- Last Updated on 12:22 PM 04/23/12
- BY Doug Ford
Justin Snow won his fifth Limited Sportsman Division race of the season Saturday in the 50-lap season-finale, but Danny Willis Jr. took home his first-ever South Boston Speedway championship with a second-place finish. Willis, of Cluster Springs, led Amelia driver Brian Pembelton by 15 points entering Saturday night’s race.
He grabbed his second pole of the year with a time of 16.033 seconds, seven spots ahead of Pembelton’s qualifying effort.
Snow passed Willis for the lead on the opening lap, and he kept that advantage throughout a caution-free race to beat Willis to the checkered flag by 0.924 seconds.
J.D. Eversole of Richmond got his first podium finish of the year with a third-place finish on Saturday, with Bobby McCarty of Summerfield, N.C., and Darrell Gilchrist of Raleigh, N.C. rounding out the top-five finishers.
Austin Thaxton of Cluster Springs, Pembelton, Blake Stallings of Danville, Mike Jones of South Boston and Gary Ledbetter rounded out the top-10 finishers.
Snow’s five wins were one more than Willis’ victories this season, but consistency paid big dividends for Willis in win the Limited Sportsman championship.
“This was a long time coming, and it’s very humbling,” said Willis.
“We work hard every week. I know we’re at the shop until 10, 11 or 12 o’clock sometimes, and my boys put in a lot of long hours.
“I’m glad it finally paid off for them.”
Willis noted the 2011 season was probably his most consistent year.
“We never finished below fifth all year,” said Willis, but I wish we could have gotten more wins.”
With the championship firmly in is grasp, Willis stayed behind Snow all race long, but he couldn’t get a good enough run on the Danville driver to pass him.
“He got away from me at the end, but we were trying to look at the big picture, too, and not do anything to take this one away,” Willis explained.
“This one was for my dad,” he added, referring to his late father, a South Boston Speedway fixture for many years.
The win in the last Limited race of the season helped erase some of the memories of an inconsistent year by Snow’s standards.
The defending Limited Sportsman champion got off to a good start with three wins in the first five Limited Sportsman races.
Snow also won the June 18th race, but since then his racing program had slipped, a fifth-place in the July 16th race being his best finish before Saturday’s win.
“A top three I would have been happy with it after the dismal year we’ve had,” explained Snow.
“We started off strong and thought we were going to have an awesome year.
“As soon as the weather got hot, we really got screwed up somewhere, and the car didn’t perform as it did before.
“We did a lot of changing on the car, and I worked real late last night and moved some things around, and it seems like it’s right where it needs to be.
“I wish we could have found it a little earlier, but congratulations to Danny on his first championship, no one is more deserving than him.
“He’s been doing this for a long time, and I’m happy for him.”
Eversole said his third-place run was definitely not the run he was expecting.
“We finally got the car together this week, qualified a little better and raced a little better,” he said.
“Hopefully, it will keep improving.”
Allred wins Pure Stock points title
Joe Allred III of Scottsburg, won his second Budweiser Pure Stock points title Saturday night, despite having to watch the majority of the second of twin 30-lap races from the pits after a broken wheel ended his night on lap 12.
Allred got the points he ultimately needed to secure the championship with a pass of Long Island driver Nathan Crews on the final lap to win race one, his division leading ninth win of the year.
Nathan Crews won his second pole award of the year with a time of 18.154 seconds in race one, and he led the race until Allred passed for the lead and the win on the final lap.
Nathan Crews held on for second-place, followed by Stuart Crews of Long Island, Trey Crews of Halifax and Chris Crosby of Raleigh, N.C.
Allred was riding in third place in race two when a broken wheel sent him into the wall and out of the race.
That opened the door for Halifax, Virginia, driver Trey Crews, who trailed Allred by 23 points entering the night.
Crews needed to win race two in order to catch Allred, and he got as high as second-place before finishing third.
The second race belonged to Nathan Crews, who passed Allred for the lead on lap three and led the rest of the way for his second win of the year, in a race that was delayed four times by caution flags.
Stuart Crews of Long Island finished second, Trey Crews finished third, Daniel Crews of Long Island finished fourth and Chris Crosby finished fifth in race two.
Nathan Crews, who needed to address some issues with his car’s electrical system between races, finished with a second-place finish and win on the night.
“I just to honestly thank my mechanic. He got the thing going and everything was right,” he said.
“I just had one issue with the power steering. I didn’t have power steering the whole race, and I can hardly lift my arm.
“I’m just tickled to death that I won.”
Allred could do nothing but wait until the finish of race two to see if his points lead would hold up.
He appeared in Victory Lane following the second race with only a door panel from his wrecked racecar.
“I don’t have a car to ride around in, but I have a door and a championship,’ Allred quipped in Victory Lane, displaying the door panel that was ripped off when he made contact with the wall.
“This has been a very interesting night.”
Stuart Crews had a third-place and second-place efforts for the night.
“I really wanted that win, though, and that’s got to wait until next year,” he said.
“We had a great season this year, bad luck at times, and we just didn’t come out on top tonight,” said Trey Crews, who won three races and three pole awards this season.
“I couldn’t be up here without help, my dad who puts everything into this car. It means the world to me.”
Darryl Lacks wins third SVM title in four years
Forest, Va., driver Darryl Lacks won his third Southern Virginia Modified Division title in four years, solidifying the championship with a runner-up finish Saturday behind brother, Donnie.
Darryl Lacks led Donnie Lacks by 10 points entering Saturday’s race, and he took his division-leading fifth pole of the season with a time of 15.586 seconds.
He led the first eight laps before a red flag stoppage halted the race for several minutes.
On the restart, Donnie Lacks passed for the lead, and he held the advantage the rest of the race to get his third race win of the season.
Johnny Stovall of Madison, N.C., Joseph Overstreet and Bob Randall of Falmouth rounded out the top-five finishers in a race delayed once by the red flag stoppage.
That presented perhaps his best chance of passing his brother, according to Donnie Lacks, who agreed with his spotter a restart was the only way he could get by the race leader.
“This car has so much horsepower, the only thing you can do is get on it then and just hang on,” said Donnie Lacks.
“I knew he was faster than we were, and I held onto the bottom.”
“I think I could have gotten him tonight, but I didn’t want to take a chance and get tangled up,” said Darryl Lacks, who finished with two wins for the year.
“If I would have wrecked and he would have gone on, it would have been bad, at home and everywhere, because he’s my brother.
“For us, the Lacks family and our crews, it couldn’t have been much better.”