"If you build it, they will come." The famous line from the movie "Field of Dreams" can describe the 602 Late Model division at Magnolia Motor Speedway, only in reverse; drivers hope if they show up consistently, the track will add the division on a full-time basis.
It's difficult to fathom the lengths a team has to go to win a championship when it has to compete against 343 others from across the country. But Eric Dubose, Joe Caruso, Thomas Wilson, and their East Coast Sox Diamond 16-and-under baseball team didn't focus on the enormity of the challenge they faced earlier this month.
Riley Hickman avoided "the big one" and clinched his second Southern All-Stars Super Late Model win of the season Saturday at Magnolia Motor Speedway. Hickman narrowly missed a lap seven pileup that claimed then-leader Wendell Wallace and two others, including eventual race runner-up Jack Sullivan, who said his spoiler was knocked off and his quarter panel was knocked in because of the wreck.
Grant Pearl had grown tired of second place. The Anniston, Alabama, native and NeSmith Crate Late Models regular had finished second three times in as many races entering action Saturday night, including a second-place finish to Evan Ellis two weeks ago at Magnolia Motor Speedway.
At the age of 6, Terry Taylor could barely see over the windshield of his junior dragster. "I had to sit on a Hulk Hogan wrestling dummy," Taylor said, "but we made it work."
Lee Ray, much like the rest of the Street Stocks drivers in the state of Mississippi, chased 15-year-old Spencer Hughes through the first half of the season. The queue behind Hughes, who has won 11 races this season, had a handful of familiar names, like Ray and Justin McRee. Hughes and McRee had dominated Magnolia Motor Speedway entering last weekend's feature, winning all seven races at the track this season.
Rick Rickman had been waiting for weeks for a bounce to go his way. Whether it was a flat tire that ruined a race in which he was leading or a random part coming loose on his No. 86 Advanced Logistics Super Late Model car, Rickman and his team needed a morale boost entering the Comp Cams feature Sunday at Magnolia Motor Speedway.
Spencer Hughes' runner-up finish to Ronald Dunn at the Clash at Magnolia Motor Speedway proved the 15-year-old Meridian native isn't invincible at the venue. Until the June 18 race, Hughes had won four-straight Street Stocks races at The MAG. Every race at the track this year had been won by Hughes or Dunn. Hughes hasn't finished outside the top three at Magnolia this season.
STARKVILLE -- When sitting in a recruit's house, Houston Franks goes over what the Mississippi State track and field program has to offer. Franks talks about the strength of the school's facilities and the program's coaching staff as well as its success in the Southeastern Conference and at NCAA championship meets. In track and field, though, student-athletes also are concerned about the Olympics.
PHILADELPHIA -- Ben Simmons was signing 76ers jerseys and eating cheesesteaks before he was even drafted.
Darrell Lanigan hadn't raced at Magnolia Motor Speedway in nearly 10 years. There was hardly an adjustment period Saturday for the former World of Outlaws champion and driver of the No. 15 Georgia Boots Super Late Model car. Lanigan started sixth in the Country Pleasin' Clash at The MAG and sprung past Jimmy Owens on lap 49 to win the Lucas Oil Dirt Late Model race and a $12,000 prize.
Qualify well, make smart decisions, and relax. Sounds easy enough for the Super Late Model drivers hoping to make the Country Pleasin' Sausage Clash at the MAG, which begins tonight with qualifying and heat races that will lead up to a full-slate of feature races Saturday. The Clash is highlighted by a 100-lap Lucas Oil Super Late Model race, an opportunity to win a portion of largest purse of the year -- $20,000 to the winner and more than $85,000 in total payouts -- and a chance for the local guys to show they can hang with the full-time racers.
PHILADELPHIA -- Standout defensive tackle Fletcher Cox agreed Monday to a six-year contract with the Philadelphia Eagles that could earn him nine figures. The 2012 first-round draft pick from Mississippi State has been a starter since midway in his rookie season. One of the NFL's most versatile defensive linemen, he has 308 tackles and 22 sacks in his four pro seasons.
Heath Beard doesn't race a Camaro in Street Stocks races anymore, but he's the guy to call if anyone wants to know how to set up one for a race. "The other day someone called (Street Stocks racer) Lee Ray and said, 'Can you help me figure out this Camaro?' " Beard said. "Lee said, 'Nope, you need to call Heath Beard.' "
As racers from across the Golden Triangle and bordering states ate steaks and toasted to another season at Magnolia Motor Speedway, the Crate Late Model drivers were treated to an extra special dessert.
Scott Dedwylder's early dominance in the NeSmith Late Model Touring Series continued Sunday night with a $2,000 win at Magnolia Motor Speedway. The Vossburg native has led or been in second place in the NeSmith points race each week of the season. After starting sixth, Dedwylder rode a harder tire compound and an unfamiliar setup to the win. He finished second at Whynot Motorsports Park in Meridian a night earlier in a 50-lap NeSmith Touring race.
Brian Rickman remembers a time when competing in four races in four days was common.
Harold Rich is an "old-school" crappie angler.
Imagine going 60 mph on the water and coming to a stop.
Patience has been a theme of Craig Barham's racing career since he first climbed into a Street Stock car in 2001. From joking with friend Scott Stripling before races to biding his time to set up numerous passes over the years, Barham always has taken a slow and steady approach to racing. These days, each week is an exercise in patience.
1. Pickens Academy's White signs with Bevill State C.C. HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
2. Late scuffle part of foul-filled game COLLEGE SPORTS
3. Coaches confident about Jones at Starkville HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
4. MSU stays close with No. 5 Kentucky COLLEGE SPORTS
5. Futral's big night lifts Starkville Academy past Heritage Academy HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS