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July 29, 2004

Outdoor Corner

by Chris Feeney

In the past few years at Scotland County Speedway, this point in the year was filled with questions Ė the biggest of which was Ė who is going to be the promoter next season?

Well over halfway through the 2004 year the racetrack is enjoying one of itís best years under first-year promoter Todd Staley. The track itself has never been an issue, as Memphis can boast one of the finest raceways around. But now the facility seems to have found a management team that can make it work. Team is the key word there, as marketing manager Ed Sheckler deserves plenty of credit for putting together a full slate of race night sponsors helping cement the financial success of the speedway for the team.

And of course, while management gets the glory, the weekly show would be no where without the workers that get the track ready each week, run the races, provide the wreckers, cook the hot dogs and so on and so forth.

So the question in my mind, isnít who are we going to find to run the track next year. Instead I want to know when are we going to sign these guys up for another year? Soon, I hope.

With that question asked and answered, I thought I would offer a few additional queries for you race fans and fill in the blanks with my answers.

Who has been the biggest surprise of 2004?

Mark Burgtorf is a well-known driver and heís had plenty of success elsewhere, but for him to be setting atop the points standings at SCS, a.k.a. Tony Fraiseís Track, has to be considered somewhat of a surprise.

But Iíll split the honors with another Primrose Realty sponsored car, the 2R of Jerry Reese, Jr. We all knew ďShotrodĒ could drive, but his early season dominance of the B-modifieds was a bit of a shock considering he didnít get his first win until the final race of 2003. Now in 2004 itís a shock NOT to see him in the winnerís circle at raceís end.

Whatís the best class of racing?

Everyone has a favorite, and Iím no different. It would be hard to argue with late model fans who love their speed. All the modified guys have to do is mention Fraise vs. Burgtorf to win votes. The B-modified class should have the biggest number of converts this year as one of the fastest growing divisions featuring some of the best up and coming local talent. The cruisers and pony stocks generate the most discussion as they have the loyalist followings in this neck of the woods.

I tried to be politically correct and offer the bright side of all these divisions because they are the runners-up to what I would call the best class at SCS, stock cars. Granted, it may not put the largest field on the track every night, but fans would be hard pressed to find more intense, bumper-to-bumper, three- and four-wide racing action.

Not only are the stock cars fast and furious but they also run smart. Call me a practical fan, but I like to see my favorite drivers every week. They canít run if theyíre broke or on the hook. These guys race hard, but they race smart, with very few crashes. That also means they donít spend a lot of time under yellow, which means we all get home a little earlier.

Whoís next in line for their first win?

There have been a number of drivers break through in 2004 for their first wins. Ron York got his first win Saturday night in the B-mods and Brandon Symmonds nailed his first career victory the week before in the hobby stocks. The week before Todd Phillips picked up stock car win #1 of his career.

There are a lot of promising drivers out there that have been steadily moving up in the pack like John Shaffer and Logan Trueblood in the B-modifieds, but if I were a betting man, I would say the next break through will come in the stock cars where Troy Alexander is ready to make his first trip to the winnerís circle.


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