Special to the Register & Bee
SOUTH BOSTON — Austin Thaxton scored his first win of the season Saturday night, slipping past Mike Jones on lap 46 following a restart and fending off a late bid from Trey Crews to win the Halifax Insurance Presents Whelen NASCAR Late Model 100 at South Boston Speedway.
The win, Thaxton’s 10th career NASCAR Whelen All American Series Late Model Stock Car Division victory at South Boston Speedway, came by a margin of 1.429- second. With the victory, Thaxton became the fifth different winner in the division this season.
Crews, of Halifax, finished second with Thomas Scott, of Efland, North Carolina, Chad McCumbee and Stuart Crews, of Long Island, rounding out the top five finishers.
There were five lead changes among four different drivers in the 100-lap race that was punctuated by eight caution periods and some intense there-wide racing among the race leaders twice during the first half of the race.
Thaxton saw a relatively comfortable lead over Crews evaporate with the race’s final caution flag with 12 laps left. The South Boston native chose to restart the race on the outside of the front row, got a good start and quickly pulled away from Crews to seal the win.
Former NASCAR national champions Lee Pulliam, of Alton, and Peyton Sellers, of Danville, were in the hunt early, but incidents in the race took them out of contention for the win. Sellers hung on to finish seventh. Pulliam finished last in the 16-car field.
Jacob Borst, of Elon, North Carolina, and Daniel Moss, of Danville, split wins in Saturday night’s twin 25-lap Limited Sportsman Division races.
Borst earned his second win of the season with a flag-to-flag win in the opening race. The North Carolinian dominated the action, speeding across the finish line 5.206 seconds ahead of runner-up Danny Willis Jr., of South Boston. Moss finished third, with Eric Winslow, of Pelham, North Carolina, and Drew Dawson, of Nathalie, rounding out the top-five finishers.
Moss picked up his fourth win of the season in the nightcap, and like Borst did in the opener, earned the win by going flag-to-flag.
Moss pulled away from Winslow in a 10-lap dash to the finish following the last of the race’s three caution periods, winning by almost a full second. Willis, Dawson and Landon Pembelton, of Amelia, rounded out the top-five finishers.
Nathan Crews, of Long Island, continued his winning ways in the Budweiser Pure Stock Division by sweeping the night’s pair of 15-lap races.
The two wins by Crews give him five wins in the eight races that have been run in the division thus far this season.
Crews went flag-to-flag in both races, edging Jordan Pickrel, of Keeling, by 4.973 seconds in the opener, with Halifax residents Randy Hupp, Bruce Mayo and Scott Phillips rounding out the top-five finishers.
In the nightcap, Crews drove to a 2.6-second win over Mayo, with Pickrel, Hupp and Phillips completing the top-five finishers.
Steven Layne, of Nathalie, grabbed the lead from Donald Clay on the second lap and drove to victory in the 15-lap Budweiser Hornets Division race.
The win was Layne’s third of the season at South Boston Speedway.
Justin Dawson, of Nathalie, finished second with Josh Dawson, of Halifax, Kevin Currin, of Chase City, and Aaron Cash, of South Boston, rounding out the top-five finishers.
South Boston Speedway will stage one of its biggest events of the 2019 season June 29 as the track hosts its annual Pre-Fourth of July extravaganza, the Thunder Road Harley-Davidson Presented by Grand Atlantic Ocean Resort NASCAR Whelen Late Model 200 racing program.
A 200-lap race for the region’s NASCAR Whelen All American Series Late Model Stock Car Division competitors paying $10,000 to the winner headlines the night’s four-race card.
The night’s schedule also includes a 75-lap Limited Sportsman Division race, a 40-lap race for the Budweiser Pure Stock Division and a 20-lap race for the Budweiser Hornets Division.
At the conclusion of the night’s racing action, fans will be treated to a dazzling and colorful Fourth of July fireworks show to round out the night.
Advance tickets priced at $15 each will be available at the South Boston Speedway office until 5 p.m. June 28. Tickets at the gate on race day will be $20 for adults. Children ages 12 and younger will be admitted free with a paid adult.
For more information, visit www.southbostonspeedway.com.