Yeager wins STARS Battle of Bluegrass Season Finale

Discussion in 'Racing News (2010 & Earlier)' started by jdearing, Oct 28, 2002.

  1. jdearing

    jdearing Administrator Staff Member

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    BURNSIDE, Ky. (Oct. 26, 2002) - Timmy Yeager ended the 2002 STARS Battle of the Bluegrass DirtCar Series presented by Arizona Sports Shirts season the way he started it by ending up in victory circle on Saturday Night, October 26 at the Lake Cumberland Speedway in Burnside, KY. Yeager who won the very first Battle of the Bluegrass race the first Friday in May at Glasgow, KY beat Victor Lee by two feet at the finish line on Saturday Night to take the $3000 win wrapping up the 2002 Battle of the Bluegrass season and securing second place in the final point standings. Eddie Carrier Jr of Leburn, Ky by virtue of just starting the feature race clinched the 2002 title and ended up 90 points ahead of Yeager when it was all said and done. The 36 year old Yeager, from Harrodsburg, Ky took the Steve Estes owned, Estes Automotive and Machine, Suspension Spring Specialists, PBM Power Parts, Lancaster Candle Company, Wayne Bowen Racing Supply, Hoosier Racing Tires, Mulligan Plumbing, Bluegrass Radiator, Estes Race Engines, C.J. Rayburn Monte Carlo #22 to the win. It was the first ever win for car owner Steve Estes and the 2nd Battle of the Bluegrass win of the season for Yeager.

    The event was originally scheduled for two weeks ago on October 12. But seven laps into the 40-lap feature race Steve Barnett broke a drive shaft bringing out the caution flag. During the caution flag, rain started to fall postponing the remainder of the feature until October 26. During the yellow flag Yeager was leading the race at that point but pitted for a flat tire which meant when the race was restarted he would have to start in 12th place behind the cars remaining on the lead lap of the race. So when it was time to run the remaining 33 laps of the feature Johnny Wheeler would be the point man with Shawn Negangard in second place, followed by C.J. Rayburn, Victor Lee and Richard Smith. When the green flag dropped to resume the race it looked to be all Wheeler as he pulled away from Negangard and was off on his own. Wheeler was stretching out his lead over Negangard until the hub on the rear axle broke slowing him sending him pit side and apparently out of the race at this point. Negangard would then be the new race leader. On the 12th lap the race was stopped for a red flag involving 2002 PBM Performance Products Rookie of the Year, Bobby Wolter, Jr. Wolter was involved in a hard crash on the front stretch when he and another car he was racing with for fourth position bumped with Wolter hitting the front stretch wall full throttle and head on. After a few anxious moments Wolter was conscious and alert as track and medical personnel checked him. The roof of the car was cut off to extricate Wolter and he left in the ambulance back to his pit area where he was not transferred to the hospital. An hour later he was sitting in his racecar hauler alert and talking.

    When the race was ready to go green again Negangard would be on the point with a fast moving Victor Lee now showing some strength coming up the second spot. Brandon Hardgrove would bring out the next red flag a few laps later when his ride got upside down after contact with another car. Hardgrove was checked out and appeared to be fine except for a swollen thumb. After Hardgrove's mishap the race went green again for 13 more laps. During this time Negangard had slowed heading into turn number one on the 20th lap and when he did both Lee and Yeager passed him dropping Negangard to third place. Yeager, had methodically worked his way to the front after restarting 12th in the lineup he was fourth by the 13th circuit, third by lap 14 and up to second passing Negangard. Negangard would get back on the gas as he now had Steve Barnett breathing down his neck for third. Up front a sterling battle between Lee and Yeager would take place. The 23-year-old Lee an open wheel modified standout the last two seasons looked like he would be on his way to the biggest win of his young Late Model career. It would not have been Lee's first Late Model win this season as that came back on October 5 at the Clinton County Speedway in Alpha, KY, but this would be his biggest. Yeager would hound Lee lap after lap in the closing segment but Lee would hold his line and maintain enough of an advantage over Yeager that it looked like it would hold up. As the pair took the white flag Yeager looked like he wanted to try a slide job in turn one, but thought better of it. Yeager then set Lee up down the backstretch for one final try in turns three and four. Lee would get through three just fine but turn four proved to be his downfall as his car pushed up high allowing Yeager just enough room to get underneath him as both cars headed to the finish line. Yeager had just enough mustard
    to pull off the come from behind win nipping Lee by just two feet at the finish line.

