Buckingham gets $5,000 Fastrak victory at Wythe
By Robert WaldenDirtonDirt.com correspondent
RURAL RETREAT, Va. (Sept. 5) — Ninth-starting Shanon Buckingham of Morristown, Tenn., took the lead from polesitter Ron Parker of Lawndale, N.C., on the 24th lap and led the rest of the 75-lap feature Sunday for his second straight victory in the Fastrak Pro Late Model Nationals. Buckingham's victory was worth $5,000.
David Watts of Buchanan, Va., finished second followed by Vic Chandler of Weaverville, N.C. Parker and Jensen Ford of Piney Flats, Tenn., rounded out the top five. Matt Long of Concord, N.C., who earned $2,000 for a victory in Friday's tuneup feature, was 16th.
David Smith of Inman, S.C., had fourth- and seventh-place finishes on the weekend, good enough for him to capture the Old Man's Garage Fastrak Southeast touring title over Royce Bray of Hull, Ga.
At the outset of the feature, Parker jumped into the early lead over Watts, Brandon Umberger Lee Cooper and Jensen. But Buckingham was on the move early, getting around Ford for fifth by the fourth lap. Just ahead of Buckingham and Ford, Cooper dove to the inside of Umberger racing into the third turn to take away third.
Buckingham disposed of Umberger on lap nine down the front straightaway to move into fourth. Between turns three and four on lap 12, Ford got around Umberger to move back into fifth place. The event's first caution waved on lap 15 for a spin in turn two by Russell Jones.
On the double-file restart, Parker and Watts were in the first row while Cooper and Buckingham lined up in row two. Exiting turn two on the restart, Watts moved past Parker to momentarily take the lead, but another yellow appeared when Umberger spun between turns three and four. Bray slowed with a flat tire on the next restart amid a series of cautions.
When the race finally got going again, Parker was still out front with Watts and Buckingham in pursuit. Buckingham got around Watts for the runner-up spot on lap 21. With a strong run down the front straightaway into the first turn, Buckingham dropped to the inside of Parker to challenge for the lead. The duo raced side-by-side three circuits before Buckingham powered into the lead lap 24.
The top five in the running order after 30 laps had Buckingham riding out front with a comfortable lead over Parker, Watts, Cook and Ford. Even though he was negotiating his way through heavy lap traffic, by lap 40 Buckingham had pulled out to a full-straightaway advantage over Parker and Watts.
At the lap-50 fuel stop, Buckingham had lapped up to the 16th-place car of Steve Cooke.
Buckingham and Parker led the field back to green following the break for the final 25-lap run to the checkers from the front row, with Watts and Ford occupying the second row. While Buckingham hammered the throttle and jumped out ahead of Parker, Chandler brought the chilled crowd to their feet on a cold night with a bold move to make it three-wide racing off into turn one with Watts and Ford.
Parker drifted up the banking to open the door for Watts to move into second, and Chandler stayed hard in the gas to overtake both Ford and Parker to settle into third in the running order. Buckingham continued his lead through the final 25 caution-free laps.
Pro Late Model Nationals (Sept. 4): (1) Matt Long, (2) Shanon Buckingham, (3) Vic Chandler, (4) David Smith, (5) Royce Bray, (6) Chris Cantrell, (7) Lee Cooper, (8) Dan Breuer, (9) David Watts, (10) Blake Bentley, (11) Chris Steel, (12) Ryan Atkins, (13) Lance Reynolds, (14) Owen Osteen, (15) Tim Byrd, (16) Steve Cooke, (17) Brandon Umberger, (18) Trevor Cregger, (19) John Broce Jr., (20) R.K. Dix, (21) Clinton Cook, (22) Jim Yarbrough, (23) Russell Jones, (24) Kenny Peeples Jr.
Pro Late Model Nationals (Sept. 5): (1) Shanon Buckingham, (2) David Watts, (3) Vic Chandler, (4) Ron Parker, (5) Jensen Ford, (6) Clinton Cook, (7) David Smith, (8) Kenny Peeples Jr., (9) Anthony Sanders, (10) Royce Bray, (11) Lee Cooper, (12) Doug Sanders, (13) Tim Byrd, (14) John Henderson, (15) Steve Cooke, (16) Matt Long, (17) Blake Bentley, (18) Ryan Adkins, (19) Brad Smith, (20) Chris Meadows, (21) Chris Steele, (22) Chris Cantrell, (23) Dale Ball, (24) Chad Hale, (25) Brandon Umberger, (26) Michael Smith, (27) John Broce Jr., (28) John King II, (29) Owen Osteen, (30) Russell Jones, (31) Jake Eaton, (32) Lance Reynolds.