May 3, 2008

Newton, NC… Andy Mercer won his first and second races of the year in convincing fashion when he swept both Bojangles Late Models events during the inaugural “Rick Bowman Memorial” at Hickory Motor Speedway.

Many special guests were in attendance to honor the memory of Rick Bowman, who passed away in November of last year. Bowman served as Crew Chief for many of the legends of Hickory Motor Speedway, including Morgan Shepherd, Dale Jarrett, Tommy Houston, and Jason Jarrett, and was General Manager for Dale Jarrett Inc. for many years. Jarrett, Houston, Shepherd, plus Dennis Setzer and Ned Jarrett were present for the running of this Inaugural event and shared many happy memories of their time with Rick with all present. The special guests also participated in an On-Track Autograph Session to help raise money for the “Rick Bowman Memorial Scholarship” at the Bobby Isaac Motorsports Program at Catawba Valley Community College.

The first “Rick Bowman Memorial Scholarship” was presented in Pre-Race Ceremonies to HMS Limited Late Models driver Tyler Church, who received an engraved watch, plus a gold and diamond ring to commemorate his being the first recipient of the scholarship.

However, the fun and prizes had just begun as The Jewelry Exchange was offering an additional $2500 to the purse for the best five combined finished of the Late Models' Twin 50's, and awarding engraved Citizen Eco-Drive watches to the winner of each of the six races. Hickory Motor Speedway commissioned Xtreme Trophies, of Hendersonville, NC, to design special commemorative trophies for all of the night's winners.

Starting from the WynnCom Pole for Race #1, Mercer led every lap of the opening event. 1999 HMS Track Champion and former USAR Hooters Pro-Cup National Champion Shane Huffman returned in the Dwight Huffman Racing #7 to finish second in the first event, after hard-fought battles with #42 Todd Goble in third, defending 2006 & 2007 HMS Track Champ #29 Andy Loden fourth, and #25 Sam Watts finishing fifth.

Pro-4's were up next on the grid, with #4 Adam Beaver taking the Pole and his third win of the season. #57 Josh Wimbish had a big day, finishing second after coming to the Track straight from his wedding ceremony earlier in the day. #09 Randy Canipe was third, followed by #66 Scott Wallace fourth, and #17 Curtis Pardue fifth.

The Jewelry Exchange Limited Late Models were pumped up and ready to go after the additional $800 that had been added to their purse from their Divisional Sponsor, The Jewelry Exchange, for this special night.

With The Jewelry Exchange as the primary sponsor for #3 Dexter Canipe Jr., he knew he had to make his sponsors doubly-proud, and took the WynnCom Pole Award, the win, and the bonus money in his third win of the year. #01 J. R. Allen finished second, followed by #55 Waylon Flynn third, #39 Keith Bumgarner fourth, and #28 Jason Crouse fifth.

Street Stocks took to the track next, with last week's winner (and this week's Pole winner) #03 Kevin Eby starting from the back. Eby was able to battle back through the field for third place, but the real action was up front with #75 Jeff Sparks and #64 Marshall Sutton putting on a great side-by-side show for the lead. Sparks took the win over Sutton, with Eby in third, #5 Mike Newton fourth, and #71 Robert Divanna fifth. This was the second win of the season for Sparks.

Then it was time for the Bojangles Late Models to strap in again, and fight for the win and the bonus money. #33 James Goff started from the point on this event, but experienced trouble later in the race.

Mercer was able to leave the field behind and let the rest of the pack fight for position. Huffman again took the second place finish, followed by #43 Jesse Lefevers third, Goble fourth, and Loden fifth.

Red Baron Race Parts Hobby Stocks finished out the night's events, with #85 Jeff Weisner taking the win, with #01 Paul Wyatt second, #90 Ronnie Sims third, #82 Jeremy Whitman fourth, and #88 Andrew Towery fifth.

Even the fans were winners Saturday night, with the Speedway Women's Club giving away lots of prizes that had been donated for the Rick Bowman Memorial Scholarship fund. One lucky fan walked away with a $700 diamond tennis bracelet, and another took home a Dale Earnhardt Jr. AMP Energy Drink jacket (value $400), plus stand-ups of DE Jr. and Jeff Gordon, among other cool prizes. The raffle money raised was donated to the Scholarship fund.

BOJANGLES' LATE MODEL STOCKS Race #1 1. 10 Andy Mercer Pole 2. 7 Shane Huffman 3. 42 Todd Goble 4. 29 Andy Loden 5. 25 Sam Watts 6. 31 Kyle Grissom 7. 14 Randy Burnett 8. 2 Bobby Measmer Jr. 9. 16 Mack Little III 10. 57 Grant Wimbish 11. 70 Brit Anderson 12. 89 David Latour Jr. 13. 28 Mark Johnson 14. 43 Jesse LeFevers 15. 33 James Goff 16. 99 Sean Ballantine 17. 29X Tyler Church

BOJANGLES' LATE MODEL STOCKS Race #2 1. 10 Andy Mercer 2. 7 Shane Huffman 3. 43 Jesse LeFevers 4. 42 Todd Goble 5. 29 Andy Loden 6. 31 Kyle Grissom 7. 70 Brit Anderson 8. 89 David Latour Jr. 9. 25 Sam Watts 10. 16 Mack Little III 11. 2 Bobby Measmer Jr. 12. 57 Grant Wimbish 13. 14 Randy Burnett 14. 28 Mark Johnson 15. 33 James Goff Pole 16. 29X Tyler Church

JEWELRY EXCHANGE LIMITED LATE MODELS 1. 3 Dexter Canipe Jr. Pole 2. 01 JR Allen 3. 55 Waylon Flynn 4. 39 Keith Bumgarner 5. 28 Jason Crouse 6. 32 Jeremy Harrell 7. 05 Jordan McGregor 8. 17 Kyle Mansch 9. 95 Michael Buckner 10. 45 Kenneth Pardue 11. 75 Eric Evans 12. 25 Nick Proffitt 13. 44 Chris Chapman 14. 20 David Webb 15. 07 Tyler Church

PRO-4'S 1. 4 Adam Beaver Pole 2. 57 Josh Wimbish 3. 09 Randy Canipe 4. 66 Scott Wallace 5. 17 Curtis Pardue 6. 37 John Isaac

STREET STOCKS 1. 75 Jeff Sparks 2. 64 Marshall Sutton 3. 03 Kevin Eby Pole 4. 5 Mike Newton 5. 71 Robert DiVanna 6. 89 Jennifer Crossman 7. 98 David Null 8. 32 Jeff Byers 9. 43 Heather Bell

HOBBY STOCKS 1. 85 Jeff Weisner 2. 01 Paul Wyatt 3. 90 Ronnie Sims 4. 82 Jeremy Whitman 5. 88 Andy Towery 6. 83 David Hasson 7. 3 Tim Reece 8. –1 Ronald Dale McNeil 9. 1 James Flynn 10. 98 Wesley Sain


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