Natural Bridge Speedway Reaches Mid-Season
Natural Bridge Speedway officially reached the mid-point in the 2013 season this past Friday night. The point races are far from decided and the second half of the season is packed with special events and something for everyone. The ladies were scheduled to take center stage last week but Mother Nature had other plans. Race officials scrambled all night long trying to get six divisions of racing completed before the threatening skies surrounding the speedway opened up. At the end of the night only the Powder Puff feature for the ladies fell victim to a steady rain. The Powder Puff feature will be rescheduled later in the season.
JR Overstreet has had a stellar 2013 in the late model division. At the halfway mark in the season, Overstreet has picked up four feature wins and he currently has a nineteen point lead over Ricky Wells in the standings. His fourth win of the season came this past Friday night. Overstreet started on the pole and led the entire thirty-five lap distance. Overstreet was in a league of his own but the battle for second place was some of the best racing fans have seen this season. No fewer than three drivers took their turn in the runner-up position. First, it was Walker Arthur chasing Overstreet. Bobby Thompson then moved around Walker Arthur for second. Just when Thompson got comfortable in second, Ricky Wells made his presence know and took the spot away from Thompson. A few laps later Thompson recaptured the spot from Wells. Thompson, Wells, and Arthur raced door to door lap after lap.
While Overstreet was long gone, the battle for second raged on until the final turn. Wells and Thompson crossed the stripe in a virtual dead heat, with Thompson getting credit for second. Wells was forced to settle for third, followed by Arthur, and Gerald Wolfe.
In racing, when you have a frustrating week at the track the previous week the best way to put that frustration behind you is to go out and crush the competition the next week. That is exactly what sportsman driver Eric Groah did Friday night. After starting fifth, Groah only needed a couple of laps to get to the lead. Once out in front Groah drove away from the field. Timmy Mays held down the second spot until mechanical problems forced Mays pit side on lap number nine. Mays’ misfortune gave last week’s winner, Tyler Bare, the break he had been looking for. Bare moved into the second spot and closed to the back bumper of Groah under caution. Back under green, Groah turned frustration into jubilation by cruising to his fourth win of the season. Groah now trails Tyler Bare in the point standings by just six points. Robert Steen had is best run of the season with a third place finish. Josh Lilly was fourth and Randy Gardner came home fifth.
David Brogan led flag to flag to pick up his sixth win of the season in the street stock division. Brogan held off challenges from both Earl Brooks, Jr. and newcomer Scottie Nelson to pick up the win. Brogan trails Brooks by just three points at the mid-way point of the season. Brooks held down the runner-up spot until lap seventeen when Nelson took the spot away from Brooks. Nelson searched high and low for a way to close the gap on Brogan but Brogan was just too stout. Brooks slipped back to third at the checkers, followed by Lee Herring and Scottie Hostetter.
Former track champion, Howard Hall, had two runner-up finishes in the pure stock division entering Friday night’s event. Hall finally broke into the win column when he led the distance to score his first victory of the season. Hall held off Ben Hamilton for the win. Hall currently sits third in the standings behind Lee Brooks and Hamilton. Daniel Barbour appeared to have a car capable of running with Hall and Hamilton but a flat right front tire sidelined his march towards the front. Barbour recovered from his flat tire to finish third. Current point leader Lee Brooks finished fourth and Brandon Ramsey rounded out the top five finishers.
Rain cut short the All-American feature after twelve of the twenty laps were complete. Glen Almond led all twelve laps to score his seventh feature win of the season. Almond has a twenty-five point lead over Brandon Link in the standings. Derrick Wright ran in the runner-up spot early in the event before Donnie Fisher made his way around Wright. Fisher scored his best finish of the season by coming home second. Wright held on to finish third. Brandon Link and Ryan Kassab rounded out the top five.
Natural Bridge Speedway will sit idle this week. As part of the conditional use permit granted to the speedway by Rockbridge County, the speedway agrees not to race during the Rockbridge Regional Fair. Speedway supporters are encouraged to attend the Rockbridge Regional Fair, July 17-20, at the Virginia Horse Center.
The speedway will return to action in two weeks on Saturday night, July 27, with a regular show scheduled for all divisions. The U-cars are also scheduled to compete. Gates are scheduled to open at 5:00 pm and the driver’s meeting will take place at 6:30.