Tuesday, June 08, 2010

SPORTS>>‘Big Show’ gets stellar reviews in track victory

Leader sportswriter

If there were any doubters as to why Randy Weaver is nicknamed “Big Show,” they left Beebe Speedway with a whole new perspective Friday night.

Weaver, the defending modified track champion and current points leader, recovered from a flat tire in the middle of the mod feature to come back and pass the entire field on his way to winning his fourth race of the year.

Weaver started in first position for the feature after winning his heat, and jumped out to a straightaway lead over the rest of the nine-car field in 10 laps. But his F1 machine rolled to a stop outside of turn four on the 11th circuit to bring out the first caution.

His crew quickly replaced the flat right rear tire and Weaver restarted in the back.

That put fellow Little Rock driver Mikey Bolding at the point in front of Searcy’s Robert Davis and Beebe driver Todd Greer.

Greer quickly worked to Davis’ inside for second on the restart, but the real action was behind the leaders.

Weaver worked his way up to fifth by lap 13, and picked off a car in each of the three following laps until he was on the bumper of Bolding’s No. 3 car. He passed Donnie Stringfellowon lap 14, Davis on lap 15 and Greer on the 16th circuit with strong moves to the outside in turns one and two.

That gave Weaver four laps to reclaim the lead from Bolding, but he only needed two, as he overtook Bolding from the outside on the backstretch. The crowd gave Weaver an enthusiastic ovation for his run as he pulled into the winner’s circle afterward.

Bolding had to settle for second while Greer was third. Davis hung on for fourth and Cabot’s David Payne completed the top five.

Weaver’s Fox Racing teammate Blake Jones of McRae made it two E-mod feature victories in a row for his F3 machine on Friday.

Jones won his second race of the year on Thursday night, and backed that up with another winning drive Friday after outlasting Lane Cullum.

Jones started on the pole with Cullum to his outside, but it was Cullum who claimed the top spot at the green. Jones stayed within a car length and even took a peek inside of Cullum’s black and white No. 15 on lap four, but Cullum benefited from a number of timely cautions.

Cullum caught what appeared to be the break of the night when Jones passed him for the lead out of turn two right before points leader Robert Woodard spun in the same corner. That reverted the field back to the previous lap and put Cullum back in the top spot.

Cullum appeared to have the race in hand on the final restart with a smooth inside line while Jones slightly overdrove his car on the outside. But Jones managed to catch Cullum out of turn two on the white-flag lap and the two drag raced down the back straightaway.

They stayed side by side through the final corners until Cullum’s car broke free and spun just out of turn three to give Jones a clear path to his second checkered flag in as many nights.

Last week’s winner Todd Joslin finished second and former E-mod champ Kevin Conway was third. Jeff Brady was fourth while
Beebe’s Ryan Redman recovered from an early spin to complete the top five.

The sentimental victory of the night went to Cabot’s Mike Millwood in the mini-stock feature. Millwood has been a consistent top-five driver in the minis over the years, but with no feature victory to his credit.

That all changed on Friday when Millwood chased down leader Paul Shackleford in his Triple J Racing No. 30 car and passed Shackleford for the lead on the fifth lap. Once out front, the outspoken veteran never looked back in collecting his first career triumph.

Shackleford settled for second while “Downtown” Johnny Brown finished third.

Beebe’s Larry Wise won the factory-stock feature while Jeff Porterfield claimed his second straight victory in hobby stocks.

Porterfield, the hobby-points leader, won the previous night and dominated again Friday.

Eddie Hoyer finished second in his Just-4-Play car and Searcy’s Gage Raines was third.