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National 100 at East Alabama Motor Speedway: Report and Results

10 November 1997

Phenix City, AL - The Yin was within and the Yang went out to carry the
"Yin Yang" #0 of Scott Bloomquist to victory for the fourth time in the
National 100 at Bill Thomas' East Alabama Motor Speedway in Phenix City,
Alabama. The 23rd running of the annual fall race in East Alabama saw many
of the big names in dirt Late Model Racing take to the high banked 3/8 mile
EAMS clay this weekend with the Rayburn/Cornett Ford of Bloomquist taking
advantage of the misfortunes of both Skip Arp and Clint Smith to snatch
victory, and the $20,000 winner's check.

There were 56 Late Models on hand to take times in qualifying with
the fast time going to the "Chattanooga Flash" Ronnie Johnson who blazed
the track in 14.96 seconds for an average speed of 90.241 mph. This earned
him the pole for the first heat race, and it was soon obvious that the
inside of the front row was not the place to be on this night. Clint Smith
started outside the front row and used the momentum of the outside line to
take the lead and the heat win from Johnson. The win gave Smith the pole
for the start of the National 100. In the second heat race Skip Arp was
able to make the inside line work as Kenny Merchant seemed to bog down at
the line to take the lead and the win to sit on the outside of the front
row for the feature race. Other heat wins went to Wade Knowles, Bloomquist,
Bill Frye and Jody Summerville. Bloomquist was the only driver besides Arp
to make the inside line work on the start with a perfectly timed move from
three-quarters of a car length back to fire and hit the line exactly at the
right time. The first start attempt in this race saw Jack Pennington take a
wild ride off the top of turn one thanks to contact with Bloomquist, thus
adding to the dissent between the two drivers.

The start of the 100 lap National 100 itself took six tries before
a lap was able to be completed, as Jody Summerville, Freddy Smith, Jason
Smith, Kenny merchant and Jason Smith again, failed to make it through turn
one. Merchant was the only one who was unable to continue, although
Summerville's car required extensive repairs before he could return to the
fray, many laps down. When the green finally was able to stay out for an
entire lap it was Arp who had used the outside pole to take the lead from
Clint Smith, Bloomquist, Frye and Knowles. 

The day was to end early for Knowles as on lap 12 smoke began to
appear at the rear of the car and two laps later he headed into the pits
and out of the race. Arp meanwhile had pulled out to a 10 car length lead
as the freight train thundered along behind him. By lap 15 the leader began
to catch the slower cars and this allowed Smith to close the gap. Arp soon
came to Jimmy Sharpe and was vainly trying to make the pass while officials
waved the 'move over' flag. Sharpe held his position and Smith was able to
close up on Arp's back bumper. On lap 28 as the cars exited turn four Arp
made a move to the inside of Sharpe while Smith also decided that it was
time to go inside Arp. Three wide they came off the corner, and Arp and
Sharpe touched, sending Arp spinning to the high side and Sharpe to the
pits with damage to the left rear. Smith was able to slide through on the
bottom with only minor contact. Arp's spin carried him into the end of the
front straight wall causing a fair amount of damage to the right front
quarter of the car. Despite the damage, Arp resumed his place at the front
of the pack.

With other cars involved in the incident the running order at the
front now had Arp leading C. Smith, Bloomquist, Frye, Pennington, J. Smith,
Ronnie Johnson, Freddy Smith, McDowell, and Mike Head. The field returned
to racing and once again Arp was able to stretch out to a 5 car length lead
while behind him Freddy Smith was trying hard to get inside Johnson on the
exit of turn two. He tried first on lap 43 and had to fall back in line,
but on lap 45 he got right up alongside Johnson on the back straight, and
completed the pass entering turn three. Johnson, who was dropping off the
pace quickly now, soon headed to the pits with a flat tire. At the halfway
point it was still Arp in front with Clint Smith, Bloomquist, Frye, and
Pennington in pursuit.

On lap 61 Arp appeared to have an engine let go on the back stretch
and went for a wild ride off the top of turn three as oil got under his
tires. The car was airborne as it cleared the track, but Arp was unhurt and
drove was able to ride the car into the pits, under wrecker power. This
handed the lead to Clint Smith with Bloomquist moving up to second and Frye
taking third.

As the cars returned to green flag conditions, smoke began boiling
out of the left front wheel well of Smith's car when he was under braking,
but after doing this for a few laps, it stopped. With Bloomquist right on
his rear bumper putting on the pressure, Smith suddenly exited the track
over the top of turn three. The smoke had been brake fluid boiling away and
Smith found himself with no way to slow down and took the same route to the
pits Arp had before him.

Bloomquist now had the point with Frye second, Pennington third,
Freddy Smith in fourth and McDowell in fifth. When racing resumed,
Bloomquist left no doubt as to who had the faster car as he soon pulled out
to a 10 car length advantage over Frye, who had Pennington all over his
rear bumper. Pennington obviously had the faster car, but was unable to
find a way around the Frye machine on the tricky track. Bloomquist survived
through three more restarts before he claimed his fourth victory in the
event with Frye holding Pennington at bay for the last 30 laps. Freddy
Smith finished fourth and McDowell took the fifth spot. There were only 13
of the 24 cars running at the finish with Dewayne Johnson and Vic Hill
being laps down while Bobby Thomas suffered a flat tire just two laps from
the finish, but limped home to end up in 11th, a lap down.

It was a fine field for the event, but one has to wonder why the
likes of Wendell Wallace, Billy Moyer, Donnie Moran and others were not at
this prestigious event. The track, although very difficult to pass on, held
up well to the pounding it took over the two days and the capacity crowd,
although cooled somewhat by 50 degree temperatures, made plenty of noise. 

