It was a very busy Saturday night at the Natural Bridge Speedway last week as a pair of additional divisions competed along with the normal five divisions that compete weekly at the local 3/8-mile clay oval.
The Virginia Sprint Car Series gave fans a look at open wheel modified racing as the tour made the third of its scheduled six visits to NBS this season. Mini-mods also joined the competition for the evening.
Sixteen late model machines arrived at the speedway, raising the possibility of a dog-eat-dog battle in the facility’s most powerful machines.
Waynesboro’s Joey Leavell was the quick qualifier, but was not hurt too much when he drew pill no. 3, which dropped him to third in the 16-car starting grid. Tim Stalnaker started on the pole with Philip Woods on the outside of the front row.
Stalnaker led the first two laps, though Leavell motored past Woods to move into second. On lap 3, Leavell’s car accelerated past Stalnaker down the backstretch to seize the lead.
And the Waynesboro veteran would lead the field for the remaining 32 laps of the 35-lap feature. Leavell continued to build his lead with each lap. A pair of cautions bunched the field, but Leavell took off both times with the drop of the green and quickly re-opened commanding leads over the rest of the field. Stalnaker finished second, followed by Woods, Billy Beachler and Eric Goad, respectively.
The Virginia Sprint Car Series provided fans with a look at a different type of racing with the open-wheel, winged cars competing on the NBS oval. Mike Leraas won the feature event with Tom Humphries running second and Daren Bolac finishing third.
After back-to-back finishes in sportsman features, Lexington’s Ronnie Martin Jr. finally powered his No. 15 machine to the destination he had been seeking – Victory Lane, picking up his second victory of the campaign.
Martin started on the outside of the front row and moved quickly past pole-sitter John Cruz. Martin consistently lengthened his lead over Aaron Bryant, running second, and Samuel Bryant, who took the checkers the previous week, running third. And that’s the order the top three sportsman cars finished with Martin grabbing the checkers.
The action was non-stop in the 25-lap street stock feature. Ben Hamilton started on the pole with Keith Herring on the outside of the front row. Herring bolted past Hamilton to take the lead on the first lap. Hamilton caused a caution on lap 3 and was sent to the rear of the pack, allowing Keith Herring to take the point of the nine-car field and allowing Derek Wright of Amherst to move into second.
On lap 6, Keith Herring lost control of his No. 50 machine which rolled over, landing on its tires, in turn one, bringing out the red flag. Herring fired up his machine and drove away. He went into the pits momentarily, which moved him to the end of the field and yielded the lead to Wright.
Wright had a strong restart on lap 8 and began to open up his lead over second-place Troy Fitzgerald. A restart on lap 18 saw Wright maintain control with Fitzgerald second and Lexington’s Scottie Hostetter running third. A lap 23 caution left the field facing a green-white-checkers restart, but Wright hung on with Fitzgerald and Hostetter finishing second and third, respectively.
The 25-lap pure stock race featured a race-long battle between Brandon Link, Nick Magliochetti and Lloyd Wright to earn the checkers.
Link started on the pole and led the first, though he fought off Wright’s determined effort to pass on lap 14. On the next lap, Wright made the pass and took the point. Magliochettti also passed Link to take second and then mounted a strong attack on Wright. A lap 21 caution, the first of the night, bunched the field, giving Magliochetti one last shot at Wright. The two settled into a drag race on the white flag lap with Wright hanging on for the victory. Link finished third.
The Mini-mods made one of their occasional appearances at the speedway. Dustin Fisher started on the pole and led flag-to-flag to claim victory. Wade Kullen came home second and Rick Mc Mammany placed third.
Michael Demers chalked up his second consecutive victory in the All-American division. Jonathan Burnette finished second, and David Parrish came home third.
This Saturday, there will be action in all five regular divisions along with a kids’ bicycle race. The first green flag should fall at approximately 7 p.m.
CORRECTION: In last week’s summary, it was incorrectly reported that Scottie Hostetter finished third in the street stock race on June 18. He finished second.