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Wake County Speedway
Wake County Speedway News
Stephenson first two-time winner of 2007 at Wake County
Jun 2, 2007 - updated Jun 2nd, 2007 10:08am
Web posted by Jay Chebek
It was only fitting that the first winner of the 2007 season would also become the first repeat winner of the year at Wake County Speedway. Chargin’ Charlie Stephenson, who started in the middle of the field during Friday’s 50-lap Dunn Benson Ford Super Late Model event, worked his way through traffic to break a streak of five different winners.
After a second lap caution thrown for Joe Heigl’s spinning #15 car and a debris caution on lap 12, it was a scramble through the pack for the driver of the #85 Quality Lightning Protection Dodge Intrepid. Pole sitter and last week’s winner Alex Fleming suffered overheating problems during the second caution and retired for the evening while leading. That left Big Jim Kelly’s K-7 machine on the point until lap 29 when the Ford driven by Jonathan Logan took the lead. It looked as if there would be another first time winner as Logan paced the field, but Stephenson would not be denied. The Raleigh driver passed Logan with five laps remaining to take his second victory of the season.
“A lot of them were loose, and I was loose as well,” Stephenson said, reflecting on his battle through traffic in victory lane. “I’m just adapting to the tires a little more. I think they are starting to get softer than they were at the beginning of the year.” Logan held on to second for his best finish of the year, while Kelly, Matt Jones and Walt Gibson completed the top five.
In the biggest race of the season for the Citgo Mini-Mart Stock Four cars, the full moon overhead made itself evident by the fireworks on the track. Jessie Richardson Jr. pulled out to an early lead over pole sitter Matthew Privette and appeared to be the class of the field. However, a tangle with a lapped car on the 22nd circuit of the 50-lap race erupted into chaos. Richardson and Elliott Jewel spun in Turn 3, also collecting the second place car of Privette and the third place car of David Champion. The entire side of Richardson’s 7x Wall’s Roofing Pinto was ripped to shreds, Champion suffered suspension damage and a flat tire and Privette suffered the worst damage with a possible broken wrist from the jolt.
In an odd twist of events, Privette’s brother Chris stepped into the battered car and tangled with Jessie Richardson Jr.’s damaged machine shortly after the ensuing restart. It looked to be another great points night for young Lizzy Smith, but a crash with another car while running in second place put her several laps behind the pace.
After all the smoke cleared, Champion worked his way back through the field and passed Josh Harper’s Mustang for the lead. After two flat tires, a missing hood and minor suspension damage, Champion was pleased to place his Red Star Oil #66 in victory lane. Harper finished second, while Richardson finished third in his crumpled racecar to unofficially regain the points lead.
In the North Carolina Iron Works Pro Mod race, Steve Smith regained his footing after a last lap crash a week earlier to win yet another 30-lap feature event. Smith paced the field and never looked back. Contact with a smoking Kenny Tabler put a damper on Dennis Capps’ strong run. Last week’s winner Chris Privette moved to second from his fourth starting position but never could make a move on Smith. Todd Langdon finished third, Greg Hicks wound up fourth and Sam Pacitti rounded out the top five finishers.
Keith Oliver took his second Harper’s Graphix Limited Late Model race of the year, capitalizing on the misfortune of pole setter Jason White. After winning four races this season, White’s rear end broke during opening pace laps for the feature event. Oliver made short work of outside pole setter Brandon Ennis and took off, never relinquishing the lead. Ennis cruised home to a second place finish while Andy Wiley and Phil Richard finished third and fourth.
In 600 Inc. Legends action, Brad Arthurs held off a charge by last year’s champion Billy Gomez to claim victory. Brandon Temple finished third in the 25-lap feature.
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