The car count was down from the usual UARA standard with several teams opting for vacation and various other adventures but the action was still fierce throughout the sixteen car field.
Brennan Poole dominated the UARA-STARS 150 at Lonesome Pine Raceway presented by Freedom Ford on Saturday night in what was the 150th UARA race presented . The Texan picked up his fourth win of the season after starting on the outside pole and leading flag-to-flag at the .375-mile facility. Poole has his sights set on equaling or beating Jamie Caudill's win record of thirteen. Poole's win at The Pine places him tied for second in career UARA wins along with Matt McCall.
Rookie George Miedecke laid down an impressive lap during his qualifying run and captured his second Sunoco Pole Award of the year for his 16.44-second lap. Miedecke lost the lead, however, to the second place starter, Poole, on the first lap and began to fade early. Surviving fender rubbing and love taps by other competitors, the Australian came back to finish fourth and was awarded Rookie of the Race Award for the fifth time this season. Miedecke is building up an impressive lead in the Rookie point battle.
Poole’s jump to the front lasted the entire race, but Hickory winner Kyle Grissom and Ronnie Bassett Jr. added pressure to the current point leader at the end during a green-white-checkered that was brought about when Elby Harrison spun in turn two on lap 146. Poole was awarded the Marlowe Racing Chassis Halfway Leader and his engine builders, 3V Performance, won the Comp Cams Engine Builder of the Race Award.
Grissom was a contender from the drop of the green flag but did not have enough car to take the win for the second week in a row.
“I beat Brennan last week and he beat me this week. Finishing second to him wasn't too bad and, honestly, it was better than what I thought it would be at the start of the race,” said Grissom after the event. “It went away pretty quick on the bottom and I started running the top. Fortunately I had a good enough car where I could run up there, but I have to thank my guys. We changed a lot of stuff in practice and came back to run second.
“I kind of ran Brennan down midway through the race and then he moved up the track,” Grissom elaborated. “At that point I kind of knew I had already run everything I had. By that point we were hopefully a second place car. Bassett got by me at one point but I got back by him, and then at the green-white-checkered I thought we could at least make a go at it but the caution came out.”
Bassett advanced from his fifth starting position to finish third. David Roberts flirted with the top five for most of the race and fought a spirited battled with eventual fourth place finisher George Miedecke towards the end of the race. Roberts ultimately finished fifth.
“We had a great car but we missed it a little bit on the race adjustments,” said Miedecke after the event. “I was using too much brake and it just kept getting worse and worse. I finally got this thing working on the top and it was flying. David told me at the start of the race he'd be one of the toughest racers I'd ever have to pass. When I saw him behind me I knew it'd be a rough ride. I didn't quite expect the wheel in the door but once it was on the board I knew how the race was going to be.”
“We're thankful the Lord let us come here and do this,” said an elated Roberts after exchanging a laugh and a handshake with Miedecke following the event. “I had a blast. I told George before the race that I'm an old racer and when I got to him I was going to rub a little. It was a great race and we raced hard. He did a great job to save his rear tires and get back by me at the end.”
While Elby Harrison brought out the second yellow of the night on lap 146, the first caution of the night was brought out early when Candace Muzny, who started a career best seventh, tangled with Jake Crum. After Muzny narrowly slid into position on the backstretch, Crum drove deep into turn three and made contact with the No. 92 of Muzny. Fortunately, Muzny spun without contact and retained her standing on the lead lap, ultimately winning the G-Force Shift of the Race Award and finishing eighth, her career best UARA finish. In the closing laps of the race rookie Muzny was giving UARA veteran Alex Yontz a run for the money with some serious side by side gonna get you racing going on.
Muzny voiced her feelings after the finish due to having the Woodward car placed between her and Yontz when the green, white, checker segment of the race took place. All in all though it was a great performance by the rookie and she proved she can run with the best.
The rest of the top ten consisted of R.A. Brown in sixth, Alex Yontz, Muzny, Holley Performer of the Race Kaleb Pressley in ninth and Scott Turlington in tenth.
Andy Mercer who had intended to be at The Pine had an unexpected family emergency and couldn't attend. The UARA is pleased to know that after a few days in the hospital with stomach problems that Mercer's four year old daughter Ava is home and improving. The UARA always stresses it's belief in family and were greatly relieved when word was received that Ms Ava was doing well. Mercer will be at Tri County to attempt to get his first UARA victory.
Many thanks to Harold and Pat Crook along with their employees for hosting the annual cookout for the UARA teams that practiced on Friday. There was plenty of good food and great fellowship following the practice session. What a great way to end the day.
Lonesome Pine Finish
The UARA-STARS will be one of only two series in action this year at Tri-County Motor Speedway. The tour’s next event will be at the .400 mile facility in Hudson, NC, on July 29th.