Suffolk’s Prillaman snatches victory in Top Dog race

Published 9:55 pm Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Scott Prillaman of Suffolk passes Matt Midgett on his way to a last-lap pass of last year’s champ, Jordan Wood, to pick up the victory in the 50-Lap Top Dog Race at the Arena Racing USA’s races at the Richmond Coliseum on Saturday. Scott also swept the earlier “A Main” race to give him his third win of the season. Bill Carr | MotorSports Photo News Service

By Gary Daughtrey
Special to the News-Herald

Scott Prillaman swiped the lead from Jordan Wood on the white-flag circuit and picked up the win in the 50-lap Machinery Movers Top Dog race, the featured event of Saturday’s program for Arena Racing USA at the Richmond Coliseum. The victory, his third of the season, gave Prillaman a Top Dog/A Main sweep for the night.

Tommy Jackson Jr. drew the pole for the start of the evening’s finale, sharing the front row with Jason Styron. With several drivers opting to drop to the rear of the field, Robbie Davis and Dylan Loving made up Row 2. Prillaman ended up in the sixth spot after everything shook out.

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As the race got under way, Jackson gained a slim edge over Styron, leading lap 1 by a nose. Battling hard on the outside, Styron rallied to lead lap 2, then cleared Jackson off Turn 4 on lap 3. Jackson dropped into second, followed by a side-by-side tussle between Davis and Loving. Points leader Travis Wall emerged in fifth.

The race’s second yellow flag appeared on lap 6 for Cole Amsden’s spin on the front stretch. The first one came out when officials weren’t satisfied with the original start.

On the double-file restart, Jackson eased ahead of Styron to regain the lead. He cleared Styron off Turn 4 on lap 8. With Prillaman giving him a boost from behind, Loving slipped by Styron for second.

The third and fourth yellow flags flew on laps 9 and 11. Caution No. 3 was prompted by Matt Leach’s spin on the backstretch, while Caution No. 4 appeared when Leach and Amsden tangled in Turn 2.

Back under green, Jackson motored ahead of Loving, who quickly found Styron to his inside. Prillaman latched onto Loving’s rear bumper, however, and shoved him into second, snagging third for himself in the process. By lap 22, Jackson, Loving and Prillaman were nose-to-tail. Four lengths separated the top three from fourth-place Jordan Wood and fifth-place Wall.

On lap 24, Prillaman scooted past Loving to take over second. Wood, the defending series champion, tagged along, moving into third.

The fifth yellow flag was unfurled on lap 29, when Prillaman and Jackson locked horns in Turn 4, while battling for the lead. The incident relegated them both to the rear of the field and handed the lead to Wood. Loving assumed the second spot, followed by Wall, Styron and Cody Carlton.

On the restart, Wood and Wall easily dispensed with Loving, who suddenly faced a challenge from Carlton for third. Carlton would eventually take the position.

Caution No. 6 waved on lap 39, when Styron spun in the middle of Turns 1 and 2. With Styron blocking a good portion of the track, several other drivers were collected in the mess as they attempted to jostle through the accident scene.

Lining up for the double-file restart, Wood and Wall made up Row 1, followed by Carlton and Loving in Row 2. Matt Midgett occupied the fifth spot, while Prillaman had made his way back up to sixth.

Returning to green, Wood and Wall went door-to-door with Wood coming out on top. Prillaman was also on the move, advancing to the third spot on lap 47.

The seventh, and final, caution flag appeared on lap 48 when Leach spun off Turn 4, setting up a “green-white-checkered” dash to the finish. Wood and Wall maintained the top two spots as the field bunched, followed by Prillaman, in third, and Loving.

Under green for the last time, Wood cleared Wall with an assist from Prillaman, who perfectly executed the Arena Racing USA version of a bump-draft. Once Wood and Prillaman had disposed of Wall, Prillaman went after Wood for the win, driving underneath the leader as they flashed past the white flag.

Prillaman and Wood jousted side-by-side for the final circuit. Exiting Turn 4 for the last time, Prillaman surged ahead and beat Wood to the flagstand by half a car-length.