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Showers just as gates were set to open delayed the racing action Saturday night at Natural Bridge Speedway. Fans that waited to see the action were treated to a lightning fast racing surface. Shipman, Virginia’s Justin Williams clicked off a lap of 14.524 in late model qualifying to set a new track record. Williams later went on to claim the late model feature to become the first driver to beat Greg Roberson in 2015. Other winners on the night were Michael Taylor and Mike Lawhorne.
The sportsman drivers were the first to line up for their feature event. Michael Taylor has won all but one race he has entered this season and after setting fast time in qualifying he was able to draw the number one pill for the inversion. Taylor needed some good luck after suffering a hard crash earlier in the night while practicing his late model car. Taylor suffered a possible broken foot in the crash but made the decision to race his sportsman car. Taylor started on the pole and dominated the twenty-five lap event. Current point leader, Timmy Mays, started second and finished second. Newcomer, Joey McClung, entering his first event of the season at NBS, turned in a solid finish coming home third. While Taylor raced away with the feature, positions two through five were nose to tail the entire distance.
Lee Herring and Troy Fitzgerald started on the front row of the street stock feature. Fitzgerald, also making his first start of the season, led the opening laps before Mike Lawhorne made his way to the front of the field. Lawhorne, looking to score back to back wins, was able to open up a sizable lead as the battle for second heated up. Fitzgerald and Keith Herring raced side by side lap after lap for the position. K. Herring spun coming to the checkered flag and ended up finishing third. Fitzgerald held on to finish in the runner-up spot.
Billy Beachler and Justin Williams started on the front row of the late model feature. Williams blasted to the lead from the outside pole and set a blistering pace. As Williams was leading, all eyes were on Greg Roberson. Roberson has won the first five late model features this season. Roberson quickly moved into the top five but his progress stalled and he encountered Eric Groah. Groah made some changes to his machine this week and his car came to life. Groah and Roberson ran in the top five all night and moved up as both Justin Fulton and Beachler dropped out of the race. Beachler rolled to a stop in turn four with just three laps to go. Just prior to the caution, Roberson finally made his way past Groah. The caution put Roberson on the back bumper of Williams for the final restart and a three lap shootout. Williams was up to the challenge and held off Roberson for his first win of the season at NBS. Roberson settled for second and Groah crossed the finish line in third.
A second round of showers forced track officials to cancel the remaining features for the night. Showers were all around the speedway during the night’s racing action. Rain eventually started to fall on the racing surface just after the late model race concluded and the pure stock feature started. After just three laps in the pure stock feature the rain picked up and the racing surface was lost. The pure stock and All-American drivers will have make-up features later in the season.
The Fastrak Crate Late Models will be in action this coming Saturday night, May 23rd. Natural Bridge Speedway is a sanctioned Fastrak track for 2015. Drivers from all over the region will be on hand competing for National Fastrak points. Natural Bridge Speedway is posting a $600 to win, $100 to start purse. This event is shaping up to be one of the best events of the early season at Natural Bridge Speedway. The street stock division will not be in action this weekend. Gates open both nights at 5 pm. Fans may visit www.nbspeedway.com for more information.