Coming up short of a win multiple times, Donald Crocker of Citronelle (Alabama) has had a strong car so far this season—and Saturday night marked its peak.
Starting in the third position, it did not take Crocker long to find the lead on Saturday night. On just the ninth lap, his No. 5 would pass Brandon Howell to take the top spot— and he wouldn’t look back. With a hotly contested battle for second taking place behind him, Crocker was able to pull away to a sizeable lead.
With the help of no caution flags, Saturday night’s special 40-lap feature was over very quickly, and played to the favor of the Citronelle (Alabama) driver who never had to worry about holding off his competition on a restart.
As the checkered flag waved, it was Crocker who crossed the finish line first to score the win and the $1200 pay day that came along with it. Ryan Paul and Brandon Howell rounded out the top three.
“We had a hot rod,” explained a winded Crocker in victory lane. “We had a good car, we just waited it out. I didn’t really run it hard until ten (laps) to go and it was feeling good then. We just got the motor in it last night.”
Considering the disappointments of coming up short on victories this season, Saturday night’s special feature was the perfect place for Crocker to score his first win of the year. Sitting second in the standings behind Okie Mason, the victory on Saturday night could garner the momentum needed for a championship run.
In desperate need of a strong run in order to gain ground in the series point standings, Saturday night was all about scoring a win for Jay Jay Day– but the familiar mechanical gremlins made their presence known again.
With the issues of his usual No. 98 truck still not fixed, the Theodore (Alabama) driver hopped behind the wheel of the No. 3, and it appeared that he had not missed a step as he went on to win his heat race.
Starting from the fifth position, it took Day 22 laps to make his way to the front of the field, and following a masterful pass of Ricky Vice, he found himself in the lead for the first time of the night. A caution flag just seconds later, however; halted the race and would make Day have to work even harder for a potential win.
Holding off the pack during two late-race restarts, Day was able to score yet another victory on the season and close to within seven markers of championship points leader, Okie Mason.
“We got ourselves a hot red here- it’s a brand new truck,” said an excited Day after exiting his truck. “We got a few laps in it in practice and it’s close. I just want to thank my whole crew, Barry’s U-Pull-It and Chris for letting me do this.”
Behind Day, Chad Robinson and Vice rounded out the top three.
The last time the drivers of the Super Stock division were on track at MIS, it was Dave Mader III who scored the victory— or so we thought.
After he and the rest of the top three finishers had their results disallowed after failing post-race technical inspection, the former NASCAR driver and Snowball Derby winner fell to third in the points standings and was 89 markers back.
Mader, who calls Irvington (Alabama) home, wasted no time in taking the lead on Saturday night as polesitter Todd Jones failed to go on the initial start.
Despite one caution flag on lap 20 for the spinning car of Randy Thompson, the 25-lap feature was all Mader’s as he would score another win in TJ William’s No. 33 car on the season— but was only able to make up his six points in the championship standings.
“Well, let’s see if we can get through tech (inspection) with the problems I’ve been having,” said Mader after the race. “I’ve been cutting hairs and I cut them too close.”
“I just want to thank my sponsors, TJ Williams and his girlfriend, First Choice Auctions and VictoryJunction.org”
Bobby Baria and Wesley Barnhill rounded out the top three.
In a division that has seen the top three drivers in the championship point standings each score a victory in as many outings, the Sportsmen division at MIS has been hotly contested.
Sitting second in the standings coming in to the night, Lee “Red Dog” Reynolds was aiming to gain ground on points leader, Brannon Fowler, as the season reached the midway point.
After starting in the third position, Reynolds and his familiar No. 32 wasted no time taking care of business as he took the lead on just the second lap.
Despite quickly pulling away with the lead, Reynolds’ fellow competitors made him earn it on Saturday night— as the Theodore (Alabama) driver would have to hold off the snarling pack behind him two times in the closing laps. Reynolds would not be denied, however; as he crossed the finish line first with Mark Barnhill and Fowler closely behind.
“I just want to thank everyone who helps me on this car,” said an excited Reynolds in victory lane. “We got a whole bunch of people, Eddie Shoemaker, Maeco Fabrications; I just want to thank everybody!”
With the win, Reynolds moved within four points of Fowler— setting up an interesting championship fight in the second half of the season between the two.
Winning all seven of the Bomber division races at MIS so far this season, BJ Leytham has been a one-man wrecking crew in the division so far in 2014. To further prove his point, the Mobile (Alabama) driver crossed state lines a week earlier and took home the win in a packed field of cars at 5 Flags Speedway.
With such dominance, however; there comes a price— and for Leytham, that would be a growing target on his back.
Following a fifth-place starting position, and with the help of a lap two caution involving Derek Long and Troy Bartlett, it took Leytham just three laps to take the lead after Matt Jackson got loose entering turn three. Like he has done all season, Leytham quickly pulled away to a large lead– but two more cautions during the 20-lap race would keep him honest.
On the final restart of the evening, which took place on lap 18, Leytham’s orange and white No. 8 quickly cleared Jackson and cruised on to his eighth consecutive win of the season at Alabama’s half-mile.
“That’s a lot of wins,” said Leytham after the race. “I’m very fortunate. I want to thank everyone that helps me.”
After a multi-car accident took out many of the front runners in turn two of the final lap, Rusty Powell, Jr. and David Johnson rounded out the top three.
Racing returns to Mobile International Speedway on July 26th as the stars of the Southern Super Series visit the track for the third time this season along with local racing from the Pro Truck, Super Stocks, Sportsmen and Bombers.
About Mobile International Speedway: Mobile International Speedway is the longest continuously operating sports facility in Mobile County. It was built in 1964 and has presented weekly motorsports events every year since then. As an indication of increasing community acceptance and enthusiasm, both the Mobile Bay Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Mobile Sports Authority became MIS partners beginning in 2013.
Family attendance and participation have been the keys to the track’s continued success. Kids 5 and under are always admitted free to the grandstands. Family nights and family-oriented shows have always been staples of the annual MIS schedules. Over 30,000 people will attend the 14 scheduled MIS events in 2014.
– Mobile International Speedway press release and photo