Laughton dominates, but Robinson sputters to victory!

Robinson_ChicagoScott Walter has been one hungry fellow, having won in his first ever start in the Can-Am Racing Series, a restrictor plate race during the short lived Thursday Cup Series back in May. Since then, just a best finish of 3rd at Iowa earlier this season in the NEORacingNews.com Pro Cup Series is all he has had to brag about. He came out firing last night at Chicagoland, however, setting one of the fastest times in practice then blistering the field for the pole position by almost a full tenth of a second. It was looking to be a great night for Walter.

But right off the drop of the green, Sean Casto had other ideas, and just about punted Walter into the turn 3 wall before the majority of the field had even hit 4th gear. This would send Walter back to 5th, and the field would scramble to keep from running him and anyone else over. As Casto ran away from the pack for the time being, Tom Dreilling and Chris Cable were mid pack still attempting to get their whole situations figured out after the jumbled start. Dreilling got a little high in the turn and hit the loose stuff which sent him spinning across Cables nose, thus bringing out caution #1 on the day.

The field got back underway and as Casto showed the pace, Josh Laughton, a late comer to the event who showed up just in time to unload his car and get on the grid, started making his presence felt. A long time DWC driver, Laughton came into the race with plenty of experience and pedigree, and was showing it quickly. By lap 30 he had taken the lead and was off and running. While Greg Netherwood restarted 22nd and worked his way up to 3rd by lap 50, showing he was going to be a car to beat by the end of the night, he and everyone else were still losing time to the orange ride of Laughton.

On lap 58, though, the second and final caution of the night came out as Laughton was trailling a pack of lapped cars fighting to remain on the lead lap. Scott Pregont and Ed Williams Jr slammed doors exiting turn 4, sending them spinning in front of the leader. This would slow the field and bring everyone down for their final stops.

The restart would show Laughton, Walter, Robinson and Ron Williams fighting for the lead for about 20 laps, with all of them swapping in for a chance at the lead lap bonus. But it was Laughton who would again start to pull away.

The laps wound down and with 30 to go, Netherwood, running 5th, was the first to hit pit road. Taking right sides and a splash, he gambled that he was early enough the tires would play a part, and he was almost right. Chris Cable followed suit, but without tires, and everyone else trickled in around the lap 105 mark. Everyone but the top 4 cars.

Laughton, Robinson, Walter and Williams all took the risk and were trying to race hard in a pack, while still saving that extra lap or two of fuel they needed. With under 5 to go, it was going to be close, but Netherwood and Cable were coming quick fast and in a hurry, so they couldn’t just diddle. The field took the white, and as the lead pack hit turn 1, Williams was the first to fall out  as his 07 ride sputtered out of fuel.

Going into turn 3, it was Laughton the leader who would falter, and his tank ran dry, ending his chance for the win. But there were 2 left…. Walter and Robinson. Walter would sputter dry as he exited turn 3, with Robinson almost immediately after. But, that extra split second of fuel allowed Robinson to coast just past Walter, and all 3 of them would hit the line just barely beating the fast charging Cable and Netherwood.

Robinson would only lead the 1 lap in the victory, with Walter having his career best finish of 2nd after his first pole in the series. Laughton would coast by the line in 3rd, with Netherwood taking 4th and Chris Cable just nipping Gregg Richardson by .003 for 5th place.

The series heads to Kentucky next week!

Krikorian continues his west coast dominance with win at Irwindale!

Krikorian_Irwindale_14David Krikorian calls Southern California home, and spends the majority of his racing life staying local, keeping to himself over there on the Left Coast. As usual when the Exclaim Graphics Late Model Tour moves out west, Krikorian likes to spoil the party for the rest of the tour. And from the get go he made it clear he was going to be the usual car to beat. WIth teammate Justin Brooks always making things difficult for the field by being lightning fast, Krikorian kept pace the whole time. During the heat race, starting 4th, Krikorian made quick work of Colin Allman then made another fast move on Josh Kotten, before setting his sights on Trevor Williams. Out of turn 4, he drove low to the grass and made it stick, besting Williams for the coveted 3 bonus points by .016, and securing the right to the pole position in the feature.

