MORRIS SEIZES SEVENTH
Late Model points leader extends winning streak in Pepsi 150– JW Martin
The Pepsi 150 presented by 94.9 Star Country felt like a rerun to C.E. Falk.
“It’s the Philip Morris show, and we’re just all a part of it,” quipped the four-time Larry King Law’s Langley Speedway Late Model track champion.
Morris notched his fourth consecutive O’Reilly Auto Parts Late Model division win Saturday night; the commanding production marked Morris’ seventh victory of the 2017 season at Motor Mile Speedway.
The surge has left Morris’ top competition thunderstruck. But even the seven-time Late Model track champion is in awe of his current Motor Mile Speedway streak.
“It’s unbelievable what we’re doing here at Motor Mile---I can’t believe it,” stated Morris.
Falk, a perennial powerhouse and three-time Motor Mile Speedway Late Model winner, started on the pole for the event’s marquee feature. Morris, who started sixth per the “Two Wins in a Row” policy after claiming the Price’s Body Shop pole award, considered Falk his primary challenge for the checkers.
Falk dominated the early going, coasting uncontested through the first and only competition caution of the race on lap 40. Falk led a total of 66 circuits before relinquishing the lead to Mike Looney on lap 67.
“Those first 40 laps we were on kill. I don’t know what happened on that caution… but that thing went straight to junk after that,” said Falk. “That doesn’t take away from all the hard work these guys put in today. We’re going to get us one, and it’s going to come soon.”
Looney became Morris’ top target as Falk faded to third. The second caution of the feature on lap 70 precipitated the second and final lead change of the contest, with Morris eclipsing Looney on lap 75 after a brief battle for first.
The last yellow flag of the night on lap 97 presented an opportunity for Looney to reclaim the lead, but Morris’ no. 01 proved superior. Morris amassed a comfortable advantage in the closing laps, constructing a 2.051-second margin of victory over Looney at the checkers.
“I felt like the first 40 we all ran about 85 percent; probably about 95 percent the second period. That last run, from about 103 on, what you see is what you get,” Looney remarked. “To be able to see [Morris’] car at the end of the race is something a lot of teams can’t do. He wasn’t just riding--- he was driving it. So we’re pleased with that.”
Falk tallied third. Dennis Holdren and Dan Moore rounded out the top five.
Morris is authoring his winningest season at Motor Mile Speedway since 2008, when a 12-win season spawned his sixth track championship. Morris’ lead in the track standings has swelled to 78 points; with four races remaining, the 52-year-old Ruckersville, Va., racer is closing in on an unparalleled eighth track title.
IN OTHER DIVISIONS
Karl Budzevski captured his fourth Collision Plus Limited Sportsman win of the season Saturday night, despite starting thirteenth on the 14-car grid. It was a race of resilience for the encumbered Limited Sportsman veteran; two races of underbody issues and on-track misfortune had placed the no. 26 team’s points lead in jeopardy entering the 50-lap feature.
Brandon Jones settled for second after sparring with Budzevski for the win in the waning circuits. Richard Caldwell claimed third.
The win bolstered Budzevski’s lead in the track standings; Budzevski enjoys a 12-point advantage over Caldwell with two races remaining.
Chucky Williams collected his second straight Carpet Factory Outlet MOD-4 division victory Saturday night, outpacing Doodle Lang and Drew Holdren for top honors.
Doug Williams remains undefeated in Super Street competition in 2017, tallying his seventh consecutive win of the season over Scooter Hollandsworth and Dan Martin, who placed second and third, respectively, in the 30-lap feature.
With one race remaining, Williams has the opportunity to set an unprecedented Motor Mile Speedway-era record by becoming the first driver to sweep a season and win every divisional race.
Photo Credit: Shane Green