- Last Updated on 12:22 PM 04/23/12
- BY Doug Ford
The early part of this race season has been an uphill climb For 2009 Limited Sportsman Division champion Brian Pembelton, but the Amelia driver seems to be back on his game following a win Saturday night in the 50-lap Limited Sportsman Division. Pembelton qualified on the pole with a time of 16.041 seconds and beat Cluster Springs driver Danny Willis Jr. to the finish line by 0.831 seconds, unofficially taking over first-place in the points standings in the process.
Limited Sportsman rookie Bobby McCarty of Summerfield, N.C., finished third and Joey Throckmorton of South Boston and Blake Stallings of Danville rounded out the top-five finishers in a race delayed by one caution, that coming on lap 23.
Willis, second in qualifying behind Pembelton, passed for the lead on the restart following that caution, but Pembelton took back the lead a lap later and stayed in front the rest of the way.
McCarty rallied from seventh at the start of the race to finish third, but Justin Snow, the points leader coming in, dropped from a potential podium finish to sixth-place a the end after encountering problems with lapped traffic.
Willis made several runs at Pembelton before falling short at the end.
“We had a decent car, but we weren’t handling good all day, and we made a few changes before qualifying to help it,” said Willis.
“But after the first restart and a few laps it started getting better and better, and I thought I had something for him, but after I got to him right at the end the car started going away from me again.”
“We’re just lucky to hang on to second.”
Pembelton admitted he hasn’t been very good in qualifying, but he took advantage of his pole Saturday night to take control at the start.
It’s a little early to be looking at points, the Amelia driver added after his second win of the season.
“Justin knows how to get it done and Danny certainly does, but it feels good to be back in Victory Lane and to where we were in 2009,” said Pembelton.
Allred sweeps Pure Stock twinbill
Joe Allred unofficially grabbed the points lead in the Budweiser Pure Stock Division after sweeping a twinbill on Saturday for this second and third wins of the season.
Allred, of Scottsburg, sat on the pole for the first 30-lapper with a time of 18.174 and led the entire way, beating Halifax driver Trey Crews to the finish line by 1.335 seconds.
Randy Hupp of Halifax, Stuart Crews of Long Island and Bruce Mayo of Halifax rounded out the top-five finishers in the first race, which was delayed twice by cautions.
Allred had a tougher time of it in race two, leading every one of 30 laps in a race delayed three times by cautions.
Allred held off a hard-charging Stuart Crews to win by 0.624 seconds, with Hupp recording his second third-place finish of the night.
Daniel Crews of Long Island finished fourth and Trey Crews capped off his night with a fifth-place finish in the second race.
Hupp said he wasn’t complaining about the pair of third-place finishes, especially after keeping his racecar in one piece the whole night.
“I believe if I could have gotten the car a little loose we could have run with the guys,” said Hupp.
“We’ve been busting our tails on this car, and we have a little bit of work left to do, but we’ll get up there with them.”
Trey Crews thought a subpar qualifying effort hurt his chances at a win in race one, and Stuart Crews said he may have raced a bit too hard in trying to catch Allred in race two.
“I got real loose coming off that last turn after we took the white flag,” said Stuart Crews.
“I thought I may have run too hard, but I think we may have had something for him in maybe five more laps.”
Allred used smooth restarts to pull away from the field in both races and was particular in when to pass lapped cars in an effort to save his equipment.
“It’s all in how you think about it,” said Allred, who admitted to being concerned when Crews began closing in during the second race.
“The last restart my handling just started going away,” said Allred. “I was scared, he (Crews) was coming, but I’m excited about pulling off two wins today.”
Gwynn wins second straight SVM race
Daryl Gwynn of Reidsville, N.C., qualified on the pole and won his second straight race in the Southern Vintage Modified division.
Gwynn qualified first with a time of 15.687 seconds and led the entire way in the 25-lap race, with Donnie Lacks and Daryl Lacks of Goode finishing second and third, respectively.
Danny Willis Jr. and Jeff Guill of Madison Heights, Va., rounded out the top-five finishers in a race delayed once by a caution flag.