Accelerating at OktoberFast!
Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 29, 2003
Phil Warren finally grabbed a victory in Late Model Stock car racing in the Southampton Motor Speedway’s season-ending OktoberFast event Sunday evening at the Capron race track.
Denny Hamlin, who had won the first four races in the five-race miniseries and stood to collect a $25,000 bonus for a clean sweep, started off on the pole and led in laps 1-33. On lap 34, Jamey Caudill dropped under the groove and passed inside Hamlin, opening up a half-straightaway lead by lap 60. Six laps later, rain started to fall, bringing out the caution flag. Hamlin hit the pits, and Tommy Cherry moved to second place, followed by Warren. Eric Sartin snuck in front of Warren, but Caudill managed to maintain a safe distance until he pitted at the halfway point, 101 laps. Gambling, Cherry skipped the pit, and took a half-straightaway lead. However, officials (and rain) halted the race on lap 125.
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Over three hours later, the race was re-started. Hamlin and Caudill overtook Cherry, who finally headed to the pits. Caudill badgered Hamlin for the next 50 laps until they collided on lap 178. Both were sent to the back of the pack, sending Warren to first place. Now in ninth place, Hamlin crashed on lap 180, and was forced out of the race. While Sartin battled Bob Shreeves for second, Warren nabbed a three-length margin. He eventually edged Sartin by 1.775 seconds, and Staton and Allison were third and fourth.
Hamlin’s 16th-place finish allowed him to hold off Warren 220-216 for the Dodge Power Super Series title. His final winnings for the year totaled $23,975.
&uot;We really didn’t have that good of a car,&uot; Warren said. &uot;We had a third- or fourth-place car. I’ve lost plenty of races I should’ve won, so I’m going to take this one and enjoy it for the ones I should have won. (It was due to) the misfortune of a few other people that we won, but we’ll still take it. I’m just glad to win a race before the year was over.&uot;
In Limited Late Model action, Bobby Spivey took first place on lap 52 and was never seriously challenged in the 150-lap race, the longest Limited race SMS has ever held. Anthony Warren started on the pole, and he, Gary Weeks, John Eversole, Todd Van Guilder and Chris Hopkins drove it out for the lead until a tangle on lap 52 took Eversole, Van Guilder and Weeks out of contention. Spivey eventually won the race by half a straightaway, with Eversole and Hopkins coming in second and third.
Elsewhere, Ryan Nester scor-ed a dominating victory in the Super Streets race and Geremy Wood took the U-Cars battle.