- Last Updated on 12:22 PM 04/23/12
- BY Doug Ford
Austin Thaxton won his first-ever race at South Boston Speedway with a win in the first of twin 50-lap Limited Sportsman Division races Saturday night, and Bobby McCarty continued his late-season surge with a win in the second 50-lapper.
The biggest winner of the night, however, may have been Cluster Springs driver Danny Willis Jr., the series points leader coming into Saturday, who collected a third-place finish in race one and a second-place finish in race two to increase his points lead over Amelia driver Brian Pembelton with one race remaining.
Thaxton, who captured his second-straight pole with a time of 16.094 seconds, gave up the lead to McCarty on the opening lap of race one, but retook the lead from Summerfield, N.C., driver on the restart following the race’s only caution on lap 16.
McCarty retook the lead on lap 33 and led three laps before giving up the lead to Thaxton, who won by 0.712 seconds.
McCarty came home second, followed by Willis, Pembelton and Chuck Lawson of Providence, N.C., with defending Limited Sportsman champion Justin Snow of Danville finishing sixth.
McCarty survived a caution-filled race two to win by 0.871 seconds over Willis, with the caution flag flying six times, including two red flag stoppages, once after Stacy Puryear and Meagan Creech got together on the first lap, with Creech’s car suffering heavy damage.
The second red flag stoppage occurred on lap 27 when Sam Hunt and Tim Robinette got together, with Hunt spinning into the sand barrels at the entrance to pit row.
McCarty took the lead from pole sitter Thaxton on lap 20 and the pair were racing for the lead on lap 30 when the cars made contact coming out of turn one, with Thaxton’s car then colliding with the outside wall and putting him out of the race.
McCarty won race two by 0.871 seconds over Willis, with Snow finishing third, Blake Stallings of Danville finishing fourth and Charles Barnes of Chase City finishing fifth.
“I hate it for Austin,” said McCarty after the race. “I told my spotter as soon as it happened I was doing all I could.
“We’ve been leaning on each other all night, and the difference was my front right hit his left rear, and when it did it yanked the wheel right out of my hand.
“It was nothing I could do about that. I wanted to race hard and clean.”
Willis put some distance between he and Pembelton for the points title with his pair of top-three finishes, compared to fourth and eight-place finishes for Pembelton, whose car was damaged when he became involved in an incident with McCarty and Willis in race two.
“We went down into the corner, I don’t know if I didn’t scuff my tires good enough, but we were real loose and got into McCarty, and Brian ended up getting caught up in it,” said Willis.
“I hate it for him. I wanted me and him to race for the championship and do some hard racing to get it.”
The wreck in race two spoiled perhaps Thaxton’s best two weeks ever in racing, coming on the heels of his first pole and second-place finish the week before, and his first win earlier in the evening.
“It (first win) was real good until about five minutes ago,” said Thaxton. “We had a pretty good car for the second race and I don’t know what all happened, whether the No. 6 (McCarty) got into me.
“I don’t know what the deal was, but it kind of took away all the happy right there.
“I’d have rather finished second twice than put a front and rear clip on a racecar. I’m real happy we won and all, but now we have to work on the car, and I believe it’d have been better to finish second twice and not have a torn up racecar.”
“I had a whole lot of confidence going into the second race, and I knew we were going to be pretty good, but things just didn’t play in our favor tonight,” Thaxton continued.
“The first race, we really didn’t have a first-place car, but I guess it was good enough to do it.
“The last couple of weeks we’ve been running pretty good, and I feel like that win is going to carry us through the winter.
“I feel like we’ll be alright.”
Nathan Crews wins first-ever Pure Stock race
The points battle in the Budweiser Pure Stock Division is a little tighter after Nathan Crews recorded his first career Pure Stock win Saturday night.
Crews, of Long Island, took his second pole in as many weeks with a fast qualifying time of 18.145 seconds, and he led all 30 laps, holding off his cousin, Stuart Crews, in a grill to bumper battle over the final laps of the race.
Stuart Crews, also of Long Island, finished second ahead of Halifax driver Trey Crews, who gained on points leader Joe Allred III of Scottsburg.
Allred’s car was off its game Saturday, with Allred finishing 13th in a field of 17 cars.
Randy Hupp of Halifax finished fourth, and Daniel Moss of Danville finished fifth in the race that was delayed four times by cautions.
“I’m so excited, I don’t know what to do,” said the race winner in Victory Lane. “My cousin finished real good, and it was really, really fun to get my first win.
Trey Crews, second in Pure Stock points, is looking at season-ending twin races Sept. 3 as a final opportunity to perhaps catch Allred.
“Hopefully, we can tune this thing up to catch those cars in front of us,” said Trey Crews. “I tried to get up there to them but didn’t have the car tonight.”
Donnie Lacks wins SVM race
Donnie Lacks, of Goode, Va., passed brother and pole sitter Darryl Lacks on lap 22 and led to the checkered flag in winning the 25-lap Southern Virginia Modified event on Saturday.
Darryl Lacks, also of Goode, took his fourth pole of the year with a time of 15.592 seconds and led the race until the restart following the race’s first and only caution, when Donnie Lacks slipped past him for the lead.
The win was Donnie Lacks’ second of the year, with Darryl Lacks finishing second, Daryl Gwynn of Reidsville, N.C., finishing third, Chris Jones of Forest, finishing fourth and Johnny Stovall, of Madison, N.C. finishing fifth.