Hopkins wins in battle of attrition
BY WALT AMACKER
TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITER
Published Sunday, July 29, 2007

FRIDAY - JULY 27, 2007
SOUTHSIDE SPEEDWAY
Other Articles
Thirteen caution flags -- one winner. And it could have been almost anyone in the Late Model Sportsman 100-lap race at Southside Speedway on Friday night in a free-for-all that started with 18 cars and finished with eight.

The winner was points leader Chris Hopkins. But even he wouldn't have booked a bet on himself with 15 laps to go.

Former LMS division champion Chris Ward started on the pole and for more than half the race looked like the man to beat. Ward, Ray Ashworth, Billy Morris and Hopkins settled in as leaders of the pack on Lap 21 and proceeded to pull away from the rest of field, surviving four caution flags as the rest of the field scattered over the track.

On Lap 57, Ashworth spun out Ward on Turn 1 with Morris, Hopkins and Chris Dodson taking over the top three spots. For Dodson, last year's LMS track champion, it was a huge move because he had spun out on Lap 3 and been sent to the back of the field and had worked his way to third place in 54 laps.

It looked like familiar territory for Hopkins. He had already won four races this year, almost each time coming from behind to slip into the winner's box.

But Morris, running with some serious front-end damage, kept Hopkins in check until Lap 93 when he clipped the outside wall on the backstretch, blew a tire and allowed Hopkins to take charge. Dodson gave Hopkins a run for his money for the final seven laps, but Hopkins took the checkers just in front of Dodson.

"Billy [Morris] is a good driver," Hopkins said. "And from what I could see, it was his race to lose. He had the car to beat. But I knew that if I kept the pressure on him, anything could happen." And so it did.

It was an entertaining race for the 2,000 fans at the Midlothian track, but a frustrating one for the drivers. Seldom do more than half the cars that start a race not finish, and there were a lot of long faces on the infield when all was said and done.

There were three winners in the triple 20-lap Grand Stock races -- Fred Key, Timmy Nice and Bradley Vaught. Cameron Patrick took the 25-lap Legends race, and Brad Davis won the Macka 20-lap event.

Contact Walt Amacker at (804) 649-6554 or wamacker@timesdispatch.com.

RESULTS

Late Model Sportsman (100 laps): 1. Chris Hopkins; 2. Chris Dodson; 3. Wayne McGee; 4. Russ Ellis; 5. Scott Turlington; 6. Greg Hott; 7. Rob Jenkins; 8. George Pillsbury; 9. Billy Morris; 10. Ray Ashworth; 11. Jason Pittman; 12. Greg Fernandez; 13. Chris Ward; 14. Brandon Hendrick; 15. J.B. Poates; 16. Bugs Hairfield; 17. John Eversole; 18. Roy Hendrick

Grand Stock #1 (20 laps): 1. Fred Key; 2. Timmy Nice; 3. Keith Mackta; 4. Bradley Vaught; 5. Donnie Newman; 6. Mark Jenkins; 7. Brian Myslivy; 8. Brandon Vaught; 9. Chris Hott; 10. Gary Burke Jr.; 11. Ron Hester; 12. Pop Lipford; 13. Justin Brown; 14. Tony Ingram Sr.; 15. B.K. Wilson; 16. Bo Tuck; 17. Phillip Clark; 18. Donnie Jimerson; 19. Tony Ingram III; 20. Chris Willoughby; 21. Richard Lipford; 22. Jason Beck; 23. Woody Ellington; DQ: Daniel Shelton, Richard Skeens

Grand Stock #2 (20 laps): 1. Timmy Nice; 2. Keith Mackta; 3. Chris Hott; 4. Brian Myslivy; 5. Fred Key; 6. Bradley Vaught; 7. Brandon Vaught; 8. Ron Hester; 9. Pop Lipford; 10. Justin Brown; 11. Donnie Newman; 12. Tony Ingram Sr.; 13. B.K. Wilson; 14. Mark Jenkins; 15. Bo Tuck; 16. Woody Ellington; 17. Jason Beck; DQ: Daniel Shelton, Richard Skeens

Grand Stock #3 (20 laps): 1. Bradley Vaught; 2. Brian Myslivy; 3. Fred Key; 4. Chris Hott; 5. Keith Mackta; 6. Timmy Nice; 7. Brandon Vaught; 8. Gary Burke Jr.; 9. Pop Lipford; 10. B.K. Wilson; 11. Ron Hester; 12. Donnie Newman; 13. Justin Brown; 14. Bo Tuck; 15. Chris Willoughby; 16. Mark Jenkins; 17. Woody Ellington; 18. Tony Ingram Sr.; 19. Jason Beck; DQ: Daniel Shelton, Richard Skeens

Legends (25 laps): 1. Cameron Patrick; 2. Rett Causey; 3. Casey Wyatt; 4. Jamie Price; 5. Scotty Edwards; 6. Chris Johnson; 7. Robert French; 8. Jamie Laine; 9. Michael Edwards; 10. Kevin Yeatts

Macka (20 laps): 1. Brad Davis; 2. Mark Claytor; 3. Jason Higgenbotham; 4. Chris Johnson; 5. Pete Fones; 6. Stan Holmes; 7. Darek McCauley; 8. Alan Purser; 9. Stanley Holmes; 10. LeRoy Devore; 11. Dwain Smith; 12. Jeremy Grogg; 13. Ben Hammock; 14. Robert Peach; 15. Alex Vasquez; 16. Craig Bartholomew; 17. Rob Cotic; 18. Gabe Salisbury; 19. Mike Webb; 20. Ryland Craze