Chris Morrow scores second feature victory of season at Sunset Speedway

Photo Credit: Ashley McCubbin

After going winless last season, Chris Morrow is off on a roll already this year as he scored his second feature win of the season on Saturday night at Sunset Speedway. Morrow won the Spring Derby 100 lap feature to open up the season earlier this month.

The action for the late models got off to a rocky start at the beginning of the night as Scott Beatty would get into Travis Hallyburton on lap eight of the first heat, resulting in Hallyburton making significant contact with the inside turn two wall and being done for the night. Morrow had led the heat to that point, though wasn’t able to grab the victory as Sean Cronan got the run on the restart and grabbed the win barely ahead of Morrow at the line. Taylor Holdaway finished third, followed by Thayne Hallyburton, Steven Wilson, Beatty and Ernie Fumerton.

The second heat did not run clean either as Billy Zardo had a motor go on lap eight, laying down oil down the frontstretch and into turn one. It marks a disappointing run following a pair of bad weeks to start off his 2014 campaign. Mike Bentley would grab the win ahead of Mat Box, Bruce Rankin, Dario Capirchio, Nick Goetz, Kyle Passer and Michael Wilkinson.

The third heat would run clean with Jason Witty grabbing the win ahead of Dwayne Baker, Tom Walters, Paul Maltese, Lane Zardo, Brittney Gresel, Gary Elliott and Jarrod Ranson.

Based on their heat finish, the drivers would be split into a pair of groups with the top 12 qualifiers going to the ‘Dash for Cash’ while the rest would go to the b-main. Nobody would be sent packing from the b-main, though, as Sunset would be starting all the cars on the property for the 50 lap feature that night.

The b-main didn’t run smoothly even with everyone knowing that they’d qualify as Kyle Passer would spin with Gresel spinning to avoid him. Elliott wouldn’t get lucky, though, as he’d get into Passer in the process. Beatty would go on to take the win ahead of Wilson, Goetz, and Fumerton. Billy Zardo finished fifth after cutting a deal with his younger brother Lane Zardo to run Lane’s late model for the rest of the night. Passer finished sixth, followed by Wilkinson and Ranson.

The Dash for Cash would go smoothly with Bentley picking up the bonus money ahead of Morrow, Baker, Cronan, Witty, Holdaway, Walters, Hallyburton, Box, Maltese and Rankin.

As part of their way to get the kids involved, the top 12 qualifiers, as well as the top two from the b-main would have their starting spot in the 50 lap feature determined by a Frisbee draw. A child would be partnered with each driver and each child picked a Frisbee to determine the starting line-up.

The Frisbee draw would put Chris Morrow on pole ahead of Dwayne Baker, Mike Bentley, Steven Wilson, Mat Box, Bruce Rankin, Sean Cronan, Thayne Hallyburton, Paul Maltese, Jason Witty, Scott Beatty, Dario Capirchio, Taylor Holdaway, Tom Walters, Nick Goetz, Ernie Fumerton, Billy Zardo, Kyle Passer, Michael Wilkinson, Jarrod Ranson, Brittney Gresel and Gary Elliott.

Using the outside, Dwayne Baker would grab the early lead in his No. 48 Zancor Custom Homes, B&B Towing, Nisco National Leasing, Clearview Heating & Cooling, Four Valleys Excavating, Baker Performance Parts and Knightworks Design Late Model ahead of Morrow. Baker would lead till the first caution at lap three for Fumerton having a flat tire after contact while running three-wide with Beatty and Goetz. With 47 laps to go, Baker led Morrow, Bentley, Wilson, Box, Rankin, Cronan, Hallyburton, Witty and Capirchio.

They would only get one lap in before the second caution flew for Beatty spinning Goetz around. Then on the restart, Tom Walters would look to blow a motor as he laid fluid down in turn three before coming to a stop on the track.

