|FRIDAY - JULY 14|
There are redraws in short-track racing . . . and then there are redraws.
Last week at Southside Speedway, Late Model Sportsman driver Chris Dodson led the field after 75 laps of a scheduled 150-lap feature, and during the mandatory pit stop redraw he was vanquished to sixth place to start the second half of a closely-contested race and wound up finishing fourth.
In last night's 100-lap Modified feature, top qualifier and two-time defending track champion Thomas Stinson redrew and pulled a 7, meaning he would start in seventh place. No problem with that as the veteran driver showed, picking up the checkered flag after surviving several challenges from other drivers.
The biggest came from Lin O'Neil, who generally doesn't show up in the top three but is competitive enough to be holding seventh place in the Modified Division points race.
Buddy Emory started second in the top three and led until Mike Rudy passed him on Lap 32 along with Stinson. A.J. Winstead was in third place until the move by Rudy and Stinson to take over first and second, then Winstead spun out on Turn 4 sending him to the back of the field.
On Lap 41 Stinson caught and passed Rudy, with Emory on their bumpers and O'Neil closing on the top three. But by Lap 77, Stinson had a 10-car lead on Rudy, and O'Neil passed Rudy for second place.
By Lap 86 O'Neil had caught Rudy for second place and was taking a bead on Stinson, but two laps later O'Neil blew a head gasket on the frontstretch and left a trail of oil for about 200 yards. It was a tough break for O'Neil, who had started third, was sent to the back of the pack for a spinout and had made his way to second place before the mechanical problems with only 12 laps left.
"I thought Lin [O'Neil] had a good race," Stinson said after his victory. "I actually had passed him a couple of times when we were jockeying for position during the race, and when my guys told me he was on my tail with 12 laps to go, I felt like I was ready for him. I had enough left to take him. But then his engine blew and, well, that's happened to all of us."
Including his races at Southside and on the Rolling Thunder Modified Tour series, Stinson has eight wins in his past 10 events.
Rudy again showed a strong car that seemed to fade a bit toward the late laps.
"He's a pretty young guy," Stinson said. "But he's learning fast. I think he's only been running here for three years, but I'll tell you . . . the way cars and drivers have changed in the recent past, I'm not surprised. I've learned more out here in the last two seasons than I did in my first eight."
Casey Sipe won the 30-lap Pro-Six race, and David Bryant took first in the 25-lap U-CAR event. The 50-lap Street Stock race did not finish in time to make this edition.
Modified (100 laps): 1. Thomas Stinson; 2. Mike Rudy; 3. Buddy Emory; 4. Russ Ellis; 5. Aubrey Thurston; 6. A.J. Winstead; 7. Chris Hoylman; 8. Michael Johnson; 9. Page Harrison; 10. Ryan Wilbourne; 11. Lin O'Neil; 12. Doug Hammer; 13. Kyle Wood; 14. Jason Eberth; 15. Warren Lipford; 16. Irvin Bell
Pro-Six (30 laps): 1. Casey Sipe; 2. J.B. Poates; 3. Allen Purser Jr. 4. Brad Wrenn; 5. Wesley Harris; 6. J.B. Sipe; 7. Wayne Clark; 8. Matt Settleage; 9. D.J. Watson
U-CAR (25 laps): 1. David Bryant; 2. Kevin Wilson; 3. Dwayne Bryant; 4. Mike Shiflett; 5. Lee Bradbury; 6. Donnie Johnson; 7. Ashton Bradbury; 8. Michael Moore; 9. Robert Hinchey; 10. David Blankenship; 11. Josh Bruce; 12. Jody Young; 13. Cory Willoughby; 14. Dickie Sanderson; 15. Randy Patterson; 16. Justin Brown; 17. Damon Fender; 18. Cody Deckert; 19. Scott Wyrick; 20. Jason Vaughn.