Chris Chapman snapped a near two-year winless drought at Southern National Motorsports Park on Saturday afternoon, holding off Andrew Grady in a thriller in the Easter Bunny 100.
Rusty Daniels won the first segment of the race while Chapman was biding his time. In the second segment, Chapman made the move, taking the lead on the 41st overall lap of the race and holding off numerous challenges from Daniels and Grady. The win was Chapman’s first since April 2016.
“It’s been about a year since we won one out here,” Chapman said in victory lane. “We had a couple seconds out here last year. These guys dug deep over the winter. Wendell Davis gives me the best cars. Sometimes, I don’t know if it’s driver or what. This thing was on a rail today.”
In the final 40 lap segment, Chapman held off a hard charging Andrew Grady. Grady closed in to within a half car-length, but Chapman was able to hold him off on the restarts and drive away in the final laps.
“Sometimes, you don’t want to wear [tires] down because you don’t know when you’re going to have a caution,” Chapman explained. “You try to go hard and save all you can too. So that’s pretty much what it was.”
Grady wanted to win the race and the race played out like he had hoped, but he had to settle for second. Grady took his second-place finish in stride as something to build on throughout the season.
“We had a plan and we played it perfectly,” Grady said. “We saved the right-rear really well. Chapman man, love racing him with. He’s real fun to race with. We just got a little snug towards the end. That’s where he beat us at. We’re going to be running for the championship here this year. It’s going to come down to me and him. They know we were here, that’s what matters.”
Grady was within striking distance in the final laps but was not close enough to make a clean pass for the win. While he could have divebombed the corner or taken Chapman out, Grady said that’s not how he races with a competitor he has respect for like Chapman.
“If I would have dove in there two car-lengths deeper, I could have rooted him,” Grady remarked. “I’m not going to do that to Chris. I don’t race like that. Some other people, I would have raced like that but with Chris, I love racing with him. He’s a great guy, always races me clean. We always race hard together. We’ll come back in a week or two and hopefully we’ll be up there one more.”
Paul Williamson quietly snuck into the third position in the final handful of laps for one of his best career finishes.
“We didn’t win but I call it a win because we came from the back and fought all the way back up,” Williamson said. “Our car was tight but we were able to work with it during the race.”
Rusty Daniels won the race’s first stage and ended up finishing fourth while Wayne Goss methodically raced his way to a fifth-place finish. The race was slowed by a number of cautions late as paint was traded in the middle of the pack.
Southern National Motorsports Park will be back in action on Saturday, April 14th for the Whelen Engineering Spring Fling. The Spring Fling will be headlined by twin 75 lap races for the Late Model Stock Car division and also features the Chargers for 40 laps, Mini-Stocks for 35 laps, Legends for 20 laps, Bandoleros for 20 laps and Any Cars for 15 laps.
Limited Late Models
- Chris Chapman
- Andrew Grady
- Paul Williamson
- Rusty Daniels
- Wayne Goss
- Clay Jones
- Justin Gill
- Brian Obiedzenski
- Tim Allensworth
- Richard Caldwell
- Brandon Whitley
- Tyler Horne
- Ashlyn McCaskill
- AJ Walsh
- Ryan Collins
- Eric Gerchak
- Jeremy Heath
- Daryn Cockram
- Kenneth Mercer – DNS