CALVERT CITY – Fantastic finishes were the order of the evening Saturday night at Kentucky Lake Motor Speedway, but local drivers were on the short side of the drama.
Three of four features were decided inside the final two laps, and Troy English and Tim Brown were among the victims of the late-race fireworks. English, of Calvert City, saw Ashley Newman grab the victory in the final lap of the 35-lap, $4,000-to-win Pro (Crate) Late Model main event, while Brown, of Palma, was overtaken by Randy Sellars with two laps to go in the Late Model feature.
Matt Cooper barged past Josh Tomlin on the next-to-last lap to win the Modified main event. In the only race not decided in the waning moments, Chase Estes led from start to finish in the Stock Car feature.
English had led all the way from the pole after setting fast time in qualifying and winning the first heat. He built as much as a full straightaway lead over Newman and Benton’s Tait Davenport, who spent most of the race in a furious battle for second.
But the race took a toll on English’s right rear tire.
“I felt it going down with about 10 [laps] to go,” said English, who was looking for his first win at his home track since he won the opening-night feature on April 12. “I was trying to limp it home.”
As the white flag waved on lap 34, English was in Newman’s sights. The Ripley, Tennessee, driver made his first-ever visit to KLMS a successful one, as he shot underneath English’s fading car in Turn 3 and led the last one-third of a lap to collect the special payoff.
“Biggest race I’ve ever won,” the 37-year-old driver said.
English was second, just a little more than two-tenths of a second behind, and Davenport was third. Brent Lewis and Jeff Walston rounded out the top five in a 23-car field.
Newman’s exultation was tempered by sympathy for English.
“I hate it for him that his tire went down,” said Newman. “I thought he had a right rear going down. The only chance I had to catch him was if he got held up by lapped traffic.”
Unfortunately for English, that’s just what happened.
With 10 laps to go, as he began to sense the fading right rear tire, English closed on the trio of Danny Jolly, Ronnie Cooper and Neil Niesler as they battled for 16th, 17th and 18th positions at the tail of the lead lap.
“I tried to take time getting by them,” English said.
Newman closed the gap while English exercised patience, and then he cleared the three lapped cars quickly.
As the white flag waved, he was on English’s rear bumper.
“He shot past me like a cannon,” English said wryly.
In the Late Model main, Sellars overtook Brown on the next-to-last lap to win the Late Model feature.
That reversed last week’s decision, when Sellars led from the start only to have to go to the pits to replace a flat right rear tire during a late caution flag. When racing resumed, Sellars hit the Turn 1 wall, and Brown won his second feature in a row.
Saturday night, Mayfield chased a battle between front-row starters Brown and Jarryd Holshouser, who traded the lead six times before Brown settled into the front spot on lap nine.
Sellars overtook Holshouser for second on lap 13 and shot past Brown on the next time around, then held command for the final circuit in the 15-lap event. Holshouser was third, Credence Mott fourth and Scott Bell fifth.
Brown speculated that the back-and-forth fight with Holshouser might have taken a toll on his tires, but shrugged off the conclusion.
“I might’ve give up some, and he [Sellars] might have come in some,” he said. “Or maybe he just picked a better line than me.”
The Late Model race had a slim five-car field for the second week in a row. Holshouser was third, followed by Credence Mott and Scott Bell.
The Modified race saw Tomlin lead the first 18 laps. But Cooper closed the gap and made a charge on the 18th lap, forcing his way inside Tomlin’s car in Turn 3.
He came out of the turn with damage on the right side of his car, but it did not slow him down. He took the checkered flag 0.480 seconds in front to claim his second win of the year at KLMS. Lucas Lee, Zach Fair and J.R. Mason rounded out the top five.
In the Stock Car feature, the battle was for second. Mike Hodges, winner of three of the last four races at KLMS, and Mike Lentz collided as they scrapped for the spot coming off Turn 4 of the 12th lap. Lentz’ car was eliminated with damage to the right front.
Hodges restarted at the back of the field. He charged back to finish second, with Tya Cunningham, Kassidi Gibbs and Randy Swift third through fifth.
n On Friday night at Paducah International Raceway, Benton driver Tait Davenport won for the third time this year in Crate Late Model. Troy English was second and Evan Taylor third.
Lucas Lee won the Modified feature over Josh Tomlin and Mike Hodges won his sixth feature of the year in Street Stock. It was the fifth win in the last six races for Hodges.
Josh Hartman won the Outlaw Warriors main event.
THIS WEEK: Another special feature paying $4,000, this time for the Modified division, is scheduled Saturday night at KLMS. Late Model, Crate and Stock Car racing will also be on the program.
Friday night at PIR, the regular program of racing in Modified, Crate, Street Stock and Outlaw Warrior four-cylinder cars will be presented.
Beacon Dragway in Paducah will present a Saturday night program of drag racing on the eighth-mile strip.