Tuesday, June 19, 2012

SPORTS STORY >> Dirt series back home this Friday

Leader sportswriter

A competitive points battle and a field featuring several new faces highlight the Comp Cams Super Dirt Series as it rolls into Beebe Speedway this Friday night.

The series was scheduled to race at Beebe on April 20, but rainy weather forced the postponment of the event. That was the first of two postponments for series director Chris Ellis when Riverside International Speedway in West Memphis was forced to cancel the following night, but compared to the numerous rainouts the series suffered in 2010 and 2011, two seems paltry to Ellis.

“The weather has been dry everywhere, so it’s worked out for us,” Ellis said. “This will be the 98th race in our series history, and our 100th race will also be at Beebe in July.”

Ellis’ operation is based out of Beebe, making the quarter-mile, mixed clay oval somewhat of a home track to the series.

Through 10 events, Texarkana, Tex. driver Jon “The Catman” Mitchell holds a slim two-point lead in the points standings over Bryant driver Robert Baker, who is a rookie in the super late-model ranks. Baker has been impressive throughout the spring, posting his first feature victory in only his fourth start when he took the checkered flag at Diamond Park Speedway in Nashville in early April.

Though Mitchell has yet to post a victory in 2012, his string of consistent finishes allowed him to overtake Baker in the points standings when he finished seventh in the most recent race at Northeast Arkansas Speedway in Harrisburg while Baker finished ninth.

Local favorite Curtis “Hollywood” Cook of Vilonia has also been strong as of late with three consecutive top 5 finishes starting with a runner-up performance at Riverside at the beginning of the month.

That has put Cook third in the points standings, 26 points behind leader Mitchell. Defending series champion Brandon Smith is currently fourth in the points standings while Johnny “Underdog” Virden is fifth.

Friday’s race at Beebe will also be the second in the Rice-Tec Summer Series. The Summer Series is essentially a season within the season with six races throughout the summer. The highest averaging finisher in the six races will pocket an extra $1,000.

Billy Moyer Jr. of Batesville won the first of the Rice-Tec Summer Series races at NEA two weeks ago, but with Moyer taking part in another national tour over the summer, the door is still wide open for drivers to claim the coveted prize.

The series will go from Beebe to 67 Speedway in Texarkana the following night, but will return to Beebe on July 13. That will be the first of another doubleheader weekend with the second NEA race on July 14.