Wall survives Arena Racing attrition

Published 4:38 pm Monday, November 23, 2009

Continuing an early-season theme of unpredictability, Travis Wall moved out front on the 47th circuit and showed the way to his first win in the 50-lap Top Dog race, the featured event of Saturday’s Arena Racing Hampton Roads program at the Hampton Coliseum.

Through four events, this season’s 16 races have produced 13 different winners, including four different Top Dog victors.

Trouble broke out early as Cory Millard, the ninth-place starter, got dumped on her roof as the field was coming to the initial green flag. The caution flag quickly waved and a complete restart was ordered.

Only one lap was in the books when the second caution flag flew as Matt Leach and Derek Miller tangled in Turn 4. The incident resulted in a lengthy red-flag delay for repairs to the Turn 4 wall.

On lap 44, Wall slipped a fender to the inside of Robbie Davis in Turn 4. On lap 47, Wall edged into the lead. A lap later, the race’s third caution flag waved as Nelson Moody and Chris Raiford tangled off the fourth corner.

On the restart, Wall quickly cleared Davis and left a four-wide joust in his wake. On the tight, tenth-mile oval, four-wide didn’t work at all and the fourth, and final, caution flag flew when Davis and Adam Florian got squeezed into the outside wall in Turn 1.

As the field gathered for a “green-white-checkered” sprint, only six of the 14 starters remained on the track.

Under green for the last time, Wall eased ahead of Charlie Green and left the lane open for Scott Prillaman, who scooted into second. At the stripe, Wall was the winner by two lengths over Prillaman. Green was third to the stripe, while Florian and Raiford completed the top five.

Spencer Saunders started on the pole and motored to his second win of the season in the 50-lap A Main, leading wire-to-wire.

By lap 30, Saunders had put about three-quarters of a straightaway between himself and Derek Miller. Meanwhile, Adam Florian was gaining on the second-place driver.

On lap 38, Saunders headed into heavy traffic, up by a straightaway over Miller, who had his hands full with Florian. Florian grabbed the second spot on lap 44 and quickly set off after Saunders, who was mired in a gaggle of lapped cars.

Saunders held on to win by half a straightaway over Florian. Miller was third to the line, holding off Scott Prillaman down the stretch.

Matt Leach grabbed the lead on lap 9 and held on for his first win in a caution-filled B Main.

Clayton Parrish drew the pole for the start of the event and traded the lead with Leach for the first nine laps.

The yellow flags began flying with increasing frequency on lap 15 for a variety of spins and tangles. In all, the race was slowed by eight caution flags. The most spectacular of the incidents came on lap 19 and left Anthony Perez with a unique perspective on things as he was momentarily perched directly atop Aaron Leach’s machine in the middle of Turns 3 and 4.

Under green for the last time for a “green-white-checkered” finish, Matt Leach eked out a narrow margin over Chris Raiford and drove on to a one-length win.

Rookie contender Josh Ayer led all the way from the pole, fending off a late challenge from Nelson Moody, and posted his first victory of the season in the 50-lap C Main.