Keith Bumgarner Becomes First Repeat Winner of 2005
Hickory Motor Speedway

By Adrian Sanders

After an action packed start to the season where fans saw seven different drivers win in the first seven races, Keith Bumgarner became the first driver to make it to Hickory Motor Speedway's victory lane twice in 2005.

Mack Little led the field to the green flag in his #16 Waughtown Millwork car with #58 Carl Cormier on the outside pole, after his best qualifying effort of the season. On lap 1, #21 Brian Connor got under Cormier and they battled side by side until lap 3 as Connor takes the 2 nd spot. This keeps Cormier hung out on the high side in his Performancenter car, allowing Chris Bristol to take 3 rd in his #92 MBNA Machine. Pete Silva, who has been a threat for a win several weeks now worked his way into the top 5 after passing #8 Jay Gerst on lap 5. By lap 6, Brian Connor is ready to make a move for the lead as he looks underneath Mack Little. They make it a side by side battle until lap 10, when Little maintains the lead in his #16 car. Meanwhile, Silva takes over the 4 th spot from Carl Cormier as he continues to battle toward the front. Silva looks to try and take 3 rd from Chris Bristol on lap 11, but the two make contact down the backstretch, sending them both spinning into turn 3 and bringing out the first caution of the night. Bristol pits to have his tires checked by officials and resumes the race at the rear of the field. Silva appeared to have very minimal damage but elected to park his #01 Blossman Propane car for the night.

At the restart, #95 Keith Bumgarner tries to pass #8 Jay Gerst for 4th, but he is unable to complete the pass. The field remains single file until lap 25 when Connor tries once again to put his #21 LP gear car out front but he is still unable to complete the pass. Caution comes out on lap 26 as #99 Tommy Lane spins in turn 2. After coming very close to the wall, Lane gathers it up and is able to resume the race at the rear of the field.

The field restarts and remains single file until lap 28 when Bumgarner looks under #8 Gerst and takes the 4 th spot. On lap 35, Connor looks under Little again for the lead and battles him side by side until lap 37, still unable to pass. On lap 38, Bumgarner looks to the outside of #58 Cormier and takes his 3 rd place spot. Connor once again looks to take the lead from Little on lap 41, but this time he gets loose on the backstretch almost spinning to the apron, but he gathers it up and continues in the 3 rd spot. On lap 43, Bumgarner is ready to show his muscle as he closes right up the bumper of Little and looks to the inside in turn 3. They run side by side, leaning on doors coming out of turn 4 and all the way down the front stretch. Caution comes out on lap 45 as #21 Brian Connor has stopped in turn 1. Connor goes to the pits and parks for the night after experiencing a broken hub on the right-front wheel. Track officials determined that Bumgarner was leading at the line at the time of caution so they put his #95 Country Chair car upfront for the restart.

At the restart, 4 th place running Jay Gerst tries to move to the outside of #58 Carl Cormier and take 3 rd , but he is unable to do so. This allows #92 Chris Bristol to get under Gerst and take 4 th after battling back through the field from an early race spin. Up front, Bumgarner leads the pack with no contest as he takes the checkered flag on lap 55 in honor of Hickory Motor Speedway's 55 th Anniversary. Bumgarner was followed by #16 Mack Little, #58 Carl Cormier, #92 Chris Bristol and #8 Jay Gerst.

Bumgarner had this to say in Victory Lane:

“It's been an up and down season. I just have to thank Alex Little, Todd, Jerry, Al Jr. and all these guys. We worked all night trying to get this thing ready, and it seems like it paid off. I hate I got into Mack (Little) a little bit right there, I hope he's not mad. I just tried to run hard and as clean as I could. This is the same car that we ran back in ‘03 and it knows how to get to the front. You just got to be patient and take care of the tires. It didn't lead many laps that year, but it did lead the last one.”

In the Limited Late Model Division, Chris Chapman was happy once again to be in the right place at the right time. #47 Kevin Bumgarner dominated the race until 5 laps to go when he experienced mechanical problems with his car. This handed the lead to Chris Chapman in the #44 Conover Construction and Roofing car as he went on to win his 5 th race of the season. Chapman was followed by #10 Andy Mercer, #90 Chad Call, #21 Billy Joe Wilson and #00 Lucas Ransone.

Chapman had this to say in Victory Lane:

“We have been lucky the last two weeks. I want to give those boys credit over there on that #47 team (Bumgarner), they had us covered tonight. We made some changes that we shouldn't have and I was going to settle for a second place finish, but I guess we will take them any way we can get them. We gained a couple points out there. Hopefully we can keep doing that all year. I want to thank these guys that help me. Thanks to Chapman's Garage, All-Star Graphics and Conover Construction and Roofing.”

Matt DiBenedetto continues to dominate the Pro-4 Division as he claimed his 8 th win in a row without contest. DiBenedetto was followed by #49 Doug Setzer, #75 Allen Huffman, #21 Todd Harrington and #98 Rob Lewis.

DiBenedetto had this to say in Victory Lane:

“I am really looking forward to the Limited Late Models later this year, I have had a lot of fun in the Pro-4. I'd like to thank K&M Tire, Hale's Plumbing Repair and Service, Rick's Auto Graphics, Kawasaki Yamaha of Hickory, the Marine and all the fans for coming out. I've got a ride in a Legends car for the Summer Shootout at Lowe's Motor Speedway so I am looking forward to that. But hopefully we will get the money together and get our Limited Late Model out here soon.”

In the Legends Division, Daniel Sossoman was the class of the field after taking the lead from the outside pole and never looking back. Sossoman was followed by #17 Justin Morton, #11 Sean Saunders, #07 Marc Davis and #34 Henry Dyer.

The Carolina Vintage cars made their 2005 debut at Hickory Motor Speedway with #27 Jim Burrell taking the victory over #07 Larry Brown, #7 Tom Ramey, #3 Wayne Hearne and #21 Ernie Harris.

Also making their 2005 debut at Hickory was the Pro-Challenge Series, a four cylinder division with both car and truck bodies. Pole sitter #18 Mark Dyer, led every lap of the feature to take the win followed by #34 Chrissy Wallace, #00 Brett Butler, #31 Jason Tresche and #17 Justin Morton.

Join us at Hickory Motor Speedway on Saturday June 11 th for Pepsi Family Night. Family passes will be only $20. There will be 6 divisions of action packed racing along with a demolition derby.