ALBANY, Ga. — William Thomas only led 200 feet of the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series Spring Nationals 40 at Albany Motor Speedway, but it was the distance from the exit of turn four to the checkered flag.
Thomas picked up his eighth career NeSmith Chevrolet DLMS win Friday night in the L.W. Miller Land and Timber Special.
Jake Teague led for 39.7 laps in the Wade’s Body Shop Special, but settled for second-place and the VP Racing Fuels Rookie of the Race Award. The lead was exchanged on the final turn of the final lap in heavy lapped traffic.
Teague went to the bottom of the track to try and clear the lapped car of Thomas Lewis, and that opened door for Thomas. Teague tried to move back to the high side, but Thomas was there. The top two cars made contact, but Thomas had a run and beat Teague to the checkered flag by .246 seconds.
“When Teague looked to the inside to try and get around the lapped car, that gave me my only chance to by him coming off the high side of turn four on the last lap,” Thomas said. “When we came off the corner, I was coming back down from the high side, Teague was coming up from the inside, and I beat him to the flag.”
Although he was disappointed not to get the win, Teague felt fortunate to have done as well as he did because after the race, he reported a valve train problem the developed halfway through the race.
“During one of the caution flags, William pulled up alongside me, and I kept waiting for him to drive by because my engine fell off the pace halfway through the race,” Teague said. “As long as I was running the high side, I could stay up front, but when I went to the bottom to pass the lapped car, I just didn’t have what I needed to get off the corner. We’ll change engines and be ready to go again for tomorrow night’s race.”
Chase Edge, who was the fast qualifier, Larry Harrod and Matthew Turner filled the top five.
William Thomas, Jake Teague, Chase Edge, Larry Harrod, Matthew Turner, Anthony White, Justin Summers, Anthony Sanders, Dan Breuer, Johnny Stokes, David Earl Gentry, Dennis Franklin, Frank Wilson, Michael Blount, Lavon Sloan, Chris Cantrell, Tom Maddox, Steve Cooke, Thomas Lewis, Mark Tice, Kelly Walker, J.R. Moseley, Kitt Sealy, Travis Stone.