. Dixie Speedway is located two miles west of I-575 on State Road 92. For tickets 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.