Absolutely perfect weather conditions greeted the strong crowd in attendance as history was made on the fastest 3/8-mile oval in America. Seven Champions were crowned in the inaugural season at Monroe Motor Speedway as TXI presented Championship Nite 2008.
Saturday also provided some fast paced action, plus trick n’ treating for the kids. As an added bonus, kids (of all sizes) were treated to brand-new Sonic Drive-In Screamin' SkoolBus™ rides around the racetrack during intermission. 1997 NASCAR School Bus Racing Champion Jamin' Joe Wheeler was on hand and behind the wheel. Very special thanks were expressed by general manager Jeb Onweiler to Merlin Rieser and Sonic Drive-In for providing the new Screamin’ SkoolBus™.
Track announcer ‘big daddy’ Ben Dance brought the Bandos onto the track and a great night of racing was underway. It didn’t take the Bandos long to find trouble as they piled up on the front straight-a-way on lap one. Cars started spinning to avoid wrecking, but several cars got tangled up with two cars forced to retire with damage. However all drivers gave the thumbs up to signify they were alright.
The Sonic Drive-In Screamin’ SkoolBus™ was quite a hit. Folks stood in line to board the bus and take laps around the track. Jamin’ Joe Wheeler could not believe the amount of people anxious to get laps around the track in the bus. It was a wild ride indeed as the bus went up close to the fence, down in the turns and even through the figure 8. It went clockwise and counterclockwise. It went every direction but upside down. The kids yelled “floor it, floor it.” In fact, each bus load created new chants and the screaming could be heard clear up at the top of the grandstands. All in all, the wacky bus took 10 bus loads of fans around the track, as at times, it seemed the line would never end.
Onweiler was a bit frustrated at the amount of time it took to load kids on and off, but said he has a plan to fix that. “We have a door on the frontside of the bus with steps. We also have a door on the backside of the bus. I’m going to get someone to install steps off the back door so we can send kids out the back of the bus, while w’ree loading new kids through the front. Kids in, kids out, all at the same time. That’ll save us a ton of time”. Onweiler also added that kids can expect lots more Sonic Drive-In Screamin’ SkoolBus™ rides in 2009.”
Drivers came from near and far. Bill Beard in the #4 Legends car drove over from Mississippi. The #15 car of Ronnie Humphrey drove over from Shreveport. His son Ryan also drives the car when he is not playing in NSU’ band. Many drivers come from Bastrop area such as the Freeland’s, Colby Denman, Cody Walker, and Ty Tombi just to name a few. The Haddox's come over from Ruston. The surrounding area is represented as drivers come from Calhoun, Monroe, and West Monroe. Let us not forget the drivers who come from Arkansas. The track has had many drivers from Texas, so it can be said MMS has drivers coming from a Tri-State area.
Fans have been to MMS regularly and there were some newcomers. Angie Beasley from West Monroe said, “I have only missed one race—I love it.” She brought Megan Camardelle with her who said, “My favorite car is the #3B.” She said because it is a good number as she pointed to her #3 Dale Earnhardt shirt. Erik Hines visited the track for the first time. He is from Vicksburg and came with some friends to enjoy the races. Vance Spangler from Calhoun has been out to the track every week. He had nothing but good things to say about MMS. Jessica Owens from Calhoun said, “I have been every time and would like to see more go-karts.” Her statement is justified as she has a son who is in the go-kart division and hopes for more drivers next year. Some first timers to the track had an interesting story. They were camping at a near by camp and heard engines roaring and decided to come check out the action. The folks were from Monterey, Louisiana. Burt Lofton from Houston had heard about the track, was visiting the area, and came out to see the action.
Tonight was Championship night and you could feel it in the air. Seven drivers took home the top honors as being the best in their division. Joey Vergo #50x was the winner in the Eskamoe’s Bombers division. In the #4 car it was Rodney Ates of the Sonic Drive-in Compact division. “Gentle Giant” Jamin’ Jimmy Whitlock #88 and his “Over the Hill Gang” was excited to take top honors in the SportMod division. The Legends saw #9 Ronny Freeland receive the top honor. The #198 driven by Jake Haddox brought it home in the Modified division. The Bumper-Bumper Late Model winner was Nick Glaze driving the #46 and #8 (this past week). Tanner Kellick wrapped up the Bandos’ championship driving the #3K.
After the final feature race of the night, the champions brought their racecars into winners circle and received Hawaiian leis and a bottle of Champaign. It didn’t take long for the excited champions to douse one another with championship Champaign.
INEX Ruling—Last week it was stated the #197 was disqualified in the Bandos race and thus shifted the results. This past Monday, INEX ruled that the #197 was not in violation so the results of the last week’s feature race is #197 Jacob Nixon, #5 Brandon Eads, #62 Logan Gandy, #3K Tanner Kellick.
Now is the time to start getting ready for next year if you think you want to give racing a try. It is also a time for the present drivers to work on their equipment and tune them up. If you would like some help in getting in to racing you can contact Jeb Onweiler at firstname.lastname@example.org Also you may email Bill Avant at email@example.com. Have a whim about getting in to the Legends division, contact Gus Campbell MotorSports. They are located at 103 Blanchard Street in West Monroe and are the local distributor for Legend cars and parts.
