What a night of action at Lakeville this past Friday night! Recent weeks have brought in some new cars from West Virginia and Pennsylvania, along with some locals we don't see enough of. This week even DJ Cline made the trip to take a shot at the bounty on Duncan. You might wonder why car counts went up with the recent cut in the purse but the drivers I talked to made it clear that it's not about the money for them. Some said they were looking for a track that wouldn't be so hard on their equipment and many said they were there to support a track that has always supported their drivers even through the tough times. Let's not forget that in recent years when Hilltop and Wayne County struggled and failed to run full seasons, Lakeville was there all season long paying full payouts. These drivers didn't seem to forget that and I salute each and every one of them for their support. Speaking of support, it was awesome to see Jesse Wardell in the house and he brought the whole damn gang with him to show their support too. Now, that's just another example of the class the Hilltop gang has become known for. Hell Jesse even found time to text me while I was on the flagstand. What a guy! ;-)
Alright, all this show of support is swell and all, but how was the show you ask. It was probably the most fun I've had at a track in quite a while for starters. Fans were treated to 3 and 4 wide action in many of the races and with almost no torn up equipment all night. Minimal cautions kept the show rolling and the track held up great all night. Hell there was plenty of bite left in the surface when I left for the night. NICE job Randy! There was one red flag incident but this one was a happy moment. We red flagged the start of a Mini Stock race so a driver could propose to the love of his life. How damn cool is that?
All of the features were action packed and the Late Models put on what can only be described as the best damn show in recent years. Some may consider Duncan to be lucky but he damn sure earned the win this week. Slicing through traffic at a wild pace is one thing, but to do it with Cline and Lonas all over you has got to be a bit stressful to say the least. These 3 guys slipped through holes that you'd swear weren't there all night and without roughing anybody up. What a show! In the Late Model heats that young fella I've been writing about these past couple of weeks put on a show of his own. Randy Pollock brought home his very first Late Model heat race win in fine fashion. Battling those "new guys" for the win just made the win even sweeter. Pollock also drove one hell of a smart feature race bringing it home in 6th. Way to go "Speed Racer"!
Not to be outdone the Pure Stocks showed why their points battle has been so close all season long. The top points guys started out battling 3 wide but one would suffer a season ending engine failure before long. Todd Swim was on a strong run when the engine came unglued. That left Daugherty and Miller up front scrapping for every inch of clay and when the checkers flew it was Daugherty in Victory Lane grinning from ear to ear. Once again I was almost certain that meant he'd be the first driver to pick up the Lake/Hill Challenge money since he was headed to Hilltop on Saturday night. After his runaway win last week down there it was looking good for the 21D car.
Saturday night brought another packed house at Hilltop and starting off with the heat races it was clear the action was kicked up a notch for Season Championship night. Wardell swears he's not paying $1000 to win those heat races but it sure as hell looked like it to me. I'll have to accept his explanation that "they always race hard up on the hill". ;-) Fans were once again treated to high speed door to door battles all night but I was eager to see what Daugherty could do in his feature. Starting in the second row in his favorite groove it was easy to expect him to pull it off, but ugliness came before the first lap was even completed. At the drop of the green Bob jumped into second and was already sizing up the leader down low. Getting to turn 3 some genius decided he wanted to go even lower than Daugherty (is that even possible?) and took out the 21D ride. The judgment call would have put Daugherty back where he belonged but a flat tire sent him pitside and to the tail. My hopes were dashed for the Lake/Hill challenge but Daugherty wasn't thinking that way it seems. Ever so smoothly he worked his way through the field but would come up short on laps and have to settle for 4th. Ya sure as hell can't say he didn't try though. That damn Challenge money is safe for another year now that Hilltop's regular season is over. Damn, this thing didn't sound so tough when they started the Challenge. ;-)