NEWTON – Charlie Watson continued his hot hand with his third straight win and seventh overall in the Late Model Stock division at Hickory Motor Speedway on Saturday.
“I have really hit a sweet spot,” Watson said. “It’s been good to me and I hope it keeps on. We got out in front and started riding.”
Watson is just the second driver to win three straight this season in the division, matching Justin Carroll.
Watson – started fourth in the 19-car field – and took the lead from Ryan Millington on lap 36 and led the final 64 laps en route to the victory.
Kres VanDyke finished second followed by Ryan Repko, Sam Mayer and Millington.
It’s Watson’s eight career win at HMS in the Late Model Division and his eighth overall at HMS this season.
Watson has finished third or better in five of the last six races.
Three of Watson’s wins have been 100-lap events. Watson also won the Finish Line Heat & Air 100-lap Limited Late Model event earlier in the season.
More important for Watson is he increased his points lead over Millington to 16 (unofficially) with five races remaining.
The first quarter of the race belonged to Millington – who started second – took the lead on the first lap but it ended in another night of disappointments.
It’s been a tale of two seasons for Millington. On May 27, Millington held a 12-points lead on Watson on the heels of winning seven of the first 14 races with three seconds and two third-place finishes.
Since then, Watson has scored 420 points to Millington’s 388.
Millington has finished fourth or lower in each of the last four races and not won since May 27.
VanDyke – who started third- moved into second on lap 64 as he and Watson got past Millington but VanDyke couldn’t offer any challenge to Watson.
“We had a good run but came up just a little short,” VanDyke said. “We changed about everything on the car throughout the day but with the way Charlie was running we just couldn’t make up that last little bit of ground.”
In the Limited Late Models 50-lap event, pole sitter Alex Reece led early in the race before getting passed by Monty Cox on lap 26 and regained the lead on lap 30 en route to his third win of the year.
“It’s always fun coming to Hickory, especially if you can get the win,” Reece said.
Points leader Jeremy Pelfrey finished second followed by Mitch Walker, Dylon Wilson and Stevie Johns Jr.
“We were loose and it was just one of those races you just hang on the best you can,” Pelfrey said.
The hard-luck driver was Cox who was running second but was involved in an accident coming out of turn four as the field was taking the checkered flag.
In the Super Trucks, pole sitter Sheflon Clay – second in points - posted his third win of the season finishing ahead of points leader Tyler Dayton.
The lead changed hands three times as Dyaton took the lead on lap 14 and Clay reclaimed the point on lap 15.
Allen Huffman finished third followed by Charlie Neill and Joey Shuryan.
In the 4-Cylinders, Shane Canipe – who started second – got under then leader and pole sitter Curtis Pardue coming out of turn four on lap 17 and took the lead.
Pardue finished second followed by Robert Trivette, Allison Houston and Brian Mundy.
In the Street Stocks, Cody DeMarmels led flag-to-flag for his third win in the last four events and 10th win overall.
Marshall Sutton finished second followed by points leader Kevin Eby and Mark Whitten.
Justin Austin captured the win in the Renegades followed by Kyle Divanna, Robbie Hollifield and Casey Meyer.