CHRISSY WALLACE MAKES HISTORY AT HICKORY MOTOR SPEEDWAY
by Dillon Houser
Saturday Night, June 2nd , Hickory Motor Speedway celebrated their "57th Birthday Party Presented by Pepsi" with another one for the NASCAR history books, adding to the mystique of the "Birthplace of the NASCAR Stars!' 19 year old Chrissy Wallace, of Concord, NC, made her mark by becoming the first Female Driver to ever win a Feature Division-Late Model Stocks event
in the track's 57 year history.
The "NASCAR Whelen All American Series" Feature Division "Bojangles' Late Model Stocks" had all the pre-race hype any fan could stand.
2004 HMS Track Champion & 2005 UARA Stars Late Model Touring Series Champ Matt McCall came back home from a brief stint as a Development Driver for Robert Yates Racing to take the Wynn-Com Pole Award. Second in Qualifying was Ashley Huffman, who was gunning for his first win of 2007 after previously taking consecutive Pole Awards and podium finishes the last two weeks.
Second generation driver Chrissy Wallace, daughter of NASCAR driver Mike Wallace, qualified third again, showing that an early season car & team move to Robert Hamke's potent Chevrolet would pay dividends. Little did anyone know what the fans of HMS would witness on this historic night.
Rounding out the top five were HMS Young Guns Duncan Molesworth and Jesse
Lurking back in Sixth was Andy Loden defending HMS Track Champion and current Points Leader.
After moving up the scheduled start of the Late Models Feature under heavy overcast skies, the Bojangle's Late Models were set to roll with a strong sense of urgency, knowing that heavy rain was approaching and no time was to be wasted.
As the Green Flag waved and the leaders took off, caution was thrown due to the start not being to the liking of the NASCAR Officials. A couple of more pace laps then finally the Green Flag is out and Ashley Huffman from the
Outside Pole and Matt McCall from the Pole run door to door for the first ten laps then Huffman is able to move to the point with McCall sliding into second.
Meanwhile Chrissy Wallace has closed the gap to the two leaders with five-time winner Andy Loden moving into the fourth spot. Huffman build his lead to five car lengths while McCall has come under fire from Wallace and
Loden for second place, with Loden working his signature high-side and Wallace working the low side. After several laps of side-by-side racing, nearly going three wide for the second spot between the threesome on Lap
23, Wallace moves into second and a lap later Loden moves around McCall to Third.
Over the next ten laps, Wallace cuts a carlength per lap off the distance to the leader Huffman, with Loden in hot pursuit. At lap thirty one, Wallace dives to the inside of Huffman to begin to inch her way to the lead. Three Laps later, Wallace makes the pass and takes control as the race leader. With Huffman having to fend off Loden, the battle for the lead now has three cars in the mix. Loden takes second away from Huffman on lap Forty Three
and sets his sights on the race leader Wallace, who at this point has made a small advantage.
As the laps wind down, Loden is closing the gap to the race leader Wallace,
but in the end, she was not to be denied her place in the history books as
she crossed the finish line, taking the Checkered Flag for the win.
In Victory Lane she celebrated with her mother and received a cell phone call from her dad Mike Wallace in Dover, Delaware. Mike was overjoyed to the point of tears as the two spoke. Chrissy was ecstatic with the news that she was the first Female Driver to ever win a Late Model Feature at HMS saying "On Hickory Speedway Birthday Night to win with a brand new team the second time out of the box and become the First Female Feature Winner at HMS was amazing and more than I could have hoped for".
Loden finished a strong second, to add to his points lead, while Huffman, coming home third continues to make strides to his first 2007 Hickory win. #31 Kyle Grissom placed third, and #53 Duncan Molesworth was fifth.
Pole Winner Matt McCall had a disappointing 16th place finish after his exhaust pipe worked loose from the car, hanging out the right side, and forcing him to pit with just a few laps remaining in the event.