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Denning takes 300-lap Late Model championship race, earns his fourth victory at OCS this season- 11/7/07
Nov 7, 2007 - updated Nov 7th, 2007 3:32pm
Web posted by Tim Chandler, C-T Associate Edi

Rougemont, NC. --

(Rick Smith / eventpictures.com)

FOURTH FLAG — New Jersey driver Jon Denning enjoys his fourth trip to victory lane in the Late Model races at Orange County Speedway this season.

Jon Denning was best prior to the OCS Championship 300 Saturday afternoon at Orange County Speedway and he was best when the checkered flag fell.

The Springfield, N.J. driver set the fast qualifying time among the 28-car Late Model Stock Car field y and he proved to be the class of the competitors at the close of the 300-lap race. Denning pocketed $8,000 for his efforts.

The race was the featured attraction of the season finale at the three-eighths mile asphalt oval in Rougemont.

Denning clicked off a qualifying lap of 14.257 seconds to secure the pole position for the race and the $500 award that went along with it. His victory netted him an additional $7,500.

“Hey, $8,000 sounds pretty good,” Denning said after the race. “We knew we had a good car. We got roughed up a little out there some today and some people probably think I roughed them up some, too. But, hey, that’s racing. Nothing can take this win away from us.”

Terry Dease of Oxford, the track’s Late Model Stock Car Division title winner this season, wound up second in the race and was followed by defending OCS 300 champion Carl Long of Roxboro.

Alex Yontz of Walnut Cove rallied from one lap down early in the race to finish fourth at the checkered flag, while Ronald Hill of Rougemont, the 2006 OCS Late Model points champion, rounded out the top five finishers.

Stacy Puryear of South Boston, Va. placed sixth in the final rundown, while Matt Lofton of Timberlake was seventh and Gary Causey of Snow Camp placed eighth.

Bruce Anderson of South Boston, Va. secured the ninth position at the finish and Brianne Cronrath of Fleetwood, Pa. rounded out the top 10.

Brian Cole of Roxboro, the 2007 Limited Sportsman Division winner at OCS, qualified sixth for the race and wound up finishing in the 11th position.

Denning led the first 37 laps of the race, but did not put his car out front again until lap 275 when he sped back into the lead for good.

Before locking up the victory, however, Denning had to fend off stiff challenges from Dease and Justin Johnson of Roxboro, who was forced to the pits in the closing 10 laps with engine woes.

Johnson led the majority of the laps Saturday and claimed the $100 halfway leader award before being sidelined.

“I really hate that Justin had bad luck out there,” Denning said. “He had a pretty strong car all day.”

Johnson needed just 38 laps at the outset of the race to rally from the 10th starting position to first place. He then set the pace until the midpoint of the event. He also held the lead for the majority of the closing segment of the race.

In addition to battling Johnson, Denning said he knew he would have his hands full with Dease over the closing laps.

“Terry has been tough out here all year long,” Denning said. “He never finished out of the top five all season. I knew he would run me clean, but I knew he wanted to get a win, too.”

Dease, who started the race in the eighth slot, moved to sixth by the midpoint of the race and then made his charge to the front in the closing 100 laps.

“The old man was coming,” the veteran driver said. “We had a good year. I would have liked to have finished [in first], but I can’t complain with this car today. Second ain’t too bad.”

The top six drivers at the midpoint of the race redrew for starting spots, putting Lofton on the pole for the outset of the final 150 laps.

Johnson started second in the final segment, while Dease drew the fifth spot and Denning began in sixth.

Johnson got past Lofton in the early stages of the final 150 laps and held the position until relinquishing it to Denning on lap 275.

Long appeared ready to begin the final 150 laps from the fourth position, however, a ruling by officials from an earlier incident where his car stalled momentarily put him at the rear of the lead-lap pack for the final 150 laps.

Long worked his way through the field to finish third, but said his tires were shot by that point.

“I got screwed out of a win today,” Long said. “I had to use the car up to get back up here and I just didn’t have anything left.”


Limited race


Donald Brace of Apex nipped Steve Collins of Clover, Va. by mere inches to claim the victory in the 50-lap race for the Limited Sportsman Division.

Brace, the third-fastest qualifier in time trials, began the race in the fifth slot after the top six qualifiers drew for starting positions prior to the event.

Brace slowly worked his way to the front and then held off Collins after a late-race caution.

The photo-finish marked the second one of the season for Collins who managed to nip Limited Sportsman Division champion Brian Cole of Roxboro by inches earlier in the campaign.

“That was fun,” Brace said after collecting the win. “I wasn’t sure how it was going to turn out, but I knew that Steve would race me clean. It was just a matter of who was going to get there first.”

Collins, like Brace, said he felt comfortable dragging it out on the final few laps.

“I knew Donald would race me clean,” Collins said. “We won one like this earlier this year and we almost got another one. I think the fans got their money’s worth.”

George Spencer Jr. finished third in the 17-car field and was followed in the top five by Thomas Scott in fourth place and Greg DeJarnette in the fifth position.


Other events


Gary Lloyd of Efland etched a bit of history Saturday at Orange County Speedway when he won the 25-lap race for the Southern Ground Pounders Sportsman Division.

The victory gave Lloyd a sweep of every event for the division in 2007 at OCS.

Lloyd began the race ninth in the 12-car field, but quickly worked his 1965 Ford to the front.

Ken Faucette placed second at the checkered flag and was followed in the top five by Matt Faucette in third, Ricky Pope in fourth and Barry Parker in fifth.

Rickey Seay of Bassett, Va. started from the pole in the 25-lap race for the Southern Ground Pounders Modified Division and led all 25 circuits on the way to scoring a victory in his 1972 Vega.

Daryl Gwynn, a multi-time winner in 2007, placed second in the nine-car field and was followed by Matt Faucette in third. Gary Lloyd placed fourth in the event, while Ken Faucette rounded out the top five drivers.

The Limited Modified portion of the race was won by Matt Faucette.


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