Scott Heckert had already proven he could win a NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race. In fact, he proved it twice in 2014. But neither of those wins came on an oval, leaving him with still more to prove in 2015.
Saturday, he not only quenched that desire to win at an oval, he did it at one of the most historic ovals in the country.
The 21-year-old Ridgefield, Connecticut driver led every lap in the NASCAR Hall of Fame 150 at the quarter-mile Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The dominant victory allowed Heckert to finally cross an oval victory off the to-do list.
"I wanted it really bad. It's one of those things you don't want to hear about it all the time. I really wanted a win on an oval bad. Bowman Gray's a perfect place to do it. With all the history here, it's pretty special."
Heckert won the Coors Light Pole Award earlier in the day at Bowman Gray and set sail from his preferred starting position. As his fellow HScott Motorsports with Justin Marks teammates Dalton Sargeant and JJ Haley, plus others through the course of the race, tried to catch up, Heckert held strong. The three yellow flags allowed others to close in, but Heckert pulled away on each restart and was relatively unpressured for his third career victory.
"Our car was okay on short runs, but the longer the runs went on, we showed our strength. Our car was so good in the center and had such good drive off that those long runs helped us."
Heckert's teammates Dalton Sargeant and JJ Haley finished second and third, respectively. For Sargeant, it was a case of not being able to keep up with Heckert despite his strongest efforts.
"It was really difficult starting on the outside," said Sargeant. "Normally it seems like you'd get shuffled back, but luckily we were able to get in an open spot, just ride a little and maintain. i was going after the 34 a little bit and kept on getting sideways into (turn) three, so we were definitely pushing it to the max."
Haley scored his best career NASCAR K&N Pro Series East finish with third.
"(Heckert) definitely had a better car than any of us," said Haley. "Me and Sargeant were pretty close. This is just a great environment. You sit there before the race and you run through all the scenarios in your head. The good, the bad. We got P3, which is my best K&N finish, so we're going to leave here happy."
Jay Beasley was fourth, while Gray Gaulding finished fifth.
Brown Extends Record
Tim Brown wasn't just content with setting the all-time Bowman Gray Stadium Modified wins record like he did on Friday night. Brown extended his record with his third-straight Modified victory Saturday night in the 100-lap feature, which gave him a total of 75 career wins at "The Madhouse."
" I don't think I've ever won three races in a row in my whole career, which makes this weekend even more special for me," Brown said in victory lane.
Brown drew the pole in a random pill draw that set the starting lineup. The Rural Hall, North Carolina driver pulled away from outside pole-sitter Burt Myers on the initial start and never relinquished the top spot over the course of the 100-lap feature in his new LFR Chassis racecar with Rahmoc Engines power.
"I'm telling you what, this piece right here is unbelievable," added Brown. "I only thought I've had good racecars in the past. My hat's off to the 1 car (Myers). He drove me clean tonight and I hope we put on a good show for the fans."
Myers held on to finish second, while John Smith finished third. Danny Bohn was second-quickest in time trials earlier in the day, but elected to start at the rear for his chance at a $3,000 payday if he was able to race his way into the top four at the checkered flag. He did just that, finishing fourth and taking the Colors Edge Challenge bonus.
To replay the NASCAR Home Track Race Central Live powered by Speed51.com at-track updates of all the action at Bowman Gray, click here.
- By Matt Kentfield, Speed51.com Executive Director - Twitter: @MattKentfield
- Featured photo credit: Brenda Meserve