Well the news in the Late Model division at Dominion Raceway is no longer a secret here in the Mid Atlantic region. Nick Smith along with his race team in recent weeks have been on a roll and should be in every conversation when it comes to whose hot in NWAAS Late Model racing. Winner of four straight and six wins on the year at Dominion Raceway is Smith going into the July 9th race date. No doubt when you come to Dominion Raceway, the man to beat is Nick Smith.

But wait…all season long and up to the task, Doug Barnes Jr has been every bit as good this year as Smith. With one win under his belt and even having lead in the series points for a few weeks. Barnes has finished second to Smith in the last three races and has done everything else right to keep Smith within his sights. Last week, Nick Smith extended his points lead over Doug Barnes Jr putting a small gap between the two but very much less then a DNF for the leader to mix things up. Question going into this weeks racing, can Smith stay hot, can Barnes beat Smith or will someone else come and beat them both?

With a host of week to week regulars aimed at knocking off the guys at the top, this weeks field featured champion Late Model racer Mark Wertz who races out of South Boston Speedway in 2016 for his first trip to Dominion Raceway. Qualifying took place after a brief shower which seemed rather a welcome after a blistering afternoon of heat. Once again this week, Nick Smith won the series pole for the race hitting on a lap that posted at 15.299 sec or 94.124 mph just a mere three thousandth better then rival Doug Barnes Jr who could all but grin at the result.

Mark Wertz was third in his efforts as teammate to the pole sitter Michael Hardin was fourth and completing the grids five best was Vincent Campbell. Other notables a bit further back was Trent Barnes starting sixth and Doug Liberman starting seventh. Before the race, an invert to the field was given and decided by the pole sitter Nick Smith who pulled a six pill to determine the invert. So Trent Barnes would become the races pole sitter to start the race and lead a field of fifteen Late Models to the green.

Green flag waves and from the backstretch, Trent Barnes emerged as the leader to lead lap one of the event. But making a charge early in the race was Michael Hardin and by lap two by a nose was credited as the new race leader. Once cleared of Trent Barnes, Hardin wanted to get away but lap two also produced the races first caution for Bill Leutz going around. Back to the green and right back into another early race caution as this time its Owen Smith who spins.

Green flag waves and its Doug Barnes Jr who got the credit for leading a lap as another caution occurs to bring a halt to the racing action. Vincent Campbell spins off the nose of Trent Barnes which track officials did not like forcing Trent Barnes to start at the rear. The race was green again and showing as leader was Michael Hardin leaving Doug Barnes to deal with Nick Smith which was the battle for second. After several rubs and a bit of banging, Smith finally did away with Barnes to set his sights on the leader. Soon after, Smith caught the race leader Hardin and on lap twenty two and was the races fourth new leader.

Several laps now into the green flag run and it wasn’t long before Smith built up a sizable lead by the halfway point in the race. On back it was all single file with five to six car gaps in between positions. Michael Hardin, Mark Wertz was all they could do to keep up but Trent Barnes by this time was back showing fifth after starting at the rear of the field as the result from the last caution. With less then fifteen laps to go in the event and in the longest green flag run of the season for the Late Model division.

Leader Nick Smith would encounter some very tense moments trying to navigate through race traffic who were also battling for positions on the track. Once through, nothing but clear race track in front of race leader Nick Smith who would then go on to win Dominion Raceway’s seventy five lap feature. Doug Barnes Jr would once again settle for second, Hardin solid in his ride finished third, Wertz had a decent run in his first drive at Dominion Raceway fourth and a great recovery for Trent Barnes finishing fifth.

No doubt, Smith is on a roll and some are now calling out for a bounty on Nick Smith. Others are calling for Dominion Raceway to challenge Smith to come from the rear of the field in favor of offering a bit more money to Smith should he win. Unknown whether Dominion Raceway will respond to the calls, unknown would Nick Smith respond should the challenge be made.

It likely could become very interesting at Dominion Raceway as Late Model race action continues again next week July 16th and this time, a one hundred lap race feature around the 4/10s mile oval to decide the weeks best.

Race results…
1 #12 Nick Smith
2 #88 Doug Barnes Jr
3 #7 Michael Hardin
4 #55 Mark Wertz
5 #1 Trent Barnes
6 #82b Cameron Burke
7 #56 Doug Liberman
8 #82 Mike Ganoe
9 #18 Chandler Sherman
10 #36 Owen Smith
11 #07 Richard Storm
12 #64 Bill Leutz
13 #99 Vincent Campbell
14 #17 Jeremy Pasternak
15 #2 Teddy Brown