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Watkins holds off Allred for Pure Stock win

Chuck Watkins proved to be the spoiler Tuesday night in the 50-lap Budweiser Pure Stock race at South Boston Speedway, with the Creedmoor driver and former Pure Stock champion holding off Joe Allred III of Scottsburg for a win in his first race at South Boston this season.

The win came in Watkins’ first race at South Boston in almost two and a half years, but it didn’t come easy with Watkins taking the lead from pole sitter Trey Crews of Halifax on lap 41.

Watkins, South Boston Speedway Pure Stock champion in 2006 and 2007, then had to hold off a hard-charging Allred to take the win by 0.458 seconds.

Allred, who qualified second but started toward the back of the field after making post-qualifying adjustments, finished second, followed by Randy Hupp of Halifax, Stuart Crews of Long Island and Bruce Mayo of Halifax.

Rounding out the top-10 finishers were Jake Brown of Cluster Springs, Randy Howard of Halifax, Trey Crews, Libby Privette of Nathalie and Courtney Crosby of Scottsburg.

Trey Crews, who captured his second pole of the season with a time of 18.379 seconds, set the pace for the first 40 laps, with Stuart Crews and Hupp spending time in second before Nathan Crews moved up to challenge the race leader by lap 30.

Several laps of bumper-to-bumper racing ended when the cars of both drivers got together to bring out the second of three cautions for the race.

Watkins, running third at the time, took the lead on the restart but had to fend off several charges from Allred the remaining laps, one coming on lap 47.

The defending points champion appeared to be passing for the lead only to see the final caution flag fly for contact between Trey Crews and Nathan Crews, with the running order reverting to the previous completed lap.

A strong restart allowed Watkins to stay in front of Allred.

“I’ve been out of it for a couple of years, but when it gets in your blood you can’t stay away, especially when all your buddies around you race,” said Watkins.

“I had to find a way to get back in, and luckily with a lot of help I was able to do it.

“It had to happen this way for me to get it.  I didn’t have the best car, and I think Joe could have gotten me at the end, but his tires started to give out the same as mine.”

“We had nothing but problems today, but to come from the back and end up here in second is awesome,” said Allred.  

“This is the probably one of the best races I’ve ever had here.”

For the veteran Hupp, finishing third was a bonus after a night of competitive short track racing.

“That’s probably the most fun I’ve ever had over here,” said Hupp.  “With Bruce and Stewart it was banging and beating and rubbing and racing.  I loved it, and it was fun.”