Cody Carlton celebrates with presenter Ginny Grafton following his win in the Pro Series Top Dog 50-lap feature at Arena Racing USA’s events at the Richmond Coliseum on Friday. Scott Prillaman of Suffolk finished second and extended his series points lead with three nights of racing remaining. (Bill Carr/MotorSports Photo News Service)
Cody Carlton celebrates with presenter Ginny Grafton following his win in the Pro Series Top Dog 50-lap feature at Arena Racing USA’s events at the Richmond Coliseum on Friday. Scott Prillaman of Suffolk finished second and extended his series points lead with three nights of racing remaining. (Bill Carr/MotorSports Photo News Service)

Carlton holds off Prillaman charge

Published 11:14pm Wednesday, March 20, 2013

By Gary Daughtrey

Special to the News-Herald

Cody Carlton of Chesapeake started from the pole position and wired the field to win the 50-lap Top Dog feature, the headline event of Friday’s Arena Racing USA Pro Series at the Richmond Coliseum. The victory was Carlton’s second of the season and his first in Top Dog competition.

Carlton and Jason Manes occupied the front row as the 14-car Top Dog field bunched for the initial green flag. As the race got under way, Carlton pulled ahead of Manes off Turn 2 to take the lead. Almost immediately, the first yellow flag flew, when Cayton Hornberger and Nathan Thomas scuffled in Turn 3.

On the double-file restart, Carlton surged ahead, while Francis Jarrelle III drove underneath Manes in a bid for second. Jarrelle finally cleared Manes on lap five. By then, however, Carlton had constructed a full-straightaway lead. After surrendering second to Jarrelle, Manes also lost spots to Dylan Loving and Troy Doggett.

On lap 9, Loving overhauled Jarrelle for second. Doggett tagged along and grabbed third on lap 10. Meanwhile, Carlton’s advantage continued to swell. Deeper in the field, points leader Scott Prillaman of Suffolk, who started 12th, made his way past Jarrelle and into fourth on lap 15.

Carlton plowed into lapped traffic on the 22nd circuit, allowing Loving to cut his healthy margin in half. Behind them, Prillaman was on the move again, slipping by Doggett for third on lap 27. The second caution flag waved on lap 34, when Robbie Davis and John Alford tangled in Turn 4, collecting second-place Loving in the process. Davis and Alford headed to the infield for the duration, while Loving went to the rear of the field.

On the ensuing restart, Carlton and Prillaman jostled as they approached the green flag. As Carlton shot ahead, Doggett drove underneath Prillaman and came away with the runner-up position.

The last caution flag appeared on lap 43, when Thomas spun into the inside barricade at the start/finish line. Under green for the final time, Carlton pulled away and left the inside lane open for Prillaman, who retook second from Doggett.

Over the closing circuits, Prillaman tried to reel in Carlton, but could get no closer than a car-length, which was Carlton’s final margin of victory. Doggett was third to the stripe, followed by Manes, Dystany Spurlock and Scott Allen, the only other drivers on the track at the checkers.

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