Mother Nature Halts Racing Action at NBS
After getting completely rained out last Saturday night, Natural Bridge Speedway had an exciting night of racing planned to kick off the holiday weekend and the month of September. The largest field of cars of the season signed into the pit area ready to tackle the perfectly prepared 3/8ths mile oval. The All-American class was the featured division with not one but two fifteen lap features planned. The forecast was for a chance of showers all evening. Track officials knew they would have to hustle to get the racing program complete. Several speedways within an hour or two of Natural Bridge had already cancelled their events earlier in the day, so several drivers made the tow to Natural Bridge for the first time in 2012.
The street stock division kicked off the racing program with a twenty-five lap feature event. Skye Reynolds started on the front row and grabbed the lead over Earl Brooks at the drop of the green flag. Reynolds, Brooks, and David Brogan raced nose to tail throughout the race. The three seemed to be evenly prepared. Reynolds maintained a slight lead over Brooks when the caution flag waved just before the halfway mark. On the restart, again Brooks and Brogan began applying pressure to Reynolds for the top spot. While Brooks and Brogan battled for the runner-up spot, Reynolds hit his marks and raced away with the apparent victory. However, Reynolds was disqualified after the post race inspection. Brooks was credited with the victory. Brogan, Scottie Hostetter, Tracy Goolsby, and Danny Bryant rounded out the top five.
Randy Gardner and Chad Click brought the field to the green flag in the sportsman division with Gardner taking command of the race entering turn one. Gardner was on a rail early in the event but his lead was erased when the caution flag waved for Click who rolled to a stop on the back stretch. Click was running in the runner-up spot when his night ended early. Michael Taylor inherited second with Click’s misfortune and wasted little time making a pass on Gardner for the lead. Taylor used an inside move to take the lead off of turn two on lap six. Eric Groah followed Taylor by Gardner and took over the runner-up spot. Taylor opened up a comfortable lead but Groah did not give up the fight. At times, Groah was quicker than Taylor but when Groah would get within striking distance Taylor turned up the fuel and again stretched out his lead. Taylor was impressive and scored the victory over Groah, Todd Campbell, Mike Bryant, and Gardner.
The largest field of the season, fifteen, All-American drivers were on hand for the double features. The first of two All-American features rolled off with Jeff Mays and Dustin Ferguson on the front row. Mays, Ferguson, Ryan Kassab, Brandon Link, and Corey Almond ran nose to tail throughout the event. Fifteen laps click off in a hurry as the top five jockeyed for position. There was very little change among the top five with Mays keeping Ferguson and others in the rear view mirror. Mays, running a limited schedule, scored the victory in race number one. Ferguson, Kassab, Link, and Almond rounded out the top five.
Nineteen late models were on hand for their thirty-five lap feature. The caution flag would wave on the initial start when Fred Bryant slammed the outside guardrail down the back stretch. Bryant’s machine suffered heavy right front damage and rolled to a stop in turn three. Once the green flag fell Gerald Davis jumped to the lead over JR Overstreet. Overstreet settled into second and began chasing down Davis. However, rain started to fall on lap five and the caution lights came on to slow the field. A persistent rain would settle in over the speedway and the rest of the racing program was postponed. Natural Bridge Speedway will make up the rained out features on September 15. The late models, pure stocks, and All-American divisions will all have special events on double point’s night in just two weeks.
The Steel Block Bandit Late Model Series will make its second and final visit to Natural Bridge Speedway this Saturday night, September 8th. Drivers from Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and North Carolina are expected to invade the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia to compete for the $1,500 winner’s check. Two time defending Steel Block Bandit champion Walker Arthur is engaged in a tight battle with Andy Fries for the 2012 championship. Gates will open this weekend at 3:30 p.m., with hot laps scheduled for 5:30 p.m