PERFECTION FOR LEMONS
It was his second win of the season. But for Tommy Lemons, Jr., it was once-in-a- lifetime.
“That car was hooked up. Best car I’ve ever had in my career; that’s saying a lot,” Lemons said. “That’s probably a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have one that perfect.”
Saturday night, “perfect” equated to a mammoth seven-second lead for Lemons en route to the white-flag lap of the Kesler Contracting 150 presented by 94.9 Star Country. Even when his colossal advantage was negated by a last-lap caution that beckoned a green-white-checkered overtime finish, Lemons proved untouchable, topping runner-up Frank Deiny, Jr. by a margin of 1.082-seconds in the final two-lap dash.
“[The caution] wasn’t what I needed,” Lemons stated. “I felt like Frank [Deiny] was saving— I felt like he’d give me a run for my money. Luckily, we got out front and got the victory.”
It was arguably the most dominating performance of the season at Motor Mile Speedway. Lemons routed the robust 26-car field, overtaking the top spot following the third caution of the event on lap 65.
Lemons was the last of four leaders who paced the race through a tumultuous opening stint. Josh Berry inherited the Price’s Body Shop Pole Award after Kris Bowen’s pole-winning hot lap was disallowed for height infractions.
The Bull & Bones Late Model points leader was enjoying a comfortable early lead when trouble enveloped five of the top seven cars on lap 18. Fluid from David Polenz’s No. 31 caused a mass synchronized spin in turn two that damaged much of the front-running machines, including Berry. The bizarre incident ushered in a red flag period, and re-organized the field in the aftermath.
Newcomer Chad Finchum and Deiny were pacesetters following the restart, with three more cautions littering the opening 70 circuits of the contest.
But not even a yellow flag would benefit Lemons’ top competition. The green-white-checkered restart in the waning laps devolved into a race for second place, with Finchum edging Deiny at the checkers. Post-race inspection would disqualify Finchum’s effort, yielding second to Deiny’s no. 5. Bowen, despite a handicapped twenty-fifth place starting position, rallied to finish third.
Berry’s misfortune allowed Deiny, the 2004 Late Model track champion, to narrow the gap from second to first in the point standings. Deiny now trails Berry by 38 markers with three races remaining on the calendar, including the rescheduled Twin 100 event slated for September 15—the date will mark championship night at Motor Mile Speedway.
IN OTHER DIVISIONS
COLLISION PLUS LIMITED SPORTSMAN
Karl Budzevski returned to victory lane in the Collision Plus Limited Sportsman division, ahead of Garrett Bunch and Matt Taylor. Taylor and McGhee are currently dead-locked atop the division standings with 302 points each.
NEW RIVER NISSAN MOD-4
Chucky Williams swept the New River Nissan MOD-4 TWIN 30’s Saturday night, coasting through the opener over Rocky Yates, and narrowly forestalling Aaron Markham and Yates to complete the sweep in the nightcap. Markham’s impressive pair of features were negated in post-race inspection.
Ricky Howell, Jr. returned to victory lane upon return to Motor Mile Speedway, netting the 25-lap UCAR heat in what was a cameo performance . Newcomer Joey Phillips placed second, and veteran Larry Showalter continued a streak of strong efforts with another podium finish of third.