HICKORY, N.C. – Nolan Pope continued his recent hot streak with a victory and runner-up finish in Saturday’s twin 40-lap late model stock car features at Hickory Motor Speedway.
Fresh off sweeping a pair of late model stock events last weekend at Tri-County Motor Speedway in Hudson, N.C., Pope entered Saturday’s doubleheader at Hickory riding a wave of momentum.
Driving the No. 1 for Lee Faulk Racing and Development, Pope qualified third for the first 40-lap feature behind polesitter Josh Berry. Pope quickly moved up to second and spent most of the race chasing Berry for the race lead.
With three laps left Pope saw his opening as Berry slipped up the track, opening up the bottom for Pope. The two raced side-by-side for the last three laps, with Berry barely edging Pope at the finish line to score the victory.
“The first race was really intense. I spent most of it following Josh waiting for my spot,” Pope said. “He slipped coming out of turn four with a few laps left and I thought that was going to be my opening. He raced me hard and barely beat me at the checkered.”
Following an invert of the top finishers, Pope lined up eighth for the second 40-lap feature. Pope slowly but surely worked his way through the field. He took second from Berry on lap 19 before setting his sights on race leader Ryan Millington.
On lap 34 Pope dispatched Millington and went on to lead the remainder of the race to earn his third victory of the season and first of the year at Hickory.
“I was pretty determined to go out there and win that second race,” Pope said. “I felt like we should have won the first one, so I wasn’t going to let the second race get away from me. Coming back through the field was tough, my crew chief and spotter Nick Hughes had my back the entire way. The guys at LFR always prepare great cars so I knew we could do it.”
Pope’s crew chief, Nick Hughes, said the recent string of strong finishes has been a big team effort from everyone at Lee Faulk Racing and Development.
“The past few weeks has been such a team effort,” Hughes said. “Nolan has been behind the wheel doing everything he’s asked while Lee, Mike and myself have really put our heads together and thought about every change needed to get it dialed in for him.”
-McCallister Precision Marketing Press Release
-Photo credit: Sherri Stearns