WINCHESTER, Va. – The Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Dirt Late Model Touring Series presented by Pace Performance visited Winchester Speedway Saturday for the finale of the second Battle of the Bay Speedweek presented by Wehrs Machine & Racing Parts.
For the second straight year, Logan Roberson closed out Speedweek victorious at his home track; however, this year, Roberson wasn’t able to overcome Max Blair for the $1,000 title.
Roberson inherited the lead after race-long leader Ross Robinson lost a driveshaft, but yielded the lead to Blair when racing resumed on lap 20. He then outdueled Blair on the following lap to regain the top spot and went on to his first series win of the season.
Roberson earned $3,225 for his night’s work, along with a Sunoco five-gallon race jug and $500 for his runner-up finish in Speedweek points.
“We had something in our playbook,” revealed the 21-year-old Waynesboro, Va., standout when asked if he had anything for leader Robinson. “My dad was signaling me to slow down and wait for lapped traffic to hopefully get him. He (Robinson) was very good. I hate to see that bad break for him, but we’ll take it any way possible.
“We’ve had a great season so far. We struggled the first two nights of the Battle of the Bay and wasn’t as good as I wanted to be, but we came home and took the win,” Roberson added. “It feels good to win here for me and my family; it’s awesome.”
Following torrential rains on Friday night that washed out round three of Speedweek at Potomac Speedway, sunshine and mild conditions returned for Winchester, as 44 race teams from seven different states and one Canadian province participated.
After passing Roberson to win the dash, Robinson took off in the lead over Roberson and Blair at the start of the 30-lap feature, which was initially aborted twice by multi-car accidents.
Following a caution with eight laps scored for Dale Hollidge, Matt Hill moved past Jeremy Wonderling for fifth. Robinson had about a half-straightaway lead on Roberson when he caught lapped traffic on lap 19.
That lead would shrink the following lap until Robinson came up lame in turn three after losing the driveshaft.
Roberson then inherited the lead over Blair, Devin Brannon, Hill, and Wonderling. Another caution slowed things when Brannon spun and collected Jennae Piper with 19 laps scored.
When racing resumed, Roberson and Blair were side-by-side the entire lap with Blair using the outside to nose ahead to lead the 20th circuit, while Jeremy Wonderling and Charlie Sandercock passed Hill for third and fourth.
Blair was unable to maintain the lead on lap 21, as Roberson made the inside work to snatch the lead for good.
The last 11 laps went caution-free as Roberson pulled away from Blair every lap to take the checkered flag first by 2.051 seconds for his third Winchester win of the season in four starts and fourth overall in RUSH-sanctioned competition.
The victory was Roberson’s third career in Sweeney Tour action and came in the Dirt Defender/BTS Towing Service/Russ King Racing/Wynbridge/Swift Springs/Zmax/Virginia Motor Speedway-sponsored No. 17.
Though Blair was disappointed with his second place run, he’ll leave the Mid-Atlantic with approximately $9,925 in earnings in just three nights and takes the Sweeney Tour point lead to his home tracks of Stateline and Eriez next month.
“We were a little free, but I think it was maybe the tire difference,” explained Blair. “He had a different tire on than I did. We were alright. I think we had a shot at it if there was a little more room getting off turn two on that last restart, but it is what it is. Those guys are always tough here and you know that when you come here so congrats to them.
“The points came into it during the race. I knew when Ross was leading if I could finish third I’d still win it, but if I got passed I wouldn’t,” Blair added. “He then broke a driveshaft and it went everywhere. I hit some pieces and was hoping it didn’t hurt anything under the car. I knew once that happened I had some breathing room for the points and could race hard for the win.”
For the second straight year, Wonderling ended Speedweek with a podium finish. The defending Sweeney Tour champion has now finished in the top 12 of all seven Speedweek races over the past two years.
Sam Pennacchio closed out Speedweek by capturing the Non-Qualifier victory in his Duguay Haulage-sponsored No. 311, dominating the 10-lap, caution-free affair.
The Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada racer earned $200 and became the 35th different winner in 41 races run all-time in the Wheelman Bonus Event Challenge Series.
1. Logan Roberson, 2. Max Blair, 3. Jeremy Wonderling, 4. Charlie Sandercock, 5. Matt Hill, 6. Matt Latta, 7. Jakob Piper, 8. Kyle Lukon, 9. Nick Davis, 10. Braeden Dillinger, 11. Darrell Bossard, 12. Michael Duritsky Jr., 13. Jason Genco, 14. J.J. Mazur, 15. Billy Beachler, 16. Jennae Piper, 17. Amanda Whaley, 18. Jonathan Raley, 19. Levi Crowl, 20. Bill Kessler, 21. Devin Brannon, 22. Ross Robinson, 23. Tyler Bare, 24. Steve Lowery, 25. Dale Hollidge, 26. Trevor Feathers.