September 21, 2011 9:20:00 AM
The waiting is almost over.
In a little more than 24 hours the 22nd Annual Magnolia State 100 will kick off at Columbus Speedway.
The event, which will begin Thursday and run through Saturday, will feature the top Super Late Model drivers in the region and in the nation. The competitors will battle for a record purse, including a $20,011 winner's share of more than $70,000 in Super Late Model purse money for the 100-lap affair.
Last year's event drew almost 200 race teams, including more than 60 Super Late Models to Columbus Speedway plus a huge crowd.
Two-time and defending champion Mike Marlar, of Winfield, Tenn., headlines a list of winners in Mississippi's biggest short track event. The list also includes Shane Clanton, Chris Wall, Don O'Neal, Anthony Rushing, Wendell Wallace, Ronnie Johnson, Terry English, Rex Richey, Johnny Virden, and seven-time champion "Mr. Smooth" Billy Moyer.
At least five former champions are expected to be in action this weekend, including Marlar, Moyer, Wall, Wallace, and Clanton.
A strong field of national, regional, and local talent representing at least nine states will join the former champions. The field will include: Bub McCool, Ronny Lee Hollingsworth, Ray Moore, Clint Smith, Jack Sullivan, David Breazeale, Billy Moyer Jr., Klint Byars, Morgan Bagley, Rick Rickman, Dane Dacus, Jason Cliburn, Tony Knowles, Ty Dillon, Eric Cooley, Rodney Wing, Timothy Culp, Kyle Beard, Matt Johnson, Brian Rickman, Scott Creel, Brooks Strength, Chad Thrash, Jamie Elam, and many more.
Drivers will compete in Pepsi Pole Qualifying on Friday night.
Saturday night's lineup features 140 laps of Super Late Model racing action. The event employs a unique format, as those competitors who didn't make the $20,011-to-win, main event through heat races Friday night get two chances to get make the 26-car starting field. Drivers unable to transfer through one of the three frantic 10-lap B-mains will have a final opportunity to make the big show in the 10-lap Last Chance Dash.
From there, the $20,011-to-win/$1,000-to-start, 100-lap battle royal will take place at "The Bullring."
A field of Street Stocks will compete for $1,000-to-win/$100-to-start Magnolia State Street Stock Championship. Crates Late Models will compete for a record $2,500-to-win/$150-to-start prize for the Magnolia State Crate Late Model Championship that should draw a huge field.
In addition, the Open Wheel Modified division has been added back to the program and will battle in a $2,000-to-win/$125-to-start event.
Coolers and lawn chairs are always welcome. Action at the track can be heard on 88.1 FM.
Drivers please note that transponders and Raceceivers are required for all divisions. Transponders and Raceceivers will be available for rental at the track.
For more information, call the Columbus Speedway event hotline at 662-241-5004, Dewitt Singleton at 601-917-11500, or Ben Shelton at 901-335-3037. Information about Columbus Speedway and the Magnolia State 100 can be found at www.columbusspeedway.net.
1. Bulldogs land commitment from McLaurin at Collins LOCAL SPORTS