Serio Pena (01) and Jeff Oakley (11) make contact as they take the checkered flag at Dominion Raceway. (Dinah Mullins photo)

THORNBURG, VA – Sergio Pena only led one lap at Dominion Raceway on Saturday night, but it was the one that counted as he muscled past Jeff Oakley to pick up the victory in a photofinish in the Darrell Meinders Benefit 100.

Philip Morris dominated much of the event after taking the lead early in the race, but an alternator problem sent him to the pits with 28 laps to go.  Just a couple laps later, the intensity picked up when a multi-car accident set up a series of late race restarts.  Doug Barnes, who inherited the lead when Morris was briefly sidelined, was relegated outside the top-five when he, Oakley and Pena got together when racing three-wide for the top spot with 21 laps to go.

In the final laps of the race, Oakley had opened up a comfortable gap between himself and Pena, but that gap disappeared when two lapped cars, racing side-by-side, allowed Pena to close right back up.  On the final turn, Pena made his move, diving to the bottom of the track to make the pass as he and Oakley traded paint coming to the checkered flag – with Pena winning by .004 seconds.

“All race wins are all so special but this one is just insane,” Pena told after the race.  “Super stiff competition, a field of 20 cars.  I’ll tell you what, it was an intense one.  The only way I knew I was going to be able to get by Jeff was to do something different than he was.  Using the lapped traffic to my advantage was all I could do and it was trading paint going down the straightaway the rest of the time.  That’s short track racing at its finest.  I heard the fans were loving it which means a lot because short track racing is grassroots racing and that’s where it’s at.”

Sergio Pena celebrates after winning at Dominion Raceway. (Andy Marquis photo)

The win was the second at Dominion Raceway for the 26-year-old from Winchester, Virginia.

After the race, Oakley was perturbed with the lapped car of Mike Michalski for not giving way to the leaders on the final laps.

“[Pena] was just trying to win the race, you can’t blame him at all,” Oakley stated.  “The problem is, [Michalski] needs to stay at home.  I don’t know who he is, I don’t know who his spotter is, but he’s clueless.  I mean, we had a five car-length lead and cars that are 10 laps down are running double wide, so it was lapped cars that cost us.  That’s what it was.  I’ve got no hard feelings with Sergio.  He went and won the race.  He did what he had to do.”

Tyler Hughes rebounded from a late-race incident to finish third while Timmy Phipps and Davey Callihan finished fourth and fifth respectively.  Doug Barnes, Chandler Sherman, Eddie Johnson, Philip Morris, and Mike Ganoe rounded out the top-10.

Cole Bruce scored the victory in the 35-lap Dominion Racer (Limited Late Model) feature race.

Dominion Raceway will host the CARS Late Model Stock Tour next Saturday, June 22nd.


  1. Sergio Pena
  2. Jeff Oakley
  3. Tyler Hughes
  4. Timmy Phipps
  5. Davey Callihan
  6. Doug Barnes
  7. Chandler Sherman
  8. Eddie Johnson
  9. Philip Morris
  10. Mike Ganoe
  11. Alex Brock
  12. Blake Morris
  13. Michael Hardin
  14. Grayson Cullather
  15. GR Waldrop
  16. Mike Michalski
  17. Colby Stottlemyer
  18. Chase Burrow
  19. Eri George
  20. Logan Jones
  21. Cole Knopp

Cover photo by Dinah Mullins.