2012 Season Review: Late Models
WHEELERSBURG, OH-It was another incredible season of racing in 2012 at Southern Ohio Speedway for the track’s Late Model division. The competition and amount of exciting racing action ranks among some of the best in the entire country. Let’s take a look at what was the 2012 season for the Late Model division at SOS by looking at the season’s for the top five points finishers and the top three races from the year.
Top Point’s Finishers
#5. Josh McGuire
Grayson, Kentucky’s Josh McGuire raced at SOS for the first time in the tracks modern-era on April 20th for a $2,000 to win event. For the driver with the nickname “Bad Fast”, the bad fast track conditions on this night played in McGuire’s favor. Eddie Carrier Jr. looked to be the dominate car on this night as he had fast time won the dash, and was leading the feature. McGuire started the feature in seventh and methotically picked his way up through the field to get right on Carrier’s bumper for a restart. After a furious side by side battle for the lead that lasted several laps, McGuire was able to pass Carrier and hold off a last corner charge to take the feature win.
This race set the tone for what would be an excellent season for McGuire in 2012 at SOS. McGuire would go on to visit victory lane again on Friday, June 22nd as he claimed the $2,000 to win event that night. Other highlights from McGuire’s season at SOS included a second place finish in the Southern 50 and a second place finish on May 18th. All in all, McGuire picked up two wins, four top fives, and five top tens on the year.
By winning at SOS in 2012, McGuire joined legendary uncle Wayne McGuire as a feature winner at SOS. Wayne McGuire was inducted in the SOS Hall of Fame in 2012 as Josh accepted the award for him.
#4. Billy Gullion
Billy Gullion backed up a top five finish in the 2011 point standings to finish fourth in points for the second straight season in 2012. Gullion, one of the youngest competitors in the track’s Late Model division, was strong all season. He was able to pick up three top five finishes and five top ten finishes over the course of the season. Gullion’s best finish of the season was third on Opening Night back on April 13th. He was also able to pick up a win in the Southern 50 Non-Qualifiers race.
Gullion is a driver who has been knocking at the door to victory lane in a points paying event over the past two seasons. He has shown that he can run with the veteran drivers and has been in the mix in the top three multiple times. Perhaps the closest Gullion came to victory was on June 22nd when he was running second in the feature event before having to retire from the event with a flat tire.
#3. Jackie Boggs
Jackie Boggs took SOS by storm in 2011 and was really strong once again in 2012. Boggs missed three of the first four races at the track in the spring, but came out firing in mid-May. On May 18th, Boggs held off Josh McGuire to take the $2,000 feature win and came back on May 25th to do the improbable and come from sixth to pass Eddie Carrier Jr. late in the race and win for the second week in a row.
Boggs stayed strong throughout the rest of the season. He ended the season with three feature wins, five top fives, and six top tens. Had it not been for mechanical issues in a couple of races, Boggs’ win total would of likely been increased by a couple.
Perhaps Boggs’ highlight moment from the 2012 season at SOS came on August 3rd. On this night Boggs accepted the nomination for his dad, “Black” Jack Boggs, into the SOS Hall of Fame and went out to lead all 25 laps and take the feature win on Hall of Fame Night.
#2. R. J. Conley
Last years track champion R. J. Conley was truly a model of consistency all season long. Conley never finished outside of the top ten and was in the top five on most on nights. Conley’s best finish of the season was third, which came on four different occasions throughout the season. Even though Conley never visited SOS victory lane in 2012, he was in contention for race wins on several nights, none more than on August 3rd when he was in a race long battle for the lead with evential winner Jackie Boggs and Steve Lucas.
Conley ended the 2012 season with six top fives and eights top tens. RJ’s dad Delmas and brother Rod also finished in the top ten in SOS point standings with Delmas finishing sixth and Rod finishing seventh.
Track Champion: Eddie Carrier Jr.
Sometimes track championships are won by consistency. Eddie Carrier Jr. won the 2012 SOS track championship by winning races. Carrier was incredible at SOS in 2012, collecting six wins, eight top fives, and eight top tens. He won all but two races he competed in. Perhaps the most compelling statistic was the fact that his worst finish of the season was second.
Carrier was able to accomplish an incredible feat in 2012 by winning all three of the track’s prestigious special events; the Southern 100, Southern 50, and Southern Showdown. Those three wins alone pocketed Carrier $21,000. In accomplishing this, Carrier was able to defeat some of the best drivers in the region in each race. It will be interesting to see if this feat gets accomplished again.
For Carrier, it has to be a neat accomplishment to be a Southern Ohio Speedway Late Model track champion. Carrier joins hall of fame drivers like Delmas Conley, Charlie Swartz, Jim Patrick, Junior Spencer, P. D. Hazelbaker, Joe Greenslate, and Terry Houser among others and wins the track championship at the speedway where Carrier competed in his first ever race.
Top Three Races of 2012
#3. Season Championships, September 14th
You won’t see too many feature events over the course of the season that had more crazy things happen than what we saw on September 14th. First, Delmas Conley and Jackie Boggs had an incredible side by side battle for the lead during the fast half of the race. It looked like the race would come down to the wire between those two. That all changed however on lap 13 when a lapped car made contact with Conley, forcing the veteran driver to pull off with damage. This left the lead to Jackie Boggs who then suffered damage to his car as a result of uncharacteristic rough track conditions that night. This made for a battle for the lead between Boggs and Shannon Thornsberry until the two made contact racing hard. This resulted in a violent wreck for Thornsberry and Boggs pulled off a couple laps later. Rod Conley would inherit the lead and lead the remaining laps to take the feature win over Paul Davis who incredibly came from the tail after an early race spin to finish second.
Click HERE to watch the full Late Model feature from September 14th.
#2. Memorial Day Championships, May 25th
Jackie Boggs has accomplished a lot during the short modern-era of SOS. The Grayson, Kentucky driver went undefeated last season and has won $10,000 races at the track. But perhaps the most impressive of Boggs’ race wins was the Memorial Day Championships back on May 25th. Boggs started in sixth position and methotically moved himself up to the second position. Boggs was able to get to the bumper of Eddie Carrier Jr. to challenge for the race lead but just couldn’t seem to get to Carriers door panel to battle side by side for the spot. By driving the wheels off the car running the high side, Boggs was eventually able to get alongside Carrier and battle him side by side for the lead! After several laps of side by side racing, Boggs was able to make the pass and go on to take the impressive feature win.
Click HERE for a link to the full Late Model feature from May 25th.
#1. Full Racing Program, April 20th
Perhaps the most talked about race all season was the Late Model feature on April 20th. For a regular show, the field was loaded on this crisp spring night that saw a hammer down racing surface. To start off the action, at the midway mark of the race there was some on track fireworks between Delmas Conley and Kenny Howell. The racing action was just as exciting as Eddie Carrier Jr. and Josh McGuire had an incredible late race side by side battle for the lead that saw McGuire take the checkered flag. This race showed everything that makes dirt track racing the most exciting sport around.
Click HERE for a link to the second half of the Late Model feature from April 20th.