- Last Updated on 07:16 AM 08/05/13
- BY Doug Ford
While other contenders faltered, Danny Willis Jr. took a step toward his second Limited Sportsman Division title Saturday night with a win in the 50-lap race at South Boston Speedway.
Willis, of Cluster Springs, passed first-time South Boston Limited pole winner Daniel Moss on the opening lap and held off Michael Maresca on a pair of restarts in the race’s late stages to claim his sixth win of the season and his third win in his last four starts.
Maresca, of Hannawa Falls, N.Y., finished second, and Trey Crews of Halifax finished third for his first podium finish in the Limited Sportsman Division.
Moss, of Danville, finished fourth, G.R. Waldrop of Moseley came home fifth, while Charles Barnes of Chase City, Mike Jones of South Boston, Austin Babb of Jarrat, Blake Stallings of Danville and Libby Privette of Nathalie rounded out the top-10 finishers.
Willis put some distance between himself and two drivers in the top-five points standings who did not finish the race.
Garrett Bunch, second in points coming into the race, retired after his car and the car of Joey Throckmorton got together on lap 44, and Stallings, third in points coming in, retired from the race a lap later after getting collected when the car of Privette spun in turn two.
Willis found the outside groove to his liking in the closing laps and elected to take the outside line on both late restarts.
“It was pretty good for us. We had a good car at the start, and we were able to get out front and get away from the field,” said Willis.
“I started to take it easy and try and ride to save my tires, and they counted down to eight laps to go and they had a caution, than another caution.”
“Maresca got to second, and I thought we were going to put on a show just like the past couple of races.
“Luckily the outside worked out for me tonight again, and we were able to get back out in front.
“We have to come out here the next two races and use our head. You always want to win, and if we keep racing like this we can do it.
“Maresca drove me clean tonight,” Willis added. “We had a little incident the last race, but it was just good, hard racing and he showed tonight what kind of driver he is, and what kind of sportsmanship we got.”
“He was just a little bit better than us tonight, and we didn’t have enough for him” explained Maresca.
“We’re definitely fighting hard, and my guys are working hard to get us there, said Maresca referring to their efforts to get back to Victory Lane for a second time this season.
“I’m kind of sad I didn’t get up there tonight for them, but we’re getting closer and closer every weekend.”
Crews’ third-place finish was his best ever in a Limited Sportsman car and his first-ever podium finish in this class.
Crews, who won the Budweiser Pure Stock points title last year, avoided the mishaps in front of him and “stayed on top of the wheel” for his podium finish.
“I tried to stay out of trouble and was there at the end,” said Crews. “We had a pretty good car overall, and hopefully it will get better.”
Moss won the pole with a time of 16.157 seconds (89.125 MPH) in a race that took 31 minutes to complete and had two cautions, one a red flag stoppage.
Allred pushes win total to seven in Pure Stock race
Scottsburg driver Joe Allred III pushed his win total for the season to seven with his fifth win in a row in the Budweiser Pure Stock Division on Saturday night.
The winner of both ends of twin 30-lap Pure Stock races his last time out, Allred won his fourth pole award of the season but started back in the field after a five-car inversion.
Rookie driver Greg Autry of South Boston started on the pole and led the race until lap 25 when Long Island driver Stuart Crews nudged past him for the lead, resulting in Autry spinning in turn two and Allred, running third at the time, having to drive into the pits to avoid hitting Autry’s car.
Crews was credited for leading lap 25 but received a stop and go penalty for rough driving, with Allred inheriting the lead on the restart and staying in front the final four laps for the win.
Austin Milam of Ringgold, Autry, Bruce Mayo of Halifax and Crews finished the race in second through fifth-place, but Milam was disqualified following a post-race inspection by track NASCAR officials, the result of which moved Autry to second-place.
Allred admitted to a little racing luck in winning the past two races.
“I tell you what, we haven’t had the winning car here the last two times we’ve won,” he said.
“The first race last time and this race this time we did not have a winning car, and by the Grace of God that thing is not in a shoebox right now in pieces.
“That was an awesome race.”
Autry, who already owns a win in his rookie season, said he and his race team still have a little more work to do on the car.
“It was a decent car tonight,” said Autry. “I’d like to thank the guys at the shop, they did a lot of work last night and today.”
Allred won the pole with a time of 18.302 seconds (78.680 MPH) in a race that took 19 minutes to complete and had three cautions.
Ayer wins Champ Karts race
Josh Ayer of Smithfield, Va., took the lead from Brad Waltrip on lap three and led the remaining 17 laps to win the 20-lap Champ Karts race Saturday night at South Boston Speedway.
Matt Dail finished in second-place, and Matthew Leach, Jeffrey Johnson and Aaron Leach rounded out the top-five finishers in a field of 21 karts.
Ryan Hudgins came home third in the race but was disqualified after a post-race inspection by series officials.
Chris Sutton, Ashten Mullett, Harry Leach, Shawn Gervais and Jordan Valdes rounded out the top-10 finishers.
Waltrip qualified on the pole with a time of 23.795 seconds (60.517 MPH) in a race that included three cautions.
Ricketts claims win in Legendary Flatheads race
Garland Ricketts of South Boston inherited the lead when race leader Randy Apple dropped out of the event on lap 15 and raced to the win in the 20-lap Legendary Flatheads race Saturday night.
Ricketts passed pole sitter Rhonda McKnight of King, N.C. on the opening lap and led until Apple passed for the lead on lap 10.
Apple’s car dropped out of the race on lap 15 after a mechanical failure, allowing Ricketts to take the lead and ultimately get the win.
Ricketts won the Modified Division, while Clayton Smith of King, N.C, who finished third behind McKnight, was the Sportsmanship winner.