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Check out this column which Mike Hagg of the Express News wrote. There are several other's. Mike should start posting some old stuff once a week or bi-weekly in the history section or on MYSA.com of old articles of racing in Texas.

 

Author: Mike Haag

Date: July 7, 1997

 

"Starr thanks lucky stars for SAS win"

 

David Starr of Houston outlasted the field in the crash-marred Firecracker 100 to take the checkered flag before an estimated crowd of 3,800 fans Saturday night at San Antonio Speedway. Starr, 29, driving a Chevrolet Monte Carlo, offset a wreck with 20 laps remaining and drove his damaged car to the finish line to collect the $4,000 prize.

 

"I'm real lucky that I was able to keep the car going until the finish," Starr said. "The car kept getting loose, then it would tighten back up, and I just tried to run hard, fast and stay out of trouble."

 

The 100-lap Super Late Model race, sponsored by Biesenbach Incorporated and the Texas Independent Automotive Association, attracted several top late-model drivers from Texas and the Southwest who normally compete in the popular Texas International Drivers Association Late Model Series.

 

Pole-sitter Bobby Kolar of Oklahoma City, who took the lead on the opening lap, paced the 19- car field for one lap until Greg Davidson of Pearland passed him.

 

Davidson, along with Slick Yeomans of High Point, N.C., battled for the lead during the next 55 laps. On Lap 56, while Davidson and Yeomans tried to pass lapped cars, Yeomans collided into the back end of Davidson's car. That sent Davidson into the inside wall and forced him to withdraw from the race.

 

On the restart, Ralph Burris Jr. took the lead and then battled Starr, John Walker and Yeomans. Walker dropped out on Lap 64 when he blew a right front tire and crashed into the Turn 3 wall.

 

On Lap 80, Burris led Starr and Yeomans out of Turn 4. Then Burris lost control and slammed into the front straightaway wall, causing Yeomans and Starr to collide into him.

 

Copyright 1997 San Antonio Express-News

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I read several articles and it seem like the average crowd was always like 4,000. It also seemed like if there was always 10 SAS late models racing. They also had more TIDA races 50-100 laps. Then again these were only a few articles I read from 1990-1998. It seems one of the biggest crowds was in 1992 when Terry Labonte, Ernie Irvan, Dale Jarrett, Harry Gant, Michael Waltrip and Bierschwale competed before a capacity crowd of 5,000 in The Race of Champions. There was even more crowds of 5,000 for SLM races. Imagine if we can get back to "the good ole days of racing", even with all the competition there is now.

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Better take those attendance figures with a grain of salt.

 

Even if you sat everyone butt-to-butt at SAS, you do not come up with 5,000 people. A capacity crowd at SAS would be around 3,500. In those days the track operator came up with a "crowd estimate" that those of us in the press corps would write into our stories.

 

I saved all the stuff I wrote (seven year's worth) for the Light. Maybe one day I'll scan a few of them if I ever find time.

 

But you're right, that NASCAR night did pack them in. But the race itself was just for show. We had Harry Gant drive our car. He lagged behind about a half lap and then gave it a good run for us. After he brought it in he gave me a couple of hints. It think Terry Labonte was scripted to win the race and he did... The NASCAR guys drove about a second (or more) off the usual lap times for a SAS LM.

 

Nick Holt

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Remember I asked the question before the ASALM race if the capacity of the stands was about 4,000, I kind of figured it might be. There must have been people hanging off the sides and on top of the press box. :lol: Maybe they drew their numbers from the pits and people working downstairs and the people trying to take a peek from the outside, along with the Alamo Dragway crowd. :lol:

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Here is a reprint of the article on the NASCAR Race of Champion from 1992. The article appeared on Monday, July 13, 1992 in the San Antonio Express-News

 

NASCAR's big boys burn SAIS

 

Full house witnesses wheel-to-wheel racing

 

By Mike Haag

Express-News Staff Writer

 

When Frank Howell purchased San Antonio International Speedway four years ago, one of his dreams was to have NASCAR Winston Cup drivers racing on the half-mile oval.

 

Saturday night at SAIS, Howell saw his dream come to life when six of the biggest names on the Winston Cup circuit stepped onto the asphalt and climbed into NASCAR Late Model race cars to compete in the NASCAR Race of Champions.

 

Terry Labonte, Ernie Irvan, Dale Jarrett, Harry Gant, Michael Waltrip and San Antonio's Eddie Bierschwale kept a capacity crowd of 5,000 standing throughout the race as they showcased their professional talents and skills during a 25-lap race.

