- Last Updated on 05:14 PM 05/26/13
- BY Doug Ford
South Boston driver Mike Jones scored his first-ever Limited Sportsman Division win Saturday night in the 50-lap race at South Boston Speedway.
Jones passed pole sitter and three-time winner Danny Willis Jr. on lap three and held off a late challenge from the division points leader to win by 0.151 seconds and become the fifth different winner in seven Limited races this season.
Michael Maresca of Hannawa Falls, New York, who won his first-ever Limited race May 4, finished third, Caleb Davis of Thaxton, Va., finished fourth and previous winner Garrett Bunch of Front Royal, Va., finished fifth in a caution-free race that took only 16 minutes to complete.
The race came down to a battle between Jones and Willis the last several laps, with Willis pulling to Jones’ bumper on several occasions but not getting the necessary momentum for a clean pass.
“I just couldn’t get back to the gas, he was loose but I was loose too, and if I found my mark just right I could get back to him,” Willis said afterwards.
“He bobbled coming off turn two, and he gave me a good run to get right under him, but when he got back outside he could build right off the corner.
“We had a decent car to come home second with and that’s what we needed to keep a decent points lead.”
Getting his first win over Limited Sportsman veteran Willis meant a lot to Jones, who thought he may have a strong car after a good test session at South Boston Speedway on Friday.
“We tested all day yesterday, and it was really fast,” explained Jones.
“We come over here today for practice and we were ninth or 10th, and we made a big swing in qualifying.
“We hit it pretty good, and we were fortunate to start on the outside pole.”
Jones thought once he got around Willis, the points leader would have to use his equipment up to catch him.
“I did everything I could to get around him in the beginning, and it paid off for us in the end,” said Jones, whose win validated a lot of hard work by his race team.
“All of our guys bust their tails on this, and I can’t thank them enough, and my sponsors,” said Jones, a full time college student who now has more time to fine-tune his car.
“I can finally be meticulous about my car instead of showing up late on Friday night,” Jones noted.
“We had all day to test yesterday, and it paid off for us. Hopefully we can keep this ball moving.”
Willis took home his second pole of the season Saturday night, qualifying with a time of 16.075 seconds (89.580 MPH).
Nathan Crews sweeps twin Pure Stock races
The points battle in the Budweiser Pure Stock Division got a lot more complicated Saturday night Long Island with two wins by Long Island driver Nathan Crews in 30-lap Pure Stock races.
Crews passed pole sitter Joe Allred III of Scottsburg (18.049, 79.783 MPH) on lap three of race one and beat the two-time division champion to the finish line by 1.485 seconds.
Stuart Crews of Long Island finished in third place in race one, with Austin Milam of Ringgold and Greg Autry of South Boston rounding out the top-five finishers in a race that was delayed twice by caution flags and took 18 minutes to complete.
An eight-car inversion for race two had Nathan Crews starting eighth and Allred starting seventh, but both drivers moved quickly through the field, with Allred taking the lead from pole sitter Eric Crews on lap three.
Allred held the lead until the restart following the last of the race’s two cautions, with Crews charging past Allred on lap 18 and holding him at bay the remaining laps for his third win of the season.
Crews beat Allred to the finish line by 0.932 seconds in race two, which took 20 minutes to complete.
Stuart Crews of Long Island finished third in race two, and Jake Brown of Cluster Springs and Randy Hupp of Halifax rounded out the top-five finishers.
Crews had to battle power steering issues in both races, but his race team and others helped make the necessary adjustments to allow him to come home with two wins.
“I can’t say enough about my crew, we had a whole lot of technical difficulties, and I didn’t have power steering,” said Crews.
It was enough just to race and hold the car in one piece, according to the driver known for his go-for-broke racing style.
“Thanks to all my competitors, especially to Joe (Allred) for a good run, he was giving me all he had,” added Crews.
Allred admitted to having his own equipment issues.
“After the first race, the tires were so slick, and I guess I burned up the right rear,” Allred said.
Matthew Leach wins Champ Karts race
Matthew Leach of Newport News won the 20-lap Champ Karts race Saturday night at South Boston Speedway, passing race leader Aaron Leach on the last lap to win by 0.006 seconds.
Aaron Leach of Hampton finished second, with Charlie Ray Lorah of Virginia Beach coming home third in a caution-free race.
Angelmarie Steele qualified on the pole for the race with a time of 24.855 seconds (57.936 MPH).
Ricketts gets win in Legendary Flatheads race
South Boston driver Garland Ricketts passed race leader Bill Daniels on lap 13 and led the rest of the way to win the 20-lap Legendary Ford Flathead Association race Saturday night.
Daniels, of Danville, finished second, with Harry Hale of Wirtz, Va., finishing in third place ahead of Ronda McKnight and Clayton Smith of King, N.C.
Ricketts was the Modified winner, while Hale was the Sportsman Division winner in a race that included one caution.