Many thanks have to go out to so many people who have made the job of covering MMS a pleasure. First of all, thanks to Kathy Spurlock and Paul Letlow, of the NewsStar, for allowing me to learn how to be a reporter and hopefully a decent one. This was a new adventure for this business teacher. Thanks to Jeb Onweiler (GM) and all the staff at MMS for their kind help and assistance. Thanks to all the drivers who put up with me and answered my questions. Thanks have to go out to my wife who was a widow on Saturday nights so I could attend something I really enjoy.
I had said before racing folks are some of the nicest people you want to meet. I have meet and enjoyed being around them and consider them my new friends. Coming to mind are the Freeland’s, Nixon’s, Plunks, Neal’s, Mullins, Humphreys, Underwood’s, Patterson’s, Kellicks, and the Haddox’s. Drivers such as Bill Beard, Joe Pike, Gus Campbell, Keith Warner, Joey Couvillion, Brian Burch, Richie Bowden, Bill Jenkins, Mike Bee, Sarah Nelson, and the countless other drivers--thanks. Mr. Doug Haddox and his group, everything was truly appreciated. Thanks to Fred Freeland for the helping me stay nourished so I could continue writing and functioning. The grub was great!!
Quick Note—Head on over to Texas Motor Speedway the first weekend in November as some of our local drivers will compete in the Legend’s races. Joe Pike and the Freeland’s are taking the trip over to the TMS to give them some competition. Go over and give them your support.
To keep up with all the information and happenings at Monroe Motor Speedway check out their website at www.monroemotorspeedway.com. Sign up for spam FREE email notifications by accessing their homepage and filling out the necessary information. This service will keep you updated and give you the latest news as it is released. You can also access www.thenewsstar.com/racing for all the latest racing news. If you have a comment or questions send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To all drivers and racing fans this season has come to an end, but MMS is going to work in the off-season preparing for a fun-filled 2009 season. One of the owners said, “Next year is going to be something else.” The racing schedule will be out in December so keep your eyes open for it. Next year really promises to put MMS on the map for fans and drivers from all around the area. So until next time, all stay safe and keep it on the track and don’t look back, Happy Racing.
|Heat Race 1: 1st- No. X Bud Mullins, 2nd- No. 88 Jimmy Whitlock, 3rd- No. 97 Richie Bowden, 4th- No. 8 Brandon Kent|
Feature Race: 1st- No X Bud Mullins, 2nd- 8 Brandon Kent, 3rd- No. 88 Jimmy Whitlock
|Bumper-to-Bumper Super Late Models|
|Heat Race: 1st- No. T17 Chuck Terry 2nd - No. 15 Carlton Traweek, 3rd- No. 602 D. W. Goodman, 4th- No. J1 Joey Couvillion|
Feature Race: 1st- No. 8 Nick Glaze, 2nd- 23 Darin Patrick, 3rd- 15 Carlton Traweek
|Heat Race: 1st- No. 67 Randy Nixon, 2nd- No. 88 Ty Tombi, 3rd- No. 52 Kevin Hogard |
Feature Race: 1st- No. 67 Randy Nixon, 2nd - No. 88 Ty Tombi, 3rd- No. 52 Kevin Hogard
|Heat Race 1: 1st- No. 4 Bill Beard, 2nd- No. 10 Bob Bass, 3rd- No. 72 Greg Kemp|
Heat Race 2: 1st- No. 34 Chris Freeland, 2nd- No. 9 Ronny Freeland, 3rd- No. 13 Jackie Ryan
Feature Race: 1st- No. 34 Chris Freeland, 2nd- No. 9 Ronny Freeland, 3rd- No. 4 Bill Beard, 4th- No. 19 Christopher Freeland
|Sonic Drive-In Compacts|
|Heat Race 1: 1st- No. 57 Becky Owens, 2nd- No. 44 Colby Denman, 3rd- No. 33 Cody Walker|
Heat Race 2: 1st- No. 55 Tracey Smith, 2nd- No. 4 Rodney Ates, 3rd- No. 007 Dana Simmons
Feature Race: 1st- No. 99 William Lawrence , 2nd- 55 Tracey Smith, 3rd- No. 4 Rodney Ates, 4th- No. 007 Dana Simmons
|Heat Race1: 1st- No. 98 Lee Jay Haddox, 2nd- No. ?X, 3rd- No. 97 Richie Bowden, 4th-No. 3B Billy Burch|
Feature Race: 1st- 98 Lee Jay Haddox, 2nd- No. 3B Brian Burch, 3rd- No. 15x Ronnie Humphrey, 4th- No. 198 Jake Haddox
|Heat Race: 1st- No. 5 Brandon Eads, 2nd - No. 62 Logan Gandy|
Feature Race: 1st - No. 5 Brandon Eads, 2nd - 62 Logan Gandy