Almirola Takes Checkered Flag; Bumgarner Takes Win in 100 Lapper

By Adrian Sanders - toadtraxracing@yahoo.com

After taking the race lead just before half way, Aric Almirola appeared to be well on his way to claiming his second victory in only his second visit to Hickory Motor Speedway. However, after failing to pass post-race technical inspection by NASCAR Dodge Weekly Racing Series Officials, Almirola was disqualified and the win was given to Keith Bumgarner in the #95 Country Chair Ford.

Scott Kilby led the field to the green flag in his Price Racing #28 car with the #92 Home Depot Chevrolet of Aric Almirola on the outside. At the drop of the green flag, #32 Kevin Leicht immediately sets his sights on going to the front from his 3 rd place starting spot as he gets under Almirola to take 2 nd place on lap 1. Keith Bumgarner also advances his spot quickly as he passes #70 Nick Tucker to take the 4 th spot. Caution is displayed for the first time of the night just before the completion of lap 1 when Carl Cormier sends his #58 Performancenter car spinning in turn 3 after trying to avoid contact with another car. The #99 AllState Insurance car of Tommy Lane spins in turn 3 as well while trying to avoid Cormier. Both cars were able to continue at the back of the pack with very little damage.

Kilby brings the pack back to the green flag with Kevin Leicht's Super 8 Motel #32 still in tow. Almirola is ready to reclaim his 2 nd place spot by lap 6 as he gets a run under Leicht in turn 4. Leicht doesn't give up easy as he battles back to the outside, but by lap 8 Almirola claims the spot. Keith Bumgarner takes advantage of Leicht being pushed up out of the groove as he moves by to take 3 rd and sends Leicht to the 4 th spot. Caution comes out on lap 10 for the spun car of Joey McMurtrie in turn 4. McMurtrie does not have a good night and eventually takes it in the pits to park for the night.

On the restart, #7 Ashley Huffman tries to move into the top 5 but makes contact with 5 th place running #70 Nick Tucker sending Huffman up and out of the groove in turn 1 to collect his car. This allows the pack to literally freight train him and by the time they reach the front stretch, he is sent spinning into the outside wall bringing out the caution. Several cars barely made it by but still got damage including #16 Mack Little who lost all of the sheet metal off the passenger side of his ride. However, Little was able to continue because there was no real structural damage to his car.

The field remained single file for the restart with Scott Kilby still out front. On lap 11, #14 Randy Burnett takes a look under #70 Nick Tucker and claims the 5 th place spot. Tucker tries to hold his 6 th place spot but he makes contact with #2 Travis McIntyre and literally rips sheet metal off of the right front fender of his #70 car. Tucker is forced to pit for his crew to remove the sheet metal in order to prevent a cut tire. By Lap 17, Randy Burnett moves his Precision Suspension #14 car even closer to the front as he takes 4 th from #32 Kevin Leicht. On lap 20, Aric Almirola closes in to look for the lead on Scott

Kilby. He makes a quick look to the inside in turn 1 but it's not enough to make it stick for the pass. Almirola bumps Kilby in turn 4 on lap 23 letting him know that he's definitely looking for that top spot, but Kilby is still able to hang on to his lead position. Carl Cormier continues to have a tough night as he and #00 Brett Butler tangle and spin in turn 2. Neither car had serious damage and both were able to continue after coming to the attention of their crews.

Kilby leads the pack to the restart and most remain single file until lap 33. Lee Tissott moves into 5 th place after passing #32 Kevin Leicht. It's interesting to note that Tissot started this race in the 22 nd spot after his car was found to be too low in post-qualifying technical inspection. On lap 40, #92 Aric Almirola takes the low line to try and get by Scott Kilby for the lead. The two have a heated side by side battle until lap 44 when Almirola is able to clear Kilby and take the lead. On lap 46, 3 rd place running Keith Bumgarner takes a look under #28 Scott Kilby down the backstretch. Kilby tries to pinch Bumgarner down even putting him on the apron coming out of turn 4. Bumgarner stays in the gas and spins Kilby as they start down the front stretch. Caution comes out on lap 46 for Kilby as he resumes the race at the rear of the pack and Bumgarner is able to maintain his 2 nd place spot. This shuffle moves #21 Brian Connor into the top 5 for the first time of the night after he had a bad qualifying effort that is not typical of his team.

