Tuesday, July 27, 2010

SPORTS>>Bone holds his own during Scrapp

Leader sportswriter

Veteran modified driver Johnny Bone, Jr. added the Scrapp Fox Memorial to his long list of big-money race victories Friday.

Bone, of Pea Ridge, won both his heats to earn fast qualifier and led from flag to flag on a slicked over, one-groove racetrack at Beebe Speedway. Bone collected the $2,000 first-place payday over Bryant’s Casey Findley and Campbell, Mo., driver Robert Powers.

Bone proved to be the class of the field in the 12 rounds of heat races, winning the third heat over Patrick Linn and home-track favorite Randy Weaver before making his way to the front again in his invert heat.

That gave him the first starting spot for the feature, and with a track left with no grip after six classes and 39 total modifieds, Bone’s only challenge was keeping the car pointed in the rightdirection in a race marred by five cautions, including a seven-car pileup on lap four.

“I was trying to hug those tires,” Bone said. “Then I saw it getting a little blacker and blacker and I thought, ‘Well, it’s starting to rubber up,’ and I could feel it off of turn two over here when I came off the corner.

“Just a lucky day – started up front, and did what I needed to do. It was just right there on the bottom all night long, unfortunately.”

Findley and Powers had no choice but to play follow-the-leader with Bone on the inside, as did the rest of the field.

Linn, of Little Rock, was the only driver brave enough to try his luck on the outside, which proved unsuccessful. Linn started fifth but fell back to 10th shortly after the start.

Linn was able to make up two spots on a mid-race restart when he used the high line to get around Curtis Cook and Donnie Stringfellow, but that is where his success ended. Linn gave the two positions back and continued to slip until he pulled off the track with six laps to go and was scored 13th in the final rundown.

The pace slowed on lap four when Hector’s Dale Proctor got sideways coming out of turn two, leading to a six-car collision.

Chris Moore, David Payne, Tony Anglin, Jeff Davis, Travis Broach and Weaver all got a piece of the incident. Broach and Anglin got the worst of it and were done for the night while the rest tried to continue.

Weaver barely made it out of the pits in time for the restart, but was well off the pace. The four-time track champion made five more laps and quickly lost touch with the lead pack before parking on lap 10.

Moore, of Coldwater, Miss., could not repeat the success he enjoyed two months earlier in the USCS modified event at Beebe.

He won that night in dominant fashion, but had to make his way into a transfer spot in the consolation feature Friday just to get in the A-main.

Moore put his aggressive style on display to win the B-main after spinning in both of his heats, but ran into difficulty again in the feature. Moore was involved in the early pileup, and had contact with Beebe driver Todd Greer on lap 15.

That ended the night for Greer in the K1 car, while Moore tried to continue before pulling into the infield with eight laps remaining.

Positions one through 10 changed little from the start of the race until the end of the 30-lap feature. In fact, the top four remained the same the entire way with Bone, Findley, Powers and Arkadelphia’s Keith Craft.

North Little Rock veteran Mike Bowers managed to climb to fifth in front of Robert Baker after starting seventh. Baker settled in the sixth position in front of Blytheville’s Kenny Lovins and Cook.

Stringfellow, one of four drivers to compete in all eight Scrapp Fox events, finished ninth, while Bryant’s Joseph Long came from his 18th starting spot to complete the top 10.

Robert Davis of Searcy and Bald Knob veteran Wayne Brooks shared hard-charger honors. Davis started 21st and finished 11th while Brooks followed him to a 12th-place finish after starting shotgun in 22nd.

It was Bone’s 14th victory of the season in the white and orange No. 12 machine.

“I just travel all over the country,” Bone said. “Lucky, and got a good car. Like tonight, if I had started in the second row, I probably wasn’t going to win the race.

“Done what I needed to do in my heats to get qualified up on the pole, then I just needed to not make any mistakes.”