During the course of the race season there are moments that leave race fans saying “I can’t believe what I just saw.” 2013 was an incredible year of racing at SOS that saw lots of exciting, “I can’t believe what I just saw” moments. In our first of several 2013 season review articles, we have nailed down the five biggest “I can’t believe what I just saw” moments from 2013.
#5. Last lap Sprint Car mayhem
What started out as a relatively calm 25 lap OVSCA 410 Sprint Car feature back on June 7th, turned out to be one of the wildest finishes in track history. Jim Nier had led the first half of the feature until Kory Crabtree was able to overtake Nier in traffic to take the lead. Crabtree was able to extend his lead until the late stages of the race when Jimmy Stinson stormed into the second position and began charging hard on Crabtree.
With lap traffic holding Crabtree up and Stinson flying on the cushion, it quickly became apparent that we would be in for a shootout in the last few laps. As the field received Bob Smith’s two-laps-to-go signal, Stinson had caught up to Crabtree. Coming off of turn four coming to the white flag Stinson was right beside Crabtree getting ready to make the pass when chaos occurred. Right ahead of the leaders Rick Fraley slammed the turn four wall and began barrel rolling down the front stretch. Stinson had nowhere to go and slammed the inside guardrail while Nathan Skaggs and Adam Strausser also got collected in the crash. Strausser’s #65 rolled into the infield catch fence.
After the smoke cleared, all drivers emerged from their cars uninjured. Crabtree was able to nearly miss the carnage and held off Nier to take the big win. Stinson later said that his hit with the inside guardrail was the hardest hit of his career. This sudden, wild turn of events in the final laps led race fans saying “I can’t believe what I just saw.”
#4. Five lead changes in the Southern 100
There is nothing more exciting than a race with multiple lead changes where it’s wide open who is going to win the race. It’s what we all hope to see when we come to the race track, even more so when it’s the biggest race of the year. At this year’s Southern 100, race fans got to experience just that.
The 60 lap, $12,000 to win Southern 100 Championship was a true “slobber knocker” from the beginning where nobody could predict who was going to win. The race changed complexion so many times as drivers ran extremely hard chasing the Southern 100 title. Early on, Jackie Boggs looked to pace the field until he broke. Then Donnie Moran took the lead until a hard charging Steve Francis overtook Moran. Francis then broke on lap 25 at the same time a hard charging Tim Dohm had a flat tire.
Doug Drown took the lead after Francis broke and appeared destined for victory. That was until Watertown, New York’s Tim McCreadie stormed up front to battle Drown and go on to take the lead. McCreadie looked destined for the win until he suffered a flat tire, giving the lead back to Drown. Just when it looked like the race was going to be Drown’s, R. J. Conley came storming through the field to battle Drown for the win. Drown was able to hold off Conley and take the win in a race that left race fans saying “I can’t believe what I just saw.”
#3. Two last lap passes for the win in consecutive weeks
The only thing more exciting than a race with multiple lead changes is a race with a last lap pass for the win. A track is lucky to see one last lap pass for the win in a two year period. At SOS in 2013, we saw two last lap passes for the win in a period of six days.
On Saturday, April 20th Josh McGuire appeared destined to win the 25 lap, $1,500 to win Late Model feature. R. J. Conley was in the second position and just didn’t look like he could catch McGuire until late in the race when Conley found the high side. Conley caught up to McGuire coming to the white flag as McGuire slowed a little bit for a lap car. Conley dived underneath of McGuire through turns 1 and 2 and threw a big slide job to pass McGuire and come across the checkered flag to take the win.
The following week on Friday, April 26th, McGuire again seemed destined victory. Just as if it was déjà vu all over again, Jason Montgomery spent the whole race chasing McGuire and coming to the white flag, McGuire slowed a little for lap traffic and Montgomery made an aggressive pass on the inside of McGuire going into turn one and went to the checkers to claim the victory.
Those were two incredible finishes that left race fans saying “I can’t believe that I just saw.” McGuire led 48 of the 50 feature laps in those two races and posted two second place finishes. McGuire, who finished second in almost half of the Late Model races in 2013, was able to get that big feature win in the $3,000 to win Hall of Fame Classic on August 2nd.
#2. Emily Jordan and Colten Wright make history
Southern Ohio Speedway has been in existence for 47 years and is no doubt one of the most historic tracks in the state of Ohio. So much of the sports past can be traced back to the legendary speedway. It’s a track that has produced multiple Hall of Fame drivers. With that being said, whenever new history is made at SOS, it is a very big deal.
In 2013, we saw two Sport Mod drivers do things that have never been done before in the 47 year history at SOS. On August 2nd, Emily Jordan took the checkered flag and became the tracks first ever female feature winner. On July 12th, Colten Wright took the checkered flag to become the tracks youngest feature winner at the age of 14. Those were two impressive accomplishments that had race fans saying “I can’t believe what I just saw.”
#1. Late Model track record broken four times in first five races
Seeing a new track qualifying record set it another thing that you do not see very often. Many tracks will go multiple seasons without seeing a track qualifying record broke. Conditions have to be just right to see a new track lap time record set and you must have a driver who can run as close to the edge as possible without going over it.
In 2013 at SOS, we saw the Late Model track record broke not just once, but four times! Impressively, a new Late Model track record was set four times in the first five races of the season! First on Opening Night Wooster, Ohio’s Doug Drown set the track record as he got the time into the 16.0 second range. Then on April 26th Josh McGuir e ran a lap time a few hundredths of a second faster than Drown. Eddie Carrier Jr. pushed the track record into the 15 second category on the first night of the Southern 100 weekend on May 3rd. The following night, Mike Marlar lowered the track record yet again and is still the current track record holder.
A spring full of new Late Model track records left race fans saying “I can’t believe what I just saw” with the incredible speeds they were seeing.