SpeedWeekend 2011 is now history, but I’ll bet everyone will be talking about this one for years to come. This year’s AutoValue 250 was one of the most exciting and dramatic races we have ever seen at Speedway 660, in terms of lead changes, cars with opportunities to win, pure entertainment and controversy.
Drivers pushed their cars to the limits to have a shot at Victory Lane. There was very little margin for error and just when it appeared someone had the upper hand, something happened and the cards, well in this case the cars were shuffled again.
A Triumphant Tucker
Shawn Tucker became the third driver to win the AutoValue 250 for the second time. Had it been the AutoValue 251, I am not so sure Tucker could have held off Dave O’Blenis for the win. To say the race was exciting, just wouldn’t do it justice!
As for the controversial part, drivers weren’t giving an inch. Ben Rowe, who has won every major short-track race in eastern North America, except the AutoValue 250, maybe could have shown a little more patience. Rowe ran down Greg Fahey, who was leading late in the race, but slid up into Fahey and cost both drivers a chance to win.
Johnny Clark and Craig Slaunwhite, two former winners, just couldn’t stay clear of each other and their animosity boiled over with Slaunwhite climbing out of a wrecked car, sprinting across the infield to confront Clark.
The crowd loved it. Every lap was an adventure. Yeah, there were a few more cautions than we would have liked to see, but the race was a dramatic spectacle. And when the dust and tempers finally settled down, there was Shawn Tucker, his family, crew and sponsors celebrating in Speedway 660’s Victory Lane.