Chris Dodson picked up his third checkered flag in three races at Southside Speedway this season, pulling his Late Model Sportsman car into victory lane after a 100-lap contest of attrition at the Midlothian track last night.
Dodson started third in a field of 22 cars - 10 of which finished the caution-filled feature race - and saw his dominance take hold on a single lap.
He had followed Billy Morris, who showed a strong car by holding first place for 67 laps, and Chris Hopkins, who sat in second in front of Dodson for two-thirds of the race when, following the seventh of 10 cautions, Hopkins' transmission went out and sent him to the pits.
On the restart, Morris blew an engine before he could complete a lap, and the race was Dodson's to lose. Bubba Hubbard had hung on to Dodson's bumper in fourth place up to that point, and Hubbard made a valiant effort to run down Dodson the last 20 laps but just couldn't quite get there.
"Billy's a great driver, and we were getting ready to get with it," Dodson said. "He's a good, clean racer, and I was looking forward to getting it on with him. But when he went down, I figured it was my race to lose.
"I could see Chris [Hopkins] was having problems because he was throwing oil on my windshield and actually I thought at first it could be coming from my car. But when he went out, I knew the trouble was with his car. And when Billy [Morris] went out a few minutes later . . . well, what else can I say?
"There are some great drivers out here. Chris Hopkins, Billy Morris, Michael Greathouse, Bubba Hubbard . . . They're as good as anybody that's ever come through here," Dodson said.
Calling his brand new car a thoroughbred, Dodson was obviously happy with the way it performed. He has his sights set on the LMS division championship and says that after he hopefully fulfills that goal he plans to put a different engine in the car and run at Myrtle Beach and Martinsville and some other bigger races in the Dodge Weekly Racing Series later this year.
Late Model Sportsman (100 laps): 1. Chris Dodson; 2. Bubba Hubbard; 3. Russ Ellis; 4. Rob Jenkins; 5. Steve Zuskin; 6. Danny Clatterbuck; 7. Chris Hoyleman; 8. Greg Holt; 9. Wayne McGee; 10. Michael Hayes; 11. Phil Ledwon; 12. Billy Morris; 13. Chris Hopkins; 14. Joey Bryant; 15. Rusty Ward; 16. Mike Greathouse; 17. Jason Pittman; 18. Chris Mueller; 19. Johnny Drudge; 20. George Pillsbury; 21. Greg Fernandez; 22. Ray Ashworth