Coates clinches the season championship
Frank Coates entered Saturday night’s race needing to avoid a disastrous night at Laurens County Speedway to achieve his goal of winning a Limited Division season championship.
Coates did avoid disaster, finishing third in the main event to race winner Deano Long, and by doing so Coates earned enough points to clinch the 2019 season championship. Tony Quarles, who was 204 points behind Coates entering the night, did not race at LCS, helping Coates clinch the division.
Coates was in first at the start of the race, taking the lead from Josh Richeson after both drivers started on the front row following qualifying. Coates and Richeson were soon joined by Long, who appeared settled into third place for a time as the battle became a two-driver duel between Coates and Richeson.
Richeson trailed by less than two-tenths of a second with five laps to go and tried to make his move, but when the two drivers made contact it forced a caution that sent both drivers back in the field for the restart on lap 21. That essentially took both drivers out of contention to win the race and gave Long the benefit of a jump to first. Once there Long held on for the final five laps, while Jimmy Taylor finished second. Coates was third, Richeson fourth, and Austin Watkins was fifth.
FWD: Travis Jamieson closed in on winning the season championship in the Front-Wheel Drive Division by taking the top spot in the main event. Seth Smith, who was second in the points entering the night, finished second. Darien Norwood was third.
Jamieson entered the night leading Smith by 190 points and earned a net gain of five points on Smith with the night’s results. The results mean Jamieson is in position to clinch the season title this coming week.
The main event was a stop-and-start affair from the very beginning, as it took four attempts to start the race before a single lap was recorded. Once the race got into a flow Jamieson made his way to the front by going to the outside line and passing Smith. The race was stopped due to a caution on lap 7, but all that did was delay the inevitable as Jamieson used a good restart to solidify his lead and pull away.
SECA 604 Crate: Brad Rachels boosted his chances of winning the season points championship with a third-place finish in the main event, while Dale Timms held off Bryan Mullis to win the race itself.
Timms and Mullis were in the top two spots from the start, with Timms opening a bit of a gap on the sixth lap after it appeared Mullis wobbled a bit. The lead was nearly four-tenths of a second after the seventh lap for Timms, and appeared to be rather safe as the race went on, but Mullis didn’t give up and cut the margin to .274 seconds with one lap to go, but his best attempt to find a passing lane came up just short of his goal and allowed Timms to hold on.
Rachels, by finishing third, earned a 10-point boost to his lead over Danny Howell, who was fifth in the main event. Rachels now leads by 117 points with three races to go and could clinch the division in the next two weeks.
4-Cylinder: Matt Gilbert took the top spot in the main event, with Scott Nelson second and Wayne Powell third. Points leader Phillip Wilson was fifth at the finish, which trimmed his points lead over Nelson to an estimated 158 points, but Wilson could clinch the division championship this week.
Gilbert led from start to finish, with Wilson making a run at the top spot through five laps. Nelson managed to take second place after getting a challenge from Terry Caples, who got himself to second before spinning out at the end of the next-to-last lap.
On that same lap Wilson and Larry Teal were collected in an accident on the front stretch, where Teal and Wilson hit each other and Wilson went into the outside wall entering the front stretch.
Thunder Bombers: Brandon Satterfield won the main event when Lee Higdon was disqualified following the main event, with Scott Pulley taking second and Shane Lollis finishing third. Dan Lawson, who entered the race first in the point standings by 94 points over Dylan Chappell, finished 10th and saw his lead cut to an estimated 70 points with three races to go. Chappell was unable to race in the main event and fell to third in the point standings.
Satterfield held the lead over Reid Neaderhiser at the start, with Pulley following in third place. The race had five caution flags within a six-lap span past the middle to tail end of the race, and as the race went on not only did Higdon cruise at the front of the field – only to have his victory erased for bad tires – but Lawson managed to get himself to fifth place before being collected in an accident with Neaderhiser that pushed him back to the end of the field.
602 Crate: Colt Smith, who had already clinched his second straight 602 Crate Division championship last week, put icing on the cake by winning the main event. Colby Cannon was second and Chris Patterson was third.
Smith started on the outside of Row 1 and got to the front on the opening lap, with Baron McDowell trying his hardest to deny the pass – to no avail. McDowell later spun on lap 2 to force a yellow, and when the race resumed Smith maintained his lead as Rod Tucker jumped to second. Tucker stayed right on Smith’s back bumper before his car suddenly shifted to the right and into the wall as he was going through turns 3 and 4. That ended Tucker’s night, leaving him with a seventh-place result.
As for Smith, another good restart with five laps to go helped give him the cushion he needed to pull away from Cannon, who pulled away for second place.