HISTORY OF THE TOPLESS 50admin
Past Winners of the Topless 50
1995 Steve Steele, 1996 Butch McGill, 1997 Kenny Johnson, 1998 Chuck Harper, 1999 Butch McGill (2), 2000 Doug Horton, 2001 Paul Wilmoth, 2002 Paul Wilmoth (2), 2003 Chuck Harper (2), 2004 Mike Benedum, 2005 Robbie Scott, 2006 Sonny Conley, 2007 Mark Banal, 2008 Paul Wilmoth (3), 2009 Steve Shaver, 2010 Paul Wilmoth (4), 2011 Jared Hawkins, 2012 Jacob Hawkins, 2013 Jacob Hawkins (2), 2014 Sonny Conley (2), 2015 Jared Hawkins (2), 2016 Tim Dohm, 2017 Rain, 2018 Derek Doll, 2019 ????
History of the Topless 50 at Tyler County Speedway
Starting in 1995, New Martinsville’s Steve Steele put his name first on the list. Steele passed race long leader Butch McGill exiting turn four coming to the checkered flag, setting the bar high for races to come.
After losing on the final circuit in the inaugural race, in 1996 ‘the Doddridge County Terror’ Butch McGill dominated and won the second annual event.
In 1997 Gary Dalton grabbed the lead early. Eighth starting Kenny Johnson, ‘the South Side Flyer’ worked his way to the front and began a duel with Dalton. Johnson secured the spot on lap 47 enroute to the victory. Johnson, Dalton, Bobby Hill, Chris Stotts and Bill Childers were the top five.
The 1998 race had Greg Mitchell holding the point until lap eight when ‘the Beverly Gearjammer’ Chuck Harper grabbed the spot and never looked back. Harper, Bobby Hill, Denny Chamberlain, Bill Childers, and D J Cline filled out the top five.
In 1999 Mike Balzano was the leader at the outset, but Chuck Harper stole the spot away on lap 10. He would relinquish it to Paul Wilmoth Jr. on lap 17. Harper would get it back on lap 24, only to have Butch McGill take it on lap 31. McGill became the first two time winner as he bested Harper, Gary Dalton, Mike Eaton and Steve Weigle.
What some call one of the best of the annual roofless races happened in 2000. Mike Benedum held off numerous attempts from Doug Horton to take the point. On the white flag lap, Horton, ‘the Bruceton Bandit’ got under Benedum at the flag stand to get the lead and collected his biggest career win. Charlie Maloney was third, Jimmy Cobb and Jeremy Peck were fourth and fifth.
The 2001 version had three different leaders as Chuck Harper held the spot until lap 38 when Mike Benedum took over. ‘The Gambler’ Paul Wilmoth Jr. then snagged the spot on lap 41 to capture his first Topless crown. Benedum, Doug Horton, Robbie Scott and Mike Eaton filled out the top five.
Paul Wilmoth Jr. dominated the 2002 race as he led wire to wire to take his second checkerboard. Mike Benedum would finish second for the third straight year. Bobby Hill, Robbie Scott and Chuck Harper were third through fifth.
The 2003 50 lapper had Steve Weigle in command for the first 17 go rounds. M T Hall then took over until lap 27 when ninth starting Chuck Harper secured it. Harper would become the third two time winner as he crossed the line ahead of Tim Dohm, Mike Benedum (from eleventh), Hall and Robbie Scott.
Tired of finishing second (three times) and third (’03) ‘The Bristol Bullet’ Mike Benedum snared the lead away from M T Hall on lap 39 to put his name on the Topless winners list. Hall held on for second, Robbie Blair was third. Butch McGill and Tim Dohm completed the top five.
In 2005 Jared Hawkins set sail and was the front car until Robbie Scott slipped by on lap 17. Scott would drive on for the win. Hawkins finished second. Chuck Harper (from thirteenth) was third. Bobby Hill was fourth and Sonny Conley was fifth.
It was New Martinsville, WV’s Sonny Conley aboard the familiar family operated 1×1 machine that stole the show and grabbed his first Topless 50 title in the 12th edition of the race. It was Conley’s biggest career win.
An ‘out of stater’ came to the Bullring in 2007 and stole the show. St. Clairsville Ohio’s Mark Banal led wire to wire and was never seriously challenged enroute to the victory. Ricky Williams, Paul Wilmoth Jr., Josh McGuire and Robbie Blair crossed behind.
For his third trip to victory lane, Paul Wilmoth Jr., would lead all 50 circuits in the 2008 edition. Mike Balzano gave chase but had to settle for second. Tim Dohm, Eddie Carrier Jr., and Doug Horton rounded out the top five.
