Mother Nature may have delayed the Jeff Norris Memorial race but she more than made up for it this Friday night. We were treated to beautiful weather, a great track surface, huge crowd, awesome car count, and of course plenty of side by side action. Getting this show put together was a dream come true for me, but it wouldn't have been possible without Buck, Jesse, Chuck, and the whole staff at Hilltop Speedway. Shucks, even Ed Fredrick showed up to flag the Late Model Spectacular. HUGE THANKS goes out to the entire Hilltop gang, the fans, and all the racers that put on a kickass night of racing in honor of the man that brought us Hilltop Speedway. The Norris family is extremely grateful to all of you that made this event possible. Not only was it a great show on the track, it was wonderful to get together again with the Norris family along with others from the "Original Hilltop Gang". Many old memories were shared and new ones were created on this very special night. I couldn't help thinking to myself as we witnessed the 3 and 4 wide action in the early heat races that this is exactly what Jeff envisioned for this place when he decided to turn a junkyard into a racetrack. I could just about see that shit eatin' grin of his knowing he was watching this show from a better seat than mine.
At last count I saw 35 Late Models in the pits, and plenty with out of state plates on their trailers. These guys came to play hard and that's exactly what they did. The heat races looked like the were chasing a million dollars to win. Thanks to Bob Daugherty of McKenzie Concrete they were racing for $50 to win those heats. There were some crazy battles and lots of slide jobs as these drivers fought for a top 3 finish that would put them into the feature. The surprise of the night was Corey Conley being forced to run a B-Main to get into the feature because he failed to snag one of those top 3 spots. The $100 DFC Racing Carburetors fast qualifier bonus money went to none other than Fast Freddie Carpenter. After the Dash I went back to congratulate him and decided to offer him a challenge. I told him if he won the feature, I'd double that bonus money. He laughed a little and said that's exactly what he came here to do. Starting 5th in a damn strong field of cars he'd have to earn it though. It took him until about lap 4 to decide it was time to get up on the wheel and make me sweat a bit. Not long after that I was digging into my wallet but still smiling. While there was plenty of side by side action from 2nd on back, Freddie took to the top groove and put on a clinic on how to get around "The Hill". A few people asked me why I would ever bet against Freddie Carpenter so I'll try to explain it here. I wasn't actually betting against him and never would. I love and have great respect for this man. Not only does he build wicked fast late models for others to enjoy, and is one of the best wheel men I've ever seen, he also does more to promote this sport than most people will ever know. When Freddie heads to a track he invites others to not only challenge him but to support that track also. While at the track he's more than happy to help others get better only to race against them that very night. I've never seen him without a smile and it's obvious this guy enjoys every bit of what he does, even on a bad night. Simply put, Fast Freddie is a class act and racing could sure use more racers like him. As tight as I am about throwing money around, it was an honor to double the bonus money for a guy like him. Hat's off to ya Freddie, and feel free to come back any time to take more of my lunch money! ;-)