Southampton race report 2004-05-07

NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series at Southampton Motor Speedway Race Report Friday, May 7, 2004 CAPRON, Va. (May 7) - Bob Shreeves of Chesapeake, Va., led the final 25 circuits to win the 75-lap Budweiser Late Model Stock Car feature, the headlining...

NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series at Southampton Motor Speedway
Race Report
Friday, May 7, 2004

CAPRON, Va. (May 7) - Bob Shreeves of Chesapeake, Va., led the final 25 circuits to win the 75-lap Budweiser Late Model Stock Car feature, the headlining event of Friday evening's NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series program at Southampton Motor Speedway.

With the victory, the first of his Late Model Stock Car career, the 58-year-old Shreeves became the oldest driver to post a win in SMS's top division. Buck Godsey of Richmond, Va., who previously held the mark, was 56 when he scored his lone Capron win in 1997.

Shreeves set the fast time in qualifying for Friday's race, clocking in at 93.379 mph. He pulled the "7" card in the inversion draw and was bumped back to the inside of Row 4.

Mike Conner of Gloucester, Va., and Morty Buckles of Stone Mountain, Ga., occupied the front row in the shuffled lineup, while Mike Shearin of Emporia, Va., and Timothy Peters of Providence, N.C., made up Row 2. Miller Motorsports teammates Phil Warren of Norfolk, Va., and Travis Miller of Chesapeake were deployed in Row 3.

As the event got under way, Conner and Buckles locked horns in a wheel-to-wheel duel. Conner nosed ahead to lead the first two laps with Buckles edging out front at the line on the third circuit.

Heading into Turn 1 on lap 4, Conner and Buckles scrubbed together and Conner surged ahead. Buckles dropped into second, followed by Peters, Shearin and Warren. Shreeves emerged from the furious, race-opening scramble in seventh, just behind Miller.

On lap 5, Peters powered around the outside of Buckles to gain the runner-up spot. Two laps later, the first caution flag appeared for a single-car spin in Turn 2.

Back under green, Peters was on the move. Continuing to work the upper groove, he drove to the outside of Conner through Turns 1 and 2, drew even on the backstretch and motored into the top spot off Turn 4. Within a handful of laps, he had opened a two-length advantage.

Deeper in the field, Warren grabbed fourth place from Shearin on lap 9. Shreeves tagged along with Warren, cracking the top five on lap 11.

Warren quickly closed on Buckles and poked a fender alongside the third-place runner on lap 24. Buckles repelled the charge, but couldn't shake Warren, who had Shreeves in his mirror.

After five strong, but unsuccessful, bids to overtake Buckles, Warren finally gave way to Shreeves on lap 45. Shreeves rapidly closed in on Buckles and grabbed the third position on lap 47.

With his pursuers scuffling among themselves behind him, Peters had stretched his lead to better than half a straightaway over second-place Conner and seemed poised to collect his second straight SMS win. It wasn't to be, however.

On lap 49, Peters slowed to a crawl in Turn 4 with a flat right-front tire, prompting the last of the race's two caution flags. After a visit to the pits, Peters rejoined the field, but completed only one more lap before calling it a night, retiring to a 10th-place finish.

As the race resumed, Shreeves tailed Conner for a lap, then went on the attack. He drove to the leader's high side in Turns 3 and 4 and inched ahead for the first time on lap 51. Clearing Conner, Shreeves set sail as lap 60 went up on the scoreboard.

Behind the lead duo, Warren grabbed third place from Buckles on lap 52. Miller, a 16-year-old Late Model neophyte, moved up to fourth place on the following circuit.

With Shreeves cruising at the head of the field and Conner comfortably ensconced in the runner-up spot, the attention-grabbing battles in the closing laps were for third (between Warren and Miller) and fifth (between Buckles and Shearin).

On lap 62, Miller took a look under Warren at the entrance to Turn 1, but fell back in line. On the 63rd circuit, Miller was back, driving low in Turn 4. He pulled alongside Warren through the frontstretch dogleg and completed the pass for third off Turn 2 on lap 64.

Shearin, meanwhile, powered under Buckles on lap 69. He couldn't quite muster a pass for the fifth position, however, as Buckles held on to complete his first top-five run at SMS.

At the checkers, Shreeves was the winner by 2.178 seconds - about half a straightaway. Conner was second, his second consecutive podium finish. Miller was third, followed by Warren and Buckles.

In Victory Lane after the race, Shreeves was beside himself with glee: "I've finished second before, but I ain't never won before. I've been fighting mighty hard to win and we finally done it. I'm so happy, I can't tell ya'."

Buoyed by the win, Shreeves was already looking forward to the next event: "I'm gonna win next week. Once I start, it's gonna be hard to stop me."

Conner, the runner-up, could only tip his cap to the winner: "I'm afraid he's just got a little bit too much motor for me. We tried everything we had and the car was probably as good a one as I've had. Just real fortunate to finish here. I'd like to congratulate Bob on a good win. He ran me clean and we're just happy to be here."

Third-place Miller dispensed credit to his team and salutes to his fellow racers in his post-race comments: "It's great. The crew worked real hard - my dad, Jeremy, Stan, Dave, everybody, my mom, my sister and everybody who came out to support me. I'd like to thank Phil. He drove me clean, give me a little room. But, Mike Conner and everybody, congratulations to them. They did a great job."

