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Ward battles to win Shenandoah Valley 150

Stock Car Racing Topics:  Shenandoah Valley 150

Ward battles to win Shenandoah Valley 150

Russell Schmidt
Shenandoah Speedway/ISCARS
July 24, 2005

Shenandoah, VA - Brandon Ward endured the wreck-filled Shenandoah Valley 150 to capture the first ISCARS (International Sport Compact Auto Racing Series) outing of the year at Shenandoah Speedway on Saturday night.

Standing next to his White House Apple Juice Toyota looking more as if it endured a demolition derby than a stock car race, Ward was thrilled to win, saying, "That was good hard beating and banging short track racing there at the end. I’d like to thank Robert Huffman for giving me this chance to run in his car and all these fans....this is a nice facility. We’re looking forward to coming back."

The Winston-Salem driver endured the 12-caution race, especially after a second half incident tearing most of the right side of the car off.

Kicking off the night’s program were qualifying sessions for the Baby Grand Division and the ISCARS

Topping the charts in the 400 horse-powered V-6 cars ISCARS was Joey Miller of Wilmington, NC with a track record time of 15.96 seconds in front of Ward (16.03), Wade Day (16.10), Justin Hobgood (16.15) and Zach Brewer (16.16).

Over in the Baby Grands, seventeen-year-old Lindsey Daniels grabbed the pole ahead of Mike Bryant and Jeff Abbott.

The 25-lap feature saw Bryant stay close to Daniels for the first two-thirds of the show, but faded with handling problems allowing Daniels to pull into victory lane for the very first time.

"Thank you! I’m tired," said the young Bowling Green, KY driver. "I was working hard trying to keep him (Bryant) behind me. I had to run awful hard to keep him there."

At the drop of the green for the 18-car ISCARS field, Miller led the pack sharply with Day right on his bumper. The two set sail away from the pack, lapping cars by the seventh circuit.

The second of many yellows flew on lap 19 when reigning series champion Johnny Chapman dropped out with a sudden broken rear suspension.

Justin Hobgood got to the back of Day’s bumper by lap 43, and made the move for second under him going into turn one. Shortly thereafter, Hobgood’s brother Jake dropped out with engine woes.

At the century mark, Miller led Brewer, Ward, Scott Weaver and Danny Bagwell as the seventh caution flag fell for Ray Paprota’s car smacking the right front corner on his car on the back chute.

Eighteen laps later, a seemingly faultless Miller slipped up to the second groove entering turn one, allowing Brewer to take over the lead. A few laps later, Ward and Miller tangled in turns three and four, sending Miller to the pits as Ward soldiered on with most of the right side of his car rearranged.

Ten laps later, the action was heating up with Day pressuring Brewer for the lead. It all came to a head when Day tapped Brewer sending him into the spin cycle and out of contention in turn three. Brewer’s temper got the better of him, letting Day know on the front stretch with the side of his car, side slapping Day as the two went down the front chute under caution.

Series officials brought Brewer in for consultation and a two-lap penalty.

But, the sparks were far from over. Brewer lined up next to his nemesis as a lapped car and never lifted as the two entered turn one on the ensuing restart. Brewer punted Day into a spin, ending his shot at the win. Brewer was subsequently parked.

That incident handed the lead and eventual win to Ward as he led Mike Watts (Mercury Cougar), Day (Toyota), Miller (Pontiac) and Bagwell (Pontiac) to the final checkers.

"They were better than we were," said Ward. "We weren’t going to be holding on much longer. Luck was on our side tonight."

ISCARS Series President Randy Claypoole was pleased with their initial series outing, saying, "This facility is awesome. It was a perfect chemistry for our first race we will always remember. The people in the community and the track workers were great."

Claypoole added, "The first half of the race, the boys seemed to settle in. The second half....the full moon came into play, yet the group put on a good show."

The next race for the Shenandoah track is set for this Friday when the Late Models compete in their first $2,000 to win 100-lap main event. Baby Grands and Mini-Cups will be the companion races.

More information: www.shenandoahspeedway.com

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