- Last Updated on 08:07 AM 09/17/12
- BY Joe Chandler
Two first-time champions in South Boston Speedway’s Limited Sportsman and Pure Stock divisions were crowned Saturday night, and neither needed a win in the track’s final event of the season to lock up the championship.
Bobby McCarty of Summerfield, N.C. finished third in the caution-free 50-lap Limited Sportsman Division race won by Tunstall High School senior Blake Stallings of Danville to sew up the championship in that division.
He entered the race with a 23-point lead over defending division champion Danny Willis Jr. of Cluster Springs, and knew all he had to do was play it safe in order to lock up his first career Limited Sportsman Division championship.
Willis finished second in the race, almost a quarter of a lap behind Stallings.
“I just knew I had to race smart,” McCarty explained.
“I did my homework at the house, making sure the car was top-notch. All I had to do was ride. I really wanted to get up there and give Blake a hard time, but I think he had me covered tonight.”
McCarty, who won a division-high seven races, said the feeling of winning the title was overwhelming.
“I really can’t explain how it feels,” the new champion remarked.
“It really hasn’t sunk in yet. All of the long hours we put into the car, all of the things we had to overcome, it’s amazing.”
Willis knew his shot at repeating as the division champion was a long shot at best, as McCarty would have had to have finished last in the 11 car field and Willis would have had to have won the race.
“He (McCarty) had opened up a pretty good points lead on us. We brought a few extra cars to run some laps in case something were to happen to him. My hat’s off to Bobby and his crew. They’ve been tough all year and they deserve the championship.”
For Stallings, who scored his second win of the season, the night was a big one as he dominated the field and finished more than three and a half seconds ahead of Willis.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” Stallings said of his victory.
“I feel like we really earned this. It makes me feel good to show my team that all of their hard work and dedication is paying off. It’s a fantastic opportunity for me as a young adult to get out here and be able to compete with all of these great drivers and enjoy the experince.”
Willis made a brief run at Stallings in the early going, but wasn’t able to keep pace with Stallings.
“I thought I had Stallings there for awhile, and all of a sudden my car started getting wicked loose up off of the corners,” Willis explained.
“It finally burned the right rear tire up and he gradually pulled away. That kid has been coming on all year. I expect to see him as a champion one day.”
Caleb Davis of Thaxton and Michael Maresca of Hannawa Falls, N.Y. rounded out the top five finishers in the race.
Crews wins Pure Stock title
Crews, of Halifax, was in much the same situation as McCarty entering Saturday night’s 30-lap Pure Stock Division race that would end the season at the .4-mile oval.
He entered the race with a 46-point cushion over defending division champion Joe Allred III of Scottsburg, and needed simply to finish the race in order to lock up the championship.
Allred won the pole and led all 30 laps enroute to his division-high seventh win of the season, but it wasn’t enough.
“It looks like every year I win a championship I don’t finish a race or I finish badly and every year that I finish second I win the last race,” Allred mused after his win.
“He (Crews) really didn’t even have to start the race. I was taking it easy out there too. The car was on rails. This was the best car I’ve had all season. Unfortunately, it came around too late.”
Stuart Crews of Long Island, Justin Tucker of Elon, N.C. and Randy Hupp of Halifax rounded out the top five finishers. Jake Brown, Bruce Mayo, Eric Crews, Randy Howard and Libby Privette completed the top-ten finishers.
Garland Ricketts of South Boston took the lead late in the race and held off Harry Hale to win the 10-lap race for the competitors in the regional touring Legendary Ford Flathead Racing Association.
Tommy Jackson Jr. of Poquoson won the 20-lap race for the Pro Wing Champ Karts that rounded out the night’s racing action.