Saturday, January 14, 2012
Florian Bags First Top Dog Win as Series Wraps up Weekend Doubleheader
by Leslie Dolliver
RICHMOND, Va. -- Two-time series champ Adam Florian snagged the lead on the opening lap and rolled to the win in the 50-lap Top Dog race, the featured event of Saturday evening's BB&T 200 presented by Woodfin Oil for Arena Racing USA at the Richmond Coliseum. The win was Florian's second of the weekend, coming on the heels of a B Main victory on Friday night.
Austin Jefferson was scheduled to start from the pole in his Bethel High School-fielded entry. He was unable to answer the bell, though. Jason Styron, Scott Allen and Lin O'Neill also remained on the sidelines, trimming the 14-car grid to 10.
On the reconfigured starting grid, Dylan Loving assumed the pole position, sharing the front row with Florian. Matt Midgett and Tyler Hughes made up Row 2, while Mike Weddell and Cody Carlton launched from Row 3.
As the event got going, Loving and Florian dueled side-by-side for the first lap with Florian eking out a half-length edge at the flagstand. He cleared Loving on lap 2 and set sail. Behind the lead duo, the field was still stacked up double-wide. Eventually, Hughes gained command of the third spot, leaving Midgett to battle Weddell for fourth.
The first half of the event was caution-free and Florian took advantage of the green-flag stint to stretch his lead to better than a full straightaway. The second 25 laps was another story, however, as the first of six caution flags flew on lap 26.
While the race lurched toward its conclusion, Travis Wall and Jordan Wood each took turns in the runner-up spot. Neither driver, though, could match Florian, who produced jackrabbit restarts to hang onto the lead.
The race ended with a "green-white-checkered" finish. Under green for the final time, Florian easily cleared Wood, who soon found Scott Prillaman to his inside. Prillaman took over the second position, but was left with no time to run down Florian, his one-time teammate.
At the checkers, Florian was the winner by three lengths over Prillaman. Wood was third, followed by Loving and Midgett. Weddell was sixth to the stripe, while Hughes, Carlton, Pete Hunt and Wall completed the results.
Travis Wall led all the way from the pole to post his fifth victory of the season in the 50-lap A Main. The win was his third in an A Main, to go with two Top Dog victories.
Wall grabbed the lead as the initial green flag flew, powering ahead of outside pole-sitter Dylan Loving as the field rumbled toward Turn 1 for the first time. Third-place starter Adam Florian tagged along on Wall's rear bumper and took over the second spot.
Scott Prillaman, who started near the back of the 10-car lineup, was a big mover in the early going, quickly advancing to fourth. He took over third on lap 6 and was able to close up on Wall and Florian when the caution flag waved on lap 9.
Gathering for the restart, Tyler Hughes gave up his fourth spot in the running order to test his luck on the outside of Wall. Back under green, though, Wall, Florian and Prillaman all rocketed ahead of Hughes before they reached Turn 1. Cody Carlton also swiped a spot from Hughes, who was left to tussle with Jordan Wood for the fifth position.
Lap after lap, Wall, Florian and Prillaman circled the track, separated by no more than a car-length. They proved to be evenly matched as no one could pull away or muster a pass.
On lap 44, the leaders encountered traffic for the first time in the form of Loving. Wall quickly dispensed with Loving and opened a two-length advantage. Florian and Prillaman scooted by Loving on the next lap, but faced a steep task as Wall had established a comfortable margin.
At the finish, Wall was the winner by two lengths over Florian. Prillaman was third, followed by Carlton and Hughes. The top five finishers, along with Wood, Loving and early retiree Pete Hunt, advanced to the Top Dog shootout.
In the 50-lap B Main, Mike Weddell took the lead on the second circuit and showed the way to his second victory of the year.
Matt Midgett started from the pole and held a slim edge over his front-row colleague, Scott Allen, as the race got under way. Midgett two-wheeled his exit off Turn 2, though, and Allen pulled ahead. Weddell, who started fourth, came along with Allen, then moved out front on the next lap.
