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|Hundreds attend races, donate school supplies|
"ULM Night" at the Monroe Motor Speedway was an exciting night of racing as well as large showing of support for the ULM football team on Saturday night.
Local students, faculty and fans were admitted to the races free on Saturday and the Warhawk faithful did not disappoint event organizers.
ULM coaches and football team members came out to sign autographs and hand out football schedules as another stop on their campaign to raise season ticket sales for the 2009 football season.
Children also got a chance to greet Ace, the Warhawk mascot. Ace took pictures with the kids and rode around in his AceMobile — a staple at all ULM home games.
Head football coach Charlie Weatherbie served as grand marshal for the evening of racing action.
To add a different flavor to the night's festivities, radio station Sunny 98.1 FM and Ouachita Valley Federal Credit Union were there to gather school supplies to donate to the needy. The effort was part of the 5th Annual Sunny School Supply Drive going on all across Ouachita Parish.
Cracker Barrel Convenience Store was one of the main sponsors of the evening and Late Model Cars, Modified cars, Sports Cars, and Compacts as well as Bandoleros were on the race track.
Before the races began, fans were allowed on the track for autographs from the drivers.
Kristen Oden, a teacher at West Monroe High School, got the crowd excited with a rousing rendition of The National Anthem.
Action began as the Bandits started the full night of racing with a spirited trip around the track. W10 Sabrina Weems was out for a bit of time but he was ready to go on this night. No. 5 Brandon Eads, followed by No. 9 Landon O'Neal, No. 8 Hunter Gibson, No. 24 John Byars, and No. W10 Sabrina Weems finished the race. The No, 8 car, driven by Gibson was disqualified, allowing everyone to move up one spot.
Young Guns were next on the track with some classic bumper-to-bumper racing. No. 197 Jacob Nixon, No. 7 Rachael Brown, and No. 96 Ethan McMillon were there at the finish. Nixon took the checkered flag just ahead of of Brown.
The Lightning Legends came flying out to the track and had a good race. No. 21 Gus Campbell flew into the infield after a blown tire caused him to spin out. No. 9 Ronny Freeland also had car trouble and went into the infield.
The Thunderstocks rolled out next and Kenny Patton maintained a healthy lead through the race. A victorious Patton was followed by No. 52 Kevin Hogard, No. 53 Keith Hogard, No. 14 Chip Thompson, and No. 38 Jason Soignier.
The Modified Sports Cars were next. No. 88 Jimmy Whitlock was dialed into the track and took the checkered flag. No. 50l Jamie LaPraririe and No. 8 Brandon Kent went back and forth for the second spot. But when the race ended it was Kent over LaPraririe to finish second.
Out next were the Super Compacts and No. 99 William Lawrence took the race in convincing fashion.
No. 4 Rodney Ates charged late but lost a tire, causing him to fall back in the pack.
As they came across the finish line it was Lawrence followed by No. X1 Jerry McMaster, No. 05 Tiffany Hemphill, No. B4 Ron Scott, and No. 6 Shane Vocker.
The Modifieds were next on the ticket, and finished with a clean and accident-free race. As the checkered flag fell is was No. H5 Nicholas Hodge, No. 18 Jerry Jones, No. 6 Stevie Howard, No. c24 David Colvin, and No. 21 Timmy Colvin.
The NASCAR All-American Late Models were one of the featured 40 lap races of the evening. C28 Kenny Merchant was strong and led the way. 15 Carlton Traweek and 87 Kevin Nixon were trailing just behind Merchant, but Nixon bumped past Traweek to finish second, with Traweek ending third. No. 23 Darin Patrick, No. 46 Nick Glaze finished out the pack across the finish line.
The night ended with the Compacts racing in a heated affair at the front. It was pretty much 55 Dalton Smith and 007 Dana Simmons maintaining the first and second place positions. As Dalton won, it was No. 007 Dana Simmons, No. X3 Bubba Gowen, No. 5T Austin Trichell, and No. X2 Scott Betz finishing the race.
Gates open at 4 p.m. this Saturday with races beginning at 7 p.m.