Crocker Gets Better of Junior in Thrilling Outlaw Stocks Finish; Boyett Crushes Pro Trucks Field
Crocker, Boyett, Barnhill and Balkum all winners on Friday the 13th.
By Chuck Corder
Donald Crocker thought his chance had passed him by Friday night at Five Flags Speedway.
Wayne Niedecken Jr. had been out front for 16 laps after he took the lead from then-leader Todd Jones midway through the 35-lap Faith Chapel Outlaw Stocks feature.
Slowly, but surely, though, Crocker reeled in Junior Niedecken and for the final four laps, the tandem put on a short-track exhibition.
After racing door-to-door for a full three laps around the famed half-mile asphalt oval, Crocker finally pulled ahead of Niedecken on the final lap and secured his first win in 2018 at Pensacola’s high banks.
“I thought I didn’t have anything left,” Crocker said. “I thought I went too hard the first few laps because I lost a lotta spots. It was an excellent race. This is a great car to race with a great crew.”
The Citronelle, Ala., driver held off a stacked field despite a poor qualifying run. Niedecken, too, was unable to put down a blistering qualifying lap.
Yet, that mattered little to the duo down the stretch of the feature.
“It was fun,” said Niedecken, whose runner-up finish was his best result at Five Flags in three years. “We put this car back together from the Snowball. We’ll keep digging deep.”
Jones lead early before yielding to Niedecken, and eventually finishing third.
WCIparts.com Pro Trucks
Logan Boyett left no doubt as to who the class of the WCIparts.com Pro Trucks field was Friday at Five Flags Speedway.
The Pensacola driver got his second win in three races this year with a dominating performance. Boyett took the lead on Lap 3 and kept the hammer down despite having a comfortable lead for the remainder of the 30-lap feature.
Boyett had a full straightaway lead still for the last 13 laps of the race and took the checkered flag with a full 9-second advantage against the competition.
“The thing was just a rocket,” Boyett said. “(Car owner) Gerald (Boyd) made lotta changes this week. I’m surprised he didn’t pass out at his shop in Houston (Texas). I wish I could’ve helped him. When he showed up this week, it looked like somebody had poured sand in his eyes. He was still in his pajamas when he got here.”
Boyett put everyone to bed early after starting fourth.
The best matchup on the speedway was for second most of the night. Runner-up honors ultimately went to Andrew Johnson, who held off third-place finisher Darryl Rudd.
“I killed my truck trying to get through traffic,” Johnson said. “I enjoy racing Logan. I wish I could’ve gotten up there and run with him.”
The Dock on Pensacola Beach Sportsmen
Mark Barnhill had no clue how far ahead he was from the competition.
The reigning Sportsmen Snowball Derby champion was focused on the asphalt in front of him en route to his first The Dock on Pensacola Beach Sportsmen victory of the year.
“I didn’t realize I was that far out,” the Alabama driver admitted. “I was just racing hard. Really, the car was not that great. But a win’s a win, I’ll take it any day.”
It was a lively 25-lap feature with much of the field nose-to-tail, exchanging paint during the early laps.
Raymond Ray led early and was doing a terrific job to protect his lead with Barnhill in hot pursuit. But on Lap 9, Ray finally made a slight mistake and it was all the room Barnhill needed to move into clean air and leave the rest of the field behind.
Jimbo Walker and Johnny Greene Jr. finished second and third, respectively, to round out the podium.
Lloyd’s Glass Pure Stocks
Robert Balkum stayed perfect on the season Friday at Pensacola’s high banks.
The Pensacola driver won a heat race early in the night, and then backed it up with his third victory of the year.
After coming so close to hoisting Lloyd’s Glass Pure Stocks track championships in recent years, Balkum is on a mission to get his arms around that title by year’s end.
“It’s looking good this year,” he said.
Balkum took the lead from Sarah Dority early on in the 20-lap feature and never surrendered the P1 posision again.
Dority, who finished third at the Pure Stocks Snowball Derby in December, collected her best-career finish by taking home runner-up honors. Caleb Burkett finished third.