- Last Updated on 08:12 AM 05/06/13
- BY Doug Ford
Michael Maresca won his first-ever stock car race in the first of twin Limited Sportsman Division races at South Boston Speedway on Saturday, and Garrett Bunch got his first South Boston win by taking the checkered flag in the nightcap.
Maresca qualified on the pole, lost the lead on the opening lap to Bunch, took the lead back from Bunch on lap two and led the final 48 laps in race one, holding on for the win despite three of the race’s four cautions occurring in the final 10 laps of the race.
The 17-year-old Hannawa Falls, N.Y., driver came home 0.388 seconds ahead of South Boston driver Joey Throckmorton, with Tommy Peregoy of Clarksville, Blake Stallings of Danville and division points leader Danny Willis Jr. of Cluster Springs rounding out the top-five finishers in a race that took 45 minutes to complete.
Bunch of Front Royal, Austin Babb of Jarrat, Libby Privette of Nathalie, Daniel Moss of Danville and G.R. Waldrop of Moseley finished fifth through 10th in race one.
“It’s awesome and I’m so happy with this, nothing else comes close, said Maresca in Victory Lane.
Maresca said he tried to focus on his driving and tried not to think about the numerous wrecks and mishaps occurring behind him during the race.
“I saw a lot of cautions, and I saw a lot of cars wrecked, but I just tried to stay up front.”
“I thought I had something for Mike, but he could get through the center a little better,” admitted Throckmorton.
“We’re second, and we ain’t tore up, so we can work on it.”
Maresca qualified on the pole with a time of 16.121 (89.324 MPH) for race one.
Bunch started second behind Willis in a six-car inversion for race two, passing the points leader on the opening lap and leading the race from there, holding off a late charge from Willis to win by a 0.373 second margin.
Race two was caution-free and took 14 minutes to complete.
Willis finished second in race two, followed by Maresca, Stallings and Peregoy in the top-five, with Throckmorton, Waldrop, Caleb Davis of Thaxton, Privette and Babb rounding out the top-10 finishers.
Willis rallied after damaging his racecar in a first-lap wreck in the opener for fifth- and second-place finishes to extend his points lead.
“We had a decent car, probably not one to win the first race, and we got into a little trouble,” admitted Willis.
“The car was out in left field the first race, but we made a few changes on the car and got it ready for the second race.
“I could get to his bumper but the closer I’d get the hotter the motor would get, and I had to back off.
“Hats off to him, they’ve been running good all year, and they needed a win.”
“We didn’t have what we needed in the first race, got taken out there with a couple to go, but this crew got things back together,” Bunch said in Victory Lane.
“It’s an excellent performance by this crew. We kept working on it and getting it better and better, and obviously it paid off.”
Autry wins wreck-filled Pure Stock race
Rookie driver Greg Autry of South Boston won a wild and wooly Budweiser Pure Stock race at South Boston Speedway on Saturday in a wreck-filled race that saw only five of 12 cars finish the 30-lap event.
The race included four cautions and took 28 minutes to complete, with the race winner leading twice during the competition, including the last lap.
Nathan Crews broke his own Pure Stock qualifying record with a lap of 80.250 MPH (17.944 seconds) to claim the pole, and the Long Island driver led the first 15 laps before being forced to pit with an equipment issue.
Stewart Crews led laps 16-24, and Autry led laps 25-27 before Austin Milam of Ringgold took the lead for laps 28-29.
Autry and Milam were running one-two and approaching the finish line when the car of Nathan Crews made contact with the car of Autry, with Autry’s racecar spinning and crossing the finish line backwards.
Milam finished second, ahead of Bruce Mayo of Halifax, Jimmy Wade of Halifax and another rookie driver, Vic Ingram of Danville in the top-five.
The cars of Stuart Crews and Nathan Crews were disqualified following a post race inspection.
Humblet wins Modified race
Jimmy Humblet of Shiloh, N.C., passed pole sitter Mike Johnson on laps 17 and led the rest of the way in winning the 50-lap Modified race Saturday night.
Johnson, of Midlothian, qualified on the pole with a time of 16.384 (87.891 MPH) and led until Humblet made his move on lap 17.
Points leader Tanner Rumburg of Beaverdam finished second, with Chris Johnson of Mechanicsville finishing third, Hunter Slayton of Richmond finishing fourth and Tanner Aman coming home in fifth-place in a race that had two cautions and took 21 minutes to complete.