Phillips Nails O'Reilly MARS Father's Day Special at Tri-City;
Dixon three-wheels to standing ovation!
By Steve Birmingham
June 19, 2004; Granite City, IL - Terry Phillips showed his heritage Sunday by obliterating a stout O'Reilly Mid America Racing Series field and winning the 30-lap Father's Day Special at Tri-City Speedway.
The son of Springfield, Missouri Late Model legend Larry Phillips, Terry waged a full-on war with Duke Whiseant through much of the green to checker race. Whiseant and pole-sitter Brandon McCormick sailed side by side in to turen one to start the battle but by the time Whiseant flew down the backstretch David Gibson and McCormick pulled alongside to make it three-wide for the lead. Phillps quickly moved from his second row spot to settle in third for only three laps before disposing of Gibson and harrasing the leader.
Phillips got past on the backstretch on lap eight and led one circuit before Whiseant repassed him on the backstretch. The two roared out of turn four and deadlocked at the line for the lead They repeated the effort the next time by but Whiseant finally pushed ahead and for the next seven rounds weaved through lapped traffic to fend off Phillips. With 11 to go Phillips blew Whiseant into the weds down the backstraight and breezed to the win.
"This was awesome," Phillips said in Victory Lane."I haven't been here in three or four years, but it's one of my favorite tracks. We used to come here a lot, to this big old, fast Granite City. I passed him (Whiseant) and I kept hearing him out there, his car was pretty good, but I kept hitting these holes out there and it was messing me up, so I just slowed down and started smoothing up and it was time to go."
Rounding out the top five were Jeff Taylor, Whiseant, Gibson and Wendell Wallace. Whiseant, Phillips and Billy Faust won the qualifying heats with Steve Rushin winning the Semi.
If Washington Missouri's Ed Dixon isn't everyone's hero, then there are no heroes. Dixon was squeezed into the front stretch fence as he and Rushin pounded into turn one to start the first qualifier. The jolt sheared off everything onthe left front, shoving the wheel, tire and remaining suspension into the firewall. No yellow emerged, and even though Dixon fell back three spots while gathering himself up, he stood on pedal and three-wheeled it for the next nine laps. Not as a backmarker though, as he ran down the leaders and raored home third. Once he made it to the scales he received the first of many standing ovations from the crowd.
In the companion Sportsman feature, Ron Heaton dashed across the line ahead of Dennis Wernle and Steve Maisel. Terry Chester and Maisel won the heats.
Dylan sharp made his first career appearance at Tri-City and mopped up the Modified field, winning by several lengths over Tom Seets, Sr., and John Stanton. Bobby Martintoni and Dean Vickers won the qualifiers.