Oakley Trumps the King
Hughes Effort Comes up short
Opening night at Dominion Raceway for the 2019 season saw side by side action, fireballs and some high caliber racing Saturday night highlighted by Jeff Oakley beating Phillip Morris to the checkered flag for the first time ever.
24 late models showed up Saturday night with 23 taking the green flag. It didn’t take long for the first caution of the night to come out on lap 2 when several cars came together and Alex Brock ended up spinning on the front stretch. The first caution also saw Logan Jones come down pit road ending his night.
After the restart, Morris eventually began to pull away and the lead pack fell into single file racing until lap 16 when Cole Knopp, Mike Michalski and Chase Burrow get collected in an incident bringing out the red flag for clean up. Burrow took a hard shot into the outside wall and all three drivers were done for the night.
With 16 to go the filed takes the green flag following a caution. Oakley, Morris, Sergio Pena and Timmy Phipps were the first four cars to take the green. Oakley works his way back to the front with Morris and Pena in his line. With 11 laps left Tyler Hughes, after pitting twice earlier in the race, had worked his way back through the field and was battling with Phipps for the fourth position, when their was some contact in the corner sending Phipps in to the outside wall with only six laps left.
With a green, white checker finish looming everyone lined up for a sprint to the finish. When the green waved one last time, something in Hughes’s car broke bunching up the field behind him and the race finished under caution with Oakley taking the yellow checkered flag..
“Something broke in the rear end housing or the drive line” Hughes said after the race. “Could have been the rear or transmission. We went to fourth and we had nothing”.
When asked about beating “The King”, Phillip Morris for the first time ever on opening night at his home track, Oakley said “ More than anything we backed up our championship tonight. There were 24 cars here and a lot of new faces that weren’t here last year, and we backed up our championship. But, you know, to beat Phillip, means a lot and our car was on the rail”. One of the biggest reasons that Oakley was able to finally beat Morris, was the great restarts that he was getting time and time again on the numerous restarts. “ yeah we certainly commanded the restarts, but even so you could see that it took 6-8 laps to start pulling away; When those guys started cooling their tires they could stay right with us”. “ These guys just gave me a great race car”.
Next race is 4/20 with twin 60s for the late models, 40 laps for Dominion Stock, 25 laps for both UCAR and Mini mods and 20 laps for the Any Car division. Get your tickets today. Gates open at 5 and green flag drops at 7.
Unofficial Results: https://speedhive.mylaps.com/Organizations/285527