Jesse Stovall drives under fading polesitter Tony Jackson,
Jr. (#56) and pulls even with #75 before taking a late lead to the win in the NCRA/MARS sanctioned event at
81 Speedway. (Ron Mitchell)
NCRA/MARS: Stovall Saves Surprises For Last at 81 Speedway
David Smith, Jr.
PARK CITY, Kan. – May
7. In what ranks as one of the most exciting late model features in
the tracks illustrious history, Jesse Stovall of Galena, Missouri sneaked past the two front runners and
lapped traffic down the front stretch and held on the final three laps to claim the National Championship
Racing Association (NCRA) DIRTcar feature finale Saturday at 81 Speedway. The race was billed as the
“Battle for the Park City Cup” with the MARS DIRTcar late model series.
Stovall started ninth in the 30-lap feature and methodically worked
his way to the front in what can only be described as one of the wildest, craziest races ever witnessed at 81
Speedway. Tony Jackson, Jr. of Lebanon, Mo. started on the pole, but it was outside front row starter Tommy
Weder, Jr. of Woodward, Oklahoma taking the lead as the green flag fell, with Brad Looney giving chase and
six-time and defending MARS Champion Terry Phillips third.
Jesse Stovall after his big win at 81 Speedway. (Ron
Weder's pace out front would slow after the first lap was
complete when the first and only caution of the race fell when Bryan Allison and Corey Zeitner got together
in turns three and four.
The restart saw Weder, Jr. throttle out front and eventually open up
his lead to 15 lengths over Looney by lap six. Mike Collins of Council Bluffs, Iowa had the third spot nailed
down as Weder continued to stretch his advantage to a half stretch lead by lap
Heavy lapped traffic would come into play one lap later, allowing
Looney to cut the lead down to five car lengths and on lap 12, Looney moved underneath the leader to take the
lead on lap 13. While both drivers continued to work lapped traffic, this allowed ninth starting Stovall and
fourth starting Al Purkey to close in and make it a wild five car battle for the
Weder, Jr., #14 Brad Looney, and #33 Al Purkey dice for position before finishing third through fifth at 81
Speedway. (Ron Mitchell)
As the leader and lapped traffic were coming out of turn four to
complete lap 15, Purkey, a two-time NCRA DIRTcar late model champion would get credit as the laps leader
before Weder would make his way back around both Looney and Purkey to retake the lead down the
Weder would continue well out front while behind him, Stovall had his
Steve Rushin owned/Rushin Towing, Swafford’s Amoco sponsored Larry Shaw Race Car would begin his battle with
Looney for the runner up position.
Tommy Weder, Jr. led the early going at 81 Speedway, but would have
to settle for third in the rundown. (Ron Mitchell)
It looked as though Weder, his third night out aboard a new Victory
Circle race car, would pick up his first career late model victory as he opened a five length lead with five
laps to go. However Looney made one final run on the leader and entering turn one and two on lap 28, made
contact with Weder, sending both drivers up off the racing surface and. That allowed Phillips to go
underneath to the lead. Then what seemed like a sure deal for Phillips ended when, seemingly out of now
where, Stovall dove underneath to take the lead down the back stretch, leaving Phillips to finish
From there it was smooth sailing for Stovall as he led the final
three laps to take his third career NCRA DIRTcar feature victory, fourth career with MARS DIRTcar, and second
on the season overall.
McCormick and Eric Turner, driving a McCormick backup, were able to pull off first and fourth and previous
evening at Humboldt, Kansas, but 81 Speedway would yield mid-pack finishes for the temporary team.
Five-time and defending MARS DIRTcar champion Terry Phillips passed
both Looney and Weder during their skirmish in turns one and two to finish second with Weder, Looney and
Purkey rounding out the top five.
”Wow I’m impressed!” said a jubilant Stovall in victory lane. “I
thought we had a good hot rod. When lapped traffic comes into play, as a racer that is what you’re looking
for and I was just hoping I wouldn’t screw up and I almost did there at the end in turns one and
NCRA/MARS - 81
1) Jesse Stovall, 2) Terry
Phillips, 3) Tommy Weder, Jr., 4) Brad Looney, 5) Al Purkey, 6) R.C. Whitwell, 7) Ryan McAninch, 8)
Jeremy Payne, 9) Eric Turner, 10) Tony Jackson, Jr., 11) Brandon McCormick, 12) Dean Moore, 13) Joe
Kosiski, 14) Leroy Johnson, 15) Gary Gorby, 16) Shawn Harker, 17) Bill Koons, 18) Mike Collins, 19)
Steve Kempt, 20) Corey Zeitner, 21) Shane Essary, 22) Byron Allison.
Heat winners (28
entries): Weder, Jackson, Purkey; B-Main winner: Zeitner