 

They swapped paint, raced bumper-to-bumper and even drove three abreast down the front straightaway on more than one occasion. Labonte, Irvan and Jarrett even swapped the lead 18 times during the event.

 

"Anybody that missed tonight's race definitely missed a great race," Howell said. "The drivers really like San Antonio, the fans, the cars and the track. They were real professionals and I think it was worth the investment by bringing them to race at our track."

 

Earlier this season, Howell arranged to bring the NASCAR stars to San Antonio by signing an agreement with Patron Motorsports, a firm that hosts similar events at NASCAR Winston Racing Series tracks across the country.

 

Howell said he invested nearly $60,000 in the show and felt that it was worth the price.

 

"We had a lot of people here tonight that have never been at this track before," Howell said. "The big payoff will come later this season if those same fans will come back to see our regular NASCAR Winston Racing Series short track program. It was a big gamble but I think it was worth the investment."

 

The NASCAR drivers praised the fans, drivers and SAIS track officials about participating in the Race of Champions event.

 

"The biggest thing is that we get to meet a lot of fans that we normally don't meet," Ernie Irvan said.

 

Labonte, who teamed with local driver George Hagy III to win the Race of Champions trophy, also praised the Race of Champions event.

 

"I enjoy participating in these types of races because it gives the fans an opportunity to come and meet a Winston Cup driver instead of just watching us on television all of the time or having to drive 6000 miles to see us race," Labonte said.

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Another NASCAR Race of Champions event was held in 1993. Here is a reprint of that story, which was published on August 2, 1993 in the San Antonio Express-News

 

Spence nudges Cope in NASCAR event at S.A. Speedway

 

By Mike Haag

Express-News Staff Writer

 

NASCAR Winston Cup driver Jimmy Spencer nosed Derrick Cop by two feet to win the Granger Select NASCAR Race of Champions Saturday night at San Antonio Speedway.

 

Spencer and Cope, along with Neil Bonnett, Cale Yarborough, Kenny Wallace and San Antonio's Eddie Bierschwale, kept a near-capacity crowd of 5,000 entertained throughout the race.

 

The lead changed 10 times among the Winston Cup stars, and occasionally they raced two- and three-abreast down the front straightaway.

 

The 25-lap race was run in three segments. ON the 10th and 20th laps, the field was inverted as they raced on the track. The second inversion, on lap 20, set up a mad dash to the finish line.

 

Cope led at the end of the first 10-lap segment and Spencer led at the end of the second-10-lap segment.

 

When the race was restarted on lap 21, Bierschwale led the field into the first turn, but Spencer slipped by him coming out of turn 2.

 

On lap 22, Cope passed Spencer and led for two laps before Spencer was able to repass him between the third and fourth turns and hold on for the narrow victory.

 

"Any time that I get Jimmy in my sight, he'll be pushing and shoving," Cope said. "I tried to cut underneath him and use the throttle to get good position on him."

 

"The car was getting loose and on the last lap I tried to come off the corner near the bottom of the race track. But I got loose, which prevented me from getting him at the finish line."

 

"The bottom groove was slicker than it needed to be and I had to move to the top of the race track to win it," Spencer said. "I felt that Derrick was going to get a shot at me in the inside, so I came off the high side coming out of turn 4 and it worked."

 

Bierschwale finished third, followed by Wallace in fourth and Yarborough in fifth.

 

Bonnett, who was bothered by injuries from a wreck last week at Talladega Superspeedway, dropped out early in the race and finished sixth.

 

"I just couldn’t seem to get comfortable," Bonnett said. "The seat was pushing in on my ribs, which made it hard for me to breathe."

 

Rusty Wallace, who drives the Miller Genuine Draft Pontiac Grand Prix on the Winston Cup circuit, was unable to perform in the race because his sponsor doesn't allow him to compete in non-NASCAR Winston Cup events. Wallace acted as the master of ceremonies prior to the start of the race.

 

"I'm glad to be here in San Antonio and be part of this event," Wallace said. "Events like these give me a chance to get out, fly my airplane, get some extra hours in and meet and sign autographs for the fans."

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Howell said he invested nearly $60,000 in the show and felt that it was worth the price.

 

that is a lot of money to invest in one show, and this was 14 years ago..........it must have worked because for a while there the stands were pretty full for the local shows......

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I know I've read where a lot of these NASCAR guys go back and race few short tracks, mainly local shows where they once raced. I think Matt Kenseth won an ASALM race last year. I bet you got to pay a lot more, but the purses of today still are the same of what they paid back then on the local scene.

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