Mother Nature ruined the plans earlier in the season to hold the 2021 Jeff Norris Memorial event but maybe she did us all a favor by doing so. While working on rescheduling the show, Buck went to work to also raise the purse to the biggest ever offered by Hilltop for a non-sanctioned event, $10,000 to win for the late models. We already expected a strong field of cars based on the last time this event was held, but this would bring in even more talent for sure. A total of 31 Late Models signed into the pits to chase that prize, just one car less than showed up for the legendary Jim Dunn Memorial race at Muskingum the following night. Not too shabby for just the second running of this event at a place that was an old overgrown junk yard not that many years ago when Jeff Norris showed up to turn it into a race track. This is the kind of show that the "Crazy Bastard" dreamed of when he took on that task without a doubt. It's only fitting that his name is on this event.
The racing action all night was awesome and the show was very well run. I didn't expect to get home before sunrise after such a show, but that was far from the case Friday night. It probably helped that the 50 lap Late Model feature went totally caution free. WOW! Another huge time saver was not having to deal with what had become the Jerry Springer Show with fighting and much worse now that the source of the drama has been removed. What a refreshing change to enjoy an entire night of racing without the shit show that had turned many of us away recently. We were treated to good clean side by side racing and fun between teams all night, just like it used to be. In the end Devon Moran would take home the $10,000 win and Dave Hess would pick up the $1200 Modified feature win. Hats off to all the teams and to the entire Hilltop staff for making this a night that will be remembered for a very long time!
It was also a special night for me personally as I got to bring my granddaughter Angelena with me to not only meet some of her carburetor customers in person but to also hand out our qualifying bonus money. Picking up the bonus in Late Models was Drake Troutman. In recent weeks the ugliness has finally been removed from the pits so she also got to hand out a bonus for the fast qualifier in the Modified division, picked up by Dave Hess. (If only we would have had another one of those giant checks printed in advance for the Modifieds;-)) That smile you see on her face in the pictures was still there the next day and mostly thanks to the drivers and crew at Hilltop that made her feel right at home on race night. For the first time in her life she finally felt like more than a spectator or just a kid, she was honestly one of the rest of us crazy people that are hooked on this sport. When we got stuck in the infield waiting to give out the awards, she was more than happy to witness the show from there and would probably still be there today if we wouldn't have had to go home. She got some good pictures from there but I'm pretty sure the memories of that night will last much longer, and that's all I could ever ask for. THANKS to all of you that helped welcome her to our world of racing and for making racing fun again for this old fart. Oh and to Ed Fredrick,,, she's still laughing about her "conversation" with you.