Ever have one of those nights at the race track? Well there were 26 guys who could say that out of the 27 at Orange County Speedway (NC) in the PASS South Orange Blossom Special 125. Saturday night's race was about a nine out of 10 on the wild side and it had many key players, but one driver was up front all night and managed to stay out of trouble to score his first PASS South win – Roger Lee Newton. Newton is a local driver from Concord, NC who has made the switch from Late Model Stocks to Super Late Models and it paid off with his first PASS South victory.
Post Race Fight Breaks Out on Pit Road
Tempers flared at Orange County when the flag went down and some teams wanted to throw down. Our Speed51.com cameras caught this on tape as the Andy Loden team and the Alex Fleming team had a few words for each other after the race. This was just one of several pit road pushing and shoving matches that took place on Saturday. (WARNING: Video Contains Vulgar Langauage)
Heavy Hitters Wiped Out in Late Crash
Eight laps from the finish, a chain-reaction stack up from the leaders back through the top 10 set off a spectacular wreck that wiped out three former winners and a total of four cars in the process.
Heath Hindman, Andy Loden, Steve Legendre and Jay Fogleman all were taken out in the stack up that saw Loden's car on top of Legendre up against the wall. Fogleman came to pit road with basically no front end and Hindman's car was tore up bad too as he waited for the roll back.
Most of the players in the wreck pointed the finger to Loden as the tension was building with only eight laps to go.
"We were saving our stuff there all night and thought we were going to have a good car there at the end," said Legendre. "I was just waiting and the 29 (Loden) came out of nowhere and ran us over and parked his car on top of us. It took me a while to get out because he was on top of us."
Hindman, who had led several laps at OCS, was not as kind with his words for Mr. Loden.
"The 33 (Newton) run Weller up the track a bit and I checked up to avoid wrecking them," said Hindman. "Loden he's got so much money he don't give a s--- and he wrecked me and half the field in the process. It was pretty clean until the last eight laps."
Loden was not pleased with himself after the incident, that and a scuffle with the Alex Fleming crew left the Stanley, North Carolina driver emotionally drained.
"I got off on the backstretch there and the car got pretty tight," said Loden. "I was just driving over my head and I think I caused a bunch of wrecked race cars over there. I hate it. I don't know what else to say right now. I probably should have rode there for fifth, but we're here to win and that's what I was trying to do."
Well after the race, Speed51.com ran into Jay Fogleman who was asking others about their nights. He managed to smile after such a wild night.
"I will tell you whatever you want to know, but I don't know," joked Fogleman. "I started on the bottom trying to avoid it and I still got tore up in it. I just don't know. Orange County is always wild, but tonight anything that could materialize did on the track. This place has so many grooves it's hard to get away from anybody."
Weller Left to Wonder What Might Have Been
Jimmy Weller left Orange County knowing that he had the best race car. All night he was out front and his only hiccups were restarts, as the outside lane would snooker him just about every time. With a rash of late-race yellows, Weller was left in second only to try and work the bottom as he chased Newton for the win, but he ended up in the runner-up spot.
“I am so mad right now," said Weller who still managed to smile. "I thought we had it, but we just couldn't get the runs on the restarts like we needed. I got up along side of (Newton) with like two to go, but I got free and he did an great job with a loose car to beat me."
Weller never saw any of the wrecks as he led most of the race, but his spotter kept him in the loop.
"He kept saying, ‘Spin behind you, wreck behind’ and I was like, ‘What's going on?’" said Weller. "We had the strategy not to fall back, just stay up front and it worked out well. Wish we had one more spot."
Wakefield's Bad Luck a Footnote in History
In the record books it will show that Justin Wakefield was the leader of the race in the late stages at Orange County. What it will not show is that he bounced off the wall and came to pit road and did not draw a caution. Wakefield's disappointment was the story of the night until the final 10 laps when all hell broke loose. Wakefield's misfortune was overlooked with a pile of wrecked race cars in the pits. It was the second-straight race that the Woodstock, Georgia native was leading and suffered bad luck that took him out of contention, as a flat tire cost him a shot at victory at Motor Mile.
Anderson Shows Promise in First PASS Run
Jordan Anderson was a rising star in the Legends Car world just a few seasons back. After some runs on dirt, he has now made the jump to run asphalt Super Late Models out of the David Stremme camp. Orange County was his first race where he ran as high as third before spinning out of the top five. The young driver rebounded and made it back to fifth in his first Super Late Model start. Chances are we will hear his name again soon in the PASS ranks.
Peltier Ok With Third After Long Night
After seven races, one might think the defending series champion is not in form in 2011 as Preston Peltier has not yet gone to victory lane in 2011. But, Peltier has earned five podium finishes, including at Orange County. Peltier was looking for his third win in the Orange Blossom special, but a pit stop and a spin left him playing catch up at the end of the night.
"Wild is an understatement," joked Peltier. "We had the throttle sticking there at the beginning of the race. That was scary as I had to lift up on it with my foot to slow down the car. After we came in (to the pits), we were going back to the front and we got into a spin. After all that, here we are. I tried to steal a win, but I could make it happen tonight."
Peltier should be in the top three in points after this finish.
Ward Sneaks into a Fourth-Place-Run
Brandon Ward shot into the top three late in the race after the multi-car wreck and looked to be poised to finish on the podium before Preston Peltier got around him for third. For Ward it's tied the best career finish for him after he was fourth at Newport last year.
How Wild was the finish? Only 10 cars took the checkered flag out of the 27 who started.
Roger Lee Newton's win made him the 55th different winner in PASS Super Late Model history and he also marked the seventh different winner in seven starts this year for PASS South.
Carroll ok After Sportsman Race Fire
Justin Carroll was okay after a wild, fiery wreck in the PASS CCS Sportsman race. After he was involved in the wreck his car burst into flames and he was able to escape with the aid of rescue workers. Carroll was a little stunned, but is doing ok.