With summer finally fading into fall, when the sun went down, out came the jackets and perfect weather for a race. Not too hot, not too cold, perfect.
But it was not to be as before a lap was down, Bobby Good, Jessica Murphy and Blake Lehr found themselves all tangled up in the turns 1 and 2 wall. Lehr was okay and able to continue on but Murphy and Good saw their night end before they even began. A complete restart was in order.
On the second green, Jeremy Colangelo quickly jumped to the point followed by Travis Hanson, Rich Clouser, Jason Vail and Daniel Keene, Jr. The shuffle continued as Vail passed Clouser for third and Chuck Abell went for a wild ride thru the grass on the backstretch without bringing out the caution and continued on as everyone chased Jeremy Colangleo.
Bad luck came out for Todd Allen who looked to have lost a drive shaft coming down the backstretch with small parts flying into the air. Allen is aiming straight for the turn 3
wall but somehow keeps the car off causing no more damage. Allen is towed into the pits with 12 cars remaining in the field.
Restart lap 17 with Colangelo leading the way over Hanson, Vail, Clouser, Keene, Joe Winchell, Chad Pierce, Alan Bruns, Blake Lehr, Alexis Fenton, Chuck Abell and Christopher Gillespie.
Pierce puts the pressure on Winchell for sixth but Winchell closes the door and maintains his position. Chuck Abell retires his car for the night.
Colangelo continues to lead the way as Blake Lehr takes advantage of the Winchell/Pierce battle for sixth. Lehr sees an advantage as he passes both 57's and takes over sixth followed by Winchell and then Pierce. It is now Colangelo, Hanson, Vail, Clouser, Keene, Lehr, Pierce, Bruns, Winchell, Gillespie and Fenton.
Travis Hanson begins putting pressure on Colangelo as he is right on his tail but Colangelo holds the point. Hanson continues getting right on Colangelo but Colangelo holds on and does not let Hanson pass. In the meantime, Chad Pierce puts the pressure on his teammate Blake Lehr and takes over sixth as Lehr goes to seventh. It is now Colangelo, Hanson, Vail, Clouser, Keene, Pierce, Lehr, Bruns, Winchell, Gillespie and Fenton.
Keene now has had enough of fifth place as he puts pressure on Clouser for fourth and takes it. As it is halfway now, it is Colangelo, Hanson, Vail, Keene and Clouser. It is as though someone turned on the burner for Keene at halfway as he now begins his march towards the front passing Vail for third. Clouser holds on to Keene's tail and passes Vail as he takes over fourth and Vail goes to fifth.
Winchell begins to put the heat on Bruns as he tucks right under him but Bruns holds on shutting the door to Winchell. Hanson once again tries Colangelo and gets Colangelo loose but Colangelo does a great job of holding on maintaining his position. Now Hanson finds his hands full with a very hard charging Keene on his tail. After chasing Colangelo all night, Hanson now finds himself in third as Keene takes over second.
Colangelo is in danger again as he has a very hard charging Keene right on his rear. Keene puts the pressure on and passes Colangelo and he sets sail for his seventh win of the year. It is now Keene, Colangelo, Hanson, Clouser, Vail, Pierce, Lehr, Bruns, Winchell, Gillespie and Fenton.
Keene is running hard as he puts Bruns and Winchell a lap down. Keene begins to build at least a twenty car lead over second place Colangelo. Chad Pierce now passes Vail for fifth as he begins his charge towards the front. Just as everything is getting really hot, the caution comes out for debris on the track after Gillespie hits the turn 4 wall but continues on.
With no more cautions, it is Keene, Colangelo, Hanson, Clouser, Pierce, Vail, Lehr, Bruns, Winchell, Gillespie and Fenton on the restart. Hanson finds himself sideways off turn 2 but does one fantastic job of holding on to his car and correcting it. Pierce puts pressure on Clouser, just like the old days when they began racing in bombers together, and takes over fourth as Clouser goes to fifth. Pierce then puts pressure on Hanson who has done a fantastic job all night and takes over third as Hanson settles into fourth. As the laps run down to 100, it is Daniel Keene who takes the win for the final race of the year and the Championship followed by Jeremy Colangelo, Chad Pierce, Travis Hanson, Rich Clouser, Jason Vail, Blake Lehr, Alan Bruns, Joe Winshell, Christopher Gillespie and Alexis Fenton.
Keene and his crew celebrate in Victory Lane as they have had one extraordinary year. Alan Bruns wins ROOKIE OF THE YEAR.
A few footnotes: This was Blake Lehr's first race in the FASCAR Late Model Challenge and Chad Pierce as they have been running in the ASA South Late Model Series all this year together as teammates.
Chris Gillespie also has been running the ASA South Late Model Series and plans to run more local Late Model races next year and do very little traveling. Pierce and Lehr have not made announcements yet as to what their plans are for next year.
Joe Winchell, Rich Clouser, and Jeremy Colangelo can be seen next in the Marion Edwards Memorial/Noritz/Tempaco/Bright House Challenge 75 at New Smyrna Speedway on November 15 and at the Governor's Cup on November 22.
All the officials from the FASCAR Late Model Challenge would like to thank all the drivers and crews for a great 2008. The year has been up and down with the economy but every team is much appreciated and we look forward hopefully to a better 2009.
FASCAR LATE MODEL CHALLENGE 100
1. #5K Daniel Keene, Jr. - 2008 CHAMPION
2. #05 Jeremy Colangelo
3. #57X Chad Pierce
4. #141 Travis Hanson
5. #9 Rich Clouser
6. #407 Jason Vail
7. #33 Blake Lehr
8. #4b Alan Bruns - 2008 ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
9. #57 Joe Winchell
10. #19 Christopher Gillipsie
11. #11 Alexis Fenton
12. #19 Chuck Abell
13. #69 Todd Allen
14. #26 Jessica Murphy
15. #19X Bobby Good