KALWASINSKI: Chicago Chips


A family vacation in North Carolina provided the opportunity to visit South Carolina’s Myrtle Beach Speedway last week for the track’s weekly Thursday night competition. Four classes of NASCAR-sanctioned racing were in action, highlighted by the Whelen All-American Late Models.

Sam Yarbrough is joined by Miss Myrtle Beach Speedway Deava Harrelson after Yarbrough won the NASCAR Whelen All-American Late Model feature at the South Carolina speedway on June 13. (Stan Kalwasinski Photo)

Sam Yarbrough dominated the 40-lap late model headliner, starting front row pole and leading from start to finish to claim his third win of the season. The 29-year-old Yarbrough piloted his Chad McCumbee-owned late model to a half-lap victory over Jake Engle. Earlier in the evening, Yarbrough was the division’s fastest qualifier among a field of 14 entries.

The Super Truck class saw Hal Goodson, a champion of the old NASCAR All-Pro late model ranks, claim top honors in the 40-lap truck main event. Ed Williams was the Charger division feature winner with Michael McKinnon winning the mini-stock feature.

The big half-mile paved (actually 0.538-mile) speedway opened as a dirt track known as Rambi Raceway in 1958. The track was paved in 1974 with the NASCAR Busch Series competing there from 1988 through 2000. Over the years, a “who’s who” in NASCAR racing has competed there, including four generations of Pettys (Lee, Richard, Kyle and Adam) and three generations of Earnhardts (Ralph, Dale and Dale Jr.).

According to Bill Hennecy, who handles the track’s PR duties and other operational chores, the speedway switched to Thursday night for its weekly racing this year because of weekend traffic jams in and around the heavy tourist area of Myrtle Beach.

Good friend Pete Fileca died in his sleep on June 9 at the age of 76. Fileca was a longtime fan of both local and national auto racing. Fileca saw early stock car action at Chicagoland’s Raceway Park and caught the “racing bug.” As a young mechanic, Fileca helped the likes of Don Oldenberg and Whitey Johnson during their stock car exploits in and around the Chicago area as well as on the old United States Auto Club circuit. His last pit assignment was with Tom Kmak’s Lisa Thomas Salon racing team.

Fileca was a big fan of A.J. Foyt and collected a great deal of Foyt memorabilia over the years. Fileca’s photo collection, featuring national and local tracks and drivers, was a definite one-of-a-kind collection in the area with a large amount of the pictures carrying personal autographs.

Fileca is survived by his children, Rhonda, Peter and Tony and his grandchildren. Rest in Peace, Pete.

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