Southampton race notes 2003-07-25

CAPRON, Va. (July 25) - After two straight third-place outings, Mark McFarland of Winchester, Va., returned to his winning ways in the A&B Propane 100 for the RaceWorld.com Late Model Stock Cars, the headlining event of Friday's NASCAR Dodge...

CAPRON, Va. (July 25) - After two straight third-place outings, Mark McFarland of Winchester, Va., returned to his winning ways in the A&B Propane 100 for the RaceWorld.com Late Model Stock Cars, the headlining event of Friday's NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series program at Southampton Motor Speedway.

McFarland earned the pole position for the race, qualifying at 94.662 mph. Phil Warren of Norfolk, Va., started alongside McFarland on the front row, while Brandon Butler of Petersburg, Va., and John Staton of Chesapeake, Va., made up Row 2. Tommy Cherry of South Mills, N.C., and Brian Carter of Poquoson, Va., occupied Row 3.

As the race got under way, Warren tried to keep his Ford even with McFarland's Dodge. He was successful for about three-quarters of a lap as McFarland surged ahead out of Turn 4. Warren settled into second place, followed by Butler, Staton and Cherry.

On the second circuit, Terry Allison of Chesapeake, who started seventh, drove under Cherry in Turn 4 in a bid for fifth. Allison nosed ahead on lap 3 and cleared Cherry's Pontiac on the fourth circuit.

Butler went after Warren for the runner-up spot on lap 10, steering his Chevy to the inside of Warren off Turn 2. He completed the pass for second in Turn 4 and left the door open for Staton, who moved past Warren on the next lap.

At the head of the field, McFarland enjoyed a three car-length lead. Butler, however, was beginning to make up ground. He closed to within a couple lengths, but could get no closer as McFarland started to ease away. Passing the halfway mark, McFarland had regained his three-length advantage.

On lap 59, McFarland caught up to the tail end of the field and began to sort his way around slower cars. Sensing an opportunity, Butler narrowed McFarland's lead to a single car-length. McFarland quickly dispensed with the traffic, though, and powered away from the pack.

At the end of the event, which ran caution-free for the second week in a row, McFarland had extended his margin of victory to 1.756 seconds - better than half a straightaway - over Butler. Staton, Warren and Allison rounded out the top five.

In Victory Lane after the race, McFarland, informed that he'd completed the 100-lap distance in a little more than 26 minutes, commented, "I know, but it seemed like forever, especially with Brandon behind me. You never know what he's got until the checkered flag falls. We had a good car tonight and his car's always good. It's always good to run good down here. Y'know, running Friday and Saturday takes a lot out of these guys (his crew) and I just appreciate everything they do for me."

While it appeared that Butler might be able to offer a challenge to McFarland, the runner-up reported that his efforts were hindered by an understeer condition: "We had a great car last week and had a pretty good one tonight, just a little bit off. I had to really run our car really low through the corners, especially through (Turns) 1 and 2, to get it to turn at all. Car was just too tight. But, second place, we'll take it. Car's in one piece, we're going racing tomorrow night. Things could be a lot worse."

Third-place finisher Staton passed along the credit for his podium finish to his team: "I gotta thank my crew. They're awesome. They're why I'm here. I just feel fortunate to be part of it. I've gotta work on two more positions (to get to the winner's circle), so we gotta go home and do our homework."

In the evening's other feature events:

Steve Zuskin of Disputanta, Va., wired the field for his third victory of the season in the 50-lap Mike Duman Auto Sales Limited Late Model race. He started on the pole, at 90.794 mph, and led all the way.

Anthony Warren of Norfolk, who qualified third-fastest, slipped by Joey Cohen of Chesapeake for the runner-up spot on the opening circuit and tailed Zuskin to the checkers, finishing three car-lengths back.

David Wheeler of Prince George, Va., was third to the line, grabbing that position from Cohen on lap 42. Cohen was fourth to the line, while Gary Weeks of Newport News, Va., came home in fifth.

On July 18, David Allison of Chesapeake used a lapped car to overtake Preston Wheeler of Prince George for the Rick's Rock Cafe Pure Stock win. In Friday's 25-lapper, he needed no such assistance as he rolled to his second straight win and third overall.

Allison qualified on the pole and jumped into the lead as the field reached Turns 1 and 2 on the opening circuit. By the halfway point, his edge over second-place Wheeler had grown to half a straightaway.

Nearing the finish, a trio of slower cars loomed ahead of Allison. Rather than risk an entanglement, Allison cruised to the checkers, giving up only a couple car-lengths from his lead.

At the end, Allison was the winner by four lengths over Wheeler. Rodney Taylor of Matoaca, Va., edged Robbie Parker of Chesapeake for third and Ray Paul of Virginia Beach, Va.,was fifth.

Craig Goess Jr. of Greenville, N.C., the 2002 Legends Pro Division national champ, was the winner in a 25-lap contest for the INEX Little Race Cars Legends. The victory was his second in as many visits to SMS in `03.

The race was interrupted by caution flags on the initial lap and again on lap 7.

As the field settled down, Goess drove off into the distance. At the crossed flags, he was up by half a straightaway and, by the finish, he had doubled that margin.

Ryan Crites of Newport News, Va., moved into second on the opening lap, then held off repeated challenges from Cliff Daniels of Smithfield, Va., to maintain the position. Daniels' car began to show smoke in the closing laps, but he nursed it home in third, his first podium finish at SMS.

Don McLaughlin of Chesapeake emerged from a three-way battle to take fourth place. Kevin Yeatts of Powhatan, Va., was fifth and Cameron Patrick of Hayes, Va., who was part of the three-car tussle, ended up sixth.

-sms-

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About this article
Series NASCAR , Stock car
Drivers Mark McFarland , Craig Goess , Brian Carter , David Wheeler