John Smith Captures Win In The Kevin Powell 100
John Smith returned to Bowman Gray Stadium's winner's circle Saturday night.
Now he'll have to decide whether he'll be back next week to try to get there again.
"It's a good problem to have," said Smith , who picked up his first victory since 2006 in the Kevin Powell Motorsports 100 Modified race. "We've only been running about four or five races a year since '06, our last full year over here, and we weren't planning to run them all this year.
"Now I don't know what we'll do. We're running well, we're up there in the points and now we've got a win. But we're second in (Whelen Southern Modified Tour) points and we've got two motors, so if I mess this one up, I'm sort of in a bind. But this sure makes me think about it."
In other races Saturday night, Derek Stoltz and Kevin Neal won twin 20-lappers in the Sportsman Division . Darren Cotner led all the way in a 54-lap Street Stock race, the longest race of the season for that division.
Chuck Wall and Jordan Fleming won 15-lap Stadium Stock races.
Mount Airy's Smith — who works for Richard Childress Racing as a front-suspension specialist on the NASCAR Sprint Cup car driven by Clint Bowyer and drives a car owned by Grady Tutterow — got his eighth career victory in Bowman Gray's featured Modified Division .
Smith drew the pole position and withstood five double-file restarts — fending off Lee Jeffreys and Dean Ward , both of whom were sidelined with mechanical trouble — and finally endured a late challenge by Brian Loftin .
But it was navigating lapped traffic in the final five laps that was the most harrowing for Smith .
"When I saw 90 laps come up on the board and I knew there wouldn't be any more double-file restarts, I thought, 'Man, I've got this,' " Smith said. "Then I caught those lapped cars with five to go and it was, 'Oh, no.' I wasn't sure I was going to be able to hold on. But Brian raced me clean. Everybody raced me hard, but they raced me clean."
Loftin , who worked his way up from the 17th starting position, finished second. Michael Clifton was third, Burt Myers fourth, Jason Myers fifth and Jonathan Brown sixth.
Burt Myers and Loftin will enter next Saturday's 100-lap race tied in the season standings.
Tim Brown was the fastest in time trials for the third time in three attempts this season. Brown turned in a lap of 13.436 seconds (66.7 mph) on the quarter-mile track, but started the 100-lap main event 18th in the 24-car field as result of the random draw.
The race's sponsor, driver and businessman Kevin Powell , didn't compete after recently breaking a bone in his shoulder in a non-racing accident at his home. Brandon Ward , a former UARA Late Model Series champion, made his Bowman Gray debut in Powell's car.
Ward got to fourth place with 30 laps left before being sidelined after tangling with Robert Jeffreys .
Stoltz sent front- runner Todd Gray spinning in the seventh lap and went on to his first Sportsman victory of the season. Gray had taken the lead after front-row starters Jeff McCrary and Stoltz tangled in the first lap.
In the second Sportsman race, Neal took the lead from Cody Evans in the opening lap and went on to his first victory of the season.
Cotner was the fastest in the only full qualifying session for the Street Stock Division this year, with a lap of 15.49 seconds (58.1 mph), and he also drew the top starting spot for a scheduled 50-lap race.
By Tommy Bowman
Published: May 22, 2011
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