Following a thrilling battle with Chris Morrow in the closing laps of the Late Model feature, Jason Witty picked up his fifth victory of the season at Sunset Speedway.
Anthony Simone won the first heat behind the wheel of his No. 95 Simone Motorsports Late Model ahead of Witty, Morrow, Taylor Holdaway, Frank Davey, Andy Kamrath, Dwayne Baker, Gary Elliott, Ernie Fumerton and Mike Weitz. Bruce Rankin blew his motor in practice and was running Tom Walters’ late model for the night; he pulled off the track mid-way through the heat.
Dave Barlett brought out the caution on lap five of the second heat due to a spin down the backstretch. Mike Bentley took the win in his No. 51 Lattitude Land Effects Late Model ahead of Scott Beatty, Tom Walters, Lane Zardo, Sean Grosman, Nick Goetz, Derek Frohlich, Billy Zardo and Herb Walters.
Andy Kamrath edged out Baker in his No. 35 AM Roofing, All-Star Wings & Ribs, Bailey Metal Products Limited, ImageWraps.ca and Streamline Race Products Mustang to take the win in the third heat. Now I am highly recommending this heat to be the heat of the season as halfway through it, contact was made between the two, resulting in them both sliding completely sideways through turns one and two. Both drivers managed to get their cars back straight and keep their top two positions. Morrow finished third, followed by Witty, Holdaway, Elliott, Davey, Simone and Fumerton.
Tom Walters won the final heat behind the wheel of his No. 47 Pro Floors and McColl Racing Enterprises Mustang ahead of Nick Goetz. Mike Bentley finished third, though did make contact with Billy Zardo in turns three and four to get the position; Zardo made an impessive save off of the corner. Lane Zardo finished fifth followed by Beatty, Grosman, Frohlich and Herb Walters.
Anthony Simone would draw pole for the feature, though it was Jason Witty taking the lead on the opening lap behind the wheel of his No. 19 Queensville SOD Farms, Larue’s Haulage, Carrot Express, Matco Tools and Speedy Auto Machine Late Model. Beatty and Goetz ran side-by-side for third behind the leaders with Beatty getting sideways on lap three. The field went every which direction to avoid each other and everybody managed to escape without damage.
Witty continued to lead on lap four ahead of Simone, Goetz and Morrow while Holdaway and Beatty battled for fifth. While they battled for fifth, Goetz got alongside Simone for second lap five. Goetz grabbed second on lap six, while Simone battled with Morrow for third. Morrow would get by Simone and then get alongside Goetz for second on lap seven. The pair ran side-by-side till lap 10, when Morrow finally managed to clear Goetz.
Witty led Morrow, Goetz, Holdaway, Kamrath Bentley, Walters, Simone and Beatty while Billy Zardo and Baker battled for 10th with Baker clearing Zardo on lap 12. Baker then got alongside Beatty for ninth as the caution flew for Davey spinning in turn four. With 13 laps to go, Witty led Morrow, Goetz, Holdaway, Kamrath, Bentley, Tom Walters, Simone, Baker, Beatty, Billy Zardo, Lane Zardo, Grosman, Elliott, Bartlett, Frohlich, Davey, Fumerton, Weitz and Herb Walters.
The restart wouldn’t go as smoothly as you would hope with Witty and Morrow playing games at the front in Witty trying to get the jump. As a result, it caused the field to stack up with contact made near the back and Davey going for the spin in the turn three grass. The race stayed green, though, as Davey kept it going and got out of there before the field made their way down the backstretch.
Witty and Morrow ran side-by-side for the lead till the caution flew once again for Bartlett spinning in one and two. With the stack-up on the restart and everybody hitting each other, both Bartlett and Grosman sustained heavy front end damage, resulting in both being out due to water leaking. Grosman was looking for a solid night after winning the feature last weekend.
The restart would go smoother this time and Witty would get ahead of Morrow on lap 16, while Morrow battled Holdaway for second. Morrow held Holdaway off, keeping the second spot. Holdaway continued to run third followed by Bentley, Walters, Goetz, Baker and Beatty while Kamrath and Simone battled for position on lap 19.
On lap 20, Bentley continued his climb to the front as he got alongside Holdaway for third, clearing him on lap 22 with Walters then getting alongside Holdaway. Walters cleared Holdaway on lap 23 to take over the third position. Bentley tried to continue his climb, getting alongside Morrow for second on lap 24 and the pair ran side-by-side till the caution flew three laps later for Davey and Fumerton getting together in turn three. With three laps to go, Witty leads Morrow, Bentley, Tom Walters, Holdaway, Goetz, Baker, Kamrath, Beatty and Billy Zardo.
On the restart, Witty and Morrow ran side-by-side all the way till the caution flew on lap 28 for Lane Zardo stalling on the backstretch and a piece of debris in turn four. Morrow (No. 11 Morrow Electric and CRS Rental) had the edge on Witty so he would restart on the inside as the leader with Witty to his outside. Walters would restart third followed by Bentley, Holdaway, Goetz, Billy Zardo, Kamrath, Baker, Beatty, Elliott, Herb Walters, Davey, Simone, Frohlich and Fumerton.
On the restart, Morrow and Witty battled side-by-side for the lead once again with Witty getting a run off of turn two on the outside on the last lap to take the lead.
Witty would lead the rest of the final lap to grab his fifth victory of the season. It marks a good comeback for the Witty Racing team following a wreck two weeks ago when Witty got turned by Bentley for the lead, and then hit by Goetz.
Following the race, Witty spoke with track announcer Spencer Lewis in victory lane, stating that when he was on the bottom as the leader, Morrow kept pincing him down.
“I never want to restart beside him again,” Witty joked. “That was good racing. Once we got on the outside, we were good. We were fighting power steering issues. We sheered a line in the second heat and taped it before the feature, but I guess that didn’t hold. I know, no excuses.”
In speaking of some of the minor contact with Morrow when Witty slid up the track a little on one of the restarts, Witty said, “Morrow is fun to race with. He races you clean. I know I got into him but he knows it’s not intential.”
Morrow finished second as he continues to look for his first feature victory of 2013. Points leader Mike Bentley padded his points lead with a third place finish ahead of Tom Walters and Taylor Holdaway.
Nick Goetz finished sixth followed by Billy Zardo, Dwayne Baker, Andy Kamrath, Scott Beatty, Gary Elliott, Herb Walters, Frank Davey, Anthony Simone, Ernie Fumerton and Derek Frohlich.
With Elliott starting the feature tonight, he made history as he started his 2500th career race. Before the feature event, Elliott was presented with a special plaque from Sunset Speedway to celebrate the moment.