|FRIDAY - AUGUST 11|
Three-year-old Kyle Melton was made an honorary member of Chris Dodson's pit crew last night at Southside Speedway, and it paid off in a big way for Dodson.
The Late Model Sportsman driver had qualified for the pole his past three races, but was rele- gated to a lesser spot at the starting line because of the ever-present redraws utilized after qualifying. Three weeks ago, he went from first in qualifying to starting seventh after the redraw and finished fourth.
Last night, Dodson randomly chose Kyle from the crowd of 2,500 to redraw for him. The youngster drew the No.1 chip out of the bag. After that, it was up to Dodson . . . and he didn't let Kyle down.
Dodson stayed up front the entire 100 laps, keeping a comfortable lead over Steve Zuskin in second and Chris Hopkins in third. When he hit lapped traffic - which happened a number of times - Dodson easily made his way through, keeping his lead over Zuskin and Hopkins.
"Fortunately, when you're leading the race you can pretty well dictate how it's going to go," Dodson said.
And dictate he does.
"When this car leads, it's pretty much over," he said, and not in a boasting way.
As the leader, he keeps a five to 10-car cushion on his closest pursuers. And when he hits lapped traffic, he gets through with little problem.
"That comes with time and experience and respect," said Dodson, who presented Kyle with the winner's trophy after the race. "God knows I got lapped numerous times by Bugs Hairfield and some other great drivers in five or six years, and I always tried to show them respect.
"I know there's some people who don't like me, but you'll never see me disrespect anyone on the race track. I won't hold anyone up if I know I'm in their way. It's just not right."
Last night's victory will put Dodson and his new No.0 Dodge back at the top of the LMS Division standings at Southside, and Kyle is taking home a trophy he probably won't really appreciate for a long time.
Fred Key won the 30-lap Grand Stock race to move to third place in the points standings. Casey Sipe took the Pro-6 25-lap race. The Legends race did not finish in time to make this edition.
LATE MODEL SPORTSMAN (100 laps): 1. Chris Dodson; 2. Steve Zuskin; 3. Chris Hopkins; 4. Bubba Hubbard; 5. Chris Hairfield; 6. Dan Clatterbuck; 7. Russ Ellis; 8. Greg Fernandez; 9. Rob Jenkins; 10. Joey Bryant; 11. Brandon Hendrick; 12. Ray Ashworth; 13. Chris Hoylman; 14. Michael Hayes; 15. Wayne McGee; 16. John Drudge; 17. Toney Culley; 18. Chris Mueller; 19. Mark Cunningham; 20. Jason Pittman.
GRAND STOCK (30 laps): 1. Fred Key; 2. Chris Hott; 3. Ron Hester; 4. Richard Skeens; 5. Jamie Neely; 6. Brian Myslivy; 7. Ryan Boggs; 8. Tony Ingram Sr. 9. Todd Ruggles; 10. John Mosby; 11. Daniel Shelton; 12. Bradley Vaught; 13. Mike Ganoe; 14. Keith Mackta; 15. Tony Ingram II; 16. Brandon Vaught; 17. Jason Beck; 18. Robert Lipford Sr.; 19. Robert Wood.
PRO-6 (25 laps): 1. Casey Sipe; 2. J.B. Poates; 3. Allen Purser Jr. 4. Brad Wrenn; 5. Josh Settlage; 6. Lindsay Bryant; 7. Wesley Harris; 8. J.B. Sipe; 9. Wayne Clark.