August 8, 2014 12:05:41 PM
Chad McCool is 20 points out of first place in the Super Late Model points standings at Magnolia Speedway. He hasn't won a Super Late race this season -- or ever at the track -- but that isn't slowing his march for a points title.
It didn't slow the Millport, Alabama, native much last year, either, when he finished second in track points.
McCool is pleased with his ability to log top-five and top-10 finishes, as the weekly purses go right back into his race car and allow him to race every week. But Saturday, during a weekly show and fan appreciation night at Magnolia Motor Speedway, McCool hopes to make a splash with a new, more powerful motor than he's run the past five years.
"I've worked on it all week," said McCool, who'll also run the NeSmith Late Model race at Magnolia. "There's a basic setup, but then I'll have to start from there to figure out how that translates to the track."
McCool said the hot laps portion of the night can be used to test the effectiveness of the new setup, but there is a big difference in the track temperature and the racing surface when the sun sets and the feature starts. He anticipates using the first five laps of the feature to get a feel for how the car will run.
"Ninety percent of the time, the surface is tacky during hot laps and slicked up by the feature," McCool said. "You can take a car that's not exactly right and get through hot laps, but during the feature you'll have to race a lot more cautious. I'd rather lose a few places than tear a car up. When you start breaking shocks and J-bars, it costs way too much to race like that."
Kosciusko native Jamie Tollison is in a similar position. Tollison leads the Super Late Models points over McCool and is looking for his first win of the season. Tollison has won three races at Magnolia, but none this season. Like McCool, he faces a familiar hurdle to wining: top-notch competition. Mississippi State Championship Challenge Series drivers Chad Thrash and Rick Rickman who, despite sitting eighth and ninth in track points, are locks for top-five finishes, at worst, when they show up to the track.
"It's hard to point out any two or three drivers who put up the most challenge," Tollison said. "It's more like six or so in a weekly show who are going to be really tough to beat. We just have to keep our good luck going and maybe we'll break through."
n Fan Appreciation Night at Magnolia: Each year, Magnolia Speedway ramps up the fanfare and turns up the fun for children and their families. On Saturday, new bicycles and $100 chicken wing-eating contest highlight the fanfare.
Admission is $5, and Buffalo Wild Wings will sponsor the wing-eating contest. There's no entry fee for the contest. Ten names will be drawn from a bucket and those 10 will participate in the contest.
Stokes Express Lube and Cattleman's Steak and Fish bought one girls bike and one boys bike to be awarded to the winners of the children's bicycle race, which will be from the beginning to the end of a straightaway. Track Manager Johnny Stokes said the bike race has had up to 200 children participate in past years.
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