The race was interrupted by four caution flags, at laps 11 (twice), 25 and 31. Nathan Thomas made the evening's most spectacular exit when he barrel-rolled in Turn 2 to bring out Caution #3.
As he had done all race long, Weddell opted for the outside lane when the field bunched for the final restart, ceding the inside to second-place Midgett.
Back under green, Midgett and Weddell went door-to-door for a lap before Weddell surged ahead at the end of the frontstretch.
Once clear of Midgett, Weddell poured on the steam. By the finish, his winning margin had grown to half a straightaway over Midgett. Jason Styron rebounded from a spin off Turn 4 on lap 31 to take third. Austin Jefferson was fourth, followed by Allen. Longtime short-track veteran Lin O'Neill, an Arena Racing newcomer, came home in sixth and nabbed the final Top Dog transfer position.
Savannah Cook started on the pole and led from flag to flag to complete a weekend sweep in the 30-lap Youth Series feature. The victory was Cook's third of the season.
The event got off to a rocky start with two yellow flags in the very early going. Once the race got under way in earnest, though, Cook dominated. By lap 19, she had opened a full-straightaway advantage over Macy Causey.
The last of the race's three caution flags appeared on lap 27 when Causey tangled with Devon Courtney's lapped machine in Turn 2. The scuffle ended when Courtney pounded the outside wall.
On the final restart, Cook quickly fashioned a slim edge over Causey, then began to ease away.
By the time the checkers fell, Cook had increased her winning margin to almost three lengths.
Causey was second, followed by Jordan Valdes. Courtney and Marshall Cook were credited with fourth and fifth, respectively.
Qualifying ace Scott Prillaman claimed his second pole award of the weekend in late afternoon time trials, circling the tenth-mile course in 7.796 seconds. It was Prillaman's third straight pole honor and fourth overall. Adam Florian was second-fastest, only 27-thousandths of a second behind. Travis Wall, Jordan Wood and Tommy Jackson rounded out the top five. In an unprecedented speed rush, the top 11 qualifiers all clocked in beneath the eight-second mark.
In Youth Series qualifying, Macy Causey continued to hold sway, bagging her sixth pole award in as many outings. Savannah Cook was second-quickest, just 63-thousandths of a second shy of Causey's 8.310-second standard. Jordan Valdes, Devon Courtney, Marshall Cook and Gummy Cook completed the Youth rundown.
JANUARY 14 RACE RESULTS from Richmond Coliseum:
TOP DOG (50 laps): 1. Adam Florian; 2. Scott Prillaman; 3. Jordan Wood; 4. Dylan Loving; 5. Matt Midgett; 6. Mike Weddell; 7. Tyler Hughes; 8. Cody Carlton; 9. Pete Hunt; 10. Travis Wall; Did Not Start - Austin Jefferson, Jason Styron, Scott Allen, Lin O'Neill. Pole: Loving.
A MAIN (50 laps): 1. Travis Wall; 2. Adam Florian; 3. Scott Prillaman; 4. Cody Carlton; 5. Tyler Hughes; 6. Jordan Wood; 7. Dylan Loving; 8. Pete Hunt; 9. Tommy Jackson Jr.; 10. Josh Turner. Pole: Wall.
B MAIN (50 laps): 1. Mike Weddell; 2. Matt Midgett; 3. Jason Styron; 4. Austin Jefferson; 5. Scott Allen; 6. Lin O'Neill; 7. Nathan Thomas; 8. Jason Manes; 9. Cayton Hornberger; 10. Daniel Thomas. Pole: Midgett.
YOUTH SERIES (30 laps): 1. Savannah Cook; 2. Macy Causey; 3. Jordan Valdes; 4. Devon Courtney; 5. Marshall Cook. Pole: S. Cook.
NEXT EVENT: Saturday, January 21, at the Richmond Coliseum. KISS 105.7 Night. Doors open at 6 PM; racing begins at 7 PM.