Southampton race notes 2004-04-30

CAPRON, Va. (April 30) - Timothy Peters of Providence, N.C., held off Phil Warren of Norfolk, Va., to post his first victory of the season in the 150-lap Budweiser Late Model Stock Car feature, the headlining event of Friday's NASCAR Dodge Weekly...

CAPRON, Va. (April 30) - Timothy Peters of Providence, N.C., held off Phil Warren of Norfolk, Va., to post his first victory of the season in the 150-lap Budweiser Late Model Stock Car feature, the headlining event of Friday's NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series program at Southampton Motor Speedway. The win was Peters' first at the Capron tri-oval.

Warren, in search of his third straight checkered flag, was the fastest qualifier, at 95.968 mph. In the inversion draw, he pulled the "5" card, moving 16-year-old rookie Travis Miller to the pole. Morty Buckles of Stone Mountain, Ga., shared the front row with Miller. Emporia, Va.'s Mike Shearin and Chesapeake, Va.'s Bob Shreeves made up Row 2, while Warren and Peters occupied Row 3.

As the race got under way, Buckles, a participant in NASCAR's "Drive for Diversity" initiative, gained the early edge on Miller, leading the opening circuit by half a car-length. Buckles cleared Miller's machine out of Turn 2 on the second lap and quickly motored away.

Shearin slipped past Miller for the runner-up spot on lap 3, bringing Warren and Peters along with him. With his pursuers swapping positions in his mirror, Buckles opened a five-length advantage. That margin disappeared when the first caution flag waved on lap 20.

Under the rules for the event, all drivers had to make a green-flag pit stop between laps 25 and 125. Most of the frontrunners chose to fulfill that requirement as soon as possible.

Warren, Peters, Shreeves, Miller and Mike Conner of Gloucester, Va., began the pit cycle on lap 25, followed by Shearin on the following circuit. Buckles made the turn onto the pit lane on lap 28, handing the lead to Brian Carter of Poquoson, Va.

While leading, Carter tangled with Conner in Turn 4 on lap 35, prompting the second yellow flag. Though he was deployed at the rear of the field, Carter was still shown as the leader since he had yet to make his stop.

Just after the ensuing restart, at lap 40, Carter slowed and pulled in to his crew's attention, completing the pit cycle. Shearin became the new leader, followed by Warren and Buckles. Chesapeake's Joey Cohen was fourth and Peters rounded out the top five.

Peters took fourth place from Cohen as the field got back up to speed. Closing in on Buckles, Peters made a bid for the third spot on lap 46, but dropped back in line.

The third caution flag flew on lap 48 when Mark Robert of Chesapeake slowed in Turn 2 with reported rear-end problems, finally stopping on the frontstretch.

On the restart, Shearin suddenly fell off the pace and pulled to a halt in Turn 1, the victim of a flat right-front tire. Warren assumed the top spot as Shearin made his way to the pits. Unfortunately for Shearin, he lost a lap as his team bolted on a new tire.

When the race resumed, on lap 63, Peters mustered a strong run on the outside of Buckles and swept by to pick up the second position. Continuing his march to the point, Peters zeroed in on Warren and took the lead in Turns 1 and 2 on lap 66.

As impressive as his run to the lead was, Peters was unable to shake Warren over the remaining circuits. The two were never separated by more than a couple car-lengths and, in fact, spent much of the time side-by-side.

Warren launched his first bid to regain the lead on lap 104, nosing under Peters in Turn 4. Warren edged ahead to lead the 106th circuit before Peters powered back out front from the outside. Peters finally cleared Warren on lap 108.

After the sixth and final caution flag, the field returned to green on lap 117 and Peters jumped out to a two-length lead. Warren rapidly narrowed the gap, though, and drove under Peters on lap 125. The duo went door-to-door for about 15 of the last 25 circuits.

While Warren occupied the low line, Peters was enjoying success on the top side, especially off Turn 2 and onto the backstretch, allowing him to maintain the lead.

Working the white-flag lap, Warren took one last shot at the win, ducking low out of Turn 4. At the line, though, his bid came up a car-length short as Peters held on for the win. Peters' margin of victory was 0.127-second.

