The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

May 18, 2013

Dalton contending for seventh title

By Anvil Welch
Globe Sports Writer

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Jackie Dalton again is contending for modified supremacy at Springfield Raceway.

It should if that sentence reads familiar.

Carthage’s Dalton is seeking his seventh modified points championship  in eight years at the quarter-mile dirt track.

Dalton has begun this weather-plagued season with a first and second at Springfield. He finished runner-up to Springfield’s Michael Maggard last week in the A feature and bested Willard’s Robbie Bryant on April 20.

Early points leaders entering today’s 7 p.m. show are Dalton (195), Bryant (174), Maggard (172), Oronogo’s Bobby Pearish (163) and Pierce City’s Brian Green (152).

“We’ve had ups and downs,” Dalton described his season on Friday.

But later he softened a bit: “It’s gone OK.”

Dalton pointed out the mechanical problems and bad luck that has been a part of the season.

But it’s easy to see why Dalton settled on the “OK” tag. He’s defending champion in the modified class at the Monett Speedway and already has an A feature win this season at that 3/8-mile clay track.

Dalton, 40, a 1992 graduate of Sarcoxie High School, started racing competitively at 21. His car number is 21.

“I was 21 when I bought my first race car,” Dalton explained with a laugh. “I believe I started in the bomber class at Monett and also at Joplin 66 Speedway when it was running.”

Webb City’s Mitch Keeter beat Dalton 261-241 in 2010 to reign at Springfield. That was fitting, perhaps, because Dalton had nosed out Keeter by 5 points in 2009.

Dalton considers himself fortunate that most of the time he doesn’t lack help in the pits.

“Two to 10 regularly show up,” he said with another laugh.

He rattled off names Wade Haws, Darrell Jackson, Jordan McRoberts and Jeremy Swarens.

“Dad (Jerry), if I need him, will make it,” Dalton said. “I spend a lot of time in my shop working during the week to have the car ready.”

Leading sponsors include Carthage Garrison Performance & Automotive, Carthage Lock & Key, Joplin Auto Xpress and Joplin Farmers Insurance (Lacey Hood) and Monett Doug’s Pro Lube.

Notes: Tonight’s program is billed “Scout Night” with no charge for boys and girls in uniform. ... Admission prices are $12 and $5 (ages 6-12). A pit pass is $25. ... Pit gates open at 3:30 p.m. and grandstand gates at 5. Hot laps will start at approximately 6.