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 Watkins Rockets To FUEL Win At Cherokee

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PostSubject: Watkins Rockets To FUEL Win At Cherokee   Mon Apr 16, 2018 6:53 pm

Watkins Rockets To FUEL Win At Cherokee

(Gaffney, SC) Though his opponents were not often far behind him, Ben Watkins set quick time, won his heat, and took home the victory in Saturday night's City Chevrolet Performance FUEL Racing Series opener at Cherokee Speedway. A strong field of 26 Late Models signed in for the 41st race in series history and FUEL's 6th stop at the famed South Carolina venue.

In Renegade Race Fuels Time Trials, Watkins blistered the track with a lap of 15.554 seconds and successfully eclipsed the FUEL qualifying record at Cherokee previously held by Trent Ivey. In Hoosier Racing Tire Heat Race #1, Watkins vaulted to the lead over FUEL newcomers Adam Yarbrough and Derrick Ramey. Watkins displayed the speed that helped him set Fast Time time to score the win and earn the pole position for the feature. In FK Rod Ends Heat Race #2, Steve Banal and Ricky Weeks would battle fiercely in the opening laps. Banal would ultimately edge ahead and hold off Weeks to score the heat victory. In City Chevrolet Performance Heat Race #3, Anthony Sanders utilized the outside lane through Turns 1 & 2 to spring ahead of Brandon Haley on the opening lap. Despite a couple of restart challenges, Sanders would not be denied as he emerged victorious in the final heat of the evening.

In The Direct Racing Industry Virtual Expo Main Event, Watkins and Banal would lead the field to the green flag. As Watkins grabbed the early lead, Adam Yarbrough began a charge toward the front to battle feverishly with Banal for the 2nd position. Robbie Emory would also be on the move in the early stages as the Milton, Delaware native charged from his 9th starting position into the Top 5. While side by side racing ensued throughout the field and Watkins maintained his early lead, the Cherokee faithful were treated to an epic battle for the runner up position. Literally side by side for the majority of the main event, Yarbrough and Banal waged war just behind the race leader. The two racers swapped the 2nd spot on multiple occasions and while they raced each other respectfully, neither was about to willingly surrender the position and their shot at the race leader.

Just past halfway and as the field was beginning to settle in for a dash to the checkered, an unfortunate wreck on lap 21 would halt the action as the steering on Brian Ledbetter's car collapsed sending him into the inside wall and fence. With assistance from officials, Ledbetter would thankfully walk away but repairs to the damage done in the infield would delay the event for nearly 30 minutes. With the main event reduced from 35 to 30 laps due to the delay, Watkins would never look back en route to his 2nd career FUEL Series win. Banal would secure the 2nd position on the final restart and was followed to the finish line by Yarbrough, Emory and FK Rod Ends Rookie of the Year contender Derrick Ramey.

Up next for the FUEL Late Models is our April 21st visit to Fayetteville Motor Speedway in Fayetteville, NC for a $3000 to win/$300 to start main event. For more information on the FUEL Racing Series, visit our website www.fuelracingseries.com , find us on Facebook (FUEL Racing Series) and follow us on Twitter (@FuelLateModels).

Partners of the FUEL Racing Series include: City Chevrolet Performance, FK Rod Ends, Renegade Race Fuels, Hoosier Racing Tire, The Direct Racing Industry Virtual Expo, Ntense Graphics, and Flag to Flag.

Cherokee Speedway 4/14/2018
The DRIVE Main Event Results
(Pending Tire Test Results)

1) Ben Watkins #16
2) Steve Banal #8B
3) Adam Yarbrough #57
4) Robbie Emory #9E
5) Derrick Ramey #12
6) Anthony Sanders #421
7) Ricky Weeks #1W
8) Shawn Harrell #3
9) Jay Sessoms #84
10) Mark Dysart #66
11) Michael Batten #21
12) Brandon White #26
13) Brandon Haley #51
14) Travis Stoner #99
15) Chuck Smith #33
16) Brian Ledbetter #01
17) Daulton Wilson #18D
18) Josh Richerson #14
19) Willie Milliken #1M
20) Lance Moss #71
21) Jeff Cooke #99
22) Doug Sanders #42

Renegade Race Fuels Fast Time Award: Ben Watkins 15.554

Hoosier Racing Tire Heat Race 1 Winner: Ben Watkins

FK Rod Ends Heat Race 2 Winner: Steve Banal

City Chevrolet Performance Heat Race 3 Winner: Anthony Sanders

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