CAPRON, Va. (Aug. 1) - "From one extreme to the other." That was how Frank Deiny Jr. of Mechanicsville, Va., summarized his week, which ended with a victory in the Hot Tamales/Perry Auto Group 100 for the RaceWorld.com Late Model Stock Cars, the...
CAPRON, Va. (Aug. 1) - "From one extreme to the other."
That was how Frank Deiny Jr. of Mechanicsville, Va., summarized his week, which ended with a victory in the Hot Tamales/Perry Auto Group 100 for the RaceWorld.com Late Model Stock Cars, the headlining event of Friday evening's NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series program at Southampton Motor Speedway.
Phil Warren of Norfolk, Va., earned the pole position for the race, touring SMS's 4/10-mile tri-oval at 95.554 mph. Mark McFarland of Winchester, Va., lined up to Warren's outside, while Deiny and Brandon Butler of Petersburg, Va., occupied the second row. Chesapeake, Va., drivers Terry Allison and John Staton made up Row 3.
As the race got under way, Warren leaped into the lead, clearing McFarland as the field rumbled into Turn 1 for the first time. McFarland settled into second, followed by Deiny.
Meanwhile, Allison and Butler were door-to-door for fourth. Allison eventually grabbed the spot, bringing Staton along with him and dropping Butler to sixth.
At the front, McFarland launched a bid for the top spot on lap 2, driving under Warren in Turn 4. The two jousted side-by-side until lap 4 when Warren pulled ahead.
On the next circuit, Deiny went on the attack, powering to the inside of McFarland in Turn 2. Their door-to-door battle lasted until lap 7 when Deiny gained the upper hand. Allison tagged along with Deiny and took over third place for laps 7-9. McFarland regained third place on lap 10.
By lap 20, McFarland had caught back up to Warren and Deiny, who were in nose-to-tail formation at the head of the field.
Allison, running fourth, fell by the wayside on lap 31 as he made the turn down the pit lane with mechanical problems. His early exit moved Staton and Butler up to fourth and fifth in the running order.
At the crossed flags, Warren and Deiny were still bumper-to-bumper, while McFarland lurked a couple car-lengths back.
Sneaking occasional peeks to the inside, Deiny continued to tail Warren until lap 53 when he ducked under the leader in Turn 4. Coming around to complete the 54th circuit, the pair made contact at the start/finish line and Deiny surged out front. Warren quickly gathered his machine and held onto the runner-up spot.
By the end of the race, which ran caution-free for the third week in a row, Deiny's margin of victory had grown to 2.595 seconds - better than half a straightaway - over Warren. McFarland, Staton and Butler rounded out the top five.
In Victory Lane after the event, Deiny detailed his travails of the previous week: "Went out to California last week (for a NASCAR Featherlite Southwest Series race) and missed my first race in nine years. That was a big-time heartbreaker, but sometimes you need setbacks to put you back in your place. So, we came out here today and tested real hard and I crashed this thing this morning and these guys put it back together here at the racetrack. My hat's off to all these guys that work on this car. If it wasn't for them, obviously, we wouldn't be here. Man, it feels great to be able to win out here. Now, if I can put one together on the West Coast here pretty soon, it'd be complete."
Continuing, Deiny commented on his duel with Warren: "I felt like I was (faster than Warren). I tried to let him see, too. I'd back off from him, then pull back on him. I was trying to drive him real clean. Me and Mark had a clean race and, then, me and Phil had a pretty good, clean race. I think he probably got loose a little bit off (Turn) 4 and got into me a little bit, but I think all three of us had a pretty good battle."
Concluding his remarks, Deiny got in a couple playful jabs at his fellow competitors' sponsors: "Luckily, tonight I got me a little smoked chicken. I even got to beat two chicken cars (Hardee's for Warren and Popeye's for McFarland). Got that monkey off my back. I hadn't won a race in eight months and it was starting to kill me."
For Warren, who broke a string of three straight fourth-place finishes, the event provided signs of progress: "He (Deiny) was a little better than I was. I think he heated his tires up there one time and he cooled `em back down and we got just a little bit too loose. Hey, second's better than where we've been running. It's one spot closer. We got to lead a little while. We can work with this. Maybe we can make it a little better and win next week."
Asked about the effort that produced the pole position, Warren offered, "A lot of work on the race car that normally I wouldn't do, usually I rely on the car builders for. I did a lot of stuff to it myself, a lot of major changes to the front end and stuff. It was definitely better tonight. We'll be back next week and maybe we'll be in Victory Lane."
McFarland, the division points leader and a six-time winner, felt fortunate to post a third-place finish: "The car was a little off tonight, but it was still good enough to finish third. We've gotta thank all these guys for working hard. We've just got to come back and practice some more and get better. The car just kept getting tighter and tighter, the longer we ran. We were pretty much hanging on for third."
In the evening's other feature events:
Anthony Warren of Norfolk rolled to his second win in a caution-free 50-lapper for the Mike Duman Auto Sales Limited Late Models. He started on the pole, at 91.139 mph, and led from flag-to-flag.
Steve Zuskin of Disputanta, Va., who started third, moved up to second on the opening circuit and held that position to the checkers, finishing a straightaway behind Warren.
David Wheeler of Prince George, Va., shared the front row with Warren, but got trapped in the high groove at the beginning of the event and fell back to fourth. He regained one position on lap 29 and came home with a third-place finish.
Gary Weeks of Newport News, Va., and Ray Ashworth of Mechanicsville were fourth and fifth, respectively.
Robbie Parker of Chesapeake wired the field for his second win of the `03 campaign in the 25-lap Rick's Rock Cafe Pure Stock feature.
Parker shared the front row with David Allison of Chesapeake, who was looking for his third straight victory. The two raced door-to-door until Turn 2 of the second lap when Parker motored ahead.
Points leader Preston Wheeler of Prince George, who started third, tagged along with Parker, moving past Allison and into second. For a time, he appeared ready to challenge for the lead, but Parker kept him at arm's length for the duration of the race. At the end, Parker was the winner by three lengths.
Rodney Taylor of Matoaca, Va., Allison and Ray Paul of Virginia Beach, Va., tailed Parker and Wheeler to the stripe, finishing third, fourth and fifth, in that order.
Stan Holmes of Chesterfield, Va., took the lead on lap 19 and held on for his second straight SMS win in a 20-lap contest for the Ukrop's Mid-Atlantic Champ Karts.
Jim Grady Jr. of Richmond, Va., started on the pole, but gave way to George Dehner of Glen Allen, Va., on the opening lap. On lap 2, Grady led a four-kart draft past Dehner and regained the top spot.
Grady remained at the head of the pack until lap 15. With the second- and third-place runners, Danny Wyatt of Langley, Va., and Mason Temple of Emporia, Va., scuffling between themselves, the lead trio was vulnerable when Dehner and Holmes linked up and drafted to the front. Temple fell in line behind Dehner and Holmes.
The running order at the front remained unchanged until lap 19 when Holmes and Temple double-teamed Dehner.
At the finish, Holmes was the winner by a kart-length over Temple. Wyatt was third to the line, but was later disqualified for racing below the yellow line. Steven Helms of Mechanicsville was third in the official rundown, followed by Dehner and Stanley Holmes of Chesterfield, the winner's dad.