ALTON , VA -- John Martin of Cornelius , North Carolina , batted back from a mid race spin to win the Stock Car Championships Series race at Virginia International Raceway on Sunday October 12. Martin, in the Valley Settlement Services / Advance...
ALTON , VA -- John Martin of Cornelius , North Carolina , batted back from a mid race spin to win the Stock Car Championships Series race at Virginia International Raceway on Sunday October 12. Martin, in the Valley Settlement Services / Advance Auto Parts Chevrolet Monte Carlo set the fast lap of the race when he captured the lead for the first time on lap 9 of the 23 lap feature.
It was an unusual mixture of sound and scenery, as the elegant sports car racing grounds of Virginia International Raceway reverberated this past weekend with the thunder of NASCAR-styled Late Model Stock cars. But one thing was quickly proven: racing is racing, regardless of the class, with 15 teams of the Stock Car Championship Series (SCCS) putting on quite an exciting show.
John Martin of Cornelius, N.C. out lasted and out charged the field to capture the 40-minute timed event. After 23 laps, he sped past the start/finish line for the checkered flag with a 7.772-second margin of victory over runner-up was Kenny Liesfeld of Montpelier, Virginia and Al Zimmerman of South Boston, Virginia in third.
Pole winner, series points leader, and early race leader Ron Fariss of Lynchburg, Virginia spun in turn one, then had trouble returning to the asphalt surface because of the wet grass in the run-off area. He fought his way up through the pack for the remainder of the race and managed to finish 6th. J.P. Morgan of Ether, N.C. came in fourth, while Chris Mitchum of Herndon, Virginia rounded out the top five.
Martin began the race on the outside pole and for the first stages of the race had a terrific battle with Fariss. "I followed Ron (Fariss) around for a little while until he slipped up and gave me a chance to get under him," explained Martin. "He stayed up there and was pressuring me when he somehow spun out in one.
"I was then pretty much trying to cruise, but then I messed up going into the North Course under the bridge at the top of the hill and I spun out in the grass," Martin continued. "Kenny (Liesfeld) got in front of me. I collected it up, managed to get to back on the track, and re-focused. Everybody on my team calmed me down and I just started letting him (Liesfeld) come back to me, you know. I finally got up to him and made my move. I pulled away by about eight seconds or so and they just kept telling me to 'take it easy, take it easy.' I drove my lines and we brought it home without spinning out again." " Martin also recorded the fastest lap of the entire race which was a 1:36.958 pace on lap nine.
While Fariss was disappointed with his finish, he remains a big supporter of the Stock Car Championship Series and of Virginia International Raceway. "This is a really competitive series, you can tell that by the closeness of the qualifying times," Fariss said. "John Martin's tough, he's won a couple of these, and Chris Mitchum is always strong. There's a lot of road racing experience out here and you really have to work hard to win a race in this series.
"Then, what can you say about VIR...I mean everybody who has been here knows it is an awesome facility," Fariss said. "I consider myself so lucky to live close to such a magnificent track."
The VIR race was the sixth of eight races on the SCCS 2002 schedule. The series heads to Summit Point in West Virginia on November 2-3, then has its season finale at Road Atlanta on December 1. For more information, visit www.sccsracing.com.