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The Dana Dove Memorial was held this past weekend at Natural Bridge Speedway. The annual event is always held on Mother’s Day weekend to honor the memory of Dana Dove, a life-long supporter of dirt late model racing and the Steel Block Bandit Series. The Dove family was on hand to greet this year’s winner of the prestigious event.
Lee Jamerson and Randy Gardener brought the late model field to the green flag with Jamerson pulling ahead exiting turn two. Jamerson’s lead would be short lived as third starting, Justin Fulton, took the lead away from Jamerson on lap three. Fulton had his machine dialed in and established himself as the man to beat. Greg Roberson started sixth and was in the runner-up position by lap three. Roberson, who was a perfect four for four on the season entering the Dove Memorial, chased down Fulton by lap six and started applying pressure to the leader. Fulton and Roberson raced door to door through the middle portion of the thirty-lap feature with Fulton keeping Roberson at bay lap after lap. The two leaders entered lapped traffic on lap twenty. Fulton went low and Roberson went high. Fulton slipped as the two entered turn one, Roberson used a cross-over move and took the lead down the back stretch. Roberson pulled away for the win to keep his record perfect in 2015. Roberson earned $1500 for the special event victory. Fulton settled for second and Joey Coleman came home third.
Josh Lilly and Michael Taylor are the only two drivers to go to victory lane in the sportsman division this season. Mike Bryant, who runs just a part-time schedule at NBS, was looking to add his name to the win list and led all but the final turn this past weekend before contact with the eventual winner resulted in a disappointing seventh place finish. Bryant started on the pole alongside Timmy Mays with Bryant taking the lead on the opening lap. Bryant set the pace at the front of the field while the action heated up mid-pack. Michael Taylor started eighth and patiently moved towards the front of the field. His march to the front stalled at the fourth position as Bryant, Mays, and Lilly held down the top three spots. As the laps were winding down Lilly made his way around Mays and started closing in on Bryant. Bryant held the lead down the backstretch on the final lap but as he entered turn three Lilly dove to the inside of Bryant. Lilly’s machine pushed up across the track and made contact with Bryant. Bryant’s car pushed high in turn four and eventually spun across the race track in front of Mays and Taylor. Lilly went on to cross the stripe first for his third win of the season. Taylor squeezed by Mays coming to the checkers for second.
It took four starts to get the street stock feature underway. Lee Herring took control of the feature on lap one over Josh Williams. Herring had already picked up two wins this season entering Saturday night’s feature. Williams settled into second but had to deal with a hard charging Michael Lawhorne. Lawhorne spun on one of the initial starts and backed his car into one of several huge tractor tires protecting drivers from the guardrail. With just sheet medal damage, Lawhorne settled down and methodically moved his was towards the lead. With just five laps to go Lawhorne closed to the back bumper of Lee Herring. After racing side by side for the better part of a lap, Lawhorne took the lead and went on to claim his second win of the season. Herring and Williams finished second and third respectively.
The father-son duo of Derek and Lloyd Wright made it a Mother’s Day weekend the Wright family won’t soon forget. Both Derek, in the pure stock division, and Lloyd, in the All-American division, picked up their third win of the season. Both drivers started on the pole and led flag to flag for the victory. The pure stock and All-American divisions had ten drivers take the green flag but the Wrights were perfect on this night. Howard Hall was the runner-up in the pure stock division, followed by Frankie Drewry in third. Nick Magliochetti, last week’s winner, and Kevin Mays followed Lloyd Wright across the finish line in the All-American feature.
Fourteen year old John Crews picked up his first career win in the mini-modified division. Crews was one of just two drivers on hand in this division but none-the-less Crews drove an excellent ten laps and led flag to flag.
Natural Bridge Speedway will host six divisions of racing this Saturday night, May 16th. The mini-modified drivers will be on hand for an extra distance race for the four-cylinder machines. In just two weeks, the FASTRAC crate late model series comes to Natural Bridge Speedway for the first time in 2015. Gates open this Saturday night at 5 pm with the driver’s meeting scheduled for 6:30 pm. Fans may visit www.nbspeedway.com for more information.