- AL - Jan 10 - Talladega Short Track "Ice Bowl XIX" Part 2 by Sam Holbrooks

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just five one thousandths off of Mayo best lap. TST regular Chris Jones of Alabaster, Alabama and second generation racer Travis Pennington of Winston, Georgia rounded out the top five in time trials. All drivers from time trials went into one of four ten lap heat races by utilizing a grouped qualifying format which evens the playing field when differences in track conditions may dramatically effect lap times from the beginning to the end of time trials.  “Qualifying was big for sure. We did what we needed to do there. That is usually the biggest key to winning when passing is at such a premium.” Walker added.

 Walker’s fast time put him on the inside pole of heat number one. Walker collected a fairly uneventful and seemingly easy victory in his heat finishing several car lengths ahead of Jones, Todd Morrow and Doug King. Heat two saw Mayo win convincingly over John Owenby, TST 2009 Champion Tim Busha and youngster Ethan Hunter. Heat three provided some excitement as Holmes and Pennington mixed it up early and then again in the waning laps. Holmes held off the hard charging Pennington to take the win. Steven Ashby and Dillon Crim also picked up transfer spots in the third heat. In the final heat of the day Alexandria, Alabama driver Dingus Griffin cruised to the win over Lavon Sparks. Tim Roszell recovered from a tenth starting position to take third followed by another young late model driver, Tellico Plains, Tennessee’s Andy Standridge. The remaining forty-four drivers, including defending champion Ray Cook, were relegated to one of four last chance B-mains.

 Sunday afternoon’s B-Mains provided drivers with their last shot at making the fifty lap A-Main later in the afternoon. Each of the four B-mains were twelve laps in length and only two drivers from each made it in to the big show. The first B-main had Lamar Scoggins handily win by nearly a full straightaway. A last lap tangle between Kyle Beard and Montana Dudley allowed Josh Watson to scramble by and cross the line in second to seemingly take the final transfer spot. However for the second time in as many days the Georgian came up light at the scales. Watson’s misfortune handed the transfer over to Beard, who was able to collect his machine and cross the line in the third position. B-Main number two was won by Tony Morris over Eric Cooley. The third B-main saw Mississippi racer Neil Baggett take the win ahead of North Carolina’s Dane Burns. And the final B-main was won by Mike Ashley with young Adam Cummings taking the final transfer spot of the day. Terry Smith became the twenty-fifth starter when he received a provisional start as the highest driver in 2009 TST points that didn’t make the race.

 After three failed attempts at a start, TST officials were forced to reset the field and start the fifty lap A-main single file. Walker breathed a sigh of relief as he knew the start was absolutely critical to winning the race. “I knew the initial start was going to be critical. We had to get a good start and beat Mayo to the bottom of turn one. When we went single file I knew we had jumped a big hurdle. I just had to concentrate on getting in a rhythm and driving a good line.” Walker was able to hold the point but he was closely followed by a very hungry Stacy Holmes. Holmes was able to keep pace with Walker in the early going but began to develop problems with his car’s steering and eventually went pitside after slipping back to fourth. Mayo, who moved up to second three laps earlier, began to hound Walker. Mayo took a peek to Walker’s inside on several occasions. Mayo knew he had a car that was capable of winning. “I felt like we could maybe get the lead once we got into traffic. I think we were a little better than him (Walker) overall.” Mayo said.

 Walker followed in the tracks of young Andy Standridge for three laps until Standridge left him some room on the bottom of turn two. Walker nosed underneath Standridge looking to put him a lap in arrears but just as quickly as the opening came, it closed up. Walker contacted Standridge’s left rear quarter and he got on the binders. This caused a domino effect with Mayo glued to Walker’s rear deck. The resulting damage ended Mayo’s day and quelled his consecutive streak of Ice Bowl top fives as three. “He
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