Thomas scores NeSmith repeat, wins at Penton
By Roby HelmNeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series
PENTON, Ala. (July 2) — The numbers were working for William Thomas of Phenix City, Ala., on Saturday night at Penton Raceway. His car number is 22, and in his second NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series race of the season, he took his second win in the Stars and Stripes 50 for his second straight win at Penton Raceway driving the J.W. Miller Land and Timber Special.
It was a clean sweep for Thomas as he set fast time among the 31 entrants with a lap around the 3/8-mile clay oval in 14.420 seconds to earn the pole position for the main event, and he led all 50 laps of the race to win with a 2.609 second margin of victory over Tod Darda of LaGrange, Ga.
The only time Darda could get close to Thomas was on restarts and on one occasion in lapped traffic, an episode Thomas remembered well.
“I really had one close call in lapped traffic as we went three-wide in the corner, and I made contact with someone and almost had to stop,” Thomas said. “Other than that, it was a good race for this new car, and the first win for it.”
Series rookie Chase Edge of Lafayette, Ala., was third followed by Bob Robertson of Evans, Ga., and series points leader Dan Breuer of Troutman, N.C. David Gentry of Lewisburg, Tenn., was 10th and now trails Breuer by 32 points.
The race was slowed by four caution flags, the most serious for a lap-three, chain-reaction crash in turn four when Steve Cooke of Mount Airy, N.C., got sidewways in turn four. Larry Harrod, Oliver Gentry and Richie Stephens were collected although Gentry was able to continue.
The tour's “Ride For Life” two-seat dirt late model was on hand at Penton. Race fans bid for rides with drivers and bought raffle tickets for a chance to win a ride at race speed. More than $2,000 was raised to benefit the local chapter of the American Cancer Society.
The NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series moves to East Alabama Motor Speedway on Sunday night for the $2,500-to-win Salute To The Armed Forces 50.
Stars and Stripes 50: (1) William Thomas, (2) Tod Darda, (3) Chase Edge, (4) Bob Robertson, (5) Dan Breuer, (6) Russ Ogletree, (7) Chris Cantrell, (8) Ryan King, (9) Matthew Turner, (10) David Gentry, (11) Jake Teague, (12) Chris Wilson, (13) Mark Rosner, (14) Oliver Gentry, (15) Steve Cooke, (16) Frank Wilson, (17) Mark Tice, (18) Paul Walters, (19) Shannon Lee, (20) Dana Eiland, (21) Allen Netherland, (22) Cord Dodgen, (23) Richie Stephens, (24) Larry Harrod. Fast qualifier (among 31 cars): Thomas, 14.420 seconds. Heat race winners: Darda, Breuer, Edge, Cantrell. Provisional starters: Tice, F. Wilson.