West Virginia Motor Speedway
Shaver edges Richards, stays perfect at WVMS
MINERAL WELLS, W.Va. (Sept. 2) — Steve Shaver stayed perfect in Super Late Model action at West Virginia Motor Speedway on Thursday with his third straight victory at the 5/8-mile oval.
The 46-year-old driver from nearby Vienna, W.Va., won Thursday's Mark Balzano Memorial in dramatic fashion, slipping past Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., amid traffic at the white flag and edging away over the final lap to win the race to the checkers.
Shaver, who overtook fast qualifier Kenny Compton Jr. and then Richards in the race's late stages, earned $5,000 for his first victory on the O'Reilly All Star Late Model Series. Shaver added the victory to a pair of World of Outlaws Late Model Series triumphs May 29-30 at WVMS, which reopened in 2010 after being shuttered since '07.
"That had to be fun to watch. I'll tell you, it was pretty fun from where I was sitting," said Shaver, who started with Richards on the second row of a race postponed by rain on May 16. "I just had to make some good laps. I kept pushing up into the cushion, but I had my old buddy Balzano over there riding with me, so I gave it a little extra effort for him."
Richards settled for second while 11th-starting John Blankenship of Williamson, W.Va., was third. Compton, of Bland, Va., and Matt Lux of Franklin, Pa., rounded out the top five. Steve Francis of Ashland, Ky., led the first 15 laps before mechanical difficulties forced him out, handing the lead to Compton, who stayed out front until Richards took over on lap 31 of the 40-lapper. Davey Johnson of Latrobe, Pa., started on the front row but was also an early dropout after a lap-15 flat tire.
Three cautions slowed the action, none for serious incidents. The makeup event kicked off four nights of action at WVMS that will be capped by the 42nd annual Hillbilly 100 on Sunday, a Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series event paying $42,000 to the winner.
Mark Balzano Memorial: (1) Steve Shaver, (2) Josh Richards, (3) John Blankenship, (4) Kenny Compton Jr., (5) Matt Lux, (6) Rod Conley, (7) Eddie Carrier Jr., (8) Gregg Satterlee, (9) Jared Miley, (10) Robbie Blair, (11) Boom Briggs, (12) Tyler Reddick, (13) Jacob Hawkins, (14) Clint Smith, (15) Steve Francis, (16) Davey Johnson, (17) Jared Hawkins, (18) Doug Drown, (19) Greg Oakes. Scratched: Zack Dohm, Tim McCreadie, Vic Coffey, Shane Clanton, Darren Peters. Fast qualifier (among 36 cars): Kenny Compton Jr., 19.085 seconds. Heat race winners: Steve Francis, Shaver, Richards.Consolation race winner: Tyler Reddick.