Bill Sudduth (41) will try for his seventh feature win of the season Saturday at Columbus Speedway. Photo by: David Miller/Special to The Dispatch
October 20, 2017 11:09:38 AM
Bill Sudduth has had more successful seasons.
Sudduth has won four track championships since he began racing in 1984, all of which came in some incarnation of Pro-Street/Factory Stock racing. One year, Sudduth won 19-straight feature races.
But this season has been one for the books, as Sudduth won two races at Magnolia Motor Speedway and finished third in track points. He also has won four races at Columbus Speedway. He will try for his seventh win of the season at the first Street/Pure Stock Nationals on Saturday night. Drivers will compete for a $1,500 top prize. All other divisions will run as usual in the last points race of the season. The seldom-run Hotshot Class also will be featured.
As of Thursday, drivers from five states had pre-entered the Factory Stock feature.
Sudduth's "That Little Store Somewhere/King Motors" No. 41 likely will have the largest contingent of Factory Stocks supporters, including his nieces and nephews, who've cheered for him through the years, and his "grand" nieces and nephews.
"We've spoiled them over the years and now they're spoiling 'Uncle Bill,'" said Brenda, Bill's wife and first race fan.
In the early days, when money was leaner and resources were fewer, Bill and Brenda shared a car with five drivers who took turns racing it each weekend.
"When we first went on our own, we'd race Friday at Columbus, then at Kennedy, Alabama, on Saturday, and if we didn't do good, we ate hot dogs all week long," Brenda said. "We were that dedicated to racing each weekend."
Brenda didn't follow racing before she met Bill, who developed an interest in racing through high school classmate, Mark Stokes, younger brother of Johnny Stokes, current owner of Magnolia Motor Speedway and former promoter at Columbus.
"I told Johnny I'd kill him for getting Bill into racing," Brenda said. "But the more I saw Bill enjoy it, the better I saw him do each week, the more I wanted to support him. I fell in love with racing and how much of a family it is out there."
Brenda's top memory of Bill's racing career was during the first James King Memorial race at Columbus. Bill started in the back of the pack, got into it with another car, rolled, and didn't finish the race. He started in the rear the next night and won.
"The strange thing was the control arms were on the wrong sides," Brenda said. "They took the car to have it straightened out and fixed after race and that's when they noticed."
Drivers encouraged to stand for anthem
Standing at attention for the National Anthem is standard practice at Columbus Speedway.
Promoter Rod Taylor wants to keep it that way.
Taylor, through a statement released Thursday via Columbus Speedway's Facebook page, encouraged all drivers to "please bring an American Flag (American flag emoji) to show your support for our Freedom and our Country As WE WILL STAND FOR THE NATIONAL ANTHEM."
"If you want to take a KNEE then STAY AT THE HOUSE," Taylor said in the statement.
When reached Thursday night, Taylor didn't say if he knew of any planned demonstrations similar to the ones by NFL players before games designed to bring awareness to police treatment of African-Americans.
It's unclear if there will be any consequences for drivers who don't stand for the National Anthem on Saturday night.
"Race fans and racers are a family," Taylor said when reached Thursday night. "We all kneel at the cross and stand for our flag, freedom, and country!!!!"
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