|FRIDAY - SEPTEMBER 29|
The racing at Southside Speedway last night was almost as crisp and clean as the cool night air. Chris Dodson came into the evening with a 22-point lead in the Late Model Sportsman Division and coasted to the track championship in his class with a fourth-place finish.
Chris Hopkins was second to Dodson in the division chase, but it would have taken a miracle for him to win the big trophy. Hopkins' dream lasted until Lap 41 in the 50-lap event, when he spun out in Turn 4, victim of a five-car scramble.
"It's been a long time coming," Dodson said. "Second place four times . . . but in our 11th year, we did it. It's been a great race car all year -- with Dodge Motorsports, Evernham Motorsports and everybody else helping us, we showed it could be done. It's been a dream season.
"I've won over 40 races at Southside, but never a championship. Now we've got it, and I hope to move on to Late Model Stocks after this. But I hope to stay involved to some extent at Southside. This is a great place to race, and I've enjoyed every lap of it."
Billy Morris won the LMS race, his second of the year at the Midlothian track.
"There's still a few of us old guys who can get it done," Morris said. "I haven't been here in victory lane for a while, and I thought this was a pretty good run tonight. I feel real good about it. My crew has been great."
Thomas Stinson came into the evening with his third consecutive Modified championship tucked in his pocket. But he raced like the title depended on this race.
Stinson started fourth and spent most of the early part of the race chasing Lin O'Neil. From third place, Mike Rudy slipped past both of them on Lap 18. By Lap 24, Stinson had passed O'Neil and set off in pursuit of Rudy, whom he finally passed on the low side on Lap 47 of the 50-lap race.
"Mike's my buddy, and I hated to take this away from him," Stinson said. "But it was R.J. Smith Companies night at the track and they had the VIP suite filled." R.J. Smith Companies is Stinson's main sponsor.
Fred Key won the Grand Stock 30-lap event. The Pro-Six, MACKA and Street Stock Race of Champions did not finish in time to make this edition.
Being the final night of the season, a number of other trophies were presented, including rookies of the year. They were: Late Model Sportsman -- Greg Fernandez; Modified -- Russ Ellis; Grand Stock -- Tony Ingram Jr., and Street Stock -- Joe Henderson.
LATE MODEL (50 laps): 1. Billy Morris; 2. Steve Zuskin; 3. Ray Ashworth; 4. Chris Dodson; 5. Bubba Hubbard; 6. Russ Ellis; 7. John Drudge; 8. Rob Jenkins; 9. Jason Pittman; 10. Chris Hopkins; 11. Joey Bryant; 12. Greg Holt; 13. Wayne McGee; 14. Brandon Hendrick; 15. Chris Mueller; 16. Charles Lamb Jr.; 17. Greg Fernandez
MODIFIED (50 laps): 1. Thomas Stinson; 2. Mike Rudy; 3. Lin O'Neil; 4. Rusty Wood; 5. Chris Hoylman; 6. Russ Ellis; 7. Robert Conner; 8. A. J. Winstead; 9. Kyle Wood; 10. Ryan Wilbourne; 11. Edward Moore; 12. Michael Johnson; 13. Bret Hamilton; 14. Tiger Williams; 15. Aubrey Thurston.
GRAND STOCK (30 laps): 1. Fred Key; 2. Brian Myslivy; 3. Richard Skeens; 4. Ron Hester; 5. Donnie Newman 6. Jamie Neely; 7. John Mosby; 8. Brandon Vaught; 9. Todd Ruggles; 10. Daniel Shelton; 11. Chris Hott; 12. Tony Ingram Sr.; 13. Robert Lipford Sr.; 14. Ryan Boggs; 15. Tony Ingram II; 16. Woody Ellington; 17: John Wilson; 18. B.K. Wilson; 19. Mike Ganoe; 20. Richard Lipford; 21. Bradley Vaught; 22. Mark Jenkins.