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Race 8 - Charlotte Motor Speedway
10. 11. 12. 13.
Pole: Pacey Wigent ( 29.876 )
Stage 1 Winner: Mike Montgomery
Stage 2 Winner: Aaron Dukes
Race Winner: Shad Swatsworth ( 53:30.490 )
Fastest Lap: Pacey Wigent ( 29.759 )
Number of Cautions: 0
Biggest Movers - Sam Wade ( 7th - 2nd )
Shad Swatsworth ( 11th - 1st )
Biggest Losers - Pacey Wigent ( 1st - 7th )
Ryan Lewis ( 5th - 9th )
Laps Lead - Pacey Wigent - 61
Outlaw Racing News
Swatsworth Outlasts Fuel and Field, Racks Win Number 2 on Season
Concord, NC - For two weeks in a row, pit strategy played the spoiler. Turning again into who could outlast who. Who could make what work. Everyone took a different shot in the dark, and 2 guys hit the bullseye. The ending became a shootout between Shad Swatsworth and Sam Wade. Jockeying for position while keeping just enough fuel in the car to finish the race. In the end, Wade came up 200 feet short. Shad Swatsworth carries his sputtering 46 Chevy across the line, just beating out the coasting 00 of Wade to restake his claim in the championship hunt with win number 2 on the year.
Pacey Wigent reintroduced himself to front running this week, starting off the night with his first pole of the season. Wigent would immediately assert himself a contender from the drop of the green. Mike Montgomery would stick right to the bumper of Wigent with Gandee and Lewis close in tow. Wigent and Montgomery would trade the lead several times before the races first pit cycle. From the first stage, strategy played its role, as Wigent and Lewis would take 4 tires, Montgomery and Gandee would take 2. Gandee would in fact take the race lead during the cycle with Montgomery close in tow. Gandee had set himself up to take the stage, but a slip in turns 3 & 4 wahsed the 48 up, allowing the 14 of Montgomery to slip through to steal his 5th stage of the season.
Stage 2 saw fuel saving go full bore as a number of drivers looked to stretch the full 19 laps of the stage. Wigent and Montgomery still set the pace, as car by car would back off to conserve what they could to push the limits on a fuel run. As the run went on, car after car dropped to pit road for a stop and go fuel pop. By the end, Shad Swatsworth was showing the way but having to back off so much, he saw his lead over the now second place Aaron Dukes, rapidly closing. However the 46 would begin sputtering on the back stretch, looking to coast all the way back to line. A feat he nearly accomplished. Dukes well under power would scream pass the 46 of Swatsworth just 75 feet from the line to snag his 3rd stage win of the year.
The final stage became an amalgamation of the first two stages, and strategy quickly came to forefront of everyone's mind. Attempting to turn the final 53 laps into a 2 stop race and every driver had an idea of how to get there, from those backing off early to try to split up the stages to those going full conservation mode on the final run to the checkers. Some guys would make it, some wouldn't. Two of the strongest cars all night in Wigent and Montgomery, who combined to lead over 80% of the race, fell short by the end. Dukes, Gandee, and Richard McGinnis looked early on to conserve giving up tons of time to be able push hard at the end. However the winning strategy turned out to be smack in the middle. Though Sam Wade and Shad Swatsworth scrambled in the final run to save fuel, the huge advantage they held over Gandee and Dukes was over three quarters of a track, and they used up enough to leave the finish between them. Wade, who tends to find himself a tough competitor in these fuel mileage races, put up a whale of a fight all the way to the checkers. Alas Wade would come up just a couple hundred feet short of the finish line, as Swatsworth would go on to take the win as both drivers were running out of fuel. Wade with back to back runner up finishes, as Gandee found his groove in the fuel mileage game to come home 3rd. Dukes would finish the night 4th, as McGinnis rounded out the top 5.
Gandee made a true championship move, switching up his game after realizing in the final stage his handling just wasn't there. Falling to 7th on the stage start, seemingly hobbled, Gandee made the decision to shadow Dukes throughout the final runs to put himself in a successful position by races end. Though he lost some ground to the 46, he still holds a solid 35 point lead with 5 races to go. Meanwhile, Shad Swatsworth picked up a timely win to keep the championship advantage from exceeding 40 points. Second win of the season makes him the only driver besides Gandee with multiple wins. Montgomery picked up yet another stage win to tie Lewis with the most on the season, but the finish was far from expectation. After having one of the strongest cars on the night, fuel mileage again bit the 14 team by the time the checkers flew. Though solidly in third, points lost to those ahead is ill timed, now 54 points in back of Gandee. Lewis became the pinnacle of disappointment in Charlotte. A top 5 car all night, running out of fuel and having to pit dropped the 9 team to a 9th place finish a lap down. Now just 3 points set Lewis from Dukes in 5th, as the look towards Gandee furthers. Dukes picked up another top 5 following last weeks win, but the 99 team looked non competitive all night. Pouncing on saving opportunities to improve his race, pace was all but non-existent. Yet, only lost 2 points to the championship lead as a stage win bolstered his bonus points on the night, now 72 points behind the top spot.