After cleaning it up, the restart would come and Morrow would grab the lead in his No. 11 Morrow Electric, Advanced Landscapes, Contractor Rental Supply and Duraflo Late Model while Goetz, Elliott and Gresel made contact mid-pack. Morrow began to spread out his lead a little as Bentley moved into second by Baker on lap eight while Wilson and Box rounded out the top five. By lap 10, Witty was up to sixth ahead of Hallyburton, Holdaway, Cronan and Rankin.

After blowing a motor in last week’s Pro Late Model special, trouble would strike Maltese once again as he headed down pit road with mechanical issues on lap 12. Two laps later, the fourth caution would fly when Wilkinson would spin after coming down across Zardo’s nose in turn two. Beatty would use the caution as an opportunity to come down pit road for adjustments.

On the restart, Morrow and Bentley would battle side-by-side while Fumerton and Passer made contact mid-pack, both drivers keeping their cars straight and going. Morrow would pull ahead of Bentley on lap 20 while Baker continued to run third ahead of Witty, Wilson, Holdaway, Cronan, Box, Hallyburton, Capirchio and Rankin. The green flag wouldn’t last long, though, as the caution flew for Passer and Beatty getting together, with Fumerton sending Zardo for a ride into the infield grass as they attempted to miss the pair. Zardo would head down pit road and be done for the night with fluid being laid down behind his late model.

The restart wouldn’t play kindly for Elliott as he’d get a right front flat tire, though managed to get to pit road without drawing a caution. Meanwhile at the front, Morrow pulled ahead once again while Bentley ran second followed by Baker, Witty, Holdaway, Cronan, Wilson, Box, Holdaway, Capirchio and Rankin. As the field started to get sorted out, the caution flew once again at lap 27 for Beatty making heavy contact with the frontstretch wall and being done for the night.

The restart would draw the seventh caution when Fumerton would spin in turn one. As the caution flew, Capirchio would slow on the backstretch while Goetz didn’t, resulting in heavy contact. Rankin then showed up in the aftermath, making significant contact with Goetz’s car. Before the caution flew, though, Bentley was able to grab the lead in his No. 51 Streamline Race Products Mustang ahead of Morrow. With 23 laps to go, Witty now ran third ahead of Baker, Cronan, Holdaway, Box, Wilson, Hallyburton, Capirchio, Gresel, Fumerton, Ranson, Passer, Rankin, Wilkinson and Elliott.

On the restart, Morrow would once again grab the lead as he left Bentley and Baker to battle for second. Baker would clear Bentley on lap 31 ahead of Witty, Cronan, Holdaway, Box, Wilson, Hallyburton and Capirchio. Witty would then follow suit, passing Bentley for third at lap 37, with Cronan passing Bentley for fourth at lap 44. Holdaway was next in line to pass Bentley for position when he would fall off the pace with an electrical problem and begin to drop through the field.

At the front, though, it was all Chris Morrow as he grabbed his second win of the season ahead of Dwayne Baker, Jason Witty, Sean Cronan, Mike Bentley, Mat Box, Steven Wilson, Thayne Hallyburton, Dario Capirchio, Brittney Gresel, Kyle Passer and Taylor Holdaway.

Ashley McCubbin (1122 Posts)

Joining OnPitRoad.com mid-2013 season, Ashley McCubbin is now the Managing Editor and contributes to each racing division as needed. Since studying journalism at the University of Guelph-Humber, Ashley has published articles at SpeedwayMedia.com while serving on their editorial staff. She's also the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series Contributor for Motor Racing Scene, while contributing news to Frontstretch.com She also has published articles in Sunset Speedway’s Sunset News track book while serving as public relations representative for different short track teams. Born in North York, Ontario, Ashley currently lives in Bradford, Ontario and spends her weekend at the local short tracks in the area. She has spent her entire life at the short track level, falling in love with the sport at the age of five. Beyond her love of short track racing, she also has grown an interest for both NASCAR and the IndyCar Racing Series. She also enjoys taking photos and working on websites, while playing a couple rounds of Candy Crush afterwards.