By Anvil Welch
Globe Sports Writer
Randy Mooneyham, who promotes and owns the Monett Speedway, said Thursday he wouldn’t be surprised if 100 race cars make tonight’s opening program.
Stock car racing on Friday night at the Monett Speedway?
“We did it about 10 years ago (changing from Sunday nights at Monett to Friday),” Mooneyham said. “I thought it went OK at that time. We did it for just a year, however, because I picked up (promoting) the tracks at Bolivar and Lebanon (I-44). We went back to Sunday nights at Monett because Bolivar had been on Friday nights.”
Racing starts at 7:30 tonight with gates opening at 5:30 at the 3⁄8-mile clay track. The starting time will be 8 with the arrival of warmer weather, Mooneyham said.
“We’re optimistic,” Mooneyham said. “I’m confident our (spectator) attendance will improve. The No. 1 reason, I believe, will be the bottom line. People get paid on Friday.”
Another reason, Mooneyham said, is that fans won’t have that frequent struggle of arriving home late from the races and crawling out of bed for work on Monday morning.
Classes tonight wlll be late model, modified, factory stock, Legends Cars, bomber and pro-4.
“We’ve heard car counts are up for Legends Cars and late models,” Mooneyham said.
Admission prices again are $12 and $5 (ages 12-15). There is no charge for 11-under. A pit pass is $25.
“I’m excited, too, about the weather,” Mooneyham said. “It’s supposed to be great.”
There are exceptions to Friday night, Mooneyham said, with the annual Tony Roper Memorial on May 26, a Fourth of July special on July 3 and the Four-State Dirt Track Championships on Sept. 1.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Budweiser will present the opener on April 20 at the quarter-mile dirt track with ASCS Warrior and Sooner 360 winged sprint cars and support classes.
The chase for the points championship will start April 27 with USRA modified, USRA B modified, Legends, Midwest Modz, Legends Young Lions, street stock and pure stock.
The original opener — the second March Madness featuring the MARS late model class — was scheduled for late March but canceled because of a scheduling conflict.
Ryan Gustin triumphs
HUMBOLDT, Kan. — Gustin, Marshalltown, Iowa, earned $10,000 by claiming the 100-lap A feature in the USMTS King of America III Modified Nationals at the Humboldt Speedway on March 30.
Gustin, 22, bested Chris Brown, Spring, Texas, by a car length.
Springfield drivers Jeremy Payne and Terry Phillips finished third and fourth, respectively. Zack VanderBeek, New Sharon, Iowa, was fifth.
Brown pocketed $6,000, Payne $4,000, Phillips $2,700 and VanderBeek $2,200.
Gustin led the final 75 laps at the quarter-mile dirt track. Pole sitter Phillips led the first 25.
Jason Hughes ($1,500), Watts, Okla., and Al Purkey ($1,200), Coffeyville, Kan., were seventh and 10th.
Nevada’s John Sheets earned $700 by placing 20th in the B main. Carthage’s Jackie Dalton and Diamond’s Jim Body netted $500 apiece for their efforts in the C main.