Thunder Valley Speedway pays tribute to
Tim Phillips, August 8, 1968 - July 16, 2005
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- As many of you know I normally just post the Top 5 of each class. Tonight I have decided to do something a little different. Tonight at Thunder Valley Speedway was one of the most emotional and hardest nights for me in all the years I have been around racing (which has been almost as old as I am). This morning I was awaken by a phone call from Linda Baker to inform me that Tim Phillips #22 "A" Mod driver for the Burl Hollingsworth car was at North Central AR Speedway for the Coca Cola Nationals on July 15. A drive shaft came out of a car in front of him and came through the front of Tim's car hitting Tim in the head. At that moment we lost a very loved and respected driver here at Thunder Valley Speedway. Tim has 2 sons that will miss their dad dearly; he leaves behind a racing family that mourns for him as well. That racing family showed how much a racing family means to one another as over $1800 was collected by drivers passing their helmets throughout the grandstands and pits. All drivers had a decal on their cars tonight " Tim Phillips #22 In loving Memory" that were made and donated by G.A.S. Graphics. Tim will long be in our memories and in our hearts. My heart was overwhelmed when I went to give Brian Williams #26 a decal when he informed me he had a bigger decal on his car, he stepped aside and yes he did he changed his car # to 22 for the night in honor of his beloved friend Timmy. At that point and time I had a feeling that Brian Williams would win the "A" Feature in the "A" Mod class tonight you could see it in his eyes he was taking the #22 to Victory Lane.
On the "A" Mod "A" Feature race we had to dry our emotional tears as car owner Burl Hollingsworth came in and led the parade lap, Burl throwing kisses to the crowd letting them know how much he loves them for all their support.
When Brian Williams had his car even with the flag stand before the green flag dropped he let go of a white balloon for his buddy Tim to see. Brian took the #22 to Victory Lane with his determination tonight and ran one of the cleanest races to do so, I have ever seen. After taking the checker flag and all other cars out of the way Brian turned his car around for what they call the "Polish Lap" for all the fans to see he won the race for Tim as he took his window net down he pointed to the #22 on his car for all the fans to see--there was not a dry eye there. Not even in the score tower. My thoughts and prayers are with the Phillips and Hollingsworth family and to Tim's girlfriend. I would like to say a Special Thanks to all the drivers that pulled out on the track after the prayer to take a moment for Tim.
NORTH CENTRAL ARKANSAS SPEEDWAY
TIM PHILLIPS COCA COLA NATIONALS
The final event of the evening brought the crowd to their feet for driver’s introductions as Tim Phillips was once again honored by being given the twenty-second and final starting position, announced as starting with us in spirit for the 50-lap feature event, now named the Tim Phillips Coca-Cola Classic.
Wade Bates and Steve Holzkamper occupied the front row, as the field took the green, but on the first attempt to start the race Glenn Bratti spun going into turn three setting up an original restart. The restart put the green light on for the field, and it would stay on for all 50 laps as the race went green, white, checkers after that. Holzkamper had the advantage going into turn one and led through the early portion of the race, but Chad Wheeler was a man on a mission tonight. After pursuing Stephen Muilenburg in second place for a couple of circuits, Wheeler got around Stephen for second and set his sights on the lead. As Holzkamper began lap the back markers, Wheeler used traffic to make a move for the lead, and from that point on would never look back in lapping up to ninth place before the checkered flag fell. Holzkamper held on for a second place finish with Stephen Muilenburg coming across the line in third. Johnny Bone Jr. would come back from an accident on the second night, one which had him flipping down the back straight and had him working to rebuild the car most of the day, to finish fourth. Rex Merritt held off Wade Bate for a fifth place final position.
Chad Wheeler, who qualified in the final transfer spot on opening night and gave it up in the hopes of earning a higher starting spot Friday or Saturday, drew the largest round of applause of the night, and the adoration of all fans in attendance, when he announced in victory lane that he was donating his entire $5,000 earnings to the memorial fund set up for Tim Phillips. Johnny Bone Jr. and Steve Holzkamper also announced they were going to set up a memorial fund in Tim’s honor at his home track, and those interested in donating to it were encouraged to contact either driver for more information.
AUGUST 8,1968 - JULY 16, 2005
As the cars pull down the hill tonight we will be looking for the #22 of Tim Phillips, although the car won’t come down the hill I know that Tim will be at Thunder Valley Speedway watching over the drivers and cheering them on. He will be telling all his new buddies watching from above with him –you see that number 26—that is Brian Williams, great friend, great racer but I can still beat him! You see that #14 that is Jeff Roth, he is just an overall nice guy but needs to let Kenneth Cox that #5K show him a thing or too—that Kenneth is a fast driver for such a young kid. You see that #5 that is Steve Holzkamper and that #7 well that is Rick Wallis (we use to call him the wall banger).
Look at all those kids there watching and cheering on for their favorite driver I can hear them up here. Heck you see that Kevin Guinn #88—he is quite the guy! Oh look there is Rookie of the Class Fred Ramsey #56L and Corey Sizemore #15—they will be awesome in that class one day. That Fred is one heck of racer, he races 3 classes one right after the other and I was worn out after 20 laps and Corey is taking after his big brother William (Slick Willie). Now look at some of the best sportsmanship you will ever see, as there is David Marez #19M always a good friend to me!
Look at the families that race—there is Jim Small #6 and his wife Tammy Small #B29, there is that Old Psycho Jerry Ray #8—he should be proud of that boy of his Josh #57, that young kid can race and Fred Short, that kid took your number once you came to this racing heaven. There is Misty Stand #6 and her dad; John is one heck of a racer too. See we have the dirt track fever and the cure is Thunder Valley Speedway every Saturday night.
I have had my up’s and my down’s there at the track but it was always a pleasure to drive down that hill, suit up and let the dirt fly. Don’t get too high in turn 4 it is a sure thing for that wall right there.
I know they know I am watching them and I know they know I am cheering them on. They know that the race must go on and will know I will be helping waving that checker flag in the end.
As I pull into the gate
Certainly running a little late
I looked around to see
All my friends are waving at me
With a smile on my face
I gladly sit the pace
For it is time for one heck of a race
Twenty laps of sweat and dust
Look at the fans so excited they are about to bust.
I hope they don’t shed any tears
As they gave me some of my best years.
Know that I am watching from above
The one sport we all love
Just know that I will be there with them all
When that Checker Flag falls!
Written by: Debbie Ratliff