- Last Updated on 07:52 AM 08/06/12
- BY Doug Ford
Josh Oakley has been one of the better Late Model Stock Car drivers at South Boston Speedway the past several seasons but did not have a win to show for it.
That is, until Saturday night, when the Rougemont, N.C., resident sped away from a 13-car field to become the eighth different Late Model race winner this season, passing pole sitter Austin Thaxton on lap 64 and dashing away to the checkered flag, winning by almost 13 seconds over Thaxton.
Thaxton collected his third pole award of the season with a time of 15.818 (91.036 mph), but the South Boston driver was the only other driver to lead a lap Saturday night.
Ridgeway driver Matt Bowling maintained his points lead with a third-place showing, Darrell Gilchrist of Raleigh, a winner at South Boston earlier this year finished fourth, and Dennis Holdren of Roanoke finished fifth.
The race lasted 45 minutes and had only one caution, for six laps.
Oakley couldn’t describe his thoughts at winning his first-ever Late Model race at South Boston Speedway.
“You just don’t know this feeling, we’ve been trying a long time,” said Oakley.
“I have to say this car tonight is the best car I’ve ever had.
“I felt like we let some races slip away from us, but it won’t going to slip away from us tonight, we had the car to beat, and I believe with anybody else we would have had something for them.
“Hopefully, we’ll make it back, and this payday will help us a whole lot…we showed a little guy can do it in this league.”
Thaxton’s strong qualifying effort put him up front early, but he admitted his car might have begun to go away following the race’s only caution.
“With about 40 (laps) to go we had a restart and I missed a shift,” said Thaxton.
“I don’t know if I over-revved the motor or not, but something happened, we didn’t have enough for Josh.”
His first Late Model win of the year will have to wait for another night.
“I was really hoping for it tonight, we got a little bit of work to do, but we’re just a step closer,” said Thaxton.
Bowling expressed frustration despite his podium finish.
“We’ve got to win a race, and I hate to win a championship the way we’re running,” he noted.
“We have to get up on it and figure out something. We’re trying, we’re digging, and it’s one of them bad nights.
“We got a good point lead out of tonight, but if Lee (Pulliam) comes back we might be in trouble.”