A new season at Wake County Speedway in Raleigh, North Carolina created an opportunity for the track’s Late Model competitors to add their names to the long list of champions at the track, with both Clay Jones and Alex Fleming not present for the track’s season-opening race. Angier, North Carolina native Zachary Marks was prepared to add another championship at Wake County to his resume, as he lead wire-to-wire in a dominating victory on Friday evening.
“I’m just glad everything was behind us,” Marks said in victory lane. “It seems like every race we’ve run, something goes wrong halfway-through and costs us the race. This time something finally fell our way. I think our good luck charms came in handy tonight.”
The 2016 Late Model champion at Wake County started his evening alongside polesitter Eric Winslow on the front row, but quickly took over the top spot on the first lap after passing Winslow coming off Turn 4. Marks proceeded to pull away from the rest of the field, while Winslow found himself in a close battle with Cory Walker and Thomas Chappell, who both passed Winslow in the following laps, dropping him back to fourth.
A couple of cautions gave both Chappell and Walker to take the lead away from Marks, but neither driver was able to take over the top spot, forcing them to battle it out for the second position. With 20 laps remaining, Winslow took both Chappell and Walker three-wide for second coming off Turn 2, knocking Walker out of the groove, and propelling Winslow to the second position.
Although Winslow’s car started to find speed near the end of the race, he was unable to run down Marks, who would go on to win the season-opening Late Model feature at Wake County by over two seconds. Winslow wanted to bring home a trophy for his team, but was satisfied with his strong performance at the quarter-mile bullring.
“I would say this was a pretty good trip for our first time at Wake County,” Winslow said. “It’s a tough track to get a hold of, but it’s a lot of fun to drive. I just didn’t have enough there at the end, and I kind of used my stuff up trying to get back through the field, but I’m just glad that we got it in one piece and ready for South Boston next week, and hopefully we’ll build on this.”
Walker began to close the gap on Winslow in the closing laps of the race, but was unable to get the momentum he needed to pass him for second, as he brought his car home in 3rd. Thomas Chappell finished in fourth, while Stephen Ford, who nearly stalled his car on a restart, rounded out the Top 5.
Wake County Late Model Feature Results:
1. 17 Zachary Marks
2. 22 Eric Winslow
3. 51 Cory Walker
4. 4 Thomas Chappell
5. 86 Stephen Ford
6. 55 Aaron Champion
7. 21 Kevin Jeffreys
8. 43 Sammy Pacitti OUT