Chris Dodson Late Race Pass Earns Himself the Win and his Ninth Late Model Series Championship

Top three drivers and Rookie of the Year celebrate in victory lane at the conclusion of the 2018 season at Southside Speedway. Drivers from left to right: John Goin, Mason Bailey, Howie Disavino, Chris Dodson. (Justin Kern/TheWeeklyRacer.com)

Midlothian, VA – Within the last 48-hours everyone here in the Mid-Atlantic area have had their eye on the weather. To be honest with you, Mother Nature has reared her ugly head plenty of time this season.

She tired to put a damper on this evenings championship evening, however, Southside was not going to be denied even after heavy rains rolled through the area ending practice early and ultimately nixing qualifying. During the drivers meeting, the top five in points pulled pills to create the invert and Eddie Johnson lucked out and got the right to lead the field to the green. Rookie of the Year contender John Goin would start to his outside followed by Mason Bailey, Chris Dodson, and Howie Disavino.

Eddie Johnson, the veteran Late Model Stock Car driver that he is, got a great start and led the field down into turn one. Goin, however, did not get going as fast as the rest of everyone else. Mason Bailey and Chris Dodson jumped on the hiccup faster than you could blink your eye, taking the second and third positions respectively. With Eddie Johnson sporting a two-second second lead over Dodson the battle was on for positions three through seven.

While Disavino, Bailey, Martz, Davis, and Hopkins were all fighting bumper-to-bumper and even door-to-door Chris Dodson caught the race leader the hard way – under green. Dodson was able to close the two-second gap from lap eleven down to just a couple of feet with just three laps left in the 2018 season. The pass for the lead actually came in turn four after Dodson looked to use the famous bump and run technique to get by. Johnson had to chase the car up the hill and Dodson down the front stretch looking to return the favor. However, it was not enough, Dodson would go on to take the race win by about two cars lengths. The win, though not needed to win the championship, just helped solidified Dodson’s dominance at the “toughest short track in the south.”

Behind the duo, Chris Hopkins was able to take the third position followed by Brad Davis, and Justin Martz. Though John Goin rounded out the field in the eleventh spot, he was able to earn the Rookie of the Year title.

“Oh man. You deal with time and it eventually runs out you know,” an emotional Chris Dodson in victory lane to accept his trophy. “I know a lot of people don’t like me but I just put everything I ever had. This place has always been very special to me. To have the twelve-year run that we have had when I started we were terrible, Sonny Hutchen told me I would never ever amount to anything if I didn’t stop wrecking. To win nine championships and seventy-two wins its very humbling. I am so blessed to do this, I really am. My guys just work so hard, and Williamsburg Honda, I feel like I am obligated to just race so hard. I know that might step on some people’s toes. But these parents of these of these kids coming up should be really proud.”

Dodson went on to thank more of the people that helped make the season happen. He also made mention that he did not know what 2019 held for him. He did hint that he would come back and make a run for a seventh win in a row from the JM Wilkinson Memorial race that is run on opening night.

Howie Disavino, who has worked his way up from the Arena Racing USA ranks, was able to finish second in the points after a handful of poles wins throughout the season.

“The redraw just wasn’t my friend this year,” Disavino said in victory lane. “We got up there [the front of the field] a couple times but the invert hurt us.” Disavino put up one heck of a fight this year finishing between two drivers that have been behind the wheel twice as long as he has been on this earth. “Congrats to Chris [Dodson] on that ninth championship. Got to thank TORP Chassis for the fast race cars. It was great to race with Chris and Eddie.”

Mason Bailey, who had a very impressive rookie season in 2017, was able to collect at least one win this season and put up solid runs to finish third in the final points standings.

“I wake up blessed to drive these cars every day,” Bailey said. “Shout out to all my guys and all of our business partners.”

 

Late Model Stock Car OFFICIAL Results; 

  1. #0 Chris Dodson; 40
  2. #00 Eddie Johnson; 40
  3. #88 Chris Hopkins; 40
  4. #18 Brad Davis; 40
  5. #22 Justin Martz; 40
  6. #05 Mason Bailey; 40
  7. #55 Howie Disavino; 40
  8. #25 Michael Sutphin; 40
  9. #20 Sonny Allen; 40
  10. #29 Andrew Dean; 40
  11. #90 John Goin; 39

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