Terry Phillips and friends after his win on opening night of the four-event NCRA/MARS-sanctioned
"Showdown in the Heartland" at I-80 Speedway on Thursday. (Ron
Phillips Wires NCRA/MARS Field in Showdown
David Smith, Jr., NCRA
PARK CITY, Kan. – May 6. Terry Phillips of
Springfield, Missouri kicked off “Showdown in the Heartland II” in grand style as he wired the field as the
O’Reilly/National Championship Racing Association (NCRA) and MARS DIRTCar Series late model divisions opened
their four race weekend Thursday night at 81 Speedway in Park City, Kansas.
By virtue of picking up the most passing points
in his second heat race, which had the second generation driver starting ninth and finish second, Phillips
started on the poll for the thirty lap feature with Omaha, Nebraska’s Bill Koons along side. Phillips quickly
jumped to the point but the start was waved off as five time NCRA late model champion Kelly Boen of Henderson,
Colorado spun the Terry Pannell owned #33x late model stock car in turns one and two, also collecting several
On the complete restart Phillips darted out front
and quickly opened a ten car length advantage over Eric Turner of Hermitage, Missouri, who moved into the runner
up position from his third starting position.
By lap five it was Phillips, followed by Turner,
Wendall Wallace and Jack Sullivan as the top five began distancing themselves from the rest of the
The leaders were approaching heavy lapped traffic
by lap eleven with Turner now within three car lengths of the leader. Turner, who won the inaugural race at the
track just one year ago, was right on Phillips’ bumper when the caution would wave on lap thirteen for a Zac
Simmons spin in turns one and two.
Phillips, a five-time series champion with the
MARS DIRTCar Series, would pick up where he left off on the restart and quickly opened a ten car length lead.
That would come to an end just three laps later as a flurry of activity with the caution coming out for a
Darrell Mooneyham spin. The restart wasn’t any better as Leroy Johnson and Brian Bolster made contact with the
infield tractor tire in turn three to bring out the red flag because of the blocked track.
The caution would wave one final time on lap 22
when Shawn Harker spun in turns one and two.
The final restart saw Phillips and Turner pull
away from the rest of the field and with three laps to go Turner made one final push to the front. He was unable
to get close enough for a serious challenge and in the end fell just two car lengths short at the checkered
For Phillips, aboard the Andy’s Frozen
Custard/Don Baab Motorsports #75 GRT late model stock car, it was career win number 68 on the MARS DIRTCar
series trail and 14th with NCRA.
Turner would finish a strong second followed by
Wallace, Sullivan and Jeremy Payne, who started tenth.
Boen would pick up The Brake Man tough break
award for his spin to start the feature.
The eight lap heat races for the thirty-five car
field were won by Al Purkey, Turner, Koons and Eddie Kirchoff while Will Vaught and Harker picked up the two,
ten lap “B” features.
The next event for both series will be night
number two of “Showdown in the Heartland II” on Friday night at Creek County Speedway in Kellyville, Oklahoma
for the tracks first ever hosting of a late model event.