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March 17th (FRI) - St. Patty's 200
ARENA RACING USA
at Richmond (Va.) Coliseum
St. Patty's 200
Friday, March 17, 2017
RICHMOND, Va. (Mar. 17) -- Matt Sanders of Mechanicsville, Va., assumed the lead after a late-race caution flag and survived a skirmish on the way to the checkers to capture his first victory of the season in the 50-lap Pro Series Top Dog feature, the headlining event of Friday evening's St. Patty's 200 for Arena Racing USA at the Richmond Coliseum.
Chase Butler was the pole-sitter for the event, flanked on the front row by Sanders. Garrett Manes and Shane Zupo made up Row 2, while Chase Burrow and Scott Prillaman occupied Row 3.
The race got off to a rocky start as Mark Clements and Nate Thomas tangled in Turn 4 before lap 1 was in the books. During the ensuing caution period, Butler was pulled aside and sent to the rear of the field for jumping the initial green flag. As Manes retreated, Manes took over the pole slot for a complete restart.
When the race got under way in earnest, Manes pulled into the lead. Burrow moved up to challenge Sanders for second and grabbed the position, bringing Camden Testerman and Prillaman along with him. The shuffle allowed Manes to establish an early half-straightaway margin.
The second caution flag waved on lap 9 for debris in Turn 3. For
the double-file restart, Manes chose the outside lane -- a decision
he would repeat throughout the contest.
Back under green, Manes quickly cleared Burrow. Prillaman tagged along with the leader and took over second place. A lap later, Testerman bypassed Burrow for third, gaining clear-cut command of the position on lap 11.
By the halfway mark, Manes had extended his lead to half a straightaway over Prillaman. That margin evaporated on lap 28, though, when Testerman and Branden Sanders tangled on the backstretch to bring out the third yellow flag.
On the restart, Prillaman stayed on Manes' inside through Turns 1 and 2, finally giving way as they headed down the backstretch. Before that battle could further take shape, however, the fourth caution flag was flying for Butler's spin in Turn 4.
As the race resumed, Manes and Prillaman continued their battle. Manes was able to eke out a slim edge, but could fully clear Prillaman's machine. On lap 38, the two locked horns in Turn 3 and Prillaman went around, prompting the fifth yellow flag. After a video review, Manes was allowed to retain the top spot.
Lining up for the next restart, Manes was the leader. He again picked the outside lane, handing the inside starting spot to Shane Zupo. Burrow and Matt Sanders were in the second row, followed by Testerman and Butler. Prillaman was due to launch from the eighth slot, but developed mechanical problems and retired before the green flag reappeared.
Back under green, Manes bolted ahead of Zupo, leading a big charge by the outside lane.
Matt Sanders emerged in second, while Butler moved up to third.
On lap 45, Todd Meredith suddenly slowed. After about a lap, his machine came back to life -- with the leader bearing down on him.
The complexion of the event took a drastic turn on lap 48 when Manes tried to bypass Meredith off Turn 2. Instead, the two made contact and Manes spun, prompting the last of the race's six yellow flags.
For the final restart, Matt Sanders was the new leader, followed by Butler, Zupo, Testerman and Burrow. Branden Sanders and Manes were deployed in sixth and seventh, respectively.
Under green for a three-lap dash to the checkers, Sanders and Butler went to battle with Sanders managing a scant half-length lead.
The two continued door-to-door until the white-flag lap when they made heavy contact along the backstretch. After an anxious moment, both drivers maintained control of their machines as Sanders surged ahead into Turn 3.
At the finish, Matt Sanders was the winner by two lengths over Butler. Burrow was third, while Zupo and Testerman completed the top five. Manes and Branden Sanders were sixth and seventh, in that order, following an accident on the backstretch on the last lap. Meredith, Prillaman and Mark Clements were credited with eighth, ninth and 10th, while Tyler Warriner, Savannah Nickens, Nate Thomas and John Nickens completed the rundown.
Sanders' victory was a popular one in the garage area as many of his fellow competitors dropped by Victory Lane to offer their congratulations.
Arena Racing USA returns to action at the Richmond Coliseum on Friday, Mar. 31, with the season's penultimate event. Doors open at 6 p.m. for the pre-race meet-and-greet and racing begins at 7.
Camden Testerman of Sandston, Va., took the lead on a restart at lap 16 and showed the way to his fourth victory of the season in the 50-lap Pro Series A Main. The win was his third in an A Main.
After a full-field inversion, Branden Sanders was the pole-sitter. As the event got under way, though, he gave way to outside pole starter Mark Clements. Behind Clements and Sanders, things got interesting in the early going as Testerman, Savannah Nickens and Chase Butler raced three-wide through Turns 1 and 2 on lap 2 with Testerman emerging in the third spot.
By lap 10, Clements had pulled away by half a straightaway over Sanders, who was under pressure from Testerman. On lap 14 Testerman slipped past Sanders to take over the runner-up position.
The first caution flag appeared on lap 16 when Butler and Chase Burrow tangled in Turn 2 and Butler overturned. For the ensuing restart, Testerman opted for the outside lane, joined up top by Garrett Manes.
Back under green, Testerman and Manes rocketed ahead of Clements, who slid back to third. The second yellow flag made a quick appearance on lap 18 for debris in Turn 1. For the next restart, Testerman chose the outside lane, ceding the inside to Manes.
As the race resumed, Testerman quickly cleared Manes, who was left to battle Sanders for second. Manes gained the clear-cut edge on lap 19. Once free of Sanders, Manes set his sights on the leader. Nearing the halfway mark, Manes had closed to within a car-length of Testerman's rear bumper.
The third caution flag flew on lap 27 when Burrow spun in Turn 4. Testerman and Manes both chose the outside lane for the next restart.
