Saunders Fourth Place Finish Good Enough for Second INEX Legends Title at Larry King Law’s Langley Speedway.
Hampton, VA – Spencer Saunders, of Carrollton, Virginia, entered the final night of the season at Larry King Law’s Langley Speedway as the Cycle City Corp Legends points leader by just three points over Newport News native, Brian May. Cody Carlton, Zach Lightfoot, and Colby Flowers found themselves in the top five but just too far out of reach with just one race to go. Every position in the final 25-lap feature of the year was going to be critical for both.
Tommy Jackson Jr., who started the 2017 campaign on the wrong side of the bad luck bar, turned things around mid-summer as he collected the win in the INEX National Qualifier during the 9th Annual Hampton Heat sat on the pole with a sub eighteen-second lap. Carlton would qualify second followed by Brian May and Spencer Saunders. Carlton would take the lead away from Jackson for a few laps but Jackson was not going to be denied on this night. He would go on to pick up the win. Running a conservative race and crossing the line in fourth was enough for Saunders to clinch his second division championship.
We caught up with Spencer this past week to talk with him about his season and his second championship of his Legends career. 2017 was no cakewalk by any means either. With the speedway opening back up the Legends field saw a massive increase in competitors from previous years, making the win that much sweeter for Saunders.
“I think we average all the races out and the average car count was about fourteen cars,” Saunders told The Weekly Racer. “It means a lot to me because I didn’t just beat one or two other cars for the title. I mean we had four or five guys who could easily win week in and week and out. It means a lot to us to say that this year, we were the cream of the crop.”
The success this season, however, did not come easy for Saunders and his family. In fact, the last race they ran at Langley before the season opened this year was back in 2014 – a race he won as a matter of fact. With car counts dwindling in the Legend series, Saunders was faced with the tough decision to run at other tracks.
“We traveled a bunch to places like Shenandoah and Kenly in 2015,” Saunders explained. “Langley just didn’t have the car we were looking to run against. In 2016 we ran at Shenandoah and went to Nationals in Connecticut and got wrecked up there but nothing full time by any means. After that, we bought a brand new car and brand new everything. I told everyone at the start of the year, everything about this car is brand new besides the seat and the driver. I was hoping to myself that we didn’t need a new one of those.”
Saunders went on to tell The Weekly Racer that taking that time off last year really took the pressure off of him and team. They came into 2017 completely stress-free and not even planning to run for points, just glad to be back home. That all changed when he picked up his first win of the season.
“Things changed when we got that win,” Saunders went on to say. “I think that win put us in a tie with Brian May for the lead. After that happened Dad and I basically agreed that somebody was going to have to take it from us if they wanted it more than we did.”
With the 2017 season coming to a close Saunders might look towards Kenly, North Carolina for one final race this season at the annual Thanksgiving Classic with a couple of random races in-between as long as things plan out, however, nothing is set in stone just yet for them.
2017 Final INEX Legends Points:
|4||Zach Lightfoot (R)||7L||204|
|5||Tommy Jackson, Jr.||87||187|