Controversy Surrounds Late Model CarQuest 200 Finish Every once and a while, there are those nights at a race track where controversy outweighs the racing action. Two of the featured events at the Old Dominion Speedway Saturday night featured...
Controversy Surrounds Late Model CarQuest 200 Finish
Every once and a while, there are those nights at a race track where controversy outweighs the racing action. Two of the featured events at the Old Dominion Speedway Saturday night featured some sort of issue which clouded some fantastic competition. Take the CarQuest 200 lap feature for the B/G Products NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series Late Model Stock Cars for example. In what should have been a fairly mellow event after a first-lap crash that took out a majority of the field, the featured event ended under controversy with hot tempers, finger-pointing, and a protest of the finishing order, possibly scrambling the points chase yet one more time this season.
The humid evening began with Lindsay Chevrolet Quick Qualifying, and Chesterfield Va.'s Franklin Butler picked up his first award this season with a 15.780 (85.551 mph) lap in his Chevy. Point leader Richard Boswell Jr. was less than a tenth slower with a 15.849 (85.179 mph) lap in his Popeye's / ARDEX Chevy. Third quickest for the night was Boswell's teammate Tom Hall, who circled the speedway in 15.930 (84.746 mph). Rounding out the top 6, which would set the field for the Manassas Dodge "Dash For The Cash" was five time track champ Danny Fair in his Dodge with a 15.965 lap (84.561 mph), John Gunter in the New Cut Construction Chevy (16.002, 84.365 mph), and Nathan Buttke in the Buttke's Dairy / Woodson's Lawn Service Pontiac (16.036, 84.186 mph). Those drivers would be inverted for the ten-lap sprint, which would be won by Fair for his first "Dash" win of the season.
The field was now set with the veteran Fair on the pole, with Buttke, Gunter, Boswell Jr., Butler, and Hall leading the field to the green. The race was not even a lap old when contact was made between Butler and Gunter. Gunter, who was running third, slid up the track as the remainder of the field charged into turn three. In some way shape or form, twelve of the eighteen starters were involved in the incident. Once the smoke had cleared, only a handful of cars were able to rejoin the event. Since the event had not officially started since a full lap was not completed. Boswell Jr., and a host of others were able to jump into back-up cars and rejoin the race.
The carnage was cleared and the green waved once again, with Fair darting out in front. Mike Southard took the top spot for several laps before a mid-race caution period bunched the field back up. Fair then went to work on Southard, and took over the top spot once more. Boswell Jr. began his charge to the front with less than 20 laps to go and appeared to have the better handling car after 195 laps. The drivers took the white flag with Boswell close on Fair's bumper. Contact was made coming out of turn two, sending Fair into the dirt. Boswell managed to stay on the track and came back around to take what would be the apparent win. Fair would regain control for his Dodge and end up racing Butler back to the stripe for what would be ruled as the win. The checkers flew for Butler, who would beat Fair to the stripe by less than a car length. This sparked some major controversy as Butler pulled his machine into victory lane. Fair pulled his car on to the front straight for second. The sparks then flew as crew members and car owners from both the Fair and Boswell camp flooded the front straight. As of this release, the finish is unofficial.
Only seven of the original starters would see the checkers. Unofficially finishing third was Hall, followed by Boswell who was relegated to the tail end of the lead lap cars. The Capitol Cadillac Hard Charger Award, given each week to the driver who improves his starting position the most in the Late Model feature, went to Ray Andrews, who started 14th, and finished seventh.
Chris Donnelly in his Donnelly Concrete Chevy picked up his tenth win of the season in the Redman Fleet Service Grand Stock 50-lap feature. Donnelly was able to hold off early leader Robert Bruce for the win, and extended his already healthy point lead in the division. Finishing third was Michael Hardin, followed by Jimmy Hardin, and Mark Miller. The MARF Hard Charger Award courtesy of McGee Crane Rental and Convenience Car Care, presented to the driver who improves his / her qualifying position the most throughout the event, goes to T.J. Henderson. The Dodge driver qualified 13th, and finished 7th.
Scott Roux picked up his second win of the season in the 30-lap Mini Modified feature. Roux led flag-to-flag in the event, beating point leader Mike Carte to the stripe by less than 3 car lengths. With the win, Roux pulls to within 10 points of Carte in the chase for the championship.
John Mozingo, driving the Chesapeake Bail Bonds Chevy, survived a rough and tumble Winning Edge Performance and Graphics Speedway Sportsman 25-lap feature, taking home the checkers for his first ever win. Mozingo, who had started third, watched as the two leaders Mike Watson and Vince Langan battled for the top spot throughout the event. With only a handful of laps remaining after a caution period, Langan, who had already ignored the black flag for jumping the restart, drove into Watson, climbing over the side of the car. Langan came slamming back down onto the track, then made contact with Jeff Smith who tried to squeeze by on the outside. Smith hit the backstraight wall hard, and nearly flipped. Mozingo was able to miss the melee, and wound up with the lead. He was able to hold on to the top spot for the final few laps, and took the emotional win.
Watson brought is beat up machine home in second, followed by Dave Nobles, and Phil Kenney.
For his actions, Langan has been suspended for the next three events.
The Convenience Car Care UCAR division was on hand for a non-points event, and Scott Gore took home the checkers for the second time this season. Gore battled Tony Henderson for the final five circuits, with Henderson actually leading the white flag lap. But Henderson's Dodge pushed up the track in turn one, allowing Gore to slide underneath. Gore would bring his RMP / VooDoo Performance / Escort Mafia Ford home for the win by two car lengths. Finishing third was early leader Johnny Camden, followed by Danielle McDermott, and Rich Marouse.
Next Saturday night the Late Models will compete in twin 50-lap features, along with a 100-lap feature for the Grand Stocks. The Mini Modified are scheduled for a 30-lap event, with a Convenience Car Care points race for the UCAR's. Also on the schedule are the BDE Racing Series Mini Cups. Practice starts at 2PM, qualifying begins at 4PM, with racing action set to start at 7PM.
-Old Dominion Speedway