Wednesday, August 15, 2007

SPORTS >>Dominating the Scrapp

Leader sportswriter

Peyton Taylor of Desha had the fastest car all weekend at the fifth-annual Scrapp Fox Memorial modified championship held at Beebe Speedway, and he proved it in Friday night’s 35-lap feature with a strong pass to the outside on Paragould’s Robbie Arnold on lap 18 to take the $3,000 first-place prize.

A slight bobble in the 10-lap dash to determine the starting position for the first four rows put Taylor tailback on a restart, but the regional pilot showed his muscle more than he had all weekend with a strong charge to make up five positions before the end of the brief qualifier.

That would put Taylor to the inside of row two for the start of the feature behind front-row starters Arnold and Mike Bowers of North Little Rock. Taylor followed Arnold’s low line to take second away from Bowers at the green flag, and waited out the frequent early cautions before pouncing on Arnold for the point mid-way through the event.

“He would go in good,” Taylor said. “But he just had to stop right there in the center. I couldn’t get up there real high because it was so marbley, so I just had to drive it right up there on him. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to pass him on the bottom, but I knew if I could keep my momentum, I could make the top work.”

Taylor got around Arnold from the inside on a restart, but a another yellow before the end of the circuit would negate Taylor’s pass, putting him behind the 96 of Arnold again for yet another restart.

The extensive track prep from promoter Kenny Morden and the staff at Beebe Speedway paid off during the two-day event. The track stayed smooth for most of the Thursday card, and was racy on Friday until just before the start of the SFM feature. The inside became the only useable line in the final 15 laps, but Taylor was complimentary of the efforts of the Beebe staff for the consistent surface over the weekend.

“It started cleaning out a little bit,” Taylor said. “It wasn’t really rubbered up, but you could go in, and it was a little bit more scotchy than it was up top. That’s going to happen at a big show; promoters do all they can to keep from it, but we had an awesome track here all weekend, and that’s all you can ask for.”

After Taylor took the lead away from Arnold, he began to pull away for the final half of the race, and Arnold began to fall into the clutches of the veteran Bowers. It only took a couple of laps for Arnolds car to fade even more, enough for Bowers to get to the inside on lap 22 and take over the second spot. Arnold was at one point in danger of falling out of the top five with Patrick Linn and Casey Findley closing in, but his car leveled out before the final restart, and he was able to hold on to third place.

Linn finished in fourth, and points leader Findley took the highest-finishing regular honor with a fifth-place finish. Jeremy Kester finished in the sixth position in front of Oklahoma driver Hank Long in seventh, with Donnie Stringfellow, Hunter Rasden and Austin driver Jayson Hefley rounding out the top ten. Cabot’s Jason Flory finished in the 13 th position.
It would be another disappointing Scrapp Fox weekend for the Fox Racing team. After strong Thursday performances from Randy Weaver and Robert Davis, things were looking up for the Steve Fox-led team for Friday, but problems for both drivers during the dash compounded in the feature. Weaver and Davis would both retire out of the race early on, ending up with respective 19 th and 20 th place finishes.

Joe Long took the win in street stocks with a thrilling pass on Randy Weaver on the final lap. Weaver’s troubles in his modified carried over into the street class, where his car shut down on the final lap, allowing Long and Willie Gilliam inside of him. Long, who took the white flag in third place, squeezed along the inside to the lead to take the checkers in front of Gilliam.

Tyler Stevens swept the weekend in the E-mod class with wins on both Thursday and Friday. Brandon Capps kept his winning streak alive with another win in the factory stocks on Friday, raising his season win total to six.