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What a difference a week makes. Last week fans and drivers had to fight dusty conditions as Natural Bridge Speedway kicked off the month of August and the Dog Days of Summer. This past Saturday night was a completely different set of circumstances. A brief rain shower moved over the speedway just as the first practice session was set to take the green flag and delayed the night’s racing action just over an hour. The wait was well worth it as the shower created a perfect racing surface for the night’s six feature events.
The sportsman drivers took center stage as they were scheduled for two, twenty lap feature events. Ronnie Martin, Jr. and Timmy Mays started on the front row of feature number one. Martin, Jr. jumped out to the early lead but a determined Mays, looking for his first win of the season, dropped in line behind Martin and stayed glued to Martin’s back bumper. At times Mays looked to the outside of Martin trying to make a pass for the lead. As the laps clicked off Martin, Jr. was able to pull away from Mays. However, a caution on lap fifteen reset the field and gave Mays one final shot at Martin, Jr. During the caution, current point leader Josh Lilly pulled into the infield pit area with mechanical problems. Martin, Jr. nailed the final restart and drove away to win by 2.693 seconds over Mays and Michael Taylor. The win was Martin’s second of the season.
After winning the first sportsman feature, Ronnie Martin, Jr. drew a number seven inversion pill for the second feature. The inversion put newcomer, Aaron Bryant, and Josh Lilly on the front row. Lilly blasted around the top of turn one to take the early lead. David Brogan also made his way around Bryant on the opening lap and immediately started pressuring Lilly for the lead. Brogan followed Lilly for the first five laps but on lap six Brogan drove his machine to the top of the track and rocketed past Lilly for the lead off of turn four. Brogan led the final fourteen laps to pick up his second win of the season. Lilly held on to finish second and Michael Taylor matched his finish in feature number one with another third place finish.
Greg Roberson’s stellar late model season continued Saturday night. Roberson started back in the sixth position and in just three laps he was leading the feature event. Roberson then pulled out to a huge lead and lapped up to the fourth place car before the caution flag came out. The caution aloud second place Joey Coleman and third place Robbie Emroy to close to the back bumper of Roberson for the restart. Emroy made his way around Coleman for the runner-up spot and took aim at Roberson. With five laps to go Emroy was 1.273 seconds behind Roberson. Emroy was no match for Roberson on this night as Roberson pulled away comfortably in the closing laps. Eric Groah started on the front row and brought his machine home in third place.
Recently, Lee Herring has been sidelined from competition with back pain. However, Saturday Herring climbed back behind the wheel and led flag to flag to pick up the victory in the street stock division. Herring held off a number of challenges from his son Keith. The father-son team held on to finish one, two once again this season. Current street stock point leader, Mike Lawhorne, was involved in a couple of cautions and was credited with a sixth place finish. Earl Brooks, Jr. ran in the top three most of the feature but has a spin with just five laps to go to surrender a third place finish. Jeff Campbell inherited the third spot behind the Herring boys and managed to remain in third the final five laps.
Brandon Link and Ben Hamilton started on the front row of the pure stock feature. Link took the early lead over Hamilton and Troy Dowdy. Dowdy made his way around Hamilton and started closing in on Link. However, he suddenly slowed off of turn two and drifted into the pit area. Derek Wright took over the third spot and started challenging Hamilton for the second spot. While Link was well out front Hamilton and Wright had a great battle. The battle would not be settled until the final lap coming to the checkered flag when Wright wrestled the spot away from Hamilton to finish in the runner-up spot. The top three finishers were Link, Wright, and Hamilton.
The final feature of the night saw Lloyd Wright lead flag to flag for the win in the All-American division. David Parrish had his best run of the season. Parrish ran in the runner-up spot the entire feature but Nick Magliochetti took second position on the final lap moving Parrish back to third in the final rundown. Magliochetti started deep in the field and finished his night in second behind his teammate. Wright is the current All-American point leader.
Natural Bridge Speedway will host five divisions of racing this coming Saturday night, August 15. The pure stock division will take center stage and compete in a special thirty-lap feature event. Gates are scheduled to open at 5:00 pm and the driver’s meeting is scheduled for 6:30 pm. Fans may visit www.nbspeedway.com for more information.