With Irwindale being an even laned track, with 3 lanes but all running equal, passing was at a premium. While Justin Brooks was able to sneak the lead away for 12 of the 110 laps, it was Krikorian who was putting on the show. The field from 3rd on back was consistantly 2 and 3 wide all night, and on occasion even 4 wide. A spectacular incident with Nathan Bowers and Dylan little, sending both cars into the tire barrier at the pit entrance and Bowers car flipping violantly in the air, would bunch the field up mid race and make things difficult on Krikorian.

Brooks was consistantly on his tail, nudging him and giving him everything he had. But Krikorian would show why he has a worst finish of 3rd in his many starts at his home track. And by doing so closes in on Brooks and the points lead heading into Bristol next week.

Brooks was 2nd, with Cody Kelley taking 3rd, Josh Kotten having a season best finish of 4th, and Collin Allman taking the last top 5 spot. Tonights heat winners were Krikorian in heat #1, Joey Clancy in Heat #2, and Justin Brooks in Heat #3.

Macklin gambles and coasts to victory at Talladega!

10649064_807079739344626_2299070917344644539_oA long time coming, the Smith Media Productions Super Speedway Series took to the high banks of Talladega for their series/season opener last night. Right off the bat, the teammates of Justin Fuller and Brian Macklin sure made their presence felt, as all during practice they were frequently the two fastest cars on the leaderboard heading into the open qualifying efforts. Sure enough, during the 5 minute open qualifying session, the tandem would sweep the front row, Macklin on pole.

Right off the bat the action was fast and furious, with Fuller, Chris Cable, and Bruce Perry all sneaking up front to lead a lap or more. Robert Barney would sure make his presence felt, however, as he would jump up front and end up leading 22 of the laps. The event was slowed by just one caution, as the action mid pack got heated coming off turn 4 on lap 12, with a trio of cars trying to fit in a space that could only fit two, sending the cars of Nate Bowers, Al Smith Jr, Ron Williams, and Jim Glennan to their trailers early for the evening, while also rendering Curtis Berleue and a handful of others to the back due to damage.

The top 12 cars would remain clean, thus seperating themselves for the time being, however fuel mileage was becoming a concern. With 18 to go, as drivers were starting to plot strategy, Bruce Perry would send Greg Netherwood spinning down the back stretch and into the inside wall. With no one else collected, no yellow would fly and the race would continue unabated until the checkers. Immediately following the spin, Perry would muscle on his own on the outside like he was shot out of a cannon, blowing by Barney to the lead, to lead the next 11 laps of the event.

With 5 to go, Perry, cable, and the field began diving down pit road for a splash of fuel. There were 2 cars, however, who played the gambling game. Showing 2 laps short on the board for fuel, Fuller and Macklin started coasting around the track. Since the entire field had come down pit road save for them, they had over 50 second lead, and were slowing to as low as 175mph in the corners trying desperately to save enough fuel to make it the last 2 laps.

The white flag would fly, and Fuller would gas it up a bit to give Macklin a run for his money. With the field bearing down yet still 15 seconds behind, it was a 2 horse race. Going hard into turn 3, both cars started sputtering. As they exited 4, Fuller was the first to come up empty. Macklin, almost immediately after. Both cars coasting without power, they managed to cross the line barely going 100mph, but victors. Poor Macklin didnt even have anything for the consumate victory burnouts! It was a sad day…..

1907886_10152368335553543_3324855374060798585_oBut the race wasnt over. 4 cars battling door to door for 3rd place, new comers Shane Palencia and Brian Green would team up against Cable and Perry to try to unseat them from top 5 spots. Off of 4, Palencia and Green shot high, Perry and Cable low. Going into the trioval, Perry dove low on Cable as Palencia shot high, and they would cross the line 3-wide in a photo finish. Cable would get credit for the spot, with Perry and Palencia rounding out the top 5.

