Saunders rolls to first Top Dog win

Published 10:05 pm Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Curtis Hughes, right, celebrates in Victory Lane with crew chief and Suffolk resident Tommy Spencer after winning the 50-lap C Main race during Saturday’s Susan G. Komen for the Cure 200 in the Arena Racing USA Pro Series at the Hampton Coliseum. Hughes is sponsored by Langley Speedway and has three feature victories this season. The series continues Saturday evening at the Richmond Coliseum.

By Gary Daughtrey
Special to the News-Herald

HAMPTON — Spencer Saunders took the lead on lap 25 and rolled to the win in the 50-lap Structural Mechanical Top Dog race, the featured event of Saturday’s Susan G. Komen for the Cure 200 for Arena Racing Hampton Roads’ Pro Series at the Hampton Coliseum. The victory was Saunders’ first of the season in Top Dog competition and his fourth overall.

A Main winner Robbie Davis started with pole position and set a torrid pace in the early going. By lap 5, he had already put half a straightaway between himself and a brewing tussle between Matthew Leach and Saunders.

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By lap 18, Davis’ lead had grown to a full straightaway over Saunders and a rout appeared to be on. The complexion of the event took a turn on lap 24 when Davis tried to put a lap on Leach on the frontstretch and the two briefly locked horns. In a flash, Saunders was back in the hunt for the lead.

On the following circuit, Saunders bypassed Davis’ wounded machine for the lead. Denver Alvis, Travis Wall and Jordan Wood soon followed Saunders’ cue.

At the checkers, Saunders was the winner by 2.792 seconds, a full straightaway, over Alvis. Landon Florian, of Driver, finished third.

Davis moved out front on lap 9 and led the rest of the way to bag his first feature win of the season in the 50-lap A Main.

Series points leader Jordan Wood started on the pole and pulled ahead as the field motored into Turn 1 for the first time. Davis, who started third, emerged in second.

On lap 7, Davis ducked underneath Wood on the backstretch, launching a bid for the lead. The two went side-by-side until lap 9 when Davis gained the upper hand.

Over the last few circuits, Saunders inched closer to Davis. By lap 44, he was just a car-length back. That’s as close as he would get, though, as Davis held on for the win.

In a caution-free Quaker Steak & Lube B Main, Josh Ayer started on the pole and paced all 50 laps for his fourth win of the season.

In the 50-lap C Main, Curtis Hughes assumed the top spot on lap 34 and led the way to his third feature win of the current campaign.

In the 30-lap Youth Series A Main, Connor Hall led all the way and posted his seventh victory of the season and second in a row.

In a wild 30-lap Youth Series B Main, Savannah Cook dodged a wreck on the last lap and was second to the stripe. Moments later, she was elevated to her first victory when the apparent winner, Anthony Ancheta, was penalized for rough driving on the white-flag circuit.