Albany Motor Speedway
Another birthday gift: Harrod wins at Albany
By Roby HelmNeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series
ALBANY, Ga. (July 7) — Continuing a winning tradition, Larry Harrod of Plains, Ga., gave crew member Justin Welch a great birthday present Saturday at Albany Motor Speedway with his second victory of the season on the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series. | Video
Harrod, whose first victory of the season on May 5 at Malden, Mo., came on the birthday of Justin’s dad, crew chief Melvin Welch, rallied from the 12th starting position for victory at Albany. Harrod took the lead on a lap-31 restart, and then held off William Thomas of Phenix City, Ala., for the $2,500 victory in the 50-lapper.
“I don’t know how this works out that we win on the birthday of my crew members, but maybe we can work the schedule out where each race night comes on the birthday of one of my crew members, as that strategy seems to work for us,” Harrod said. “I saw William down on the bottom of the track late in the race, so I knew I needed to move down to hold him off.”
Thomas led the first two laps of the race in the J.W. Miller Land and Timber Special, but soon after that had a left-rear tire going down, and he had to pit during a lap six caution period. Thomas returned to the track on the tail of the field, and rallied back to take the second spot back on lap 39 to challenge Harrod for the win.
Chase Edge of Lafayette, Ala., took his third third-place finish in the last four races while David Gentry of Murfreesboro, Tenn., driving a car borrowed by Marty Hardy after a crash damaged his own car earlier in the week, led 20 laps but settled for fourth. Series point leader Matthew Turner of Dawsonville, Ga., also had tire issues on the opening lap, but came from the back of the pack to post a fifth-place finish.
There was literally and figuratively a buzz in the air at the track before the race. Whether the race would even happen was in question early in the afternoon as a large swarm of bees inhabited the front of the grandstand. A local exterminator was called to the track, who saved the event and cleared the insects from the area.
The series takes a break until a July 20-21 doubleheader at Greenville (Miss.) Speedway.
Salute to America Nationals: (1) Larry Harrod, (2) William Thomas, (3) Chase Edge, (4) David Gentry, (5) Matthew Turner, (6) Mavrick Varnadore, (7) Chris Cantrell, (8) Justin Summers, (9) Mark Rosner, (10) Kyle Bridges, (11) Frank Wilson, (12) Shan Smith, (13) Kyle Musselman, (14) Richie Stephens, (15) Michael Blount, (16) Kelly Walker, (17) Kitt Sealy, (18) Travis Stone, (19) Tristan Sealy, (20) Dana Eiland, (21) Steven Roberts, (22) Garrett Bullington. Fast qualifier (among 22 cars): Walker, 14.542 seconds.