Conner and Carter were third and fourth, respectively, in the rundown, rebounding from their early-race run-in. Shreeves, who was also relegated to the rear of the field after a tangle with Buckles on lap 89, recovered to take fifth. Miller and Williamsburg, Va.'s Terry Carroll were sixth and seventh, in that order, while Buckles was eighth, the final driver to complete the entire distance.

After the race, Peters was pleased to be making his first visit to SMS's Victory Lane: "We've just been working awful hard. First off, thanks to Phil for running me clean. He had the better car on the low line and my car was working good, once I ran up high, so that's where we stayed the rest of the night and tried to hold him off. It was good racing. I'm just glad to be in Victory Lane."

Runner-up Warren offered his perspective on the battle: "I was just looking for any way I could to get by him. He knew I was loose down low and he kept running the high side. I just did everything I could this side of take him out and I didn't want to do that, so we'll come back next week and see if we can do better."

Third-place Conner commented on his night's work and shared a humorous insight on his interaction with David Conner, his crew chief and father: "We had a good car, probably the best one I've had. We got spun right around lap 30 or so and, from then, it was a struggle to get back. Dad made a few changes to the car before the race and didn't tell me, so that always helps out when he don't tell me he's changing it `cause I'll second-guess him and go back and unchange his change. But, we're real fortunate and just happy to finish where we did."

In the evening's other feature events:

Gary Weeks of Newport News, Va., moved out front on lap 9 and roared to his second straight win in a 50-lapper for the Mike Duman Auto Sales Limited Late Models.

Weeks was the fast qualifier, at 92.391 mph, and started third after the pre-race inversion. Anthony Warren of Norfolk and Ken Rountree of Gates, N.C., made up the front row.

Rountree grabbed the lead out of Turn 4 on the opening lap, edging ahead of Warren. Weeks moved up to second place on lap 3 and quickly pulled up on Rountree's rear bumper.

On lap 8, Weeks drove under Rountree at the end of the backstretch. He drew even and completed the pass for the lead off Turn 2 on the following lap. Within a handful of circuits, Weeks had opened a five-length margin. That advantage evaporated, though, when the race's only caution flag waved on lap 19.

As the event resumed, Weeks bolted from the pack. After only three green-flag laps, his lead had swelled to half a straightaway.

Behind the leader, Rountree, Warren and Shawn Balluzzo of Hampton, Va., were locked in nose-to-tail formation. In a bid to take the second spot, Warren poked a fender alongside Rountree on lap 37, only to fall back in line.

On lap 47, Warren went on the attack again, driving under Rountree in Turn 4. He gained the clear-cut edge off Turn 4 on lap 49.

At the finish, Weeks was the winner by better than half a straightaway, followed by Warren. Rountree was third to the checkers, holding off Balluzzo by half a car-length. Jeff Sampson of Hampton was fifth in the final rundown.

Bill Wallace of Newport News, Va., picked up his first victory of the season in the 25-lap Gontarek Family Eye Care U-Car feature, taking the lead for good on lap 24.

Wallace set the fast time in qualifying, at 75.519 mph, and started third after the inversion draw. Bill Mullis of Gloucester, Va., looking for his third win in as many races, started from the pole.

As the race got under way, Mullis grabbed the lead, pulling ahead of George VanGuilder of Yorktown, Va., in Turns 1 and 2 on the opening lap.

Wallace tailed VanGuilder until lap 4 when he ducked low at the end of the back straightaway. He motored alongside VanGuilder through the frontstretch dogleg and completed the pass for second in Turn 2 on lap 5. The exchange allowed Mullis to open a half-straightaway edge.

Wallace got some help when the race's only yellow flag flew on lap 11 as Chesapeake's Wayne Lyon slowed to a halt on the track apron in Turn 2.

Back under green, Wallace immediately went after the lead, driving under Mullis. He edged out front to lead laps 12 and 13 before Mullis regained the top spot.

Settling into second place, Wallace shadowed Mullis until lap 23 when he motored to the leader's inside in Turn 4. Rolling through the first and second corners on the following circuit, Wallace pulled out front and sped on to the win. He was a car-length ahead of Mullis at the checkers.

Evan VanLeeuwen of Norfolk was third to the stripe, while VanGuilder and Craig Firman of Yorktown completed the top five.

-sms-

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About this article
Series NASCAR , Stock car
Drivers Timothy Peters , Brian Carter , Travis Miller
Teams Williams