Mark McFarland Takes Home The Big Payday………………….

Mark McFarland from Winchester Va. took home the biggest payday in the history of the Old Dominion Speedway Saturday night by winning “The Big One”, a 200 lap feature event for the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series Late Model Stock Cars. McFarland led the final 120 circuits, around the famed 3/8 mile oval, taking home the checkers for the 7th time in 8 events run thus far in the 2003 season, taking home the $10,000 first prize.
Once again, qualifying was led by McFarland on the high 90’s afternoon, as he circled the slick high banked oval in 15.706 seconds (85.954 MPH), taking home the $200.00 bonus put up by Jimmy Hardin was the surprise second fastest qualifier, circling the 3/8 mile oval in 15.847 seconds (85.190 MPH). His previous best qualifying effort was 4th on 2 occasions. Mike Colabucci qualified   3rd quickest with a 15.875 lap (85.039 MPH), Mike Southard was 4th quickest with a 15.887 lap (84.975 MPH), while Frank Deiny Jr. came back to ODS for the first time in while and posted the 5th quickest lap of 15.895 (84.932 MPH).
The green flag dropped on the 27 car field, and it did not take long for Deiny to jump to the front and lead the charge of Late Models around the speedway. McFarland stayed within 5 car lengths behind Deiny throughout the first 50 laps of the event. By lap 80, it was time for McFarland to make his move. Coming out of turn 4, McFarland dove to the inside, and took over the lead heading into turn one. From that point on, Deiny attempted to stay on McFarland’s rear bumper, but the Popeye’s Dodge was just too strong. McFarland appeared to be breezing home to yet another win, but with only a handful of laps remaining, Richard Boswell Jr’s Chevy started billowing heavy smoke from the rear of the car. He was black flagged for 3 laps, electing to ignore the instruction. The frontstraight became a smoke-filled mess, the yellow was displayed, and the race was eventually stopped at lap 198. New ODS management has elected to “not have a race end under yellow” so once the race resumed, it would be a green-white-checker finish. This gave Deiny one last shot, but he came up 2 car lengths shy at the end. The top five finishers were McFarland, Deiny, Mike Colabucci, Phil Warren, and Stan Owens.
Chris Donnelly took over the lead from early leader Ron Jardine, and picked up his 3rd win in the last 4 events in the 50 lap Redman Fleet Service Grand Stock feature. Willard Lawrence battled back to finish 2nd, while Dave Zech, Jerry Black, and Mark Miller rounded out the top 5.
Next Saturday night is “US Army Night” at the Old Dominion Speedway. Racing  includes twin 50 lap Late Model features, a 50 lap Grand Stock event, along with 30 laps for the Mini Stocks, and 25 laps for the Speedway Sportsman. Qualifying begins at 5:15 PM, with racing action set for 7:00 PM.