I'm always anxious for the $1000 to win Street Stock show at Hilltop as most of you know. This weekend would be very interesting with a few teams finally showing that they could at least run with undefeated Mike Lonas in recent weeks. Lonas is probably best known for his domination at Lakeville Speedway in his Late Model, and while he's had reasonable success with the Late Model at Hilltop, he's been untouchable so far this season in his Street Stock. Things have tightened up a bit the past couple of weeks towards the front of the pack, and with Bob Daugherty setting fast time last week before the rains came, it looked like the man that took all the big money last year would do it again. Daugherty lost his new engine just 3 weeks into the 2015 season so while it was being rebuilt he dropped in "old faithful" that was in the car last season when Bob was on a money grabbin' rampage at both Hilltop and WCS. That little motor has since won every time he's made the trip to 250 Speedway and qualified at the top of the field last week. On Friday night, just one night before this big show his new motor was back in the garage and Bob told me it was a damn tough decision to pull "old faithful" to drop the new one back in. That decision didn't look too bad early on Saturday night as he once again set fast time. Starting last in the dash, I wondered just how hard he'd work the car to get to the front, but this veteran was up on the wheel and in it to win it. When the checkers flew he was second and tripping over the leader. Before the feature Bob was still wondering if the engine swap was the right thing to do as he wasn't happy with the oil pressure he had in the dash. Only time would tell, he said. At the drop of the green in the feature we saw the return of "Bottom Feeder Bob" as he pulled out front and dove to the very bottom groove. He's earned that nickname over the years by picking up many wins while brushing the infield tires through the turns. A few laps into the race it looked like he'd do it again as he started to pull away from the pack. Then the magic smoke started spewing from the exhaust and that fresh motor let loose all over the track. Daugherty would watch the rest of the feature from the infield while kicking himself in the ass for taking "old faithful" out of the car. After the feature he was still able to smile but I'm pretty sure he'll be changing to another engine builder this week. More than likely returning to the shop that built "old faithful".
As devastating as the night turned out to be for Daugherty, it was typical to see him handle it with class and even kind words for his competition. That was a great example of how a real racer deals with problems. Unfortunately we would see an example of how not to handle set backs in the Late Model feature. The first 8 laps or so we saw Charlie Duncan and Kyle Moore side by side for the lead using every inch of the track. They would get together in turns 1 & 2 with Moore going around and being charged with the caution. In my professional opinion, the correct call was made as Moore basically drove across the nose of Duncan's car at just the point where Charlie had nowhere else to go. At any rate, shit happens and no driver will always like all the calls made at any track. What's important is how those drivers handle the situations, especially those drivers that should certainly know that they have the equipment and laps left to get back to the front. Most seasoned drivers would lick their wounds, go to the tail as instructed, and then drive the wheels off the car to get back to where they belong at the front of the pack. Instead of doing that, Moore chose to throw a tantrum that would make a spoiled 3 year old kid at a carnival look like an angel. Parking his car in order to hold up the show was bad enough, but beating the hell out of his car and throwing a hissy-fit in front of everybody only made himself look like an ass. It took a tow truck and his own brother to convince him to head to the trailer, finally allowing the show to go on. I haven't seen such ugliness since the old days at Lakeville Speedway before things got cleaned up there. I trust that Hilltop will make sure we don't see this type of thing from Moore or anybody else in the future. The racing action there is too damn good to allow such bullshit!