By Dan Stillwell
Register-Herald Sports Writer
Fastrak Racing Series always brings excitement to Beckley Motorsports Park.
But Friday’s race, part of the series’ annual Triple Crown event, meant even more to many BMP drivers, fans and management.
The feature race was also the Mike Faykus Sr. Memorial Race, which honored a longtime driver and familiar face at the track.
“Big Mike Faykus was always super good to me,” said Eddie Hambrick, last year’s BMP Crates Late Models champion. “He would give you the shirt off his back.
“He brought me motors to use when times were tough, and not just for me. He’d bend over backwards to help anybody. He was like the crew chief for everybody.”
Eslie Bills, one of the track’s most veteran drivers, agreed wholeheartedly with Hambrick.
“Mike was a good friend, and one of the nicest guys around here,” Bills said. “He’d give you anything he had to help you race He was that kind of a man.”
Track co-manager Billie Jackson said Faykus and her father were best friends.
“I’ve been around Mike when he raced and when he ran the track,” she said. “When (husband and co-manager) Joe and I considered taking over the track, Mike was who I talked to. When we needed advice, we’d go to him.”
The track honored Faykus Friday with a four-wide, missing man-formation salute prior to the race.
Bills recalled Faykus was a little fiery in his younger days.
“When I first came to (BMP), I remember seeing Mike standing on the back of a truck, getting ready to fight with a flagman,” Bills said, smiling. “But he really changed over the years. He’s missed by all of us.”
Faycus wasn’t just a dynamite racer and good friend to all. He knew dirt track racing from top to bottom, and was a vital part of his son Mike Jr.’s team.
“When you came to the track, you felt like you were trying to outrun Mike, instead of his son,” Hambrick said. “He made things interesting, and he made a lot of people faster just by him being so competitive in the sport.
“He’s really missed. He was a good guy.”
The Faykus Memorial Race brought out top drivers, not only locally, but from around the East.
A Crab Orchard driver, Chris Meadows, won the race, beating North Carolina’s Ron Parker to the finish line by just .018 of a second.
Mike Faykus Jr. was third, while Jensen Ford from Tennessee was fourth and local racers Tyler Cox and Aaron Barley were fifth and seventh, respectively. Hambrick came in 12th.
The Fastrak Triple Crown continued Saturday night at Wythe Speedway in Virginia and will conclude today at Princeton Speedway.
Four other classes competed Friday night at BMP.
n Tate Hughes was the AMRA Modifieds champion, finishing ahead of Brett Hamilton, Keith Bills, Chris Parker, Greg Brown and Bud Wacson.
n Rodney Cole captured the Outlaws feature, followed by Kevin Fitzwater, David White, Williams Collins, David Gibson and Hope Lusher.
n Matt Schoolcraft took the Street Stocks race over Tyler Blankenship, Bradley Richardson, Robert Modley, Larry Lambert and Ryan McManaway.
n Devin Corn came out on top in the Hornets class. DJ Critchley was runner-up, followed by Brandon Adkins. Tifany Richardson. Bryce Ryan and Jesse Raynes.