Williams, Lang script storybook ending to epic side-by-side MOD-4 showdown – JW Martin
Racing at Motor Mile Speedway is breathtaking.
Just ask 2013 MOD-4 Track Champion Chucky Williams.
“I’ve never held my breath so long in my life,” admitted Williams at the conclusion of the New River Nissan MOD-4 race. “That’s the most fun I’ve ever had.”
Williams and MOD-4 counterpart Doodle Lang authored a storybook performance in the division’s 30-lap sprint, providing the capstone to an action-packed night that produced Lee Pulliam’s fourth consecutive victory in the O’Reilly Auto Parts Late Model division and Julia Landauer’s second straight history-making triumph in the Collision Plus Limited Sportsman division.
The pair of MOD-4 veterans transformed a support division contest into the showcase race of the Michael Huffman Memorial Twin 75’s presented by A-1 Heating & Cooling and 96.3 WROV.
Williams snared the Price’s Service Center Pole Award, but surrendered the lead on the initial start of the race to Lang. Williams’ no. 55 reclaimed the top spot on lap 9, birthing a battle for first that would last the remainder of the contest.
Four cautions plagued the first half of the race, with attrition claiming four of the 13 starters by lap 15. Lang wrangled the point away from Williams following the final restart of the race on lap 14. The lead would exchange hands five times over the next 16 circuits in an epic side-by-side duel; in all, the race showcased seven total lead changes.
“I held my breath for the last 14 laps,” Lang exclaimed. “We’ve always raced each other hard, but we try to race each other clean. We got up into one another a little bit, but that’s racing.”
Racing inches apart, Williams and Lang remained two-abreast from lap 15 through the completion of the feature. Both drivers struggled to gain an advantage in the closing circuits; Lang’s no. 22 remained pinned to the bottom of the track while Williams operated out of the speedway’s top groove. The spectacle climaxed in a frenzied last-lap bout that appeared to favor Lang until the pair launched off turn four.
With the checkers unfurling, top-side momentum propelled Williams alongside Lang in the final dash to the finish line. Williams eclipsed Lang as the leaders lunged for the stripe, capturing the win by a minuscule 0.005 margin of victory.
“I’ve never had a race like that. I’ve never been in a race that equal. It was awesome,” explained Williams. “I had no idea [I had won.] I came down the back straightaway asking: ‘Who won, me or him?’”
Rounding out the podium was Drew Holdren, who witnessed the electrifying finish from his cockpit.
“We definitely had a front row seat,” stated Holdren, placing third in his 2015 debut. “That was absolutely awesome. To watch those two race… hats off to Doodle and Chucky. That has to be some of the best driving I’ve seen.”
Befittingly, Williams and Lang are deadlocked atop the MOD-4 division standings after splitting the first two races of the season. Reflecting on the photo-finish, Lang was succinct.
“We watch all these other guys… Lee Pulliam and all those guys are great. They come up here and put on photo-finishes for the fans, so, hey, why can’t we do it in lower-class cars?”
Photo Credit: Joe Mills
IN OTHER DIVISIONS
Lee Pulliam scripted his second consecutive sweep of the season in the all-new O’Reilly Auto Parts Late Model division, besting Tommy Lemons, Jr. and Matt Bowling in the caution-free opener— a race that featured 18 cars. Pulliam netted the victory in the nightcap over Brandon Butler, with Bowling rounding out the podium in a race slowed by four yellow flags.
Pulliam’s four wins marks his best-ever start to a season at Motor Mile Speedway, adding yet another accomplishment to a decorated Late Model career.
Collision Plus Limited Sportsman division points leader Julia Landauer continued her history-making start at MMS by scoring her second straight victory in her second-ever attempt in Limited Sportsman competition. Scott Lancaster placed second in the 50-lap feature, and Brian Sutphin claimed third.
Doug Williams took top honors in the Carpet Factory Outlet Street Stock division, and Rodney Howell edged Chad Ricker for the win in a photo-finish in the UCAR contest.