Purkey Scores First MARS DIRTcar Series May 30, 2007 6:59:32 GMT -5
Post by Dirt Master on May 30, 2007 6:59:32 GMT -5
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Purkey Scores First MARS DIRTcar Series Win Since 2003 With Dramatic Last-Lap Pass In 'Alphabet Soap Race' At I-80 Speedway
GREENWOOD, NE - May 27, 2007 - Could Al Purkey be the driver who finally unseats Bill Frye and Terry Phillips as champion of the MARS DIRTcar Series?
Considering the start he's off to in 2007, that's a distinct possibility.
Purkey, 45, of Coffeyville, Kan., registered his first MARS-sanctioned victory since 2003 on Sunday night, scoring a dramatic win in the 50-lap 'Alphabet Soup Race' at I-80 Speedway.
The talented Jayhawk State veteran stole the race's $5,000 top prize on the final lap, sneaking underneath 21-year-old Jeremy Payne of Springfield, Mo., rounding turns three and four to triumph by a car length.
Purkey didn't pad his MARS DIRTcar Series points lead because the event was a non-points race for the tour, which co-sanctioned the holiday weekend affair with the MLRA, NCRA and CLMA dirt Late Model groups.
But his performance proved again that Frye and Phillips - the only champions in the seven-year history of the MARS DIRTcar Series - could have a serious contender for glory if Purkey decides to continue chasing the '07 MARS schedule.
Purkey, a five-time MLRA champion and two-time NCRA champ, has finishes of second, sixth and ninth in the three MARS points races contested to date. He now has two MARS-sanctioned wins in his career; his first came on Aug. 10, 2003, at Monett (Mo.) Speedway.
Payne, a native of Tuscon, Ariz., who relocated to Missouri to run a dirt Late Model from Phillips's stable, settled for second place. The MARS regular caught a rut on the four-tenths-mile oval and pushed on the final lap, opening the door for Purkey to slide in front.
Larry Clawson of N. Kansas City, Mo., finished third, followed by John Anderson of Omaha, Neb., and Kyle Berck of Marquette, Neb.
Purkey and Payne battled to the finish line after Springfield, Mo.'s Phillips and Kelly Boen of Henderson, Colo., were involved in a controversial tangle while racing for the lead.
Boen, making a return to the cockpit earlier than expected after suffering multiple injuries in a hard wreck on April 28, charged from the rear of the field after being part of an early-race accident. He caught Phillips, who had led from the start but was slowing with engine problems, and surged ahead exiting turn two on lap 39.
Phillips, who slapped the backstretch wall as Boen squeezed by him, and Boen proceeded to come together in turn three, sending Boen spinning. Steve Kempt hit Boen's prone car and the race was red-flagged.
During the stoppage, Boen leaped from his car and was restrained from approaching Phillips's machine by officials.
Both Boen and Phillips were disqualified from the event for their parts in the incident, leaving them 31st and 32nd, respectively, in the final rundown.
Sixty-six dirt Late Models entered the 'Alphabet Soup Race,' which marked the MARS tour's first-ever visit to the track that is part of the Nebraska Raceway Park complex.
Heat winners were Kempt, Purkey, Craig Preble, Payne, Joe Kosiski and Delbert Smith, and John Hampel, Bryan Goldsmith and Bo Egge captured the B-Mains.
Other MARS regulars in the field included 2007 season-opener winner Jack Sullivan of Greenbrier, Ark. (17th place after using a provisional), David Turner of Adrian, Mo. (seventh place after using a provisional) and Gary Stolba of Willow Springs, Mo. (24th).
The next MARS DIRTcar Series event is scheduled for Sat., June 2, at Missouri's Lebanon I-44 Speedway.
For more information on the MARS DIRTcar Series, visit www.midamericanracingseries.com.
MARS DIRTcar Series Feature Finish (50 laps):
1. Al Purkey
2. Jeremy Payne
3. Larry Clawson
4. John Anderson
5. Kyle Berck
6. Joe Kosiski
7. David Turner
8. Mike Wiarda
9. Alan Vaughn
10. Bill Leighton Jr.
11. Corey Zeitner
12. Eddie Kirhoff
13. Bo Egge
14. Johnny Saathoff
15. Chad Humston
16. Scott Daly
17. Jack Sullivan
18. Mike Stadel
19. Rick Lieser
20. Mike Wallace
21. Steve Kempt
22. Bryant Goldsmith
23. Jerry Warner
24. Gary Stolba
25. Delbert Smith
26. Jason Bodenhammer
27. Craig Preble
28. Todd Shute
29. Chris Spieker
30. John Hampel
31. Kelly Boen (DQ)
32. Terry Phillips (DQ)
MARS DIRTcar Series Point Standings:
1. Al Purkey 250
2. Jeremy Payne 248
3. Bill Frye 246
4. Jack Sullivan 243
5. Terry Phillips 238
6. (tie) Joey Mack 226
6. (tie) Brandon McCormick 226
8. Will Vaught 224
9. (tie) John Anderson 216
9. (tie) Billy James 216
11. Steve Rushin 207
12. Brad Looney 188
13. David Turner 181
14. Larry Jones 175
15. Gary Stolba 160
16. Reid Millard 115
17. Scott Drake 97
18. Jason Bodenhammer 59
19. David Barker 58
20. Dewaine Hottinger 57