Colt James dominated the 100-lap season opener for the Fast 5 Pro Late Model Series at Southern National Motorsports Park (NC), leading wire-to-wire to begin his defense of the track’s Pro Late Model championship.
“I felt like we had a good car. Just wanted to get out of here clean,” James told Speed51.com powered by JEGS “Getting ready for Bristol next, so really pumped about that.”
James started on the pole and led wire-to-wire in the race at the 0.400-mile facility in Lucama, North Carolina. His greatest threat came on lap 56, when a multi-car incident spawned a late restart.
When the field lined up following the turn four crash, which eliminated front-runners Giovanni Bromante and Joe Graf, Spencer Bayston and James briefly dueled, making contact on a couple of occasions before James pulled away.
“I felt like I had a good car,” James said about the restart. “I don’t know if he thought that was his one shot.”
“It happens, he’s a rookie,” James continued about the restart. “Pretty much just drove it hard for 10 laps. Didn’t want to give them a chance at a bump-and-run.”
“I was just trying to be as aggressive as possible on that restart,” said Bayston. “We got into each other a little bit. I was just trying to hold my own on the outside. I got a good restart and was able to be there. I was wishing we could get side-by-side on the straightaway so I could pinch him down and break his momentum.”
Bayston was unable to remove James from the lead, but maintained his runner-up finish.
“We came home second. He obviously had a really, really good race car, but so did I. Bond Suss and Toyota Racing put together a really good program. I’m having a lot of fun out here learning as much as possible, so thanks to those guys.”
The third spot on the podium went to Will Bristle, making his first career Pro Late Model start. A standout in Legends racing in the region, Bristle’s graduation to bigger race cars started strong with his finish tonight.
“Honestly, I think we’re lacking a little horsepower right now,” Bristle said. “We can throw a little more horsepower. I think we can throw some more horsepower in it, get it to turn a little better through center, and we might be able to get us a win.”
James won Southern National’s Pro Late Model Stock championship in 2016, and this victory puts him on track to defend his title in 2017. The five-race series will return to action June 24, with another 100-lap feature on the docket.
For an on-demand lap-by-lap recap of the race, visit Speed51.com’s Trackside Now coverage.
-By Zach Evans, Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent
-Photo credit: Speed51.com
Fast 5 Pro Late Model Series Unofficial Results
Southern National Motorsports Park (NC) – April 22, 2017