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Motor Mile Speedway

Motor Mile Speedway News
MORRIS DOMINATES SEASON OPENER
Apr 4, 2010 - updated Apr 4th, 2010 7:39pm
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FDJ Motorsports places two cars in top three in VMF 150
JW Martin

The odds were in Frank Deiny, Jr.’s favor.

Instead, 2009 NASCAR WHELEN All-American Series national champion and defending track titlist Philip Morris bested a pair of FDJ Motorsports entries through a green-white-checkered restart to claim the checkers in the Virginia Metal Finishing 150.

Morris out-muscled the FDJ Motorsports powerhouse that consisted of Rusty Skewes and Wayne Ramsey, winner of the Motor Mile Speedway season finale last fall, in a race that went a pair of laps past the scheduled distance.

“I didn’t want to see that caution. It looked like we had set sail toward victory lane,” Morris said. “It makes this win that much more exciting.”

Morris won from the pole in Saturday night’s season opener, leading every circuit en route to victory--- his second straight win on opening day at the .416-mile oval.

While the No. 26 paced the race uncontested, FDJ Motorsports quietly showcased strength in numbers.

Frank Deiny, Jr.’s five-car stable had a stellar showing at MMS, with all but one car under the FDJ Motorsports banner finishing inside the top ten. A breakout performance by Skewes produced a third place finish; it was the 60-year-old’s first top five since 2007.

“You don’t know what that means to me,” Skewes said. “Frank Deiny’s stuck with me, and it’s paid off. We’re tickled to death.”

2009 South Boston Speedway champion Justin Johnson rallied from multiple on-track incidents to finish eighth, and Dennis Holdren tallied a respectable ninth.

But the flagship driver was Ramsey.

The Amherst, Va., veteran led the FDJ Motorsports caravan Saturday night, overtaking Skewes for second on lap 90 from his third place starting spot.

He next gave chase to Morris.

“Man, we were faster than Philip there for a little while…about lap 110 the car started getting out from under me in the corner, and lapped traffic didn’t help me, either,” Ramsey explained.

A gaggle of lapped traffic began slowing the speed of Morris’ lead machine---by race’s end, only ten of the 30 starters remained on the lead lap. Yet the same slower cars that appeared to aid in Ramsey’s advancements proved to ultimately impede his progress.

When the fourth and final yellow flag fell on lap 144, the gap between the pair of frontrunners had stabilized. The top five positions remained unchanged following the restart on lap 150 and the ensuing two-lap dash.

“To come out the first time in the car and finish second feels like a win,” Ramsey said. “Philip…he’s not a bad guy to lose to, he’s usually on top of his game.”

Brandon Dean completed a quiet night with a solid fourth place showing, and Mike Looney -after earlier contact from Johnson’s No. 44- rebounded to post an impressive fifth place finish.

“It’s frustrating, because we always have a good car and it seems like for some reason we always go to the back,” said Looney, driver of the No. 47 Weigh Station Chevrolet. “There was a lot of wild racing going on. [The car] has all the fenders on it, all the wheels are straight, and we’ll take that and get ‘em next race.”

After recording finishes of third and eighth in his first two starts of the season at South Boston Speedway, Saturday night’s win is an injection of confidence for Morris and the No. 26 Clarence’s Steakhouse team in their quest for a third consecutive national championship.

"This is great," Morris said. "This is what we're out here for and this is the way we like to start our season off. This will build so much momentum for us."


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