Matt White led practice. Matt White won the pole. Matt White turned the fastest lap. Matt White led the most laps. Matt White didn’t win. On the final exchange of pit stops with 25 laps to go White decided to go with two tires to separate him from the second-place challenger of Nathan Bowers. Bowers, while he hadn’t really challenged White direction, had been stalking him most of the night. Bowers went with four tires and that was the difference-maker.
With 17 laps to go, Bowers caught White off of turn four as White battled to keep the lead. Unfortunately for Matt, it didn’t end well as he spun off of turn four handing the lead to Bowers for the final lead change.
Four tires were the difference-maker in the battle for what was second as well. Jon Doble and Chip Hansen had been battling for third and fourth most of the night and were racing each other on pit stops. With 20 laps to go, Doble hit pit road for a splash of fuel only. Hansen pitted several laps later for four fresh tires and enough fuel to get to the finish. The difference was about 11 seconds on the track, which Hansen chopped off at about a second a lap until Doble realized he didn’t get enough fuel in the car and had to conserve it the rest of the way.
In the end, Bowers walked away with his second career LNR victory, having won two weeks ago in Talladega. He has the season bookended, having won on the largest and the shortest tracks the series will compete on this season. Chip Hansen finished third and Jon Doble rounded out the top-three.
Points leader Shawn Breitzman and second-place Greg Netherwood both missed tonight’s race. That allowed Doble to vault into the points lead on the strength of having started all six races this season. He will have a four-point lead on Breitzman headed to Charlotte next week, and a 23 point lead on Netherwood.
In his debut race in the LNR Cup Series, Nathan Bowers found himself paired with points leader Shawn Breitzman after the field separated during green flag pit stops. The two worked well together, easily pulling out to a 17 second lead. With five laps to go the pair approached lapped car Patrick Hahe who had only been left without a dance partner for the tandem draft. When given the opportunity, he ditched Breitzman for Hahe and the duo drove away for a seven second victory.
The racing in the field was tight until green flag pit stops separated the field into two-car packs. Before the stop Mike King and Greg Netherwood were working together, as were Jon Doble and Patrick Hahe. On the pit stops, King and Doble left together while Netherwood and Hahe returned to the track at the same time. However, just a few laps later, Doble’s engine blew costing King his drafting partner. When Netherwood and Hahe reached King’s solo car, Netherwood ditched Hahe for his old partner.
With Bowers winning, Breitzman finished second and Mike King rounded out the top-3. Breizman extends his points lead to 22 points over Netherwood who finished fourth. Doble, who finished seventh after being able to use his reset to get his engine back, is 33 points back in third.
The series will head to “Sin City” for the LNR Las Vegas 120. The series visited Las Vegas during the three-race exhibition series, the race was won by Shawn Breitzman.
Shawn Breitzman dominated Friday night at Richmond International Raceway. He led off the evening by topping the speed charts in opening practice with a blistering lap of 20.081 seconds. He followed it up by qualifying third as Greg Netherwood picked up the LNR Pole Award. Then Breitzman led 94 of the race’s 120 laps on his way to a dominating victory.
The racing inside the top-5 was close most of the night, despite Breitzman’s dominance. However, inside 20 laps to go drivers started making mistakes after a long night of short track racing. Mike Husby held on to finish as the only other car on the lead lap as Patrick Hahe picked up a third-place finish.
After three races, Breitzman extends his points lead to 15 points over Mike Husby. Greg Netherwood moved up a position to to third, 20 points behind. In fourth there is a three-way tie between Jon Doble, Joshua Gayman, and Chip Hansen.
The series heads to Talladega next weekend for the LNR Talladega 165.