Eddie Johnson Wins Finale but Chris Dodson Takes the Title
Midloathion, VA — Nineteen late models rolled in to the Toughest Short Track in the South for the season finale on a hot Friday evening outside the state’s capital. Steve Zuskin came into the night sitting second place behind Chris Dodson by four points.
Dodson set fast time in practifying with a 15.185 second lap time with the always fast Eddie Johnson tying him on the last lap of the session. The pole, and the single point for winning it, was given to Dodson based off of series points. Steve Zuskin qualified ninth after having to do some repairs to his car from earlier in the day. They pulled a three car invert putting Bugs Hairfield out in front of the field.
Early on there would be a wreck involving a few cars and Zuskin would narrowly miss it and would improve his position up to sixth. On the restart Bugs would have to fend Eddie off of the top line where he has been able to run well this season. By the ninth lap Johnson would get in line and start applying pressure to Bugs’ bumped. Eddie gets by him and Bugs falls to third while the caution comes out on lap 17 for Woodie Ellington spinning in turn 1.
Barely a lap after the restart Andrew Dean got turned around in turn 3 smashing in some fenders of other drivers. Bugs took advantage of this caution to try and get a grip on his ill-handling car. The top-5 at this point was Eddie, Dodson, Brad Davis, Zuskin, and Rookie of the Year Grayson Cullather. Another lap of racing and another caution flag would fly, this time for RotY runner up Daniel Thomas getting spun out.
Eddie Johnson had the restarts locked down all night, easily clearing Dodson by turn one. Thomas and Zuskin pulled in to end their nights on a lap 21 caution after a couple green flag laps, giving Dodson the series championship.
On lap 27 Dodson started to put some pressure on the rear of Eddie and even while racing hard for the lead they were still clearing the field pretty well. Caution flies again on lap 31 for Rusty Wood spinning out of turn 4. With five laps remaining Raymond Pittman and Cullather get together putting Greg Fernandez and Andrew Dean into the top-5.
Eddie kept on top of the restarts and would cruise to the checkered flag to cap off a very successful partial season that he ran in the 43 car. Fernandez gave all he had to Davis but could not get around him for third place.
Chris Dodson won his 8th track championship with 6 wins on the season and Steve Zuskin wrapped up second on the season while Greg Fernandez finished in third in his final season of racing.
This season the late model division grew large at Southside Speedway with lots of new drivers and a couple of the old drivers coming back out. Next season should be pretty competitive as some of the young guns come back with a year of experience under their belts.
1. Eddie Johnson
2. Chris Dodson
3. Brad Davis
4. Greg Fernandez
5. Andrew Dean
6. Mike Payne
7. Michael Suthpin
8. Cole Walker
9. Rusty Wood
10. Raymond Pittman III
11. Grayson Cullather
12. Woddy Ellington
13. Doug Mundy
14. Matt Ashworth
15. Bugs Hairfield
16. Steve Zuskin
17. Sonny Allen
18. Howie Disavino
19. Daniel Thomas