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High car counts, near perfect weather, as well as the visiting Virginia Sprint Series helped pack the stands at the Natural Bridge Speedway on Saturday night. The Virginia Sprint Series made their third appearance at the track, seemingly their best race yet.
The Street Stock division was first on the night’s racing program. Newcomer Ronnie Sweeney started on the pole but Sweeney found trouble on lap one. Sweeney slammed the turn one guardrail and his car rolled over landing on its wheels. Sweeney was uninjured but his night was over. Frankie Drewry started alongside Sweeney and was leading when Sweeney crashed to bring out the caution. On the restart, Drewry immediately started feeling pressure from Lexington’s Brandon Ramsey. The two drivers raced side by side for several laps. Drewry finally started to put a couple car lengths between himself and Ramsey on lap ten. John Goin started to flex his muscle at the halfway point when he passed Ramsey to take over the runner-up spot. Keith Herring was next to move passed Ramsey for the third position. Ramsey, who had a solid run going, spun in turn four to bring out a caution late in the race. The caution with four laps to go set up a great battle for the win. Drewry, Goin, and Herring were three wide coming off turn four for the checkered flag. Just as Goin was about to inch ahead of Drewry for the win he and Herring made contact. Goin would spin across the finish line in third position as Drewry held on for the win. It was the first win for Drewry since moving up a division to street stock.
Timmy Mays had the fastest qualifying time in the sportsman division for the first time this season. Mays then drew the number two inversion pill starting him on the outside front row. Josh Lilly started alongside Mays on the front row with Lilly getting the jump as the green flag waved. A few early cautions would keep the field bunched together. Roger Robertson Jr. made his way past Mays for the second position after a restart on lap three. Robertson set his sights on Lilly but the current point leading was up to the challenge and pulled away for the win. Lilly would use a caution-free final fifteen laps to take the checkered flag, followed by Robertson Jr. and Michael Taylor.
After a brief delay to let track officials water the track to help keep the dust down the Virginia Sprint Series would roll out for their feature event. Two heat races helped decide the starting line-up with Glenn Worell and Tony Harris picking up wins in the preliminary events. Anthony Linkenhoker would jump out to the early lead but Harris would back up his heat race win with a come from behind victory over Linkenhoker.
Walker Arthur was able to beat out current point leader Greg Roberson for the fastest qualifying spot by a narrow margin. Arthur then had Lady Luck riding with him as he was able to draw the number one inversion pill giving him the pole position for the thirty lap feature event. Joey Coleman, who started on the outside pole, would use his outside pole position to get the jump on Arthur on the opening lap. While Coleman was leading, eight starting Greg Roberson was working his way towards the front of the field. Roberson had advanced five spots in the first six laps. With Roberson on the move, Arthur decided it was time to go. After stalking Coleman for several laps, Arthur finally made the pass for the lead on lap eleven. Roberson would also move past Coleman four laps later to move into the second position at the half-way point. Roberson seemed to close on Arthur initially but Arthur once again turned up the juice and drove away from Roberson. For the second time this season Arthur would pick up the win over Roberson in the late model division. Coleman, after leading the first eleven laps, fell victim to Bare on lap twenty-six and would finish in the fourth position.
Doc Vest and Ben Hamilton would lead the field to the green flag in the pure stock division, with Hamilton grabbing the lead as the field raced into turn one on the opening lap. Current points leader Derek Wright, who started fifth, would slowly start making his way to the front as he would overtake Vest for the second position on lap eight. Wright then worked his way right to the back bumper of Hamilton, and made the winning move past Hamilton on lap twelve coming off of turn two. While Wright was leading Brandon Link started to pressure Hamilton for the runner-up spot. The two raced door to door the entire second half of the feature but Hamilton was able to hold off Link to finish in the second position. Link settled for third. Wright led the final twelve laps to pick up his tenth win of the season.
The All-American division would be the final feature of the night. The largest field of the season took the green flag as Glen Almond would lead the field on lap one. Mac Ayers had a strong run going early, sliding past Brian Newton into the second position early in the feature. While Ayers was poised to make a run at Almond, Michael Demmers would have other thoughts and he would pass Ayers on lap three. However, Demmers would hit the wall a few laps later forcing him to retire from the event. Almond’s car would have problems with just a few laps to go while leading, propelling Nick Magliochetti to the lead position. Magliochetti would lead the final few laps to take the win.
Dakota Fox picked up the win in the mini-modified division. Fox competed with the All-American drivers and came from the rear of the field to finish first in the combined feature.
Fans will see six feature events this coming Saturday night, as Natural Bridge Speedway has twin twenty-lap sportsman division features on the schedule. All other divisions will also be in action. Gates are scheduled to open at 5 pm with practice scheduled for 7 pm. Fans may visit www.nbspeedway.com for more information.