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Competition tough in first LMS points races

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LMS Racing Roundup

By Michael Knight

 

   

Lancaster Motor Speedway held its first points race Saturday Night with rough track conditions after LMS took on four inches of rain Friday night.

The Super Street main had heat winners and fan favorites Brandy Baker and Timbo Mangum on the front row.

u Before the green flag fell, the LMS fans were standing and cheering their favorite driver.

When the green fell, Baker, Mangum, Jody Bigham and Brent Hodges battled for the lead entering turn one. Exiting turn two, Baker led, with Mangum, Bigham and Hodges giving chase.

Baker had a mirror full of Mangum and Mangum had a mirror full of Bigham and Hodges.

As the laps ticked off, it was Baker, Mangum, Bigham and Hodges battling for the lead.

By this time, Andrew Baker, the son of track ace Brandy Baker, joined the fun.

Late in the race, Mangum lost control of his car and was sent to the rear.

This gave Hodges a chance at Brandy Baker, but Baker held on to post his second Super Street win this season.

Top 5: Brandy Baker, Hodges, Andrew Baker, Kevin Godbee and Mangum.

u Perhaps LMS’s hottest driver as of late is Dustin Sweatt, who is fresh off his $1,000 win at Cherokee Speedway and his second-place finish at The Carolina Crown race.

With Sweatt on the Crate Sportsman front row along with the returning Austin Baker, also Brandy Baker’s son, this was an interesting race.

The race had numerous starts. On one of the starts, Sweatt and Austin Baker made contact. This caused damage to the ball joint and A-frame on Sweatt’s machine, but he stayed on the track without pitting to keep his front row starting spot.

When the green fell, it was Sweatt, Steve Saucier, Andrew Baker and Kevin Blackwell battling for the lead entering turn one. Exiting turn two, it was Sweatt with the lead over Baker, Saucier and Blackwell.

Sweatt drove his car as hard as possible with the ball joint and A-frame damage.

As the laps ticked off, Baker gave chase to Sweatt all race long, but Sweatt continued his 2012 hot streak to take the checkers and the Deal 1 Auto Sales bonus money.

Top 5: Sweatt, Andrew Baker, Saucier, Blackwell and Josh Langley.

u The Pure Street front row had heat winners Jesse Carson and Robbie Helms.

When the green fell, it was Carson, Helms, David Price and James Marion battling for the lead entering turn one. Exiting turn two, Carson led over Helms, Price and Marion.

As the laps passed, the man on the move was Steve Hinson living up to his nickname “Burn ’Em Down.”

Hinson had problems in his heat race and started 12th.

Back up front, Carson and Helms battled for the lead. Midway through the race, Carson and Helms made contact in turns three and four, with Carson spinning out.

Helms was sent to the rear of the field and showed he wasn’t happy. He came down the front straight and stopped and faced the tower and showed his feelings about the call.

Once the race restarted, Carson led over James Marion. Marion and Carson dueled for the lead.

Helms was on a mission, working his way through the field toward the front as Helms did at the Carolina Crown race.

As the fans cheered Helms, Carson pulled away from Marion and the rest of the field.

Coming to the white flag, Helms moved around Marion, but was unable to catch Carson.

Carson, who had a strong showing in the Carolina Crown race, pulled into victory lane with the fans cheering him.

Top 5: Carson, Helms, Marion, Ryan Whitaker and Peter Gibbons.

u The Stock 4 front row had heat winners Evan Thomas and the returning Eric Caskey.

Caskey thrilled the LMS fans with his heat race win over Shannon Barnhill with a last-lap pass.

When the green fell, it was Thomas, Caskey, Wes Helms and Mike Snipes battling for the lead entering turn one. Exiting turn two, it was Thomas out front, with Helms, Caskey and Snipes giving chase.

As the laps ticked off, Thomas and Helms pulled away from the rest of the field.

Thomas worked the high side to perfection on this night, as Helms used every bit of the track he could to run down Thomas. On this night, the No. 59 machine of Thomas was too tough and he took the checkers.

u NDRA GM Performance Late Models race was the race of the night.

The front row featured Donnie Austin and Brandy Baker.

When the green fell, it was Baker, Austin, Timbo Mangum and the “Rock Hill Bad Boy,” Ben Watkins.

Watkins was making his debut in the Sandwood Racing NDRA GM Performance Late Model race.

Exiting turn two, Baker led, with Austin, Mangum and Watkins giving chase.

Midway through the race is when the show started.

Baker led over a hard-charging Austin, with Mangum giving chase.

Behind the lead trio, Watkins worked his way through the field after having a flat tire.

Back up front, Austin was all over Baker, with Mangum on the back bumper of both drivers.

The fans cheered their favorites, Baker and Mangum as they dueled the always-fast Austin, who gained some fans on this night.

Once Austin made his move on Baker, Austin set sail and pulled away, but the action was not over as Mangum and Baker battled for second.

Mangum made his move on Baker only to see Baker come back by him.

During the later stages of the race, Mangum made hard contact with the outside wall coming down the back straightaway to end his promising night early.

Back up front it was Austin, in car 22, capturing his first career win at LMS. Top 5: Austin, Baker, Watkins, Dale Dodge Jr., and Andy Hodges.

The Vintage Division, which had no heats, saw Ben Helms claim the win. Due to a scoring problem, full results were not available. See Friday’s paper for the results.

The Front Wheel Drive/Extreme 4, the newest division at LMS, had no heats.

In the debut race for 2012, the front row had Andy Westmoreland and Shane Gladden.

When the green waved, it was Westmoreland, Gladden, Frank Roof and David Laney battling for the lead. Exiting turn two, it was Laney and Roof duking it out for the lead.

As the laps ticked off, Roof worked his way around Laney and began to pull way. Roof was too tough and captured the first race on the 2012 season for the FWD/Extreme 4 Division.

Top 5: Roof, Laney, Robert Padgett, Barry Reed and Mel Privette.

This Saturday night will be the make-up race for the Carolina Crown race.

Pit gates open at 4 p.m., with the grandstands at 5.

Grandstand admission is $20 without a raincheck ticket. The pit admission is $30 without a raincheck wristband. Kids, ages 10 and under, are free with a paying adult.

The schedule

6 p.m. – Drivers Meeting

6:45p.m. – NDRA Crate Hot Laps

7 p.m. – Super Late Model Hot Laps

7:15p.m. – NDRA Crate Hot Laps Round 2

7:30p.m. – Super Late Model Hot Laps Round 2

8 p.m. – NDRA Crate A Main 40 Laps

Vintage Cars A Main – 15 Laps

Intermission (10 minutes) schedule subject to change

Super Late Models – 75 laps, $20,000 to win