NCRA: Folk captures hometown win at Humboldt

HUMBOLDT, Kan. (July 19, 2002) - They say your hometown Folk are just really nice to be around. That proved to be especially true July 19 at Humboldt Speedway in Humboldt, Kan., as Justin Folk won his first-ever O'Reilly Auto Parts/NCRA Modified...

HUMBOLDT, Kan. (July 19, 2002) - They say your hometown Folk are just really nice to be around. That proved to be especially true July 19 at Humboldt Speedway in Humboldt, Kan., as Justin Folk won his first-ever O'Reilly Auto Parts/NCRA Modified presented by Dirt Works feature event.

Folk, from nearby Iola, about 10 miles north, was racing before his home crowd at his home track. He led a quartet of drivers who finished in the top ten on their home track - known locally as The Hummer.

"It was exciting to win a big race like this in front of my fans," Folk said afterwards.

After winning his heat race from the pole, Folk started the A feature on the inside of the second row with series regular David Lahey from Moscow, Kan., on the outside.

Veteran Johnny Bone, Jr., from Pea Ridge, Ark., nabbed the pole. Alongside him was three-time series defending champion John Allen, from Chanute, Kan., another local racing on his home track.

Bone jumped out to an early lead of as much as four car lengths while Folk quickly slipped around Allen into second. Lahey was fourth initially before passing Allen for third. Rounding out the early top five was another local driver, Humboldt's Levi McGowen, who started fifth.

On the third lap, five cars either got together or spun in turn one, effectively blocking the track and bringing out a red flag. After the restart, the top five remained the same at the end of lap three, but Folk powered around Bone on the backstretch of lap four to capture the lead.

A yellow flag on lap nine bunched the field again. When they returned to racing, Folk kept his lead over Bone, followed by Lahey, Allen and Marc Robe, who had taken over fifth from McGowen.

Folk and Bone put a little distance between themselves and the rest of the field and put on a great battle for first. The hometown favorite versus the out-of-town veteran. No matter which driver was in front, it looked like the other was glued to the leader's tail.

Bone finally got around Folk on the outside on lap 17 of the 30-lap race and opened up a slight lead. Folk closed the gap and returned the favor, moving back into first on lap 20.

They maintained that running order for the rest of the race, with Folk opening up a lead of as much as half-a-straightaway and took the checker for his first-ever O'Reilly Auto Part/NCRA Modified feature win.

"It was a good race; I really should have won but I just messed up," Bone said. "He's tough to outrun at Humboldt."

Folk said Bone appeared to "get a little tight" which allowed Justin to open up his lead late in the race. To which Bone agreed.

"My car was pretty tight. I couldn't run it right on the bottom where I needed to," Bone said. "That's where he could get the advantage on me."

After Folk and Bone had put a little distance between themselves and the rest of the field following the lap nine restart, another great battle was shaping up behind them for third. Lahey held that spot every lap but it sure wasn't easy.

McGowen started strong and ran fifth early before fading somewhat. But his machine was very noticeable a few laps later, running the high groove on the track and moving back into contention for third. Along with Lahey and McGowen, Allen, Robe and Jess Folk, Jr., were fighting each other for positions three through seven.

Although the running order for these positions had settled down by the middle of the race, with Lahey third and McGowen fourth, the other drivers never went away and were always a threat to move up if someone in front of them bobbled.

Lahey fought off these challengers to maintain third at the checker. He ran a solid race but just wasn't able to keep up with the leaders after the yellow flag restart on lap nine.

The next three positions went to a trio of local drivers with McGowen fourth, Folk Jr. fifth and Allen sixth.

Rounding out the top 10 were Dave Hardesty, Robe, Greg Stephens and points leader Greg Skaggs was tenth after starting 12th.

Curt Fulps started the C feature on the outside of the front row and took the checker over Dena Wilson. In the B feature, Mike Jarvis won from the pole and led nearly every lap but had to beat back the late charge of Skaggs to win by only a few feet.

Winner Justin Folk's brother, Jess Folk Jr., put on the best performance of the evening. After a less-than-stellar heat race, starting seventh and finishing eighth out of nine cars, he started ninth in the C feature. He was fourth after a couple of laps and held that spot to transfer into the B feature, where he started 14th. After a yellow flag restart on the fifth lap, Folk Jr. was only ninth. He moved steadily through the field to finish third and earn a 13th-starting spot in the A feature, where he finished fifth.

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Series Sprint
Drivers John Allen