By Bill W, Brandon Anderson photo
June 9, 2010 – Billy Alley used last Saturday as a tune-up for this weekend’s Eagle Nationals at Eagle Raceway in Nebraska. After starting the night in the back of the pack, he charged from 13th to a 3rd place finish. This weekend’s event will include the Lucas Oil ASCS National Series, so the Lincoln, Nebraska driver will have to find some of the magic he won a championship with at Eagle in 2002.
The heavy 1/3 mile oval yielded little passing in the heat last Saturday night. “The point average deal put us in the back, and it was really heavy,” says Billy, who was making his second appearance of the year at Eagle. “A guy can pass when it’s heavy, but you have to be perfect, and we were really tight. It was kind of ‘follow the leader’.”
The seventh place run set him up in row seven for the main event. “We had to start 13th there, and the track slickened up to where you could race,” says Billy. “I think we’re getting better on the short tracks, but we haven’t been racing much. We’ve done best on the big tracks the last few years, and we get back on these bullrings and it’s a different type of racing.”
Billy took to the surface and surged to a third place finish. “We were pretty good at the end of that feature, and I started to get that old feel back,” he says. “You need to drive a certain way, and you can’t be timid as a driver. That’s how I was in the heat race. We freed it up in the feature, and I was more comfortable. I just needed a little more racecar.”
It was a good feeling to get a solid run in before this weekend. “It was nice to be good there again and be running up front,” says Billy. “If things went our way, we could have had a shot at it. The local guys have been running there a long time, and it’s not like they’re slow.”
Although he knows his work is cut out for him, Billy is thankful for the opportunity at a big purse with a short tow. “We got better every time we hit the track, and hopefully, this weekend we can build on that,” he says. “It’s nice to have a show that big that pays that good close to home.”
Over Memorial Day weekend, he posted a pair of solid finishes with the ASCS-Midwest series. At I-80 Speedway near Greenwood, Nebraska, he was sixth. “At I-80 we were really good in the heat, but we backed up a bit in the feature,” says Billy. “We screwed the car up. We started up front and drove straight to third, but backed it up after that.”
The opposite was true at Junction Motor Speedway near McCool Junction, Nebraska. Billy struggled in the heat, but drove from 13th to fifth in the feature. “We didn’t draw well, but we weren’t good in the heat either,” he says. “We struggled to be fast early, but we were really good in the feature. If we started up front, I think we would have had something.”
On the Web
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Vintage Ric Flair Clip of the Week!
Racing needs the promotion and showmanship of the “Nature Boy”! Don’t count out J.R. Ewing, Ric Flair or Billy Alley at Eagle…Diamonds are forever…and so is Ric Flair…WOOO!
Down the Alley
Russ Hape asks: What’s the key to being fast at Eagle?
Billy answers: Eagle is a little like Huset’s (South Dakota). You have to get right up on the fence to get comfortable. You carry a lot of momentum there. The walls around it are a good guidance point, but you have to be comfortable to run up there fast.
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Billy enters the weekend with nine career wins at the Eagle Raceway, where he won the track championship and Rookie of the Year in 2002. He also won the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame 360 Rookie of the Year that season. His first ever win at Eagle on September 1, 2001 came ahead of Dennis Parker, Regan Kitchen, Mark Finnell and Terry Holliman.
“Tornado Alley” is an up close look at the past, present and future of 2006 Knoxville Raceway track champion, Billy Alley. To receive “Tornado Alley”, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Alley” in the subject line.
Billy would like to thank Buss Excavating, Bolz Farms, Schmit Automotive, Aeroquip Performance Products, K&N Filters, Arrow Ambulance Remounts, Stepping Stone Genetics, Awesome Racewear, Hoosier Tire, McLain Motorsports, The Buckles Brothers, F&K Rod Ends, “High Roller” the Pig Farmer, Harris Decals, Central Body Shop, Design & Fabrication Solutions, Kadavy Fabrication and Speedway Motors.