Rusty Daniels Back to Victory in Over A Year in the 2017 Southern National Spooktacular
Lucama, NC – It had been since Memorial Day weekend of 2016 that Rusty Daniels was in victory lane at Southern National Motorsports Park. Leading a race-high 83-laps Daniels dominated the Limited Late Model portion of the 4th Annual Spooktacular presented by NCDOT Click-it-or-ticket.
Daniels, from Alliance, North Carolina, started the 100-lap feature from the pole position posting the fastest time – 16.310 seconds – earlier in the afternoon during group qualifying. 2017 Shenandoah track champ Mini Tyrell rolled off the grid in the second position followed by Jonathan Cash, Paul Williamson, and John Jones. Daniels threw caution to the wind once the green flag was displayed and immediately pulled away from the rest of the field. Daniels would go on to lead all fifty laps of the first half of the race.
Daniels was regulated to the fourth spot for the second half the feature after Southern National officials let one lucky race fan pick the invert. JD Eversole would inherit the race lead and do a fine job holding onto it for several laps. Mini Tyrell, who had been running in the second position the entire first half of the race, was able to get under and around Eversole to take the race lead. It took Daniels just seventeen laps to get back up to the front of the field passing Tyrell for the lead. Daniels was not in the clear, however, as he had to hold off several late race restarts to hang onto the win.
“It’s very special,” Daniels said in victory lane about the win. “We brought a different car that we have never run here and we tested two weeks ago, this was the first time I have been on the track with it. It’s an eleven-year-old car but it drives like its brand new. We work hard on this stuff. I can’t thank all of my family and everybody enough that helps me with this.”
An emotional win for Daniels for sure as longtime friend Andy Smith and spotter was back on the radio as his eyes in the sky after two years.
“It’s nothing like connecting with someone on the radio,” Daniels went on to say. “We have raced a lot of years together. He had a couple surgeries and just couldn’t get back to the track but we broke him in right and won the race the first night he’s been back. I just can’t thank them enough for all they have done in my life for racing.”
Daniels went on to tell The Weekly Racer that he wasn’t too concerned with the invert itself but the people that were around him after the invert, citing that he had not raced around them that much and was hard to judge how much you can actually trust them. He also went on to say the crew made no adjustments during the five-minute break.
Jessica Jones, running a Lee Pulliam Performance prepared ride, capitalized on the final caution by avoiding the big wreck that happened in turn two as well as got a great restart with just five laps to go. Dana would take advantage of Tyrell’s slip out of turn four to finish in the second position. John Jones, father of Clay Jones, Minny Tyrell, and Jonathan Cash – who actually caught a piece of the wreck there at the end of the race – rounded out the top five finishers.
Limited Late Model Spooktacular UNOFFICIAL Results;
- #16 Rusty Daniels; 100
- #9 Jessica Dana; 100
- #15 John Jones; 100
- #81 Mini Tyrell; 100
- #40 Jonathan Cash; 100
- #1y Darren Cockram; 100
- #61 Jonathan Kornegay; 99
- #1 Tony Grady; 95
- #29 Paul Williamson; 95
- #98 JD Eversole; 95
- #61 Michael Obrien; 95
- #19 Cameron Bowen; 35
- #20 Wesley Hawkins; 25