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October 2, 1999
BIRKHOFER TAKES FIRST HAT CAREER WIN IN MUSKOGEE
MUSKOGEE, OK – Brian Birkhofer of Muscatine, IA led wire-to-wire to take his first career United Dirt Track Racing Association Hav-A-Tampa Dirt Racing Series victory Saturday night in the OctoberFast 100 at Muskogee Speedway.
Birkhofer took the lead from the outside front row by beating pole setter Dale McDowell of Rossville, GA off the second turn on the opening lap and then he never looked back to record the $20,000 win driving the Russell Baker Racing Engines GRT/Grand Prix.
“With the track being rubbered up as it was, it might not have been the most entertaining race for the fans, but it was the most important one in my career,” Birkhofer said. “I want to thank everybody that has helped me in my career and I want to thank the Hav-A-Tampa drivers.” Birkhofer gave his fellow drivers credit for the way they conducted themselves during the event on a tight racing surface, and how they had shown him how to improve his racing program. “Racing with them has taught me so much,” Birkhofer said. “They are the best there is, and there was a lot of professional shown tonight, especially from Dale McDowell for racing me clean on the start, and by the lapped cars that gave me plenty of room to get by them. I’ve also got to give a big thanks to GRT Race Cars and Russell Baker Racing Engines. Without them, I wouldn’t be standing here.”
McDowell brought his Glenn’s Auto Parts GRT/Monte Carlo home in the second spot, followed closely by Hav-A-Tampa point leader Wendell Wallace of Batesville, AR in the Monday Trucking GRT/Grand Prix. With two bonus points for his fast time among the 45 entrants of 21.074 seconds on Friday night, and finishing one spot ahead of Wallace in the main event, McDowell has shrunk Wallace’s point lead down to 31 points.
One race remains on the 1999 HAT calendar, and that is the $52,000-to-win 10th Annual Hav-A-Tampa Shootout at Dixie Speedway in Woodstock, GA on October 8-9. “Wendell will be ready for the Shootout, so I know he will be tough to beat for the championship,” McDowell said. “If he should have some bad luck, though, we’re in a position to take it.”
McDowell, having won the February HAT event at Mickey Swims’ Dixie Speedway is also eligible for “Mickey’s Big Bonus” of $20,000 should he also win The HAT Shootout. Wallace is very much aware of what he has to do in order to win his first Hav-A-Tampa National Championship. “We are going to The Shootout and do just what we’ve done all year, and that ’s at best, try to win the race, and at least finish in the top five,” Wallace said. “Dale and I are good friends, but you never know – I just might slip a little sugar in his fuel tank!”
The second and third place finishes respectively by McDowell and Wallace, just about all but ended the title hopes of the third and fourth drivers in the points chase, Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, TN and Steve Francis of Ashland, KY.
Bloomquist, the defending and three-time HAT Champion, finished the OctoberFast 100 in ninth-place driving the Miller Brothers Coal Warrior/Mustang. Francis drove his Action Auto Mart Rocket/Monte Carlo to a fifth-place finish and closed to within five points of Bloomquist in the battle for third spot in the HAT point standings. Rick Eckert of York, PA took the fourth spot in the Raye Vest Rocket/Grand Prix and remains sixth in the points chase with a 26-point advantage over Bill Frye of Greenbrier, AR. Frye finished sixth after starting 14th in the OctoberFast 100 driving the UniFirst Uniforms Warrior/Grand Prix.
Billy Moyer of Batesville, AR finished seventh in the Petroff Towing GRT/Grand Prix. Skip Arp of Georgetown, TN took the ninth position in the Curtis Equipment GRT/Monte Carlo, and tenth went to 1996 HAT Champion Freddy Smith of Knoxville, TN in the Christenberry Trucking and Farms GRT/Monte Carlo.Smith, who is fifth in the points chase, was eliminated from having a chance of winning his second championship.
Friday night’s Borla Muffler 12-lap Heat Races were won by McDowell, Birkhofer, Wallace and Eckert. In Saturday night’s 12-lap Consolation Race action, Brandon Ball of West Plains, MO drove his Ball Brothers Forest Products GRT/Grand Prix to victory in the Pace American Trailers 1st Consy, and Terry Phillips of Springfield, MO won the Polaris ATVs 2nd Consy.
The final six invitees to the 10th Annual Hav-A-Tampa Shootout were Mike Brown of Fort Gibson, OK, Larry Leatherman of Muskogee, OK, Raymond Merrill of Sallisaw, OK, Dan Leatherman of Muskogee, OK, Robert Dunn of Centerville, AR, and Charles Randolph of Muskogee, OK was the Promoter’s Choice.
The 10th Annual Hav-A-Tampa will open this Friday night with Hav-A-Tampa Qualifications in which $3,000 will go to the fast qualifier, 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, October 9, 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 with the fans at 4 p.m.
