Kyle Purvis etched his name in Columbus Motor Speedway history Saturday night by claiming the final Robbie Dean Memorial ever in dramatic fashion. The 94 lap NASCAR Whelen All American series event honoring 11 time track champion and legend Robbie Dean was staged for the final time ever as the historic speedway will be re-purposed as a sports and concert venue following the 2016 racing season. Purvis has a history of successful outings in Memorial events having captured the most two recent Nuckles Memorial races but this was his first in the Robbie Dean tribute category.
Logan Runyon and David Carter brought the stout field to the green flag with the former taking control early on. Carter eventually utilized the outside lane to claim the top spot as five laps went up on the NASCAR scoreboard, however. Pulling away, Runyon was left to defend the runner-up position which he eventually surrendered on lap 12 to Purvis teammate, Kyle Jones. The next around Runyon was Chad Pendleton as the eventual winner began to make some noise of his own. Purvis started sixth and felt to seventh before sticking it into high gear. While Jones continued to stalk Carter in the race lead, Purvis cracked the top five on lap 30. Continuing in the outside lane he swept past Donnie Hill six circuits later and Chad Pendleton on lap 46. As Carter continued out front, Purvis next powered around Jones and set his sights on the top position. Pulling even with Carter on lap 58 the fleet duo battled side-by-side for three laps when the caution flew; this time for Shane Shirk who stopped in turn two. After a brief review of electronic scoring, it was determined that Purvis led the last completed lap and therefore led the field back to the green on the restart. He initially pulled away to 6 length lead but through the course of the waning laps Carter closed back in. Pendleton eventually found a way around Jones with 10 laps remaining but had to much distance to make up on the lead tandem. At the stripe it was Purvis, Carter, Pendleton, Jones and Hill rounding out the first five positions.
Danielle Brown made up for her slow start this season by claiming the crazy compact feature event. Named most improved compact driver in 2015, Brown had experienced a plethora of mechanical issues but was on it this night. She set fast time early in the evening and charged from her 16th starting spot to secure victory in the 25 lap affair. In the early stages it was Bill Ramey showing the way before Ryan Smith squeezed underneath on lap 14 to claim the top spot. Smith Drew away from the rest of the 24 car contingent with Jordan St.Amant and Frank Hreha hot in hot pursuit. Just as it looked like recent high school graduate, Smith, would race to victory Brown came out of nowhere in the third groove. She swept around St.Amant as the white flag flew and drew even with the leader on the backstretch of the final circuit. As they do raced off of turn four, Smith appear to have the advantage but Brown surged to head at the stripe for a two foot margin of victory. Smith would settle for second followed by St.Amant, Michael Robison and Lonnie Brown.
The Columbus modified feature began just as a rain shower hit the speedway forcing the postponement of both it and the sports stock memorial events. Both will be contested at the opening of the June 11 event. Attendees for that racing program will witness seven feature races for the low low price of $12. There will be two modified features, two sport stock features along with the regular program of late models, compacts and legend cars all in action.
Fast Time: Donnie Hill 14.338
Feature: 1) Kyle Purvis 2) David Carter 3) Chad Pendleton 4) Kyle Jones 5) Donnie Hill 6) Kevin Mingus 7) Cody Robinson 8) Bill Browning 9) Logan Runyon 10) Jeep Pflum 11) Daryl McKay 12) Shane Shirk 13) Rich Gleason 14) Burgess White 15) Ryan Fleming 16) Mike Holland 17) Bill Cantley 18) Josh Cahill 19) Jim Hursey
-Columbus Motor Speedway Press Release. Photo credit: www.ReesPhotos.com