Richard “The King” Petty, who celebrated his 79th birthday last week was known to say from time to time, “Awww, it was just one of them racin’ deals.”
Saturday night’s action at Natural Bridge Speedway proved the truth of Petty’s opinion, as it was a night full of “them racin’ deals,” complete with 22 restarts spread across the five different divisions of racing and four races ending with the apparent winner coming up short of grabbing the checkers.
Scottie Hostetter started on the street stock pole and appeared to be piloting a rocket as he pulled away immediately to grab a five-car lead. A caution on lap 2 brought out the yellow, and additional cautions were bunched together on laps 6, and 15, but still Hostetter appeared to have the dominant ride, as he held off the consistent challenges of Troy Fitzgerald running in the second position.
Just four laps shy of the checkers, Hostetter’s machine slowed to a crawl in turn 4 and stopped.
Fitzgerald as sped by to take the lead and then held off a late challenge from Ben Hamilton to take the victory.
The sportsmen had a difficult time getting started, as they had to run five full complete restarts before they were able to execute a legal start. Roger Robertson Sr., who started on the outside pole, shot to the lead coming off of turn one of the first lap, diving past pole sitter Kevin Harvey to take the lead. On lap 7, Samuel Bryant began to reel in Robertson’s lead machine and drew almost even on lap 15. A lap 17 restart bunched the field and gave Ramsey a shot at Robertson, but Robertson held the lead.
The two cars came into the final turn off the final lap-by-lap nearly side-by-side. Ramsey nudged Robertson, but Robertson maintained control to take the checkers. Ronnie Martin Jr. rolled home third.
Local favorite Tim Stalnaker started on the late model pole and dominated the first 11 laps of the 30-lap feature, opening up a considerable lead over 11-year-old Carder Miller, who was running second in the 12-car field. Suddenly on turn four of lap 12, Stalnaker’s car rolled to a stop, the victim of a blown engine.
Miller grabbed the lead out of the next restart and held odd a fierce challenge from veteran J.R. Overstreet for the remainder of the feature. Overstreet closed within three laps a time or two, but the “too young to get a driver’s license” Miller blocked any efforts to pass. Billy Beachler finished third.
Matt Whitten led most of the 20 laps in the pure stock race, and he and James Newton blasted into turn two of the final lap nearly side-by-side battling for the lead. Unfortunately for both, they got together and spun out, allowing Brandon Link, who had run a tight third for most of the race, to slip by and pick up the checkers. Newton finished second with Whiten picking up third.
Mack Ayers set the pace in the All-American race from laps 2 through 12 before he encountered mechanical trouble that sent him to the pits. Glen Almond took the lead and survived a restart on his way to earning the hardware.
Points racing in all five classes returns to the 3/8-mile clay oval Saturday night. The first green flag will fall at approximately 7:30 p.m.