The Dixie Speedway Bomber Division will be in action on both nights, with the Super Bomber and Sportsman Divisions competing 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.
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.
OFFICIAL FINISH OF THE 2ND ANNUAL OCTOBERFAST 100:
POS STRT CAR # DRIVER HOMETOWN CAR LAPS $ WON
1. 2 15b Brian Birkhofer Muscatine, IA Pont. 100 $20,000
2. 1 17m Dale McDowell Rossville, GA Chev. 100 $10,500
3. 3 6m Wendell Wallace Batesville, AR Pont. 100 $6,500
4. 4 24 Rick Eckert York, PA Pont. 100 $4,500
5. 6 15 Steve Francis Ashland, KY Chev. 100 $4,000
6. 14 66 Bill Frye Greenbrier, AR Pont. 100 $3,500
7. 8 21 Billy Moyer Batesville, AR Pont. 100 $2,500
8. 5 31 Skip Arp Georgetown, TN Chev. 100 $2,750
9. 9 0 Scott Bloomquist Mooresburg, TN Ford 100 $2,750
10. 11 00 Freddy Smith Knoxville, TN Chev. 100 $2,250
11. 18 75 Terry Phillips Springfield, MO Chev. 100 $1,500
12. 10 9c Shannon Babb Decatur, IL Chev. 100 $1,300
13. 15 11b Donnie Barnhart N. Little Rock, AR Chev. 99 $1,200
14. 7 46 Earl Pearson Jr. Jacksonville, FL Chev. 99 $1,600
15. 13 53 Ray Cook Brasstown, NC Ford 99 $1,500
16. 21 CV3 Clayton Christenberry Knoxville, TN Chev. 98 $1,000
17. 19 22 Alan Vaughn Belton, MO Chev. 90 $1,000
18. 22 5e Leslie Essary Joplin, MO Chev. 58 $1,000
19. 20 5t Jeff Taylor Batesville, AR Chev. 56 $1,000
20. 23 99c Rick Aukland Fargo, ND Chev. 39 $1,000
21. 16 28 Dennis Erb Jr. (R) Carpentersville, IL Chev. 38 $1,000
22. 24 89 Marshall Green Dalton, GA Chev. 34 $1,000
23. 12 64 Rex McCroskey Springfield, MO Chev. 30 $1,000
24. 17 32 Brandon Ball (R) West Plains, MO Pont. 24 $1,000
FAST QUALIFIER: McDowell, 21.074 Seconds
BORLA MUFFLER HEAT RACE WINNERS: McDowell, Birkhofer, Wallace, and Eckert
LAP LEADERS: Birkhofer, 1-100
PROVISIONALS: Aukland and Green (4)
HAV-A-TAMPA SHOOTOUT INVITEES: Mike Brown, Larry Leatherman, Raymond Merrill, Dan Leatherman, Robert Dunn, and Charles Randolph (Promoter’s Choice)
CONSOLATION RACE RESULTS (12-Laps – Top Three Finishers Transfer To Main Event):
PACE AMERICAN TRAILERS 1ST CONSY: 1. Ball; 2. Vaughn; 3. Christenberry; 4. Lance Elson; 5. Larry Leatherman; 6. Raymond Merrill; 7. Dan Leatherman; 8. Robert Dunn; 9. Earl Kinderknecht; 10. Delbert Smith; 11. James House; 12. Aubrey Swan Jr.; 13. Lonnie Richardson; 14. Al Purkey; 15. Green.
POLARIS ATVs 2ND CONSY: 1. Phillips; 2. J. Taylor; 3. Essary; 4. Mike Brown; 5. Stacy Taylor; 6. Gary Gorby; 7. Tommy Fulton; 8. Charles Randolph; 9. Bill Hendrix; 10. Mike Conkwright; 11. Kenny Bohmann; 12. Jim Clifton; 13. Randy McGraw; 14. Aukland.
HAV-A-TAMPA POINT STANDINGS THROUGH 10/2/99:
1. Wendell Wallace, 5555
2. Dale McDowell, 5524
3. Scott Bloomquist, 5435
4. Steve Francis, 5430
5. Freddy Smith, 5352
6. Rick Eckert, 5149
7. Bill Frye, 5123
8. Skip Arp, 5002
9. Ray Cook, 4945
10. Earl Pearson Jr., 4247
11. Dan Schlieper, 4024
12. Billy Moyer, 3767
13. Dennis Erb Jr. (R), 3609
14. Rick Aukland, 3540
15. Brandon Ball (R), 3393
16. Marshall Green, 3327
17. Brian Birkhofer, 3146
18. Clayton Christenberry, 3084
19. Clint Smith, 2284
20. Brandon Kinzer (R), 2157
R – Denotes Hav-A-Tampa Rookie of the Year Candidate