Andy Loden Holds Off Last Lap Charge to Claim His 6 th Win
By Adrian Sanders
After qualifying his #29 Monroe Roadways Chevrolet on the pole, it appeared that Andy Loden was easily going to take his 6 th win of the season. However, in the closing laps of the race, Loden found himself battling with #64 Nick Locito who had ran him down from about a 10 car length lead to challenge for the lead.
Loden brought the field to the green flag with Locito on the outside after posting his best qualifying lap of the 2006 season. At the drop of the green, Locito gets a challenge from #12 B.J. Mackie who takes over the 2 nd spot.
On lap 2, Locito loses another spot to #59 Coleman Pressley after they make it a side by side battle for a little over a lap. 5 th place running Kevin Leicht tries to put his #32 car on the outside of Locito on lap 9 but he is unable to challenge the position. The caution flag flies on lap 16 as Locito and Pressley make contact in turns 3 and 4 while fighting for 3 rd place. Pressley received the raw end of the deal as he spun up towards the outside wall. Pressley already battled back through the weekend after experiencing a blown engine in Friday's open practice. Luckily he didn't receive major damage and was able to continue.
Loden continued to lead at the restart and got a good jump on the field to stretch out his lead. On lap 24, Pete Silva moved his #01 Blossman Gas machine into the top 5 after passing #41 Jesus Hernandez for the 5 th position. By lap 30, Silva is still on the move as he goes under Leicht in turn 1 to take over 4 th . Nick Locito who obviously has his fastest car of the season makes the pass on #12 Mackie to move into the 2 nd position and try to chase down the leader.
Loden had pulled out to almost a 10 car length lead but by lap 43 that had dwindled to about 3 car lengths as Locito was on a mission. Pete Silva gained another position on lap 47 as he moved under #12 of Mackie in turn 1 to take 3 rd . Loden continued to lead and run the high line, but on the white flag lap Locito was there for the challenge as he looked low.
Coming to the checkered flag, Locito tried his best to get a run low but unfortunately came up short as he only got to Loden's rear fender. Loden claimed his 6 th win of the season in the Bojangle's Late Model Division followed by #64 Locito, #01 Pete Silva, #12 B.J. Mackie and #32 Kevin Leicht.
Andy Loden had this to say in Victory Lane:
“Man that 64 car was hooked up tonight. A couple of more laps and he would have got by me. It's really good because he was definitely fast and that gives us somebody to race with the rest of the year. Happy Father's Day to all the Fathers, I know this is the best gift I could ever receive. I don't know where Andy (Mercer) finished, but I know we are gaining in points. Thanks to my sponsors Monroe Roadways, RE Suspension and Culp Petroleum.”
Fans were treated to a great Limited Late Model Race as they saw a side by side battle between #92 Marc Davis and #43 Jesse LeFevers for almost the full 35 laps. Davis beat LeFevers to the line at the checkered flag by mere inches to claim his 3 rd win of the 2006 season. Rounding out the top 5 were #44 Matt DiBenedetto, #35 Matt Scoggins and #10 Andy Mercer.
In the J&J Roofing and Sandblasting Street Stock Division, #32 Gary Ledbetter picked up another win followed by #03 Kevin Eby, #54 Waylon Flynn, #64 Marshall Sutton and #42 Terrance Tucker.
The Advance Auto Parts Super Trucks saw a familiar face in victory lane as previous division champion #16 Mack Little took home the win over #69 Trevor Hignutt, #24 Ben Stancill, #44 Ben Ebeling and #6 Cole Miktuk.
In the Hobby Stock Division, #5 Nikki Long took home another victory followed by #46 Jason Garwood, #88 Terry Herman, #21 Nick Maurer and #90 Ronnie Sims.
The INEX Legends paid another visit to Hickory as #29 Clay Hair took the victory over #117 Brennan Poole, #99 Jordan Pascal, #3 Austin Dillon and #06 Michael Brown.
Join us next week at Hickory Motor Speedway for Dodge Night at the Races! Fans will see action in the Bojangle's Late Models, Limited Late Models, Pro-4's, J&J Roofing and Sandblasting Street Stocks and the Pro Challenge Series. Come out for your chance to win a limited edition Dodge die-cast car! See you there!