Old Dominion Speedway / April 28, 2001

McFarland, Kestermann, Victorious In Twin 35’s ……..

It’s a night many race drivers dread. But it’s something that just has to happen. Twin 35’s. Saturday night at the Old Dominion Speedway, the scheduled event was just that. Up and down pit road, drivers were ready, but just as ready to get the evening done and over with. Kind of like when the Winston Cup drivers arrive at Daytona or Talladega. Twenty two NASCAR Weekly Racing Series Late Model Stock Cars lined up on the front stretch at the famed 3/8 mile oval, and took the green flag on the chilly evening. And when the dust had settled, Andreas Kestermann from Woodbridge Va. and Mark McFarland from Winchester Va. stood tall in victory lane. For Kestermann, it was his first ever Late Model victory after making the transition from the Grand Stocks a few years ago. And for McFarland, it was his third victory in 2001, notching win number 28 since 1999.
In these short, sprint races, track position means everything. Kestermann showed the field his rear bumper from the start, as he led flag to flag from the pole. The issue everyone was watching as Kestermann stretched his lead, was McFarland battling his way from his sixth starting spot. One by one he put his competitors behind him until he got to young Dustin Storm. Storm and McFarland waged a classic battle for second, with McFarland taking the spot late in the event. But Storm was not through, and grabbed the spot back from the defending Old Dominion Speedway champ. Kestermann in the meantime had built up a comfortable lead, and crossed the stripe several car lengths ahead of the young duo. Storm held on for second, while McFarland, Mike Colabucci, and Eric Corbett rounded out the top five.
Race number two got off to a bad start as Colabucci and Corbett tangled on the front straight as the field took the green. Colabucci’s car ended up taking the brunt of the incident, with heavy damage to the right side of his Chevy. After Colabucci exited his car, he made his way to the Corbett machine, and after a heated exchange, Colabucci was escorted from the speedway, and Corbett was parked for the night. The green final waved with Dustin Storm taking the top spot. He seeming had the race in the bag, but he spun his machine in turn three, without any apparent contact, which handed the lead over to McFarland. McFarland then had to hold off the charges of Kestermann, who had made up a lot of ground in the waning laps. But Kestermann ran out of time, and had to follow McFarland across the stripe for second. Mike Darne, making the transition from Grand Stocks to late Models this season, picked up his third top five finish in 2001, coming home third. Ricky Exline and Dave Moon rounded out the top five.
If twin 35’s are not bad enough, try twin 25’s. That’s just what was on the schedule for the Redman Fleet Service Grand Stock. Fourteen Grand Stocks showed up for their sprint races, and after 21 years of racing at ODS, Jimmy Hardin from Pomfret Md. finally got that elusive win. The veteran took the lead early in the first of the two events, and never looked back as he took home the popular win. Jerry Black, last season’s Rookie of the Year, finished second, while Willard Lawrence, Chris Donnelly, and Jack Crocker rounded out the top five. In race number two, Chris Donnelly from Stafford Va took his backup car to victory lane after having problems with his primary car in practice. Donnelly held off a hard charging Willard Lawrence for his second win in 2001. Finishing in third behind Lawrence was Hardin, followed by Black, and Crocker.
Dave Kontney from Manassas Park Va., driving in his first full season, picked up the emotional win in the 30 lap D&K Electric / Aldie Construction Mini Stock feature. From the start, it appeared that Kontney had the car to beat. When the checkers dropped, he led the second place finisher Adam Flis to the stripe by some five car lengths. "I want to dedicate this win to my sister, who passed away recently. This one’s for you," a teary eyed Kontney expressed in victory lane. Rounding out the top five was Bill Briggs, J.J.Gertler, and defending track champ Steve Loughman. Dave Gibbs from Sumerduck Va. used his patented move to overtake defending track champ Scott Lunceford with just a few laps to go, taking home win number two on the season in the Gaston Automotive Speedway Sportsman 25 lap feature. Gibbs worked his way through the field and passed Lunceford on the outside, then stretched his lead over the final circuits. Lunceford held on for second, while rookie James Lucas, Les Miranda, and Jamie DeMattio rounded out the top five.
In a special 30 lap Baby Grand feature, Mark McFarland, yes the same Mark McFarland that has dominated ODS for the past few years, picked up the win for the 1300 cc water cooled machines. McFarland set the tone early as he was the fastest in qualifying with a 16.1 lap. He then took the lead on lap five, and lapped the entire field with the exception of the second place machine driven by Eric King. When asked if he had ever driven a Baby Grand before, McFarland calmly stated, " Alvin Hatcher let me drive it yesterday (Friday) in practice and asked if would want to drive it tonight. That was the first time I has ever driven one."
Next Saturday night, the Old Dominion Speedway oval will be closed, but a two SBRA Drag Racing program is set for Friday night and Saturday. The NASCAR Weekly Racing Series returns to the oval on Saturday night, May 12 with twin 50 lap features for the Late Models, a 50 lap event for the Grand Stocks, 30 laps for the Mini Stocks, 25 laps for the Speedway Sportsman, and a special event for the Classic Cars. Lustine Chevrolet Quick Qualifying begins at 5:15 PM, with racing action set for 7:00 PM.




Photos Courtesy Of Speedway Images