Jacquelyn Butler wins the Better Half Dash

Jacquelyn Butler poses with her trophy and check for Speedway Children Charities
after winning the Better Half Dash. Credit: Harold Hinson Photography
The first ever Better Half Dash was held today at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The wives and girlfriends and even some media raced today in efforts to raise money for Speedway Children's Charities and Motor Racing Outreach (MRO). The ladies raced Bandolero cars that were provided by U.S. Legend Cars International.

The format for the race was 25 laps around the front-stretch quarter-mile oval. The starting lineup was selected by a random draw.

Kelley Earnhardt, JR Motorsports co-owner, waved the green flag to start the race.

The race started out shaky with five cautions in the first four laps, but once the ladies found control and rhythm, they had their cars under control for a long period of racing.

Melanie Self, driver of the No. 43 car, and Shannon Koch, driver of No. 81, crashed and were unable to continue the race.

Ashley Allgaier, Justin Allgaier's wife, started inside row two and took the lead for 17 laps, the most of any driver. "While I was out front," Allgaier said, "I was just thinking 'hit my marks, hit my marks.' After (that) caution, we had 10 laps to go and everytime I'd drive down in the corner, it would start to spin out or I'm going straight to the wall. So I'm going to blame it on the tires getting too hot."

Jacquelyn Butler, David Ragan's girlfriend, saw that Allgaier was slipping and she kept getting closer and closer until she took the lead at turn 2 with eight laps to go.

In the end, the battle was between Butler, Allgaier and Trisha Mears, wife of Casey Mears. Ashely fell to third, Mears moved up to second and Butler won the race.

"She had a lot of pressure on her," Butler's boyfriend David Ragan said, "She's been coming out to the Summer Shootout (Legand Car races at Charlotte Motor Speedway) for a long time. I guess all those days coming out and watching me race paid off today."

Butler got out of her car and told reporters, "That was crazy," Butler was greeted with a trophy much taller than she on the frontstretch after the win, "That was fun. I'm ready to go out and do it again next week."

Mears finished in second place. "I definitely got lucky today, just staying out of the way of all the spinning cars," she said. She told reporters that all of the cautions and restarts at the beginning of the race helped her move from 10th to second.

"This is not fun finishing second," Mears said, "I would rather finish 14th." Mears described herself as being very competitive and wanting to win the big check. "I didn't want to spin her out," she said about Butler, "but I wanted to bump her. I couldn't get too close. I'm so glad I went for it and tried to take the lead." As for her thoughts on winning second, "I can't handle it," she said laughing.

"I got to lead a lot. I'm proud of myself," Allgaier said, "I had a blast. I led the most laps and finished third. The last few laps, my tires went away. That's what I'm blaming it on. I'm not blaming it on myself."

"All of our tires were wearing down," Butler joked with Allgaier, "so that was good excuse."

Her trophy is bigger than Ragan's Daytona trophy, and she was asked if she was going to rub it in. "I'm too proud of him winning Daytona, but it will be sitting next to his Daytona trophy."

Better Half Dash Results:

1. Jacquelyn Butler (David Ragan)
2. Trisha Mears (Casey Mears)
3. Ashley Allgaier (Justin Allgaier)
4. Patricia Driscoll (Kurt Busch)
5. Wendy Venturini (Speed TV spokesperson)
6. Beth Baldwin (Tommy Baldwin)
7. Sabrina Simpson (Joey Logano)
8. Jami McDowell (Michael McDowell)
9. Michelle Gilliland (David Gilliland)
10. Kristen Yeley (J.J Yeley)
11. Nan Zipadelli (Greg Zipadelli)
12. Angie Skinner (Mike Skinner)
13. Shannon Koch (Blake Koch)
14. Melanie Self (Motor Racing Outreach)
Jacquelyn Butler wins the Better Half Dash Jacquelyn Butler wins the Better Half Dash Reviewed by Unknown on Saturday, October 15, 2011 Rating: 5