Clarksville,TN. (March 12) – Polesitter Eric Turner of Springfield, MO., led all 30 laps at Clarksville Speedway to win the first round of the two-night Tuckassee Toilet Bowl Classic. Turner pocketed $3,000 in capturing the season opener on the MARS DIRTcar Series and his fourth career tour triumph.
Outside front-row starter Gary Christian, a 16 year old driver from Broken Bow, OK., ran second most of the way, regaining the spot of the final lap when sixth-starting Brian Shirley of Chatham, IL., slipped up in a last-ditch effort to overtake Turner in turn three.
Shirley settled for third with 11th-starting Charles Zimmerman of Cunningham, TN., rallying late in the race to finish fourth. Fast qualifier Steven Ashby, also of Cunningham, rounded out the top five.
Five-time and reigning MARS champion Terry Phillips of Springfield, MO., ran third the first half of the race, but he tangled with Duane Chamberlain of Richmond, IN., entering turn one on the 20th lap, and the resulting damage knocked him from contention. Chamberlain faded late to finish sixth.
(1) Eric Turner, (2) Gary Christian, (3) Brian Shirley, (4) Charles Zimmerman, (5) Steven Ashby, (6) Duane Chamberlain, (7) Jeff Walston, (8) Kevin Weaver, (9) Chuck Proctor, (10) Wendell Wallace, (11) Justin Rattliff, (12) Sam Epling, (13) Terry Phillips, (14) Rylan Long, (15) Ryan Unzicker, (16) Steve Casebolt, (17) Jason McBride, (18) Jeremy Payne, (19) Tony Morris, (20) Dennis Erb Jr., (21) Jason Riggs, (22) Darrell Mooneyham, (23) Levi Ashby, (24) Terry English.
Fast qualifier (among 35 cars): S. Ashby, 13.397
Heat race winners: Turner, Christian, Chamberlain, Phillips.
Consolation winners: English, Unzicker
Provisional starters: Mooneyham, L. Ashby, Weaver, Long
Story from Todd Turner, Dirt on Dirt chief writer, www.dirtondirt.com