Southampton race report 2003-08-15

CAPRON, Va. (Aug. 15) - Mark McFarland of Winchester, Va., moved a step closer to the 2003 track championship with his seventh victory of the season in the Turkey Hill Dairy 100 for the Late Model Stock Cars, the featured event of ...

CAPRON, Va. (Aug. 15) - Mark McFarland of Winchester, Va., moved a step closer to the 2003 track championship with his seventh victory of the season in the Turkey Hill Dairy 100 for the Late Model Stock Cars, the featured event of Friday's NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series program at Southampton Motor Speedway.

McFarland earned the pole position for the race, qualifying at 95.434 mph. Brandon Butler of Petersburg, Va., was second-fastest and lined up to McFarland's outside. Chesapeake, Va.'s John Staton and Norfolk, Va.'s Phil Warren made up Row 2, while Terry Allison and Jimmy Adkins, both of Chesapeake, occupied the third row.

As the race got under way, McFarland jumped into the lead, clearing Butler's machine through Turns 1 and 2 on the opening circuit. Butler settled into second, followed by Staton. Allison slipped under Warren and the two battled door-to-door with Allison grabbing fourth place.

On lap 4, Allison went after Staton for the third spot. He ducked low off Turn 4 and completed the pass at the other end of the track.

The first caution flag waved on lap 7 when Steve Owens of Barco, N.C., lost fluid. The interruption broke a string of three straight caution-free Late Model events.

Only one more lap was completed when the second yellow flag appeared as Ty Miller of Mineral, Va., and Mike Conner of Gloucester, Va., spun in Turn 4. Lining up for the restart, McFarland, Butler, Allison, Staton and Warren held the top five positions.

Back under green, McFarland fashioned a slim, one-car-length margin over Butler. Meanwhile, Warren went to work on Staton for fourth. A bid on lap 11 fell short and Warren dropped back in line. He launched another attack on lap 15, though, and finally cleared Staton on lap 17.

At the front, McFarland was beginning to ease away from the pack. By the 20th circuit, his lead had grown to three car-lengths and, 15 laps later, he was up by nearly half a straightaway.

Continuing his march toward the head of the field, Warren pulled up on Allison's rear bumper on lap 39 and began searching for an opening. Before that duel could develop, however, the third caution flag flew on lap 46 as Conner's engine expired along the backstretch.

As the field gathered for the ensuing restart, McFarland was separated from Butler by a lapped car and he took advantage of the situation, dashing off to a three-length lead.

On lap 47, a black flag was directed at fifth-running Staton, who had been throwing up showers of sparks at both ends of the track since the outset. He brought his car to the pit lane on the next lap, finally retiring to a 12th-place finish.

Warren moved past Allison for third on lap 49. He drove under Allison in Turn 2 and finished the pass in Turns 3 and 4.

At the halfway mark, McFarland enjoyed a five car-length edge over Butler. Another half-straightaway separated Butler from Warren.

Over the second half of the event, which ran caution-free, McFarland's lead only varied by a couple car-lengths as he worked his way around slower traffic.

Free of the lapped machines on lap 92, McFarland pulled away in the closing circuits and won by 1.915 seconds - a little better than half a straightaway - over Butler. Warren and Allison were third and fourth, respectively. Adkins was fifth to the line, his first top-five performance of the season.

In Victory Lane after the race, McFarland gave a tip of the cap to his team, saying, "I've gotta thank this crew. They worked hard today. We made a lot of changes and made the right calls and the car ran great. Lapped cars were a real handful, but the car was so good, you could take your time with `em and let them find out where they were going and then you could pass `em."

Overall, Butler seemed pleased with his runner-up outing, but knew he was no match for McFarland: "Mark was mighty good tonight. I tell ya', the Bailey's Chevrolet wasn't bad, just a little bit off. It was a good run for us. Car's in one piece. Just didn't have quite enough. We were a little bit loose there, late in the run. I thought we were as good, through the corners, as Mark. He might've got us a little bit down the straightaway."

According to third-place Warren, a better starting spot could have put him in position to challenge for a win: "Unfortunately, just messed up qualifying and got myself back there too far. Last week, we qualified on the pole and we changed some stuff around and we changed it back for the race. I don't know if I could've beat `em or not, but I think I could've at least ran with `em. I sure would've liked to have out-qualified `em tonight, so they'd have had to pass me."

