SPEEDWEEKEND 2009 was incredible because we had exceptional racing, large crowds and great weather. And 2009 will go down as the year that we finally had our first two time winner of the Peterbilt 250.
Lonnie Sommerville’s pit strategy and hard driving in the last 25 laps propelled the popular number 23 into racing history. After crossing the stripe first Sommerville did a burn-out for the ages, with one hand on the wheel and one hand out the window holding the checkered flag!
Lonnie pulled into the Auto Pride Victory Lane amid a roar of approval from our fans and a storm of fire-works. And as he was getting out of the car there were two gigantic Ka-Booms that scared the daylights out of the race winner and this announcer!
During the celebrations Sommerville held his baby daughter proudly in his arms. She was wearing a little shirt with the words…”My Daddy is faster than your Daddy”. And on this night those words rang true.
But it wasn’t easy for Lonnie. Johnny Clark looked like he would be the first two time winner when he was running up front as the laps were quickly disappearing. Shawn Turple was right there too and Travis Kittleson was dominate until a tire issue ruined his chances. The 2008 Peterbilt 250 winner Craig Slaunwhite was strong all night long as well.
Congratulations to Greg Fahey, the Speedway 660 Irving Lubricant Pro Stock Champ, who drove to a 6th place finish. Unfortunately Sterling Marlin got caught up in someone else’s wreck and left early on “The Hook”.
The Peterbilt 250 was a great race with lots of long green flag runs and dramatic story lines. But it wasn’t the only exciting race of the weekend. The O’Leary Pontiac Excitement Sportsman 150 was as dramatic as it gets in short track racing.
Dan McNeil was one of 43 Sportsman drivers attempting to qualify for Saturday night’s race. Only 26 of them got to run the 150 lap race and McNeil, who finished 7th in the Martin’s Home Heating Sportsman Division, was happy when he qualified.
But McNeil’s happiness went through the roof on the last few laps. There was a caution with three to go and Dan was posted in 5th. Everyone was watching Bradley Logan and Wade Harris who had taken turns leading the race and were on the front row as the last green flag came out.
As they battled for the lead and the white flag came out it was McNeil who got to the inside and made number 80 stick. He blew by Logan coming out of turn four and took the checkers. The crowd roared as the fire works shot into the air and Dan McNeil step-danced on the roof of his car!
On Monday, I was amazed at the huge Enduro crowd who came to see the last event of Speed Weekend and Speedway 660 for the 2009 season. Pat Sharpe won his second straight race and was crowned the series champ.
Speed Weekend 2009 was indeed incredible and Speedway 660 has got it down to a science. Steve Burns, Chris Johnston and their entire team do an amazing job organizing and pulling off the biggest racing event of the season.
It keeps getting bigger and better every year, but how are they are going to top Speed Weekend 2009? I know they will find a way because next year will be the tenth edition of Speed Weekend and believe me when I say it will be bigger and better!
That’s it for now, but I will have one more web column next week to wrap things up for the year.