South Boston, VA - C. E. Falk got a big jump on his 2012 season here Saturday, winning the season-opening NASCAR Whelen Late Model 300 presented by Danville Toyota at South Boston Speedway.
Not only did the Virginia Beach, Va. resident pick up the $10,000 winner's check, he also earned the $500 halfway leader award, giving him a hefty $10,500 payday for his day's work.
With the win, Falk claimed the early lead in the Virginia Late Model Triple Crown series, which will also include a July 28 race at Langley Speedway in Hampton, Va. and the Virginia Is For Racing Lovers 300 on October 21 at Martinsville, Va. Speedway.
Falk took the lead from Nick Smith of Hampton, Va. on lap 191 and led the last 110 circuits enroute to the win. With the race going caution-free for the final 115 laps, Falk drove away from Smith and edged Smith by 2.968 seconds. Smith had run in the top three throughout the race.
Eddie Johnson of Midlothian, Va., who won this event in 2009, started eighth in the race, but fell as far back as 14th place before mounting a late charge over the final 50 laps. Johnson passed Matt Bowling of Ridgeway on the last lap to nail down a third-place finish.
Bowling finished fourth, with Dennis Holdren of Roanoke, Va. rounding out the top five finishers.
Michael Hardin of Pomfret, Md., Peyton Sellers of Danville, Va., Austin Thaxton of South Boston, Va., Jesse Little of Sherrills Ford, N.C. and Darrell Gilchrist of Raleigh, N.C. rounded out the top ten finishers.
The race was a competitive one, with eight lead changes among four drivers. Falk led three times for a total of 154 laps, including 128 of the last 150 laps.
Sellers, Smith and Frank Deiny Jr. of Ashland also led portions of the race. Smith led on three occasions, the last time for five laps before Falk took the lead for good on lap 191.
Falk averaged 63.739 mph in the race that was slowed by five caution periods.
Next Race At South Boston Speedway
South Boston Speedway will host a special event Saturday afternoon, March 24, with the PASS Super Late Model 150.
The event, which will get the green flag at 2 p.m., will include a 150-lap race for the stars and cars of the PASS South Super Late Model Series. South Boston Speedway's first points event of the season, twin 75-lap races for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model Stock Cars, will share the spotlight with the PASS South race. A race for Legends Cars will round out the day's action.
Adult general admission tickets are priced at $10 each. Youth ages 7-12 will be admitted for $5 when accompanied by a paying adult.