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Billy Drake takes Salute to Kevin Roderick 200 Lapper!
by Darin Stewart
With a $10,000 to win 200 lap main event on tap, most drivers agreed that a dependable car, and a lot of patience would be necessary to take the big win. Bloomington Illinois, driver Billy Drake had just such a combination, and roared to the win. Drake who started from the pole, took his time and picked up the prestigous win at La Salle Speedway on Saturday Night.
Drake, who started on the pole by virtue of setting the quick time of the six cars locked in after Friday Night, got passed right at the drop of the green. Ted Loomis, jumped into the lead and led for 3 laps, until a yellow flag put 1999 LaSalle Track Champion, and Loomis’s main sponsor Frank Reaber on his tail. Following the re-start, Reaber took the lead and led for 8 laps. By this time, many people had noticed a fast charging Bob Pohlman Jr., who had started the feature in 14th position. After Billy Drake took the lead on lap 12, Pohlman continued his charge in the Roger Friedman Owned/ Schroeder Firestone/ Larry Shaw #27, and took second place from Reaber on lap 24. On the very next lap, Pohlman scooted under Drake coming off of turn two, and shot out to a 3 car length lead. Pohlman, would take off and lead up to the lap 100 stop. Along with leading at the break, Pohlman recieved a new steering Rack form the fine folks at BRT. During the 8 minute break, many drivers made some changes to adapt to the slick, but very raceable surface. The rundown at the 100 lap mark was as follows: Bob Pohlman Jr., Billy Drake, Ted Loomis, Frank Reaber, John Provenzano, Johnny Garrett, Ron Fisher Jr., Kris Patterson, and Steve Tyne. These were the only drivers still on the lead lap.
Following the 1/2 way point,. Pohlman quickly jumped back out the the lead, until lap 105, when the Billy Drake ran down Pohlman, and took the lead. That pass would prove to be the final pass for the lead in the race. Drake pulled out to almost a straightaway lead, while working throught difficult lapped traffic. The lapped cars, were running very close to the same speed as the leaders which complicated the passing of them. A thrilling battle for third, kept most of the fans on their feet, watching Frank Reaber, John Porvenzano, and Ted Loomis run back and forth for close to 75 laps. The race ran under the green flag until lap 188, when Kris Patterson pulled his yellow #0 to a stop at the exit of turn 2. The culprit for the fast charging Patterson, who was in fifth place at the time, was a broken birdcage, torque arm, and driveshaft, among others. " Our luck just stinks" remarked an obvioulsy disapointed Patterson. Following the restart, Drake pulled out to an easy win, with the real battle for second, with Reaber just nipping Pohlman at the line for the spot. Following Pohlman were John Provenzano, Ted Loomis,Jim Partipilo, Steve Tyne, Russ Scheffler, Jeff Kohn, and Tom Pauley.
After the post race presentation to the winner Drake, his competititors decided they needed to cool off one of the hottest drivers around...literally. Bob Pulman Jr., and Frank Reaber, found two big containers of ice water, and dumped them on Drake. Third Place Pohlman seemed relatively happy with his finish" We have really struggled this year, and this just shows how good we can be. I hope that we can continue to improve, and carry it over to next season." Second Place Reaber, aboard the Petersen Aluminum/ K&L Motorsports/ GRT felt he might have been better if he could have run the bottom. " Pohlman came by me on the bottom, and I thought that must be the fast way, so I tried it, and it cost me. I was junk on the bottom, but really good every where else. We may have been better if we could have gotten down lower, but Drake deserves this win, he really showed maturity,and patience tonite. It was good to have a great race, when we were here to honor Kevin, who would have had a lot of fun just watching that one." said Reaber. Winner Drake aboard the Steidinger Construction/ Creative Kitchens &Bath/ The Ultimate Detail Shop/ Kleeco Motorsports/ Mastersbilt was elated with his win. " We have been coming here so often, I figured we were about due for a win. We just stuck with our patient game plan, and it worked great. I was a little nervous starting right up front like that, but it all worked out okay. I just want to thank my sponsors and fans, and the Roderick family for this event. It is a big win for us" said the winner.
In the heat races, Kris Patterson, Doug Schrieber, Jeff Hartzell, and Eddy Schickel were victorious. The two consoltation races were won by " Wildman" Jimmy Watson, and Jim Partipilo.
Billy Drake ,Frank Reaber, Bob Pohlman Jr., John Provenzano, Ted Loomis, Jim Partipilo, Stev Tyne, Russ Scheffler, Jeff Kohn, Tom Pauley, Doug Schrieber, Jim Watson, George Scheffler, Tim Hamburg, Kirby Damery, Ryan Dauber, Kris Patterson, Ron Fisher Jr., Johnny Garrett, Jeff Hartzell, Eddy Schickel, Sam Epling
The race concluded the season at the 1/4 mile facility in LaSalle. The entire staff of LaSalle Speedway would like to thank all of the drivers and fans who participated in the 1999 season, and made it successful.