When the green flag went back in the air, Testerman motored ahead of the pack, while Manes and Sanders renewed their duel in his wake. Before another lap was completed, Manes spun off the fourth corner, collecting Sanders, Butler and Savannah Nickens.
Lining up for what would turn out to be the final restart, Testerman held the top spot and remained committed to the outside lane. Burrow, the fast qualifier, moved up to second, followed by Nickens, Butler, Manes and Sanders.
Back under green, to begin lap 36, Nickens fell off the pace causing a bit of a jumble. Manes took advantage, advancing from fifth to third.
Over the closing circuits, Testerman steadily drove away, while Manes drew a bead on second-place Burrow. On several occasions, Burrow's machine skittered loose, allowing Manes to narrow the gap. Before he could complete a pass, though, Manes slipped himself and Burrow held onto the spot.
At the finish, Testerman was the winner by half a straightaway over Burrow. Manes was third, followed by Butler and Sanders. Nickens and Clements were shown in sixth and seventh, respectively.
Bumped to the 50-lap Pro Series B Main when he didn't make it to Richmond in time for qualifying, former series champ Scott Prillaman of Suffolk, Va., moved out front on the ninth circuit and overwhelmed the field for his second win of the season.
The top three were inverted for the start, landing Shane Zupo on
the pole. As the race got rolling, he jumped into the lead, joined
by Matt Sanders and Nate Thomas.
On lap 4, Thomas' machine broke loose off Turn 2. He made the save, but lost ground to the lead duo. Two laps later, Prillaman made his way into third.
The only caution flag waved on lap 7 when John Nickens and Tyler Warriner tangled in Turn 2 and Nickens overturned. Preparing for the restart, second-place Sanders and fifth-place Todd Meredith picked the outside lane.
Back under green, Sanders shot ahead of Zupo to take the lead as the field rolled into Turn 1. Prillaman latched onto Sanders' rear bumper and moved up to second, dropping Zupo to third.
On lap 9, Prillaman went after Sanders for the top spot. He ducked low in Turn 2, pulled even with the leader on the backstretch and powered into the lead off Turn 4. By lap 14, he had fashioned a half-straightaway lead.
As the laps clicked off, Prillaman's edge continued to grow. He was up by a full straightaway when he encountered slower traffic for the first time on lap 21. Prillaman broke into the clear on lap 31, his lead having increased to better than a straightaway.
By the finish, Prillaman's winning margin had swelled to nearly three-quarters of a lap as he closed in on Sanders and Zupo, the only other drivers on the lead lap.
At the checkers, Prillaman was the winner, followed by Zupo, who slipped past Sanders on the last lap. Sanders was third, while Meredith and Nickens completed the top five. Thomas and Warriner were sixth and seventh, in that order.
Layton Harrison of Dinwiddie, Va., started at the head of the field and strolled to his seventh victory of the season in a 30-lapper for the Future Stars Series.
The six-car field was reduced to five on the pace laps as Morgan O'Neill pulled to the infield with mechanical problems. Second-place starter Jay Seward was sidelined on the opening lap when he drove under Harrison in Turns 3 and 4 and overturned in Turn 4, slamming roof-first into the outside wall. On lap 2, Rachel Ingram flipped in Turn 2, bringing her night to an abrupt end.
With the field already whittled down to three, the race nearly came to an early conclusion on lap 9 when Fred Daniels and Bryant Falk, the second- and third-place runners, locked horns in Turn 2. Daniels slammed hard into the outside wall, while Falk came away minus his right-front fender and roof panel. Despite damage to his machine, Daniels was able to continue.
Back under green, Harrison pulled out to a half-lap lead and maintained that advantage to the checkers. Daniels was second. Falk was credited with third, followed by Ingram, Seward and O'Neill.
Rookie contender Chase Burrow of King William, Va., bagged his first pole of the season in Pro Series qualifying. He circled the tenth-mile course in 7.851 seconds to nip Garrett Manes by a hundredth of a second. Camden Testerman was third-fastest, followed by Savannah Nickens and Chase Butler.
In Future Stars Series time trials, Layton Harrison claimed his eighth pole in as many events. He clocked in at 8.309 seconds. Jay Seward was second-quickest, 52-thousandths of a second off Harrison's mark. Fred Daniels and Rachel Ingram completed the rundown.
MARCH 17 RACE RESULTS from Richmond Coliseum:
PRO SERIES TOP DOG (50 laps): 1. Matt Sanders; 2. Chase Butler; 3. Chase Burrow; 4. Shane Zupo; 5. Camden Testerman; 6. Garrett Manes; 7. Branden Sanders; 8. Todd Meredith; 9. Scott Prillaman; 10. Mark Clements; 11. Tyler Warriner; 12. Savannah Nickens; 13. Nate Thomas; 14. John Nickens. Pole: Butler.
PRO SERIES A MAIN (50 laps): 1. Camden Testerman; 2. Chase Burrow; 3. Garrett Manes; 4. Chase Butler; 5. Branden Sanders; 6. Savannah Nickens; 7. Mark Clements. Pole: B. Sanders (Full field inverted.)
PRO SERIES B MAIN (50 laps): 1. Scott Prillaman; 2. Shane Zupo; 3. Matt Sanders; 4. Todd Meredith; 5. John Nickens; 6. Nate Thomas; 7. Tyler Warriner. Pole: Zupo (Top 3 inverted.)
FUTURE STARS SERIES (30 laps): 1. Layton Harrison; 2. Fred Daniels; 3. Bryant Falk; 4. Rachel Ingram; 5. Jay Seward; 6. Morgan O'Neill. Pole: Harrison.
NEXT EVENT: Friday, Mar. 31, at the Richmond (Va.) Coliseum. Doors open at 6 PM and racing starts at 7 PM.