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For some, winning is easy in racing. Other drivers spend their entire careers chasing that elusive first victory. Two drivers picked up career first wins in their respective divisions this past Saturday night. Joey Coleman picked up his first career late model win and Roger Robertson, Jr. picked up his first career win in the sportsman division. Other winners were Mike Lawhorne, Derek Wright, and Nick Magliochetti.
Natural Bridge Speedway implemented double file restarts this past weekend for the first time in 2015. It didn’t take long for the double file restarts to change the complexion of a race. The first feature of the night was the street stock division and this race saw a number of different drivers have an opportunity to take the checkered flag. Jason Thompson led the first three laps from the outside of the front row. Mike Lawhorne took over the top spot on lap four and just a lap later, Thompson spun in turn four to bring out the first caution flag. A number of cautions kept the field bunched together through the middle portion of the event. Lawhorne held the top spot until he suffered a flat tire on lap fourteen. Both Lawhorne and Jeff Campbell ran over a piece of lead that had fallen off another car. After changing tires both drivers returned to action. Keith Herring inherited the lead until a double file restart came into play on lap eighteen. On the restart Herring and Frankie Drewry made contact sending Drewry into the outside guardrail and Herring spinning into the inside guardrail. Lawhorne once again moved into the lead and held on to win his seventh feature of the season. Campbell finished second and Herring recovered to finish third.
A huge field of sportsman drivers was on hand for their twenty-five lap feature. Roger Robertson, Jr. has never won a stock car race in his career. Robertson put together the perfect race Saturday and scored a very popular win holding off Josh Lilly and Bud Stinson for the victory. Robertson, Jr. started on the pole alongside Mike Bryant and jumped out to the early lead. The first part of the race ran caution free and Robertson, Jr. opened up a 5.539 second lead before the caution came out on lap fourteen. Once again, Robertson, Jr. and Mike Bryant lined up beside each other for the restart. Robertson, Jr. flexed his muscle one more time and started to pull away. Bryant suddenly lost power and pulled to the infield, handing the second spot over to Lilly. Lilly closed on Robertson, Jr. in the closing laps but could not mount a challenge for the lead. Robertson picked up the win and Lilly settled for second. Stinson, who started seventh charged through the field to finish third.
The pure stock drivers were the featured division this past weekend as they competed in a thirty lap extra distance special event. Ben Hamilton started on the front row and led the first four laps before Troy Dowdy took over the top spot with an inside move off of turn two. Derek Wright has been the hottest driver in the pure stock class this season and the extra distance race gave him plenty of time to get to the front of the field. Wright was second by lap four and he waited for Dowdy to make a mistake to take the lead. Dowdy pushed high in turn four on lap eleven and Wright took the lead and never looked back. Wright picked up his eleventh win of the season by 6.415 seconds over Dowdy. Hamilton slipped back to finish third in the final rundown.
Joey Coleman had visited victory lane previously in a pure stock but it had been some time before he has been in the winner’s circle. Coleman has been a regular in the late model division this season and currently sits fourth in the point standings, without a feature win. Coleman became the second driver to pick up his first career win Saturday night when he blistered the fifteen car late model field. Michael Alderman led the first six laps before Coleman used the double file restart to his advantaged and took the lead away from Alderman on a lap six restart. Once out in front Coleman drove away from the field as the final twenty-four laps ran caution free. Coleman crossed the stripe 1.363 seconds ahead of eighth starting Greg Roberson. Roberson took over the runner-up spot from Alderman on lap twenty-three but needed a caution to have a shot at Coleman. Roberson and Alderman finished second and third respectively.
Mac Ayers led the opening lap of the All-American feature before relinquishing the lead to Brian Newton on lap two. Newton led several laps before contact from Mason Rhodes sent both drivers to the rear of the field. Nick Magliochetti took over the top spot and survived a green, white, checkered finishes to pick up the win. The race had a lengthy caution flag on lap eighteen when Jonathan Burnette’s machine dumped oil all the way around the speedway. Magliochetti, Rhodes, and Newton were the top three finishers to close out the night’s racing action.
The Fastrak Crate Late Model Series returns to Natural Bridge Speedway this coming Saturday night, August 22. The 2015 season is quickly coming to an end with just seven weekly shows remaining plus the Sunoco Fall Classic coming up the first weekend of October. Gates are scheduled to open this coming Saturday night at 5:00 pm with on track activities starting at 7:00 pm. Fans may visit www.nbspeedway.com for more information.