Franklin still winning at Speedway

June 09, 1998|By MIKE SIRBAUGH / Staff Correspondent

The 18th annual Shorty Bowers/Bull Durham Memorial highlighted a full card at the Hagerstown Speedway Saturday night.

Rodney Franklin continued his mastery of the late model division, winning the Memorial for his ninth feature win of the year and 101st career victory. But earning the $1,200 first prize money was tougher than what he's been used to lately.

"It wasn't easy," Franklin said. "The guys are getting faster. I just had to really go after it hard."

Tommy Armel held the pole position as Franklin started 12th in the 24-car field. Armel stayed in first from the start and held on for the first 15 laps of the 25-lap feature with Alan Sagi and Jeremy Miller in contention.

It took 14 laps for Franklin to break into the top four. A yellow flag on lap 14 then gave him the opportunity he needed to close the gap on the leaders.


"You don't usually get a caution when you need it," said Franklin. "The luck's kind of going our way this year."

With the field tight on the restart, Franklin took the inside groove on turn 4 and passed both Miller and Marvin Winters to move into second place.

As Armel and Franklin entered the first turn on lap 16, Franklin went high and Armel moved out to keep him there. Franklin then shot low on turn 2 and moved beside Armel, completing the pass on the back straightaway and taking the lead for good.

Winters recovered to take second place, Brent Smith came in third and Miller finished fourth.

Wayne Walls found his way back to victory lane for the seventh time this season in the 20-lap late model sportsman feature.

Al Shawver Sr., last week's winner, held the pole position and first place for the first eight laps, but, just as in the late model feature, a caution flag gave the division's points leader the chance to tighten the race.

The caution came on lap 7, but Shawver was tenacious as he held on to first until lap 9. Walls couldn't pass him inside, so he took the outside route on turn 3 and hit the throttle to just nose ahead as the two passed the flagman's stand on the front straightaway.

"I told the guys I got to go quick," Walls said. "That 31 (Shawver) is running good."

From that point, Walls' biggest challenge was from his brother, Richard, who passed Shawver on lap 11 and pressed his brother the rest of the way.

"He probably would have got me if I hadn't have come down low," Wayne Walls said. "That track is super fast tonight."

Richard Walls, Shawver, Alan Sagi and Doug Burkholder finished the top five.

In the pure stock division, defending champion Mike Warrenfeltz won his second feature of the year in impressive fashion.

Warrenfeltz started eighth, passed Doug Bennett and Hans Stamberg on lap 7 and finished the 15-lap race with a straightaway lead.

"The car just kept coming to me and got faster as the race went on," Warrenfeltz said.

Andy Holmes started fourth and roared into the lead on the first lap to win going away in the Ernie's Salvage Yard 4-cylinder feature race.

The victory was Holmes' first in his career and netted him a $100 bonus from Keystone Ford for driving a Ford product on Keystone Ford student night.

"We've been trying all year and we couldn't get the car to handle, but we finally got it to stick tonight," Holmes said.

Hard Charger Brian Miller came from 11th to finish second in the 10-lap feature and remain in front of the points standings.

The season's third Enduro Dash was held and finally produced a different winner. Jim Mullendore started 12th and carefully worked his way through the rough-and-tumble field to take his victory ever.

"I was third ... and there was no catching them," Mullendore said. "There were a lot of good guys out there. I tried to stay to the outside and keep out of trouble. It's good to finally get here (victory lane). I'm signed up and ready to go for the next one."

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