Hopkins wins feature again
Starting seventh fails to slow down the LMS points leader
BY WALT AMACKER
TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITER
Published Saturday, June 30, 2007
A threatening sky and a seventh-place starting position seemed to make a good combination for racing at Southside Speedway.
Late Model Sportsman points leader Chris Hopkins used that parlay Friday night before about 1,700 spectators to pick up his third win of the year at the Midlothian track.
Relegated to seventh in the starting grid because of his win in the last LMS race, Hopkins showed a strong car and a strong will by moving into fourth place on Lap 15, third on Lap 28 and nudging past last year's track champion, Chris Dodson, on Lap 42.
Hopkins then took off after race leader Russ Ellis, who also had a strong car and looked like he was going to be the driver to beat as he moved from a third-place starting position to first on Lap 28. Ellis began to show signs that his car was getting a little loose by Lap 70, but he continued to hang on to the lead.
With 15 laps to go in the 100-lap feature event, Hopkins made a move that caught Ellis off guard and slipped into first place. From there on out, it was Hopkins' race to lose.
"Only problem with this win is I've got to start seventh in the next race," Hopkins quipped in victory lane. "But that's OK. I'll take a win and a seventh-place start anytime."
Hopkins, Ellis and Dodson basically made it a three-car race for the last 50 laps. A slip here or a bobble there could have taken any of them out of the top three.
"I was pretty sure I could catch Russ [Ellis], and I just needed an opportunity to do it," Hopkins said. "I could run him hard down in the corner and make him shove up to the middle. If I eased him into the corner, he would get loose coming off, and that's how I caught him with that last move. He slowed up, my car stuck, and that's how I was able to get by him.
"When I was running behind Chris [Dodson], it looked like he might have been having the same problem I was, and that was overheating. We moved up and down the track trying to cool down, and I just happened to get by him and right behind Russ."
Rain cut the six-race schedule short, with the first 35-lap Street Stock event called after 31 laps with points leader Timmy Tiblis declared the winner.
Wesley Harris won the 30-lap Pro-Six race, and Lindsay Bryant took first place in the U-Car 20-lap race, the first female race winner at Southside in more than a decade.
Contact Walt Amacker at (804) 649-6554 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Late Model Sportsman (100 laps): 1. Chris Hopkins; 2. Russ Ellis; 3. Chris Dodson; 4. Brandon Hendrick; 5. Rob Jenkins; 6. Roy Hendrick; 7. Ray Ashworth; 8. Jason Pittman; 9. Greg Fernandez; 10. Wayne McGee; 11. Chris Smith; 12. George Pillsbury; 13. John Eversole; 14. Scott Turlington; 15. Bugs Hairfield; 16. Bubba Hubbard.
Pro-Six (30 laps): 1. Wesley Harris; 2. Matt Settlage; 3. Wayne Clark; 4. Warren Smigo; 5. Casey Sipe; 6. J.B. Sipe; 7. D.J. Watson; 8. Timothy Layne.
U-Car (20 laps): 1. Lindsay Bryant; 2. Michael Moore; 3. Donnie Johnson; 4. Mike Shiflett; 5. Josh Bruce; 6. Robbie Hinchey; 7. Joshua Thomas; 8. Damon Fender; 9. Michael Chapman; 10. Jody Young; 11. Mack Richards; 12. Wayne Cole; 13. Scott Garrett; 14. Chris Farmer; 15. Dustin Carino; 16. Jonathan Chandler; 17. Lauren Edgerton; 18. Joey Abbott; 19. Shawn Ward.
Street Stock (35 laps): 1. Timmy Tiblis; 2. Joe Henderson; 3. Jeff Arnett; 4. Melvin Brown; 5. Henry Houck IV; 6. Nicholas Hemesath; 7. Phil Galluzzo; 8. Michael Sutphin; 9. Henry Houck III; 10. James Groome; 11. Brian Smith; 12. Bobby Corbitt; 13. John Kantzler; 14. Ray Lynn; 15. O.K. Wilson; 16. Dean Leslie; 17. John Foster; 18. Chris Bryant; 19. Kevin Lee; 20. Mike Harris; 21. Ryan Hudson; 22. Eric Sawyer; 23. Sean Cook; 24. Patrick Seheneuk; 25. Alec Cumbie; 26. Travis Nicely; 27. James Loving; 28. Kevin Brown; 29. Alex Ayers; 30. Christopher Wilson; 31. Wayne Groome.
Contact staff writer Walt Amacker at email@example.com or (804) 649-6554.