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STARS Racing Series Blue-Gray 100: Report and Results

24 November 1997

Gaffney, SC - Clint Smith, of Griffin, GA, drove his
MasterSbuilt/Eatmon/Benson Motorsports Ford Mustang to his first career win
on the STARS Racing Series as he captured the win and the $12,000 at
Gaffney, SC in the Blue-Gray 100. Smith inherited the lead on lap 27 and
held off the continual challenges of Ronnie Johnson to nab the victory.
Johnson finished in second with Ricky Weeks third, Mike Gault fourth and
Gary Webb Fifth.

        At the drop of the green flag to begin the race, outside pole
sitter Mike Duvall jumped into the early lead, closely followed by Jack
Pennington, Scott Bloomquist, Steve Francis and Freddy Smith. Bloomquist
worked his way around Pennington on lap 5 to take second while Smith moved
into fourth on the 8th lap with a neat move to the inside of Francis. Smith
entered the top five on lap 12 as he also passed Francis while Bloomquist
was putting the pressure on leader Duvall. 

        On lap 25 Bloomquist was able to work his way around Duvall and
take the lead with Pennington, F Smith and C Smith all in line behind the
two leaders. The front runners were working lapped traffic on lap 27 when
Steve Shaver bobbled in turn three and spun just as the lead pack was
approaching. Bloomquist, Duvall, Pennington, and Francis were unable to
avoid the spinning Shaver and the ensuing pile-up caused the red flag to be
thrown. No one was injured but of the cars involved, only Duvall, Francis
and Shaver were able to continue, but would all fail to finish the race.

        The restart had Clint Smith now on the point with Johnson, Rick
Eckert, Weeks and Joe Meadows in the top five spots. Eckert's day would end
early as a blown engine took him out after 59 laps while Meadows lasted
until lap 93 when a right rear tire blew sending him to the pits. Johnson
tried everything he could to find a way around the black Ford of Smith, but
was unable to complete the pass, despite having his nose inside Smith on a
number of occasions. Smith held on for the win with Johnson crossing the
stripe one car length back in second. Steve Lucas crossed the line in
fourth place and Ray Tucker crossed in sixth but both cars were light at
the scales and relegated to the 24th and 25th place in the final standings.

        There were 48 cars on hand for the race with Jack Pennington
setting a new Track Record in Qualifying of 18.433 seconds. Heat race wins
went to Clint Smith, Eckert, Weeks and Jeff Smith while Francis nabbed the
ISKY RACING CAMS Fast Dash. In the twin 'B' Mains, Tim Hitt and Gary Webb
took the wins.

Pos Car Driver
1.  1s  Clint Smith
2.  5   Ronnie Johnson
3.  1   Ricky Weeks
4.  17g Mike Gault
5.  5g  Gary Webb
6.  2   Dennis Franklin
7.  68  Tim Hitt
8.  H7  Phil Hall
9.  71R Rod Conley
10. 33  Joe Meadows
11. 01  Jack Pennington
12. 71  Delmas Conley
13. 99  Johnny Johnson
14. 24  Rick Eckert
15. 30  Steve Shaver
16. 1b  Dan Brewer
17. 15  Steve Francis
18. F1  Mike Duvall
19. 0   Scott Bloomquist
20. 00  Freddy Smith
21. E1  Mike Balzano
22. U2  Buckshot Miles
23. 70  Jeff Smith
24. 5l  Steve Lucas
25. 27  Ray Tucker

1.  Steve Francis             8580
2.  Tim Hitt                  7440
3.  Rick Eckert               7250
4.  Mike Balzano              6930
5.  Stev Shaver               6100
6.  Rod Conley                6100
7.  Bart Hartman              5040
8.  Todd Andrews              4340
9.  Delmas Conley             4300
10. Barry Bragdon             4010

John Kaiser -- The Auto Channel