Almirola brings the field to the restart. On lap 47, Lee Tissot tries to put his #33 into 3 rd spot as he battles under the #14 of Randy Burnett . Tissot makes several attempts for at least 5 laps but is unable to make the pass complete, eventually just following back into the tire tracks of Burnett. On lap 54, #16 Mack Little is given the black flag for sheet metal hanging from his car. Little spins at the exit of turn 2 and remains there to bring out caution and come in to have his car looked at by his crew. The green flag is displayed again until lap 65 when caution comes out again for #99 Tommy Lane as he spins in turn 2 after battling #32 Kevin Leicht for 7 th place.

On the restart, #28 Scott Kilby moves back into the top 5 after his earlier scuffle sent him to the rear of the pack. Kilby passes #21Brian Connor on the outside to take 5 th . On lap 75, #33 Lee Tissot and #14 Randy Burnett continue their battle for 3 rd place. They run side by side for 3 laps but Burnett still hangs on to the spot. Caution comes out on lap 79 when #29 Mark Johnson and #59 Coleman Pressley make contact on the backstretch sending Johnson spinning. Johnson shows his displeasure to Pressley while under caution by spinning him in turn 3. Johnson is then forced to park for the night.

Almirola brings the field to the restart with Keith Bumgarner still in 2 nd place. On lap 80, Scott Kilby makes an attempt to pass #33 Lee Tissot for 4 th place but he is unable to make the pass. Almirola steps away from the field by several car lengths by late in the race. On lap 98, Lee Tissot makes one final attempt at 3 rd place by getting under Randy Burnett once again and battling side by side. Almirola remains untouched as he took the checkered flag in the 100 lap event followed by #95 Keith Bumgarner, #33 Lee Tissot who beat 4 th place Randy Burnett merely by a bumper in a side by side battle to the line. #28 Scott Kilby rounded out the top 5. Aric Almirola's #92 Home Depot Chevrolet failed to pass the post-race technical inspection by NASCAR Dodge Weekly Racing Series Officials after he was found to be using a carburetor that did not meet Hickory Motor Speedway's rules specifications. Almirola was disqualified from the event and Keith Bumgarner was awarded the victory after he passed post-race inspection.

In the Limited Late Model Division, Andy Mercer treated fans to a smoky turn 1 burnout after he made it back to victory lane in his #10 Mercer Grading car. Mercer was followed by division points leader #44 Chris Chapman, #2 Matt Leicht, #5 Dexter Canipe Jr and #21 Billy Joe Wilson.

Robin Harris qualified on the pole in the Super Truck Division and carried that momentum all the way to the checkered flag. Harris was followed by #69 Trevor Hignutt, #77 Mike McIntosh, #97 Kevin Bumgarner and #45 Kenneth Pardue.

In the Pro-4 division Matt DiBenedetto set another qualifying record to grab the pole and go on to win yet another race. DiBenedetto was followed by #21 Todd Harrington, #55 Rick Hale, #37 David Buchanan and #4 Jacob Lehr.

12 year old Chris Buescher picked up the win in the Legends Division. Buescher was followed by Legends Veteran #29 Clay Haire, #41 Daniel Sossoman, #17 Justin Morton and #71 Corey LaJoie.

Join us Saturday Night August 20 th at Hickory Motor Speedway for Bellsouth Yellow Pages Night at the Races! It will also be Ladies Night…all ladies admission price will be only $5! Fans will be treated to a full slate of racing action that will include the Late Models, Limited Late Models, Pro-4's, Hobby Stock, Street Stock, Super Trucks, and a special visit from the Allison Legacy Series.