Less than 24 hours after winning one of two Pro Late Model feature the night before at Pensacola’s Five Flags Speedway, Wayne Niedecken, Jr. entered Alabama’s Mobile International Speedway as the odds on favorite for their 20/30 Pro Late Model double header.
Weather wreaked havoc on the Mobile area all afternoon as the skies opened up just after the first practice session and did not relent until the sun was about to set, washing out qualifying and lining the field up based on points putting the Milton, Florida driver on the pole for the first feature.
Niedecken drove off into turn one with the lead and would never relinquish it. Behind him all eyes were on Steven Davis who, with no points to his credit in 2015, started at the rear of the field and moved up six spots before two laps could be recorded.
In the next two laps, he worked his way into sixth before passing both Ronnie Osmer and the fastest car in practice, Rick Crawford, to find himself fourth before the first half of the race could be complete.
Just three laps into the second half of the race Davis pulled into second but Niedecken was already a full second ahead on the track.
From there Davis’ ascension halted as he never was able to get within striking distance of Niedecken, who cruised to his fourth straight Pro Late win at the Alabama-oval.
“My car was good but Davis has a hot rod.” Niedecken said cautiously when asked about his dominance heading into the second race.
“He leveled off when he got to second, but he was saving something for the next race.” He speculated.
For race number two on the night, Niedecken would start ninth.
With other fast cars jockeying for position and moving up through the field from the drop of the green, Niedecken stayed content and took spots as they came to him.
The points leader had only progressed two spots when the caution flew on lap 6 but the on the ensuing restart, he pounced and the remaining cars in front of him were his prey.
It took another six laps before Niedecken had made his way past Garrett Jones for second and after getting a great run off of turn two, drove past Josh Bragg and was clear out in front in the distance it took to go from turn two, to turn three.
Davis, who pitted from fifth under the lap 6 caution, was again on the move and worked his way up to a third-place finish over the 24-lap green flag run that ended the race.
While Garrett Jones, after a disappointing run the night before, got past Bragg just a few laps after Niedecken and found some redemption and some things to take away from the track leading up to his next Super Late Model visit.
“It feels good after everything last night. The guys worked real hard, we stayed up all night getting the car ready for tonight.” Jones, driving the Mike Garvey-prepared Goodson Racing Pro Late Model for the weekend, found himself out of the main event the previous night after a false initial start to the race caused a stack up that sidelined the High School Sophomore before even completing a lap in that race.
“We had to start near the back in the first race because we have no points so to come back, I think we finished sixth in the first race. That was good.
“Then to come back to finish second here, it feels great. I think we learned a lot that I can use when we come back with the Super Late Model and that was a big goal this weekend.” Jones told Speed51.com powered by JEGS.
But the man they were all chasing was smiling the biggest after climbing out and realizing he is still undefeated and now five-for-five in 2015 at Mobile.
“I try not to think about any kind of streak. I just want to keep coming back and racing good.”
Niedecken called on some of his veteran knowledge to tweak and make his car even better between feature races.
“When you’ve been racing for 40 years you need to be able to make some changes and hope that they’re right,” he joked over the track’s public address system.
When asked about running against competitors that seem to keep getting younger, with a big smile and a chuckle, the 58-year-old stated, “I got another one for the old folks.”
-By Mark Keeler, Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent – Twitter: @MarkKeeler975
-Photo credit: Speed51.com