Fisticuffs mar end of Late Models
BY JILL ERWIN
TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITER
Published Sunday, May 18, 2008
A couple of on-track altercations turned into a victory lane melee Friday night at Southside Speedway, and Doug Godsey could pay a heavy price.
Godsey and Chris Hopkins made contact in each of the two 50-lap Late Model races, with Hopkins getting the short end of the stick in the first and Godsey seeing heavy damage to his car in the second. Following the second incident, Godsey was the final car on a restart and laid back to allow Hopkins, who was leading, to catch up to him.
Track officials saw it developing, and black flagged Godsey's car. He stopped on the track, waited for the cars to come around, and pulled up next to Hopkins to express his displeasure. However, no contact was made.
Godsey returned to the pits and changed into street clothes. Hopkins went on to win the race and headed to victory lane. After his on-track interview with the track announcer, Hopkins walked to where his family and friends were gathered between his car and the pit road wall.
At that point, Godsey walked over and made physical contact with Hopkins. Godsey claimed Hopkins saw him coming, but eyewitness said Hopkins had his back turned to Godsey.
"I probably got my hands around his neck a little bit," Godsey said. "I tried to pull him across the wall a little bit, tried to talk to him. I just wanted him to get a little closer, that's all."
It quickly escalated, with several members of Hopkins' family and crew joining in, along with members of Godsey's crew who came over, and several punches were thrown.
Hopkins said it never should have escalated past the on-track contact.
"I just returned the favor to him on the racetrack, and he can't handle it," Hopkins said. "I'm not surprised at all."
Any penalties from the fight will be announced Tuesday. A pit-road fight last year resulted in probation, but it was not on as large a scale as Friday's.
"I'm not going to tolerate juvenile behavior at the racetrack nor the fact people disrespected the Chesterfield County police department," track official Gary Fox said yesterday by phone. "We allow family members to come over for victory lane celebrations. Our preference would still be not to lock the gates down and keep them from coming over, but that's something we're considering and we might have to do."
Chris Dodson won the first 50-lap Late Model race for his first victory of the season. Also winning for the first time this year were Donnie Newman (30-lap Grand Stock) and Lauren Edgerton (25-lap U-Car). Mike Ganoe repeated in the 50-lap Street Stock race.
Contact staff writer Jill Erwin at firstname.lastname@example.org or (804) 649-6490.
RESULTSLate Model No.1 (50 laps): 1. Chris Dodson; 2. Brandon Hendrick; 3. Shayne Lockhart; 4. Greg Fernandez; 5. Doug Godsey; 6. Rob Jenkins; 7. Alan Purser; 8. Russ Ellis; 9. J.B. Poates; 10. Chris Hopkins; 11. Brad Davis; 12. Wayne McGee; 13. David Mooney; 14. Roy Hendrick; 15. Wayne Patterson; 16. Bugs Hairfield; 17. Shannon Marano; 18. Andy Kemp; 19. Worth Redd.
Late Model No.2 (50 laps): 1. Chris Hopkins; 2. Shayne Lockhart; 3. Russ Ellis; 4. Wayne Patterson; 5. Roy Hendrick; 6. J. B. Poates; 7. Brad Davis; 8. Wayne McGee; 9. Andy Kemp; 10. Alan Purser; 11. David Mooney; 12. Doug Godsey; 13. Brandon Hendrick; 14. Greg Fernandez; 15. Chris Dodson; 16. Rob Jenkins; 17. Worth Redd; 18. Shannon Marano.
Grand Stock (30 laps): 1. Donnie Newman; 2. Jamie Neely; 3. Todd Ruggles; 4. Daniel Shelton; 5. Bradley Vaught; 6. Brian Myslivy; 7. Joey Bryant; 8. Randy Adams; 9. Chris Hott; 10. Wayne Cole; 11. Mike Cole; 12. Cory Willoughby; 13. Jason Beck; 14. Keith Mackta; 15. Bill Nixon; 16. Mark Simpson; 17. Fred Key; 18. Robert Lipford.
Street Stock (50 laps): 1. Mike Ganoe; 2. Kevin Lee; 3. Brian Smith; 4. Timothy Tiblis; 5. Kevin Brown; 6. Alex Ayers; 7. Don Crate; 8. Michael Sutphin; 9. John Foster; 10. Melvin Brown; 11. Wayne Greene; 12. Larry Lamb; 13. Nicholas Hemesath; 14. Travis Nicely; 15. Robbie Groome; 16. Jeff Arnett; 17. James Groome; 18. O.K. Wilson; 19. Ricky Statler; 20. Patrick Schenuk; 21. Josh Roberts; 22. Tim Smith; 23. James Smith; 24. Dale Gravitt; 25. Chris Bryant; 26. Bobby Corbitt; 27. Herbert LaRue; 28. Mike Harris; 29. Sean Cook; 30. B.K. Wilson; 31. Justin Dunkum; 32. Dustin Carino; 33. Brad Diggs; 34. Zack Martin; 35. Ethan Ayers.
U-Car (25 laps): 1. Lauren Edgerton; 2. Renno Marchetti IV; 3. Daniel Thomas; 4. Lindsay Bryant; 5. Charlie Simmons; 6. Frank Silva; 7. Mike Shiflett; 8. Joshua Thomas; 9. Billy Enroughty; 10. Steve Thomas; 11. Chris Farmer; 12. George Dickson; 13. George Beil; 14. Jody Young; 15. Lee Brandbury; 16. Mike Chapman; 17. Corey Lawrence; 18. Mark Richards; 19. Damon Fender; 20. Tabitha Lipford; DQ: Michael Hall.