Fuselier Reigns at Demolition Derby; Grill, Thompson, McDonald Highlight Alabama Sweep of Local Featuresadmin
Fuselier Reigns at Demolition Derby; Grill, Thompson, McDonald Highlight Alabama Sweep of Local Features
By Chuck Corder
Lee Fuselier and Justin Babb went at each other like two heavyweight boxers in the twilight of their careers.
They traded punishing blow after punishing blow in the center of the ring. Each punch was calculated, measured and summoned up all their energy. But instead of boxing gloves, Fuselier and Babb were going toe-to-toe with their junkyard clunkers Friday night during Five Flags Speedway’s annual Demolition Derby.
After their 11 competitors fell by the wayside, the two men waged a lengthy battle. Fuselier, from Cantonment, earned the $1,500 prize for being the last man standing when Babb waved his hands in surrender following one final brutal hit that Fuselier delivered.
Babb is a past winner of the Demo Derby, capturing titles in 2016 and 2018.
“I can’t believe that other car ran so long. I hit it so hard, I think I got a sore neck already. And, I’m not sure (the $1,500) can make me feel better,” Fuselier joked.
Faith Chapel Outlaws
Both in caliber and size the Faith Chapel Outlaws that invaded Five Flags Speedway on Friday resembled a Snowball Derby field.
Fittingly, the outcome of the 50-lap feature had a Snowball Derby feel to it.
Augie Grill – the most decorated driver in Derby history with eight titles in three classes – led flag-to-flag driving for friends and Grand American Race Cars clients John Heil and Ron Smith, earning and a slick $2,500 for the win.
“It’s a pretty neat deal. They asked me a couple times, and I couldn’t do it for whatever reason,” Grill explained. “I didn’t have anything going on tonight. It’s nice to extend the GARC brand. Hats off to Joe Bethea. That’s the best he has been out here.”
Grill, who won a Modifieds of Mayhem feature earlier this summer, topped runner-up Joe Bethea Jr., Cantonment’s Bubba Winslow in third, and 19 of the southeast’s top Outlaws drivers .
Pensacola’s Kody Brusso, who finished fourth, was tops in qualifying (17.542 seconds) in her new Curt Britt-designed Parks and Long Healthcare Construction Outlaws car. Unfortunately, lady luck wasn’t on Brusso’s side as her die roll came up with a “3.”
Bethea got inside of Grill in the opening 10 laps, but his sharp-looking No. 33 couldn’t muster the drive-off to squeeze beyond Grill’s nose for good.
Grill quickly opened up a healthy lead, shrugged off one caution and never looked back.
“When we started race, it got single-file behind me real quick,” Grill said. “I thought about trying to save a little bit for the end, but then Joe was right there on my bumper with everybody else. I didn’t wanna end up fifth or sixth. That would’ve been hard to get by. So we stayed outside and had good enough run to clear (Bethea).”
WCIparts.com Pro Trucks
Barely 14, Grant Thompson has endured an emotional roller coaster the last month.
First, exciting news broke that he would be piloting Augie Grill’s famed No. 112 Pro Late Model at next Friday’s Allen Turner Hyundai PLM Twin 75s at Five Flags Speedway. Then, last week his father sustained multiple injuries, including a ruptured spleen, after an accident occurred while John Thompson was working on his son’s truck.
On Friday at Pensacola’s high banks, the teenage sensation certainly made his recovering dad proud by claiming his third WCIparts.com Pro Trucks 30-lap feature victory of the season.
“He was working on truck, and it fell on top of him,” Grant Thompson said, choking back tears. “This one’s for him.”
After a week of sorrow, Grant Thompson was all smiles Friday at the famed half-mile asphalt oval.
Thompson set a new track record in qualifying (18.234 seconds), topping the previous mark by a full second. He stayed on cloud-nine after rolling a “1” to remain on the pole. Thompson punctuated his evening of dominance by leading all 30 laps.
Steve Davis was runner-up and Pensacola’s Logan Boyett rounded out the podium.
“I don’t know how we did it,” an exhausted Thompson said in Victory Lane. “We spent hours working on this truck. I’m so happy to be here. I feel like I’ve been chasing Steven Davis all year. He’s definitely someone that you get super excited about when you beat him.”
Lloyd’s Glass Pure Stocks
Daryl McDonald III had enjoyed a breakout season coming into Friday night at Five Flags Speedway.
But, despite staying on top of the Lloyd’s Glass Pure Stocks points standings, it had been nearly two months since the teenage from Theodore, Ala., had celebrated in Victory Lane.
McDonald, “D3” affectionately, ended his mini-drought during a commanding performance in a 30-lap Lloyd’s Glass Pure Stocks feature Friday. McDonald won for the fourth time this year and extended his points lead against fast qualifier Jerry Goff, who finished runner-up Friday for the third time this season.
Pensacola’s Caleb Burkett rounded out the podium for the fourth time this season.
“That was great racing there,” said McDonald, who last won in late June. “We found some stuff on the car and fixed it. I can’t thank my crew enough for getting me here today.”