Story and Photos by: Corey Latham~[email protected]

South Boston, VA(July 5, 2009) — With the 4th Of July holiday upon us, the racing action was heating up at South Boston Speedway with the running of the “Bailey’s 200” for the Late-Model stock cars.

A stellar field was on hand and the National Champion was there too, as Philip Morris was trying to regain his status once again as the top LMSC driver in the region. Morris would have no such luck, as Nick Smith would be the example on this night of total domination. Early in the day, some Langley Speedway regulars were pacing the final practice session, as Greg Edwards was at the top of the list and former South Boston runner Woody Howard had his new car on the list in 3rd.

Another non-regular, Tommy Lemon’s Jr. was second, with SoBo regulars Michael Hardin and David Quackenbush rounding out the top 5. Philip Morris had struggled in testing on Thursday and continued throughout the day posting the 20th fastest time in final practice. Notice you didn’t see Nick Smith’s name in the top 5? That’s because the young driver didn’t even pull his #88 machine out for the last practice and turned out he didn’t need to, as he set the fast time in qualifying.

Morris had struggled all day, but when it came down to put it on the line, the champion delivered, put the newly painted “black Camry” in the second spot. The famous Clarence’s Steakhouse colors of orange and white were gone and the new colors didn’t bide well with some fans.

A surprising run for Dane Rudolph put the young Aussie in 3rd, while Greg Edwards and Quackenbush rolled out 4th and 5th. As the race started, it looked as if Smith was going to relinquish the lead to Morris rather quickly, The reigning National Champion managed to get up under the Smith machine on lap 5, but as the two were running side-by-side, the first caution on the night came out for the spinning car of Laura Hayes on lap 7.

This caution was the end of Morris’ bid for the lead, as the #26 car would begin a slow slide towards the back of the field. As the race got back going, two drivers were going backwards. Dane Rudolph had gotten drop kicked back from 3rd to 7th before the caution and immediately after, Morris had his hands full with Quackenbush. It took 6 laps for him to complete the pass, but only 4 laps later, CE Falk was coming by the #26 also. Then David Triplett on lap 42, Jonathon Bailey on lap 43, the champ was going away quickly.

Before halfway, the race had 4 cars that were superior to the rest of the field. Smith was gone, Quackenbush had his hands full with Falk and Triplett was right in tow. Before we hit the 75 lap mark, the biggest accident of the night occurs when the cars of Lee Pulliam, Michael Hardin, Tommy Lemon’s Jr. and Woody Howard get together going into turn 1. Pulliam’s night would be over and Hardin’s car was nearly destroyed. Lemons and Howard continued on, but their cars had been off all night in race trim after being two of the fastest cars in practice and this incident wasn’t much help in getting faster.

The second half of the race proved what we were thinking in the first half, this was the Nick Smith show. Smith had shown total domination all night and as the checkered flag grew closer, he just seemed to get faster. CE Falk gave his best effort, but constant pressure from Quackenbush caused the Langley regular to push his car a tad more than he wanted, which ultimately hurt him in the end. The two cars put on one of the best battles of the night, running side-by-side at times for over 10 laps, with Triplett beating on their back bumpers off the corners.

At the end, Falk was all used up and Rudolph was coming back to the front. Rudolph had disposed of Morris and moved himself back into the top five. Morris was holding up the line and Greg Edwards wanted by bad. The only problem was that Ronald Hill wanted by at the same time. As they exited off turn 4, Edwards got under Morris, Hill got under Edwards and 3-wide didn’t work. Hill and Edwards both go into the inside wall hard, as Morris drives off into the sunset. This was also the caution that Falk would lose his stance at the front of the field.

One last chance for the front-runners to take aim at Smith, but it was a losing battle. He would pull away as Quackenbush and Falk make contact, allowing Triplett to move Falk back to 4th. It would be a continuous slide from there, as Falk would steadily fall back through the field. All the while Smith was starting to lap cars into the top 10.

Smith put on a dominating performance and while the lead wasn’t much of a battle, the rest of the pack had battled hard. the biggest surprise of the night were the cars that weren’t good, Morris, Howard, Lemons and Ramsey. Wayne Ramsey did finish towards the front, but he was one of the cars that was expected to contend for the win.

All of the other drivers will be up on their game next time, question is, will they be playing in the same league as Smith.

Official Results:
1) 88 Nick Smith
2) 91 David Quackenbush
3) 00 David Triplett, Jr.
4) 18 Dane Rudolph
5) 08 Deac McCaskill
6) 51 Wayne Ramsey
7) 2 Jonathan Cash
8) 57 Eddie Johnson
9) 8 Josh Oakley
10) 89 Jonathan Bailey
11) 76 Stephen Berry
12) 40 CE Falk
13) 41 Rusty Skewes
14) 26 Philip Morris
15) 44 Justin Johnson
16) 64 Rick Gdovic
17) 4 Kelly Kingery
18) 03 Kenny Forbes
19) 29 Tommy Lemons Jr.
20) 21 Dennis Holdren
21) 22 Laura Hayes
22) 83 Eric Winslow
23) 61 KC Cunningham
24) 74 Ronald Hill
25) 27 Greg Edwards
26) 55 Woody Howard
27) 77 Michael Hardin
28) 3 Lee Pulliam
29) 07 Richard Storm
30) 71 Wayne Roach, Jr.
31) 17 Stacy Puryear
32) 80 David Latour
33) 04 Bugs Hairfield