Bill Frye Claims O'Reilly MARS Title
By Larry Olson
BATESVILLE, AR. Bill Frye finished out a long Holiday Weekend picking up the O'Reilly Auto Parts Mid-America Racing Series win at the Muskogee Speedway. Frye led all 40 Laps, picking up the $3,000 winners check. The win was Frye's eighth of the season, and moved him back into M.A.R.S. point lead.
Tommy Fulton was the top qualifier and shared the front row with Bill Frye. Frye and Fulton bumped on the start, and Frye moved into the lead, with Donnie Barnhart, Klint Pursley, John Kuchar, and Fulton dropping in behind. A big crash in turn turn one stopped the action, and saw Billy James, Dewaine Hottinger, and Fulton catching the worst of damage, causing all to retire from the event.
Frye led on the restart, with Barnhart, Pursley, Kelly Boen, and Kuchar falling in behind. Jeff Floyd bested Kurchar for fifth in turn four on lap three. Frye started opening a lead on the field by lap five. Boen slipped past Pursley on lap seven, then Floyd was past Pursley for fourth on the next circuit. Frye and Barnhart had stretched out nearly a full straightaway over the pack by lap 10.
Terry Phillips brought out the caution on lap 25, as he was stopped in turn one. Pursley and Floyd swapped third on the restart, with Floyd getting the spot back on the next lap. Frye was pacing the pack by 15 carlenghts by lap 30.
Frye pulled out to a large lead as the race restarted, but the caution flag fell again on lap 37 as Klint Pursley got into the turn one wall hard. Leslie Essary inherited second on the restart, and stayed close to Frye, but could not reel him in.
Bill Frye came home with the win, with Leslie Essary, Mike Bowers, Jeff Taylor, and Brad Looney making up the top five. Raymond Merrill, Dave Siegert, Dan Leatherman, Jack Simmons, and Gary Stolba rounded out the top ten.