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Miller turns late-lap pass into season-opening win at Speedway

April 03, 2011|By C.J. LOVELACE | cj.lovelace@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN — Sometimes a little blocking can go a long way in the closing laps of a race. All over the rear bumper of early leader Josh Richards, Jeremy Miller of Littlestown, Pa., used a screen of lapped cars to sneak by on the high side as he led the final two laps to earn a season-opening Late Model victory on a cold Saturday night at Hagerstown Speedway. A two-car battle for most of the 25-lap race, Miller kept pace throughout, but couldn’t quite put together a run to get by a super-fast Richards, who is the defending World of Outlaw Late Models champion and last year¿s opening day winner. His patience paid off coming out of Turn 4 as he took the white, and then checkered flags. “If you¿re the leader — it¿s happened to me before ¿ you have all the wrong places to go. You have everything to lose and the guy in second has everything to gain,” Miller said of his pass. ¿And that¿s what happened here. But we had a car that was maneuverable and I couldn¿t say enough about (it).¿ The win, Miller¿s 18th at Hagerstown, moves him into a tie for ninth all-time in Late Model victories at the track. Richards and Alan Sagi of Hagerstown finished second and third, followed by top 5 finishes for Jerry Bard and Roy Deese Jr., who came up from the 14th starting spot. Tyler Hershey, Duane Harbaugh, Jamie Lathroum, Denny Bonebrake and Nick Dickson rounded out the top 10. Defending Late Model champion Frankie Plessinger finished a quiet 12th. In another epic two-car battle, defending Late Model Sportsman track champion Pete Weaver of Williamsport got his 2011 campaign off to a good start, posting his first win of the season by holding off furious efforts from Andy Fries, a three-time division champ, in their 20-lap feature. Weaver grabbed the lead on the drop of the green, but Fries kept within a few cars lengths for the majority of the race, even leading Lap 13. After Chaz Walls slowed in Turn 4 and brought out the caution on Lap 15, it set up a 5-lap showdown for the win. Side-by-side for the final few circuits, even making contact several times, Weaver edged Fries by about a half car-length at the stripe for his 18th career win at Hagerstown. In Pure Stocks action earlier in the night, Chambersburg, Pa., driver Steve Lowery overtook Dave Stouffer Jr. on Lap 10 and never looked back on his way to a 15-lap feature win, his second career victory. Mike Warrenfeltz, 2010 track champion of the division, was not in attendance Saturday. He has said he will not contend for a title this year and only plans to race at Hagerstown for occasion feature wins. In the nightcap, Kenny Thomas of Greencastle, Pa., claimed the first-ever 15-lap Hobby Stock Cruiser division feature after he got by Brandon Churchey and led the final three laps. Churchey was disqualified in post-race checks because his tires didn¿t pass final inspection, according to track officials. The division replaces last year¿s Enduro cars and is the fourth championship division running at Hagerstown this season. Racing returns next Saturday with another regular show featuring Late Models, Late Model Sportsman and Pure Stocks. Warmups begin at 7 p.m.

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