Two oval track travelers put on a show in 2009 as Robbie Blair held off ‘Showtime’ Steve Shaver for the front spot until lap 20. Shaver took over and didn’t give it back. Blair crossed in second. Third through fifth were Jared Hawkins, Eddie Carrier Jr., and Tim Dohm.
In 2010 Gary Dalton returned to Tyler County and grabbed the lead at the drop of the green with the UFo series sanctioning the race. Doug Horton passed Dalton on lap 4, but Dalton regained the spot on lap 14. Paul Wilmoth Jr. then outdragged Dalton for the lead on the restart of lap 19. Wilmoth would add his fourth Topless trophy to the case. Robbie Scott (from eleventh), Jared Miley (from nineteenth), Doug Horton, and Eddie Carrier Jr. (from twelfth) were second through fifth.
In what would become the Hawkins brothers show, the 2011 edition had its share of excitement. Tim Dohm would grab the early lead and stay there for most of the event. Jared Hawkins started 13th and as the laps clicked off would hound Dohm until lap 48 when Dohm slowed exiting turn two allowing Hawkins to zip by and claim his 1st Topless crown. The elder brother Jared, was able to fend off his pesky younger brother Jacob Hawkins from 17th, for the win. Robbie Scott, Paul Wilmoth Jr., and Mike Benedum filled out the top five.
The 2012 edition of the Topless 50 would see Jacob Hawkins driving the St. Henry Night Club / C & R Sanning #20, would grab his biggest career win in the 18th Annual Topless 50. The young Hawkins would hold off a hard charging Mike Marlar, Brandon Shepherd, Jared Hawkins and Corey Conley across the stripe.
A perfect evening for racing welcomed eager race fans to the 19th Annual Topless 50 where it was a familiar face sitting in victory lane as young Jacob Hawkins, Fairmont, WV would repeat his performance from a year ago in capturing consecutive Topless 50 wins. Hawkins would join Paul Wilmoth, Butch McGill and Chuck Harper as multi win victors in the Topless 50. Mike Benedum, Jared Miley, Derek Doll and Corey Conley would round out the top five.
An epic night at the ‘Bullring’ for the 20th Annual Topless 50 in 2014 would see a little bit of everything. From new track records, first time winners, legendary side by side duals, a daring outside charge for victory in front of a packed house that left the Tyler County Speedway faithful buzzing afterward. Local standout and New Martinsville, West Virginia native Sonny Conley would steal the show in picking up his 2nd Topless 50 title in thrilling fashion over Keith Barbara, Paul Wilmoth, Zack Dohm and Devin Moran. Tim Dohm would lower the track record with a blistering 12.12 around the ‘Bullring’ surface in preliminary action.
A picturesque Saturday Evening greeted eager race fans to the Tyler County Speedway for the 21st Annual edition of the fan favorite Topless 50. A jam packed pit area of 135 talented racers would take to the very racy, wide and smooth ‘Bullring’ in hopes of ‘Topless’ glory. Fairmont, WV’s Jared Hawkins aboard the Rick Sturms Motorsports/ JC Distributing #37 would make his 2015 maiden voyage a success as he outdueled his brother Jacob Hawkins early and withstood a charging Mason Ziegler and Jared Miley to secure his 2nd Topless 50 title.
Traditionally ran during the first week of May, after twice being rained out the 2016 22nd Annual Topless 50 would finally roll off in July as part of the Mega 100 weekend. A stout field of Super Late Models would take the Topless challenge and Cross Lanes, WV driver Tim Dohm would pick up his first Topless win in the 22nd Annual Topless 50. The driver of the 6T would continue his dominance in Tyler County Speedway special Late Model shows in 2016 as the hard charger had already garnered the previously ran Earl Hill Memorial and Jackpot 100 World of Outlaw Late Model event. Dohm would lead Derek Doll and Corey Conley across the line for the win.
For the second consecutive season the 2017 version of America’s second oldest ‘Topless’ Late Model race was once again plagued by Mother Nature. After a couple of rescheduled dates would also fall to the weatherman the 2017 Topless 50 would be claimed by the dreaded Mother Nature.
For the third consecutive year the Topless 50 would be forced to move back in the schedule due to Mother Nature. The 2018 version would roll off on Sunday of Memorial day with a great battle of young Ohio Valley area racers of Derek Doll and Tyler Carpenter. Carpenter would set the early torrid pace with Doll hounding the ‘Kamikaze Kid’ as the duo would swap sliders in and out of lapped traffic wowing fans. Doll would eventually wrestle the lead away and go on to claim the 24th edition of the Topless 50 and notch his name to the record books.
What will 2019 have in store as the popular Topless 50 turns the big two five? How about a special mid-summer trip to the ‘Bullring’ by the nations premier racing series, the Lucas Oil Dirt Car Series on Friday Night, July 5th.