Following the race, Bloomquist commented that "The guys in front
had some problems that allowed me to take the win." and then retired to his
transporter. Pennington, in his comments following the event, stated that
"I have a long memory," in regards to the incident between himself and
Bloomquist in the heat race. Bloomquist is a driver that you either like or
hate, there is no middle ground, but whichever way you feel about the man,
you have to respect the talent he displays and the professionalism with
which he approaches every race. The hair may have been cut, but the black
car and driver's suit still bring to mind a pirate, who on this day stole
away with another $20,000 prize.

John Kaiser -- The Auto Channel

East Alabama Motor S/W - Qualifying results for the 
23rd National 100, 
Late Model Feature:
Ps.No.  Driver , Car                                          Lap Time
-- ---- ----------------------------------------------------- -------- -------
 1   5  Ronnie Johnson                                        0:14.960 90.241
 2  31  Skip Arp                                              0:14.980 90.120
 3  17M Dale McDowell                                         0:14.980 90.120
 4   0  Scott Bloomquist                                      0:15.010 89.940
 5  66  Bill Frye                                             0:15.180 88.933
 6  12  Jason Smith                                           0:15.270 88.409
 7   1  Clint Smith                                           0:15.270 88.409
 8 C28  Kenny Merchant                                        0:15.280 88.351
 9  66k Wade Knowles                                          0:15.280 88.351
10  01  Jack Pennington                                       0:15.310 88.178
11   5k Greg Knight                                           0:15.310 88.178
12   2  Greg Brown                                            0:15.330 88.063
13  70  Jeff Smith                                            0:15.330 88.063
14  90  Bobby Thomas                                          0:15.360 87.891
15 114  Randle Chupp                                          0:15.370 87.833
16   4  Ed Basey                                              0:15.370 87.833
17  45  Dewayne Johnson                                       0:15.400 87.662
18  25  Jody Summerville                                      0:15.400 87.662
19  60  Gar Dickson                                           0:15.410 87.605
20  00  Freddy Smith                                          0:15.440 87.435
21  K9  Dana Eiland                                           0:15.450 87.379
22  B4  Jack Boggs                                            0:15.470 87.266
23  12a Joe Armistad Jr                                       0:15.470 87.266
24  U2  Buckshot Miles                                        0:15.470 87.266
25   7  Mark Miner                                            0:15.480 87.209
26  99  Johnny Johnson                                        0:15.490 87.153
27 201  Steve Smith                                           0:15.510 87.041
28   9  Frank Ingram                                          0:15.520 86.985
29  55  Terrance Nowell                                       0:15.540 86.873
30  H2  Stacy Holmes                                          0:15.550 86.817
31   0n Mike Nasworthy                                        0:15.570 86.705
32  26  Jimmy Sharpe                                          0:15.600 86.538
33  54  Mike head                                             0:15.610 86.483
34   1v Vic Hill                                              0:15.620 86.428
35   4B Jackie Boggs                                          0:15.620 86.428
36  49  Eric Evans                                            0:15.650 86.262
37  21G Curtis Galbreath                                      0:15.660 86.207
38   1s Johnny Stokes                                         0:15.700 85.987
39  24  Buddy Morris                                          0:15.700 85.987
40 222  Mike Boland                                           0:15.710 85.933
41  23  Rex Richey                                            0:15.760 85.660
42  10  Glenn Brewer                                          0:15.830 85.281
43   3  Eddie Blackmon                                        0:15.840 85.227
44  15B Brian Birkhofer                                       0:15.870 85.066
45  68  Eddie Rickman                                         0:15.870 85.066
46  14G Curtis Galbreath                                      0:15.890 84.959
47  81  Lonnie Roberts                                        0:15.920 84.799
48  21  Steve Hennies                                         0:16.160 83.540
49  98  Pete Broughton                                        0:16.170 83.488
50  25k David Killian                                         0:16.170 83.488
51 L97  Randy Little                                          0:16.280 82.924
52  24c K.C. Carpenter                                        0:16.700 80.838
53  83  Richie Beasley                                        0:16.710 80.790
54  11  Leland prewitt                                        0:16.730 80.693
55  83m Joe Morris                                            0:17.150 78.717
56  21s Robbie Starnes                                        0:17.420 77.497
Track Length      :  0.3750 Miles

East Alabama Motor S/W - Provisional results for the 
23rd National 100, 
Late Model Feature:
Ps.Ql.No.  Driver , Car                                          Laps  
-- -- ---- ----------------------------------------------------- ----- 
 1  4   0  Scott Bloomquist                                      100       
 2  5  66  Bill Frye                                             100       
 3 10  01  Jack Pennington                                       100       
 4 20  00  Freddy Smith                                          100       
 5  3  17M Dale McDowell                                         100       
 6 22  B4  Jack Boggs                                            100       
 7 21  K9  Dana Eiland                                           100       
 8 29  55  Terrance Nowell                                       100       
 9 32  26  Jimmy Sharpe                                          100       
10  7   1  Clint Smith                                           100       
11 14  90  Bobby Thomas                                           99       
12 34   1v Vic Hill                                               87       
13 17  45  Dewayne Johnson                                        86       
14  6  12  Jason Smith                                            74       
15 11   5k Greg Knight                                            72       
16 18  25  Jody Summerville                                       65       
17  2  31  Skip Arp                                               61       
18 15 114  Randle Chupp                                           61       
19  1   5  Ronnie Johnson                                         53       
20 30  H2  Stacy Holmes                                           28       
21 13  70  Jeff Smith                                             25       
22 37  21G Curtis Galbreath                                       24       
23  9  66k Wade Knowles                                           13       
24  8 C28  Kenny Merchant                                          0       
Track Length      :  0.3750 Miles