Blair outduels Richards for opening UFO victory
From series reports
INDIANA, Pa. (April 27) — Rob Blair of Titusville, Pa., outdueled ninth-starting Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., in the final laps of the Area 51 feature at Challenger Raceway for a victory in the first-ever event on the Unified Force Race Championship series. Blair, one of four leaders, overtook Richards for good with two laps remaining and earned $5,000 at the 4/10-mile oval. Richards, who led two for 13 laps driving the Ernie Davis-owned No. 25, settled for second ahead of two other leaders, Dave Hess Jr. of Waterford, Pa. (led laps 13-22) and polesitter David Scott of Garland, Pa. (led laps 1-5). Billy Drake of Bloomington, Ill., last year's $20,000 Fall Fest winner at Challenger, was fifth. | Slideshow
Scott took control early but Blair moved ahead on the sixth lap after a restart while the seventh-starting Hess headed for the front. Hess took second from Scott on the 10th lap, then took the point from Blair after a lap-12 restart. Now it was Richards on the move as he broke into the top five on the 14th lap and moved into the lead on lap 23.
The rest of the way was a Blair-Richards showdown as Blair went back ahead following a lap-31 caution and was out front at a lap-44 slowdown. Richards used his high groove to edge back ahead on lap 45, but Blair used a lower line to creep back out front the final two laps.
Notes: Blair's winning Rocket Chassis is sponsored by Specialty Products and Maloney Tool & Mold. ... Bob Close started 24th and finished 11th. ... Third-finishing Dave Hess Jr. won the modified feature. ... Alan Dellinger was driving the No. 5 normally driven by Mike Blose; Dellinger won two nights earlier in the car at Lernerville Speedway. ... Among drivers failing to make the feature: Mike Johnson, Jared Miley, Matt Lux, Greg Oakes, Gary Lyle, Rodney Sweitzer and Gregg Satterlee, last weekend's prelim feature winner at Challenger. ... The next UFO event is a pair of double features paying $2,500 to each winner May 18 at Pittsburgh's Pennsylvania Motor Speedway.
UFO @ Challenger: (1) Rob Blair, (2) Josh Richards, (3) Dave Hess Jr, (4) David Scott, (5) Billy Drake, (6) Alex Ferree, (7) Alan Dellinger, (8) Ron Davies, (9) Wayne Chinn, (10) Steve Francis, (11) Bob Close, (12) Matt Gaston, (13) Sam Stile, (14) John Mason, (15) Shawn McGarvey, (16) Ron Delano Jr., (17) Keith Barbara, (18) Steve Baker, (19) Jacob Hawkins, (20) Lynn Geisler, (21) Davey Johnson, (22) Mike Altobelli Jr., (23) Mike Knight, (24) Bobby Stokes. Heat race winners (among 43 cars): Hess, Richards, Dellinger, Geisler. Consolation winners: Johnson, Stokes.