The series loads up the trucks and heads to Daytona next week in the Silverado!

Williams Steals Richmond

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The NEO Racing Pro Cup Series series has featured amazing racing all season long and was showing fourteen different winners coming into the playoffs. Tonight would be no different as they made the trip to Richmond, VA for some short track racing to kick off it’s version of the full season chase.

Chris Cable would prove to be the car to beat early on as he topped the charts in practice.  As the field took to the track to qualify, Cable would flex his muscles and grab the pole position to start the race. Three laps into the event, a caution would fly as Paul Krumlei would lose control of his machine and come to a rest on the racing surface.

Following a restart led by Cable, the field would race for 80 green flag laps of intense battling.  Cable and Shawn Breitzman would run nose to tail until the 05 of Cable would stretch his lead as they began to take on lap traffic.  During the long run, Sean Casto would charge his way from the 15th starting spot to third, to show that Cable and Breitzman were not the only quick cars in the field.

On lap 86, after losing a lap to the leaders, Patrick Hahe would clip the apron and spin his number 87 NEO Racing car coming out of turn two.  This would bunch the field up and allow the drivers to turn to their pit crews for service and some brand new Goodyear tires.  On lap 110, Cable would spin his tires in the middle of the front stretch and spin through the infield to bring out another yellow. As a result, Sean Casto would inherit the lead.

For the next 40 laps, the field would catch the caution bug and bring out cautions one by one almost perfectly in six lap increments.  Sean Casto would choose to pit after he decided to only take right sides on an earlier caution and surrender the point to Trevor Williams.

Williams would hold off charges on the next three restarts by Breitzman, until Chase Moore and Shane Ewing would touch to bring out another caution on lap 144 to set up a “green, white, checker” finish.  Williams would get a good jump on the restart and try to make his car as wide as possible as a charging Cable was hot on his heels. Cable would get a nose under Williams in turn three coming to the white flag and as they were door to door, the caution would fly giving Williams the victory, and his first in the NEO Racing Pro Cup Series.

Williams adds to the list of new winners to up the total to 15 on the season.  Cable would come across the line in second with Breitzman taking a strong third.  Casto and the number 5 of Scott Walter would round out the top five.

Next week the chase continues with 120 laps at the Chicagoland speedway.  Cable will enter the race as the points leader with Casto and Walter hot on his heels.

*UPDATE*
After race review by league administration resulted in a lap 133 DQ of Sean Casto, due to an unclaimed cause of caution penalty. He is relegated to a 14th place finishing position, relinquishing his 4th place finish at the checkers.

Silver Takes Opener in Richmond

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The Exclaim Graphics Late Model series made its way back to Richmond for opening night and the start of another exciting season. Heat racing was back by popular demand and the trio of Justin Brooks, Cody Kelly, and David Krikorian took the checkers in their respective races, picking up some much sought after bonus points.  Winning these races also placed them at the front of the field for the start of the race.

The racing was tight out of the gate as Brooks, Kelly, and Chris Cable raced hard at the point.  All three would swap the lead and gain bonus points by leading laps as they led the field at a blistering pace. A 32 lap green flag run would take place before the number 87 of Patrick Hahe would spin and bring out the first of four yellows of the race. The field would snake down pit road to take on some new rubber and some Sunoco racing fuel.

Kelly would lead the field out of the pits and continue a hard fought battle with teammate Brooks for the top spot. They would begin to distance themselves from the field before Krikorian would bring out the second caution and bunch the field up yet again.

When the racing resumed, Nick Silver would join the action and race with the front runners.  Another caution would fly and Silver would gain the lead on pit road. From there on out, Silver would not look back as he took the checkered flag for the big opening night victory. Brooks would hang on to finish second with his teammate Kelly in third. Trevor Williams would make a charge from the back and a fifteenth place starting spot as he and Cable would round out the top five.

Next week the series heads to Irwindale Speedway for some “close to the wall” racing action.  Once again, heat races will determine the starting lineup and the first week of handicapping with come into effect.