Beach captures first career Late Model victory

HARDEEVILLE, S.C. (April 16, 2001) -- Sixteen-year-old driving sensation Chris Beach of Hardeeville, S.C. picked up his first career victory in the O.C. Welch Ford-Lincoln-Mercury Late Model division at Hardeeville Motor Speedway this past...

HARDEEVILLE, S.C. (April 16, 2001) -- Sixteen-year-old driving sensation Chris Beach of Hardeeville, S.C. picked up his first career victory in the O.C. Welch Ford-Lincoln-Mercury Late Model division at Hardeeville Motor Speedway this past Saturday night. Beach earned the win by holding off longtime racing veteran Tommy Porter, Jr. in a one-lap shootout to the checkered flag.

Starting second, the No. 03 Hargray Communications Chevrolet dominated the race by leading every lap, after taking the lead on the the first lap of the 50-lap feature. Beach pulled away from the rest of his competitors during the green flag runs. The fifth and final caution of the night came on lap 49, and allowed Porter to close right in on Beach for an exciting last lap battle to the finish line.

On the final lap, Porter got a run going down the back straightaway and dove underneath Beach in turn three. Porter got loose coming off of turn four, giving Beach the opportunity to dive underneath and drag race Porter to the checkered flag, pulling off the hard-fought victory.

"This is so awesome," stated an excited Beach. "The Hargray Communications Chevrolet was perfect tonight and I couldn't have asked for a better way to end this race. Tommy (Porter) is a tough competitor and to beat him in a one-lap shootout like this is great."

"My crew chief, Thornton Butler, has done a great job setting this car up and he deserves a lot of credit for this win. I also need to thank Robert Elliott Racing Engines for the extreme horsepower we had to allow us to pull away from all the guys during our green flag runs," continues Beach. "The engine ran flawless and the Port City Racing chassis handled well. I just can't say enough thanks to everyone, including my parents (Dennis and Yvonne Beach). This is just so amazing. This is my first year running a full season of late models and to have my first win come so early is overwhelming."

Beach will make a run for two in a row at the Hardeeville Motor Speedway this coming Saturday night. "It was a great night and I hope we can celebrate like this again next week," said Beach.

Chris Beach began racing motocross at the age of nine. Beach moved up to go-karts and then to Legends Cars. Beach captured the 1999 South Carolina state championship for the Young Lions division and the 2000 South Carolina state championship for the Semi-Pro division in Legends. In 2001, Beach will race his Hargray Communications Chevrolet at several Carolina tracks, including Hardeeville Motor Speedway, while continuing his studies at the Thomas Hayward Academy.

-Hargray-

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