It was quite a long wait between Season Championship Night and the Weekend On The Hill, but as always, this show was well worth the wait. There was a complete racing program each night so teams didn't have to commit to being tied to one track all weekend. Looking at the packed pits and grandstands, it was clear that not many folks planned to miss any of the door to door action this place is known for. Even the cool ugly rain on Saturday couldn't keep racers and fans away from their last shot at racing action of the year on "The Hill".
A kickass field of 29 Late Models would take to the track on Friday night. Larry Bellman would set fast time but this night belonged to Mike Lonas and his Kryptonite race car. There were plenty of those badass Kryptonite cars there including Fast Freddie himself, but nobody seemed to have anything for Lonas all night long. Mike picked up the Dash win putting him at the front of the field for the feature. That was bad news for the rest of the field although Bond did give Lonas a battle at times early on. Bond, Carpenter, Hottinger, Malcuit, Conley and Markham could only fight over second place for the rest of the show. As if that wasn't a strong enough show for Lonas, he then went on to pick up the Street Stock feature win while he was at it. Damn what a night for one of Hilltop's most loyal weekly regulars. Congrats to ya Mike!
Saturday brought many changes including plenty of rain throughout the afternoon. Rain can do terrible things to a dirt track, but if run in right it can also make for a damn fast track. I'd have to say it was run in right as Markham set fast time turning the smooth as glass lap of 14.920. Tyler Carpenter added yet another Kryptonite car to the field on Saturday but missed the dash giving himself a bit tougher job when the feature came along. At the drop of the green of the Dash race it looked like Markham would pick up where Lonas left off the night before. Ryan is often know to be a bit laid back until feature time but he wasted no time working his way from the tail to the front. Laps would run out before he could get the lead away from Hottinger, but it was clear at this point Markham came to win the 30 lapper. Early in the feature it was all Markham with Hottinger, Conley, and Fast Freddie all fighting for second place. By the time a late caution flew with just 9 laps to go Conley had earned that 2nd place and was hounding Markham for the lead. On that restart we were treated to some of the best action all weekend as Conley squeaked into the lead and Tyler Carpenter stepped up his drive to the front. This young fella worked every inch of the track surface to drive by anybody in his way including his own dad. He was on a rail up top at the end and I can only guess he misjudged the number of laps left because it probably wouldn't have take 2 more laps for him to take the lead. As the checkers flew he would have to settle for 3rd as he was setting up that lead stealing move. Still one hell of a late race charge for one of the best young drivers I've ever seen strap on a helmet. What a show all of these drivers put on both nights!
I'm not sure how many of you out there realize just how lucky we are to be treated to such kickass racing action at a track that goes above and beyond to make sure each show is the best it can be. From treating racers and fans like family, to all the hard work it takes during the week and during the off-season to keep things headed the right direction, it's quite impressive. So I want to sincerely thank Buck, Amy and the entire gang at Hilltop for all that they do to provide us with our racing fix, and my home away from home. THANKS to all of you!