Threat of Mother Nature Proves Nothing on the Threat of Keith Bumgarner

By Adrian Sanders

Ominous thunder clouds surrounded Hickory Motor Speedway just before the night's events got underway for Blue Ridge Harley Davidson Night at the races, but despite very light drizzle, officials decided to go ahead with the show. The storms went around and the dedicated Hickory Fans were treated to one of the best Late Model finishes of the 2005 season when 7 th place starter Keith Bumgarner made a daring last lap move to pass Pete Silva for the win of the 50 lap feature.

Pete Silva led the field to the green flag in his #01 Blossman Gas machine with #21 Brian Connor on the outside pole. On the first lap, #07 Mark McFarland, driving for Dale Earnhardt Jr, tries to put his car in the 4 th spot as he looks under #58 Carl Cormier. The two make contact in turn 3 and Cormier hangs on to the spot. By lap 6, #95 Keith Bumgarner moves his #95 Country Chair Ford into the top 5 as he passes McFarland on the front stretch. Bumgarner sets his sights on Cormier for 4 th and by lap 11, he makes his move on the backstretch to take the spot. By lap 24, Bumgarner has caught the #92 MBNA Chevrolet of Chris Bristol and takes his 3 rd place spot in turn 3. The front of the field remains relatively calm battling through lapped traffic until lap 41 when Bumgarner sees the rear bumper of #21 Brian Connor. Finally by lap 44, Bumgarner decides to make his move low on Connor and take 2 nd place and now setting his sights on leader Pete Silva with only 6 laps to go. By lap 48, Bumgarner catches Silva and really puts the fire under his feet. Coming to the white flag, Bumgarner gets under Silva and the two are side by side on the front stretch. Silva, fighting to keep his top spot, overdrives his car in turn 1 and Bumgarner clears on the backstretch and comes around to take the checkered flag for the win. Bumgarner and Silva were followed by #21 Brian Connor, #92 Chris Bristol and #58 Carl Cormier.

Bumgarner had this to say in Victory Lane:

“We knew the car was going to be good right there, so we kept pacing ourselves and it was like it all happened so fast right there at the end. I've got to thank all the guys that work on the car. I want to thank Alex Little and Dexter Canipe…..he gave us a few tips to change and try to get the car to work and that's one of the reasons it worked out. I can't thank Pete (Silva) and Brian (Connor) enough for running me clean they gave me a real good race and it was awesome.”

In the Limited Late Model division, there was no disappointment in excitement for the fans either. Dexter Canipe Jr. took the early lead from pole sitter Chris Chapman, but Chapman wasn't going away without a fight. For over half of the 35 lap feature the two battled side by side and bumper to bumper. It came down to the final lap when Chapman looked low once more on Canipe Jr. in turn 3. They were door handle to door handle at the line with Canipe Jr. beating Chapman literally by the width of his front bumper. Canipe and Chapman were followed by #12 Dennis Gallion, #10 Andy Mercer and #38 Chris Taylor.

Canipe Jr. had this to say in Victory Lane:

“Thanks to Chris (Chapman) for racing me clean, I really liked that. That's how you race right there. He did what he needed to do and he probably should have done a little bit more. I wouldn't have blamed him if he did, it was good racing and I like that. I'd like to thank all my sponsors, Jewelry Exchange, J&L Motors, Harrington Racing Engines, Sunoco and thanks to all the fans for coming out.”

Kevin Eby was pretty much uncontested in the street stock feature as he claimed another win for the 2005 season. Eby was followed by #40 Jonathan Smith, #64 Marshall Sutton, #22 Donald Little and #0 David Manis.

Eby had this to say in Victory Lane:

“It's not a bad weekend overall. I'd like to thank everyone for coming. Thanks to my Dad he's always there helping me. Thanks to my wife for putting up with our long hours of work. I'd like to thank all my sponsors Hagaman Trucking, Mann's Used Auto Parts, Honey Baked Ham Company, Randolph Billiards, and C&C Graphics.”

Matt DiBenedetto took his 10 th win of the season in the Pro-4 Division followed by #21 Todd Harrington, #4 Adam Beaver, and #19 Willie Evernham.


DiBenedetto had this to say in Victory Lane:

“This is really cool. I'd like to thank all the fans for coming out. The weather scared me a little bit, but we still got the race in and that was really cool. First of all I would like to thank Mike Moody Aerial Photography for helping us out a lot. Thanks to Rick's Auto Graphics for doing all the graphics. We'll call him up and bug him and he comes out right when we call him and sticks us some graphics on the car. Thanks to Larry Pollard with LP gear, K&M Tire and Kawasaki Yamaha of Hickory.”

Stephen Clippard finally pulled off the upset in the Hobby Division keeping David Hasson out of victory lane for the first time in 2005. Clippard was followed by #83 David Hasson, #2 George Anen Jr., #24 Adam Hatton and #12 Tim Reese.

Clippard had this to say in Victory Lane:

“I was about to think this was never going to happen. I've got to thank David (Hasson), he helped me set the car up and I couldn't have won it without him. For this track its my first win. I've got probably $1800 in this car when I built it, it's the same car I ran last year. It doesn't cost that much to get started. If anyone would like to get started building one I'd be more than happy to help. I want to thank Little John's Cycle Sales, Repot Depot and Highway 90 Tires….I couldn't have done it without any of them.”

Join us at Hickory Motor Speedway Saturday Night June 25 th for Dodge Night at the Races! The main event will be a 100 lap feature for one of the toughest Late Model fields in the South! The night will also be packed with racing excitement from the Limited Late Models, Pro-4's, Street Stock, Legends and Hobby Stocks. See you there!