ASHEBORO, N.C. (JULY 7, 2004) - They say that in racing, the first victory is by far the sweetest. After Erik Darnell picked up the lead late in the running of the AutoZone 150 at Caraway Speedway on Wednesday night, the NASCAR AutoZone Elite ...
ASHEBORO, N.C. (JULY 7, 2004) - They say that in racing, the first victory is by far the sweetest. After Erik Darnell picked up the lead late in the running of the AutoZone 150 at Caraway Speedway on Wednesday night, the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, the Southeast Series driver wasn't about to argue about how sweet his win really was.
Not only was it Darnell's first Southeast Series win, but also his first victory at a NASCAR level of any kind.
"This is definitely the greatest win of my life," Darnell said. "We've been getting so close to winning that it's nice to finally pull a victory off. To pick up my first NASCAR win is huge to me and it takes a big monkey off my back. I'd finished second too many times until this."
Darnell also had a little bit of the racing luck shine his way when Kevin Prince - who had led every lap since the start of the race - relinquished the lead when he thought there would be a caution when another car let out a plume of smoke. That opened the door for Darnell to slip by and steal the victory.
"We had the win and let it get away," said a disappointed Prince. "There were just certain circumstances that cost us tonight, but we're going to take this and build on it for the next race. When I saw the smoke on the backstretch, I was waiting for the caution to come out but it never did."
Wayne Anderson, the all-time victory leader in the Southeast Series, was looking to add to his racing resume but came up short with a third-place finish.
"The effort was good, but it wasn't the results I was looking for," Anderson said. "We passed a couple of very good cars. Since I don't race in this series fulltime, it's kind of hard to expect to come in here and blow them away. We knew we had our work cut out for us, but it was a good night for us."
Rounding out the top-five were J.R. Norris and Jeff Fultz. With his fifth-place finish, Fultz was able to maintain the Southeast Series championship lead heading into the next race at Myrtle Beach (S.C.) Speedway.
There were eight cautions that slowed the 150-lap race by 37 circuits.