In the evening's other feature events:

Anthony Warren of Norfolk started on the pole and led 39 of 40 laps for his first win of `04 in the Mike Duman Auto Sales Limited Late Model feature.

Gary Weeks of Newport News, Va., riding a two-race winning streak, was the fast qualifier at 91.925 mph. He pulled the "3" card in the inversion draw, putting Warren on the inside of the front with Ken Rountree of Gates, N.C., alongside.

On the start, Rountree stayed to Warren's outside and nosed ahead at the end of the opening circuit. Warren battled back on the inside line and edged out front on lap 2, finally clearing Rountree in Turn 1 on lap 4.

Weeks, who had been patiently watching the Warren/Rountree duel, rushed to fill the void to the inside of Rountree as Warren pulled ahead. He gained the clear-cut advantage over Rountree on lap 5, taking over second place.

As Weeks rapidly closed in on Warren, Shawn Balluzzo of Hampton, Va., moved up to challenge Rountree for third place, snagging the spot on lap 12.

Nearing the halfway mark, Warren had begun to ease away from Weeks, building a three-car-length margin. Weeks, meanwhile, was separated from third-place Balluzzo by almost a straightaway.

The field was bunched when the only caution flag flew on lap 34.

When the green flag reappeared, Rountree drove to the outside of Balluzzo, trying to regain third. Warren and Weeks, meanwhile, bolted from the pack in nose-to-tail formation.

Over the closing circuits, Warren steadily pulled away from Weeks. He enjoyed a three-length advantage at the finish. Weeks was second, holding off a late rally by Balluzzo. Rountree was fourth to the line and Jeff Sampson of Hampton completed the top five.

While the Limited Late Model division has been troubled by low car counts in the opening weeks of the new season, the distribution of checkered flags has been generous. Warren's victory made him the fourth different winner in five races.

Cliff Daniels of Smithfield, Va., posted his first Capron victory in a 25-lapper for the INEX Little Race Cars Legends, taking the lead on lap 12.

Daniels was the fast qualifier, at 85.638 mph, and started third after the inversion draw. Ryan Crites of Newport News, Va., started on the pole with C.E. Falk of Virginia Beach, Va., on his right flank.

On the opening lap, Falk moved out front, sprinting ahead of Crites at the end of the backstretch. Daniels slipped by Crites for the runner-up spot on lap 4 and quickly closed in on Falk.

Daniels made his first bid for the top spot on lap 10, ducking under Falk into Turn 1. Before the battle could develop further, though, the only caution flag appeared, slowing the field.

Back under green, Falk forged a two-length advantage over Daniels. Within a lap, though, Daniels had erased that margin and was searching for an opening.

On lap 12, Daniels pulled under Falk on the backstretch and scooted into the lead out of Turn 4. Within five laps, Daniels had established a three-length edge.

Nearing the finish, the leaders had to thread their way past slower traffic. Daniels managed the task effectively and maintained his three-length margin to the finish. Falk was second, followed by Crites, who held off Max Smith of Roanoke Rapids, N.C., at the stripe. Kerry Gilbert of Suffolk, Va., was fifth.

Bruce Kimmel of Chesapeake and John Hollis of Virginia Beach were the winners as the Hillco Building Maintenance Super Fours - a combination of Mini Stocks and Mini Trucks - made their second appearance of the season.

In the Mini Stock portion of the event, Kimmel, the fast qualifier, moved out front on lap 20 and led the way to the finish. Rickie Waters of Virginia Beach was the runner-up, followed by J.R. Smith of Portsmouth, Va., and Joe Adams of Virginia Beach. Brian Bradley of Hopewell, Va., who led laps 3-19 before falling off the pace, was fifth.

On the Mini Truck side, Hollis tailed Virginia Beach's Craig Brown for the first seven circuits, then made his move to the point on lap 8. Brown tried to rally on lap 11, but Hollis fought off the advance and drove on to the win, his first at SMS.

Jerry Perdue of Wirtz, Va., took the lead for the fourth and final time on lap 23 and sped on to victory in a 25-lap contest for the Virginia Mini-Cup Racing Association.

Perdue started on the pole and grabbed the lead in Turns 1 and 2 on the opening circuit. By the 8th lap, he was up by five car-lengths. Hugging the bottom of the track, though, second-place Randy Sample of Hampton was closing the gap.

On lap 14, Sample bypassed Perdue in traffic to take the lead. His stint atop the leaderboard lasted one lap as he slipped in Turn 4 on the 15th circuit and gave way to Perdue and Jason Watkins of Ridgeway, Va.

Watkins pushed his car to the front to pace laps 17-19. Perdue nosed out front on lap 20, then Watkins rallied to lead laps 21 and 22.

On lap 23, the lead duo ran up on a slower car, which Perdue used to surge ahead of Watkins. It was all the breathing room Perdue would need as he rolled on to a two-car-length win over Watkins.

Speedy Manning of Richmond, Va., who started 12th in the 19-car field, was third at the stripe, followed by Sample and Matt Wade of Roanoke, Va.


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Drivers Timothy Peters , Travis Miller