Watkins Prevails At Carolina Speedway
(Gastonia, NC) Despite a rash of cautions and his closest championship competitor knocking at his door, South Carolina’s Ben Watkins led all 35 laps en route to his 3rd FUEL Racing Series victory of 2018 this past Friday night at Carolina Speedway.
In Renegade Race Fuel Time Trials, Watkins blistered the stopwatch with a 16.002 second lap to edge Steve Banal (16.004) for his 3rd pole of 2018 and a new FUEL Series qualifying record at the Gastonia, NC oval.
In Hoosier Racing Tire Heat Race #1, Watkins would battle early with Derrick Ramey for the top spot. Caution flags in the opening laps would temporarily disrupt the pace but Watkins would ultimately earn the win over Ramey and Mark Dysart to capture the pole position for the main event.
FK Rod Ends Heat Race #2 showcased Steve Banal grabbing the initial advantage while Robbie Emory, Shaun Harrell, and Bryan Mullis battled feverishly behind the leader. In the end, Banal would hold off all pursuers to earn the heat race victory.
Rookie of the Year contender Brandon White and Anthony Sanders would lead the field to the green flag in City Chevrolet Performance Heat Race #3. White was able to grab the early edge, but as the laps wound down Sanders would get closer and closer to the race leader. White would prove to be up for the task, holding off Sanders for his first FUEL Racing Series heat race win.
In the Direct Racing Industry Virtual Expo Main Event, Ben Watkins and Steve Banal guided the field to the opening green but multiple cautions in the opening laps hindered the field from establishing any early momentum. Through early cautions, Watkins maintained his lead as the battle for position inside the Top 10 intensified.
White and Emory would spar for the runner up spot early on. Emory would soon find just enough bite off of the corner to take the 2nd spot away from White who was working towards his best finish of the season with the FUEL Racing Series. Multiple drivers had to work from the back to the front after being involved and/or caught up in cautions. Ramey, who started 4th, got involved in an early caution would work his way from the rear back into the top 5. Adam Yarbrough would show similar grit after having to come from the back and get rallied through the field and into the Top 5.
Despite the early cautions and the pursuit from Emory, Watkins would not be denied as he would pull of the proverbial “hat trick” (Fast Time, Heat Race, and Main Event). Robbie Emory maintains his streak of Top 4 finishes with another runner-up performance and Brandon White earned his best finish of the season with his 3rd place outing.
Up next for FUEL is a few weeks off for summer vacation before we return to action on July 28th at Cherokee Speedway in Gaffney, SC. For more information on the FUEL Racing Series visit our website www.fuelracingseries.com
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Partners of the FUEL Racing Series include: City Chevrolet Performance, FK Rod Ends, Renegade Race Fuels, Hoosier Racing Tire, The DIrect Racing Industry Virtual Expo, Ntense Graphics, Hicks Waterstoves and Flag to Flag.
Carolina Speedway 6/29/2018
The DRIVE Main Event Results
(Pending Tire Test Results)
1) Ben Watkins #16
2) Robbie Emory #9E
3) Brandon White #26W
4) Derrick Ramey #12
5) Adam Yarborough #57
6) Shaun Harrell #3
7) Doug Sanders #42
8) Gary Puckett #P90
9) Chuck Smith #33
10) Timmy Rominger #448
11) Reid Windham #2
12) Anthony Sanders #421
13) Dylan Davis #10
14) Willie Milliken #1
15) Bryan Mullis #67
16) Jonathan Warlick #4
17) Lance Moss #71
18) Mark Dysart #66
19) Steve Banal #8B
20) Coty Tanquary #26
21) Brandon ONeil #65
Renegade Race Fuels Fast Time Award: Ben Watkins 16.002
Hoosier Racing Tire Heat Race 1 Winner: Ben Watkins
FK Rod Ends Heat Race 2 Winner: Steve Banal
City Chevrolet Performance Heat Race 3 Winner: Brandon White