BARBERVILLE, Fla. — When Rick Laubach pulled his Enders-powered No. 7 TEO chassis out of victory lane yesterday, a crowd of a couple dozen people followed him. His extended family gathered around his pit stall after the race to help him celebrate his first victory in the state.
“My family lives down in Fort Lauderdale,” said Laubach. “When I come here it’s like a little bit of a reunion. I get to see my niece, my sister, and everybody. My parents come down and it’s fun.”
They were all there to watch him beat big-block modified legend Danny Johnson to the finish line Friday for the third of four Super DIRTcar Series features during UNOH DIRTcar Nationals presented by Summit Racing Equipment at Volusia Speedway Park.
“It really feels awesome. I knew we felt good tonight coming here and it couldn’t get any better,” said Laubach. “It means a little more to us, I guess.”
Laubach’s success started early Friday, clocking the fastest lap in timed hot laps at 17.610 seconds. He won his heat and a lucky redraw let him pick the outside pole starting position. He took the lead at the green, and kept it through 30 laps and four cautions.
Although he never relinquished his top spot, the race was a nail-biter for Laubach. Danny Johnson, who started on the inside pole, kept his 27J bumper-to-bumper with Laubach through every turn, determined to pull off his second Volusia win of 2013. Unfortunately for “the Doctor,” Laubach was strong on restarts, taking the outside every time, and unflinching during green laps.
“He’s fast, and he’s already got a win as well, so he’s comfortable,” Laubach said. “We’ve never won down here before — been close once — and I could feel him there.”
“I would move down a little on the starts to take away any kind of slide job from him, and then I would just get comfortable back on the outside and go.”
Finishing third Friday was Pete Britten, whose success at UNOH DIRTcar Nationals presented by Summit Racing Equipment, includes another third-place finish and a fourth. Britten drove from 13th on the starting grid to third at the checkered.
H. J. Bunting III and Stewart Friesen completed the top five.
Rich Laubach, Danny Johnson, Pete Britten, H.J. Bunting III, Stewart Friesen, Brett Hearn, Alan Johnson, Francois Bernier, Matt Sheppard, Tim Fuller, Mat Williamson, Justin Haers, Billy VanInwegen, Dan Vauter, Bruno LaPage, Mario Clair, Neal Williams, Roger Chrysler, Randy Chrysler, Rob Bellinger, Dave Allen, Kevin Bates, Jamie Mills, Kyle Sheldon, Andy Bachetti, Jimmy Horton.