BECKLEY, W.Va. (July 4) — When flat tires for both Tyler Erb and Tim McCreadie late in Sunday’s Beckley USA 100 feature moved him to third for a lap-95 restart, Zack Dohm started to think that luck might be on his side in the closing laps of Beckley Motorsports Park’s unsanctioned $20,000-to-win race.
When Dohm of Cross Lanes, W.Va., saw second-running Jacob Hawkins throw a bold slider at leader Jonathan Davenport once the race went back green, he really started to believe things were about to go his way.
“I saw Jake get in there under Davenport and my eyes lit up when that started happening,” Dohm said in describing his view of the battle. “I knew what was about to happen. It played out just like I figured it would, and thank God it did.”
Indeed it did appear that Dohm knew exactly what was going to result from the battle between Hawkins of Fairmont, W.Va., and Davenport of Blairsville, Ga. And when the two cars made contact in turn one on lap 97 sending both of them up the track, the low-running Dohm was right where he needed to be to take advantage.
Dohm ducked under the two leaders and pulled ahead to take the point exiting turn two. After more contact between Hawkins and Davenport on the next lap caused a ripple effect that led to fourth-running Tyler Carpenter of Parkersburg, W.Va., and fifth-running Erb of New Waverly, Texas, tangling and spinning on the front straightway, Dohm was out front for one final restart with two laps remaining.
With Davenport’s right-rear tire going flat during the caution, Hawkins was essentially the only one left to challenge Dohm for the lead during the dash to the finish — Erb restarted third but with damage from the tangle with Carpenter. Hawkins looked to the outside of Dohm on both of the final circuits, but he didn’t have enough to attempt a pass, and Dohm held on to pull off the surprise victory.
“We had a pretty good car, but I just couldn’t make myself by as aggressive early as I need to be in these races,” Dohm said of his early struggles in the marathon race that lasted more than 90 minutes. “But I’m glad it worked out. Twenty grand, that’s pretty good.”
Dohm was the last of five drivers to spend time out front. Second-starting Kyle Bronson of Brandon, Fla., led the race’s first 14 laps before a slowing with a flat right-rear tire and giving the lead to pole-starting Erb, who was out front until fourth-starting Davenport moved ahead on lap 32.
With Davenport out front, it appeared as though the three-time Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series champion might pull away to the victory. However, Hawkins had other plans, and after taking second from McCreadie on a lap-81 restart, moved to challenge Davenport.
Two cautions in the closing laps — one for Erb’s lap-86 flat tire and the other for McCreadie’s flat on lap 95 — gave Hawkins his best shots at Davenport. He took advantage of the lap-95 restart and used an aggressive move to edge ahead of Davenport and lead lap 96, but Davenport battled back and the two cars went door to door on lap 97, making the contact that allowed Dohm to pull ahead and take the win.