Carlton takes 6th Arena win

Published 8:54 pm Tuesday, March 24, 2015

By Gary Daughtrey

Special to the News-Herald

Cody Carlton of Chesapeake took the lead on Lap 4 and showed the way to the checkers in the 50-lap Insurance Doctor Top Dog Pro Series race, the featured event of Friday’s Arena Racing USA events at the Richmond Coliseum.

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The win was his sixth in a row in Top Dog competition.

Francis Jarrelle III drew the pole for the evening’s final race, but was unable to make the start. With Jarrelle sidelined, Camden Testerman assumed the pole position, sharing the front row with Jim Grady.

As the race got under way, Testerman edged into the lead, pulling out front as he and Grady exited Turn 4 for the first time.

The caution flag made an early appearance, at Lap 2, as A Main winner Scott Prillaman and Clayton Parrish tangled off Turn 2. The incident spelled a premature end to Prillaman’s night, while Parrish was able to continue.

The second caution flag flew on the ensuing double-file restart, when Grady skittered sideways in the middle of Turns 1 and 2. As the field stacked up behind Grady, Jeff Dodson got turned around, prompting the yellow.

Setting the running order for the next restart, Testerman and Grady went 1-2, followed by Carlton and John Alford. Dystany Spurlock was fifth.

Back under green, Testerman led Carlton and Spurlock in a three-car breakaway as the inside line surged forward. Dylan Loving tagged along and took over fourth, while Grady tumbled to fifth.

Two laps later, Carlton made his move for the top spot. He ducked underneath Testerman on the backstretch and swept past through Turns 3 and 4. As Carlton pulled away, Loving scooted around Spurlock for third and set his sights on Testerman. Loving snagged the second spot on lap 12. By then, however, Carlton had stretched his margin to better than half a straightaway.

The field was bunched on lap 20 when Testerman and Spurlock locked horns in Turn 4. Carlton and Loving continued to hold down the top two spots, while Connor Medeiros and Cullen Roberts moved up third and fourth.

On what would turn out to be the final restart, Carlton easily cleared Loving as they reached the flagstand. Medeiros rushed to fill the void to the inside of Loving, initiating a side-by-side battle that lasted three laps. Loving finally gained the upper hand on lap 38, but faced a steep climb as Carlton was a straightaway ahead.

Over the closing circuits, Loving sliced into Carlton’s advantage, but he simply ran out of laps. At the end, Carlton was the winner by half a straightaway. Loving was second, followed by Medeiros, Roberts and Testerman.