Frye Wins Bill Willard Memorial
September 20, 2003
By Larry Olsen
LEBANON MO. Bill Frye had a near perfect weekend, picking up the $10,000 top prize in the O'Reilly Auto Parts Mid-America Racing Series's biggest race to date. Frye took the lead from Jeff Taylor, when Taylor had to pit with a flat tire, and led the remaineder of the 1st Annual Bill Willard Memorial at the Lebanon I-44 Speedway. Frye's only blemish on the weekend was the Bank of Crocker Dash for Cash on Friday that went to Terry Phillips.
Frye was the weekend's top qualifier, and held the pole with Taylor to his outside. Frye and Taylor went side by side for two laps, before Taylor took the lead in turn two on lap three. Taylor rode the high side of the track, and had opened a ten carlength advantage by lap five. Frye was able to look under Taylor in the corners, but was unable to pull ahead as the pair came off the turns with Taylor holding a slim advantage. Brandon McCormick moved past Brad Looney for the fourth spot in turn two on lap 13.
Taylor and Frye drove side by side on lap 21. Suddenly, Frye was able to power past Taylor for the lead. Taylor slowed, and brought out caution number three on lap 22 with a flat tire. Taylor pitted for fresh rubber, and rejoined the field at the rear. Terry Phillips took advantage of the double file restarts, and shot into third spot on the restart. Frye and Merrill were side by side on lap 25. The caution flag waved again on lap 27 for Brad Looney who also had to be pushed to the pits, done for the night.
Frye held a five carlength advantage on Merrill by lap 31, and had expanded that to 10 carlengths by lap 35. The caution flag waved for the final time on lap 37 for debris on the frontstretch. Phillips got the run on Merrill on the restart, and had taken over second place by lap 38. Phillips got his best shot at Frye on lap 41 as the pair were side by side. Taylor slipped past McCormick for fourth in turn two on lap 42.
Frye had opened a five carlength advantage on Phillips by lap 45. Phillips edged a bit closer as the laps wore down, but Frye took the three carlength win. Bill Frye was $10,000 richer in taking the win. Terry Phillips, Raymond Merrill, Jeff Taylor, and Brandon McCormick made up the top five. Jeff Floyd, Mike Brown, Steve Rushin, Gary Stolba, and Ed Kosiski rounded out the top ten.