    "I knew the car was good from the get go" said the victorious Yeager afterwards. "I just wanted to stay out of trouble and keep my nose clean, when I got up to second I felt like it would be no problem to pass Victor, but he must have saw me because he really picked up the pace and I couldn't hardly catch him." "He's quite a driver for as young as he is, he's going to be awesome" said the complimentary Yeager about Lee. "I didn't know if I could win or not coming off of four but once I got to the flag stand, I thought I had him by the nose of my car." Lee explained afterwards why his car drifted in turn four, which cost him the win. "We had the right front brake shut off and for some reason it locked up on the last lap, the car just pulled enough that I lost my groove and he was able to get by." While you would think that the young man would be devastated losing a $3000 to win race at the finish line, Lee was upbeat and just glad to be in the hunt. "I've proved this year that I could run with this guys on this series, there is no better experience than running with a good group of drivers that are on the Battle of the Bluegrass, I feel that I can win a lot of these races in the future." said Lee. How ironic it was that Lee was beaten out by the car he started the season with. " I'm happy for the Estes boys, they work hard and put out a good product, I want to thank them for giving me the opportunity to drive their car earlier this year and congratulate them on their win tonight" said Lee.

    Negangard and Barnett who both made the Dirt Track World Championship the weekend prior to the Battle of the Bluegrass finale would finish third and fourth respectfully. Tyrel Todd would re-start in 10th place and take his Rayburn mount to fifth place at the finish. Completing the top ten were Jesse James Lay, Richard Smith, Tim Taylor, Larry Martin, Jr. and C.J. Rayburn. Heat Race winners were Rayburn, Yeager, Wheeler and Negangard. AFCO B-Main winners were Todd and Taylor. Eddie Carrier, Jr. out qualified 37 other entries at 14.195 to top the Racing Optics Fast Time.

    STARS Battle of the Bluegrass
    Lake Cumberland Speedway
    Burnside, KY
    Saturday Night, October 26, 2002

    Full Summary
    Entries: 38

    Fast Time: Eddie Carrier Jr 14.195
    First Heat: C.J. Rayburn, Jesse James Lay, Rod Carter Jr., Tyrel Todd
    Second Heat: Timmy Yeager, Richard Smith, Larry Gray Jr, David Freeman
    Third Heat: Johnny Wheeler,Larry Martin Jr., Ronnie Smith, Tim Taylor
    Fourth Heat: Shawn Negangard, Victor Lee, Jim Curry, Michael Wooldridge

    1st AFCO B-Main: Todd, Steve Barnett, Eddie Carrier Jr., Michael Chilton
    2nd AFCO B-Main: Taylor, Wooldridge, Bobby Wolter, Jr., Steve Cornelius

    1. Timmy Yeager-Harrodsburg, KY Rayburn/Estes/Hoosier Tires
    2. Victor Lee-Stanford, KY
    3. Shawn Negangard-Osgood, IN
    4. Steve Barnett-Franklin, IN
    5. Tyrel Todd-Eubank, KY
    6. Jesse James Lay-Walton, KY
    7. Richard Smith-Science Hill, KY
    8. Tim Taylor-Eubank, KY
    9. Larry Martin Jr-Maysville, Ky
    10. C.J. Rayburn-Whiteland, IN
    11. Eddie Carrier Jr-Leburn, KY
    12. Joey Daniel-Liberty, KY
    13. Johnny Wheeler-Campbellsville, KY
    14. Ronnie Smith-Waco, KY
    15. Rod Carter Jr-Woodbine, KY
    16. Larry Gray Jr-Lexington, KY
    17. Brandon Hardgrove-Burnside, KY
    18. Michael Wooldridge-Frankfort, KY
    19. Bobby Wolter Jr-Lexington, KY
    20. Steve Cornelius-Berea, KY
    21. Bobby Carrier Jr-Harrodsburg, KY
    22. Jim Curry-Norman, IN

    Final Point Standings
    1. Eddie Carrier Jr 4190
    2. Timmy Yeager 4100
    3. Jesse James Lay 3885
    4. Johnny Wheeler 3720
    5. Richard Smith 3530
    6. Joey Daniel 3345
    7. Bobby Carrier Jr 3265
    8. Tyrel Todd 2990
    9. Aaron Hatton 2860
    10.Scott James 2705

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