In the division standings, McFarland now holds a 50-point advantage over Warren. Four races remain on the schedule, including 200-lappers on Aug. 29 and Sept. 19.

In the evening's other feature events:

Anthony Warren of Norfolk notched his second straight win, and third of the season, in the 50-lap Mike Duman Auto Sales Limited Late Model feature.

Starting from the outside of the front row, Warren nosed ahead of pole-sitter Gary Weeks of Newport News, Va., at the end of lap 1 and cleared Weeks' machine on lap 3. By lap 10, he had pulled away by four car-lengths.

Ken Rountree of Gates, N.C., ran third to Warren and Weeks until lap 36 when the race's only yellow flag appeared and he was directed to the pits, felled by suspected rear end problems. The caution flag erased a half-straightaway lead for Warren.

Back under green, Warren pulled away by a little more than a car-length over Weeks. David Wheeler of Prince George, Va., was the new third-place runner, followed by division points leader Steve Zuskin of Disputanta, Va.

On lap 40, Wheeler slipped high in Turn 2, opening the door for Zuskin, who pulled alongside on the backstretch and motored ahead off Turn 4.

At the finish, Warren was the winner by five car-lengths over Weeks. In a grinding finish, Zuskin fought off a last-lap bid by Wheeler to hang onto third place. Ray Ashworth of Mechanicsville, Va., tailed the top four to the checkers, coming home fifth.

David Allison of Chesapeake took the lead on lap 2 and rolled to his fourth victory in a 25-lapper for the Rick's Rock Cafe Pure Stocks.

Preston Wheeler of Prince George started on the pole and grabbed the lead in Turn 2 on the opening lap. When the field reached Turn 4, however, Allison, who qualified second-fastest, drove low and pulled alongside the leader. With third-place Rodney Taylor of Matoaca, Va., riding his bumper, Allison nosed out front at the end of lap 2.

Allison and Wheeler were still side-by-side on lap 3 when Taylor tried to stack `em three-deep for the lead at the entrance to Turn 3. Taylor ended up spinning to bring out the race's only caution flag.

As the race resumed, Allison opened a two-length edge over Wheeler. By the halfway mark, the advantage had grown to four lengths.

Wheeler tried to rally in the final laps, but came up two car-lengths short at the stripe as Allison scored the win. Robbie Parker of Chesapeake was third, while Wheeler rebounded to finish fourth. Ray Paul of Virginia Beach completed the top five.

In third place at the white flag, Ron Trimmer of Mechanicsville emerged from a scuffle in Turn 3 on the final lap to score his first SMS victory of the season in a 20-lap contest for the Ukrop's Mid-Atlantic Champ Karts.

Shay Stamper of Chesterfield, Va., and George Dehner of Glen Allen, Va., combined to lead the first 19 circuits. On lap 20, though, Dehner and Stamper, along with Graham Allen of Richmond, Va., and David Spence of Cosby, Tenn., tied up in the third corner.

When the dust settled, it was Trimmer standing in Victory Lane. Stan Holmes of Chesterfield was the runner-up, followed by Mason Temple of Emporia, Va., Jim Grady Jr. of Richmond and Stanley Holmes of Chesterfield.

Rickie Waters of Virginia Beach and K.C. Cunningham of Grafton, Va., shared Victory Lane as the Hillco Building Maintenance Super Fours (a combo class of Mini Stocks and Mini Trucks) returned to action.

Waters was the fast qualifier among the Mini Stock contingent and led all the way for his second win of the season. At the finish, he was half a straightaway ahead of runner-up Brian Bradley of Hopewell, Va. Early retirees Jay Williams of Franklin, Va., Joe Adams of Virginia Beach and J.R. Smith of Portsmouth, Va., were credited with third, fourth and fifth, respectively.

On the Mini Truck side, Cunningham moved out front on lap 22 when R.J. Davis of Virginia Beach tangled with the car of Smith, collecting Williams in the process. Cunningham paced the final four laps to secure the Mini Truck win. John Hollis of Virginia Beach, Aaron Adams, Davis and Neil Sipe of Hampton, Va., rounded out the Mini Truck top five.


Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR , Stock car
Drivers Steve Owen , Mark McFarland , David Wheeler
Teams Williams