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Walls enjoys first taste of victory

Rookie wins Late Model Sportsman feature in Hagerstown

August 23, 2010|By C.J. LOVELACE/Staff Correspondent
  • Rodney Walls celebrates his victory at Hagerstown Speedway on Saturday night.
Photo courtesy of WRT Speedwerx,

A son showed his father a thing or two Saturday night.

Mobbed by family and supporters in Victory Lane, Rodney Walls did something he'd never done before at Hagerstown Speedway -- win a Late Model Sportsman feature.

A rookie after moving up from the Pure Stock division this season, Walls, 21, of St. Thomas, Pa., led flag-to-flag to earn an emotional first win.

"That car was great," said Walls after jumping off the roof of his orange No. 85 machine. "It was just awesome."

Runner-up Ashley Barrett, who was clicking off laps quicker than anyone about midway through the 20-lap feature, gave Walls a run in the closing laps, but the rookie was able to hold him off by about half a straightaway.

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Going through a range of emotions, Walls got a little choked up during his Victory Lane interview.

"I got to thank my mom and dad," he said. "If it wasn't for them, I wouldn't be here doing this."

His father, Richard Walls, who finished ninth, pulled up right behind his son's No. 85 with his own green No. 85.

"He always says I give him the second car out of the garage," said Richard with a laugh. "He proved me wrong tonight."

Scott Palmer, Terry Flaherty and Kyle Lear completed the top five. Paul Cursey, Donnie Farlling, points leader Pete Weaver, the elder Walls and Ryan Walls rounded out the top 10 of a three-caution and one-red-flag race.

Mike Walls, who contended for the lead with cousin Rodney on Lap 8, hit hard into the wall in Turn 3 on Lap 14, bringing the cars to a stop on the front stretch. He would be OK, but two tow trucks were needed to deposit his heavily damaged racecar back in the pit area.

Both Richard and Rodney Walls won their respective heat races earlier in the night, while Mike Walls took the other.

In Pure Stocks action, points leader Mike Warrenfeltz put some more distance on the rest of the pack Saturday, earning the 15-lap win, his eighth of the season.

Warrenfeltz was nowhere to be seen around the front last week, saying it was like he was "out to lunch," but they got it figured out this week.

"This week we all went in the garage and put it right back like it used to be, and the car's gotten a lot better for us tonight," said Warrenfeltz, who is in line for his fifth Pure Stock track championship.

Warrenfeltz said he knew he had the car to beat by Lap 2, and he was able to hold off runner-up Darrin Younker and third-place finisher Steve Lowery, who came from the 19th starting spot.

"I knew I couldn't make a mistake because of points," he said. "I want to win this championship then there's not going to be anymore."

Danny Beavers and Kevin Koontz completed the top five. Dave Stouffer Jr., Wayne Hawbaker, Charlie Pensinger, Kenny Day and Charlie Rupert rounded out the top 10.

Pure Stock heat race winners were Beavers, Younker and Stouffer Jr.

With the wins, both feature victors are now qualified for the fourth annual Small Car Nationals, set to take place Sept. 17-18 at the speedway.

To cap off the night, 14 drivers took part in the 24th annual Tommy Thompson demolition derby, much to the delight of the fans. Steve Thompson's blue station wagon outlasted all other competitors in the crash 'em up affair, taking the trophy and $500 pay day.

This coming Saturday will be the 30th annual running of the Shorty Bowers/Bull Durham Championship for the Late Models with a 30-lap feature. Late Model Sportsman and Pure Stocks will be in action as well.

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