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Dillow claims Willard Speedway late model points championship

COAL GROVE — The number 14 was good to Pete Rose. It proved to be a good number for Carl Dillow, too.

The late model dirt track driver celebrated his 14th season of racing by winning the points championship at Willard (Ky.) Speedway.

Dillow had five top 5 finishes during the season at Willard and also finished among the 10 in 14 other races. He never finished out of the top 15 in any of his 15 races.

“We’ve got better equipment and we’ve got more sponsors this year. It’s a financial thing,” said Dillow. “You have to have backing just like NASCAR which has million dollar backing.

“And experience helps, too. This is our 14th season. We just kept learning and learning and taking bits of information from the other drivers.”

Besides running at Willard, Dillow ran at Rocky Top Raceway, Portsmouth Raceway Park and once at I-77 when he finished in the top 10.

At Rocky Top, Dillow had one finish in the top five, seven in the top 10, and eight in the top 15.

Dillow said there are several differences in the various tracks.

Rocky Top and Portsmouth are a three-eighths mile tracks and Willard is a quarter-mile track. Portsmouth has a river clay surface while Rocky Top and Willard are both a red clay surface.

“The tracks have a lot of the same drivers, but Portsmouth is like another league. They have more financial backing, but I still race there,” said Dillow.

Not only does Dillow race his car, he also created “Racers In Christ” as a religious outreach program to race fans.

“We reach out to racing teams and fans with the gospel of Jesus Christ. If people in need we help them. We do bible school and church services. Anyone who has an event and ask, we’ll take our car and help them,” said Dillow.

“We help the handicap children. I believe we can help the handicapped children live as normal a life as possible.”

Dillow started the religious organization in 1995 and it has established devotions at various tracks.

“I felt there was a need at the race track for a ministry. We were the home ministry at Willard the past three years. I have prayer at the drivers’ meeting each Saturday. We get there as a race team, but once we get there we use our ministry,” said Dillow.

Besides praying with other drivers, Dillow hosts short devotions and bible study. He has even dressed as a clown and gone into the stands to pass out prayer items.

“It’s more than just racing,” said Dillow.

Not only does Dillow think there’s more than just racing when he goes to a track, he puts faith on a high level.

“We’ve handed out over 1,500 bibles this year. We’ve had 64 people saved over the last three years. The trophy is a great accomplishment, but to see someone walk away with something that helps them is a greater accomplishment,” said Dillow.