The last time the FUEL Racing Series invaded “Boom City” it was Ben Watkins putting on a dominating performance to score the win at Fayetteville Motor Speedway. A chain reaction crash early in Saturday’s 40-lap feature put to rest any hope Watkins had about a repeat. Instead, it was “The Wild Child” Willie Milliken who was the dominator on this night.
Milliken started from the second position, quickly got the lead and led all 40 laps to take the victory at Fayetteville.
“They cut the track before the race and that made it a little racier on the top,” said Milliken. “That allowed us to get Shaun on the start. From that point on I knew I could just ease around the bottom of the track. All in all, Fayetteville did a good job on the race track for the night.”
Milliken held off Shawn Sewell to take the win. Robbie Emory, Shaun Harrell and Steve Banal completed the top five.
Even though Milliken dominated, leading all 40 laps, Sewell told Speed51.com that he felt if he had a long enough run he could have had something for Milliken.
“If the cautions would have stopped coming out I think we could have got him,” Sewell said. “Track position. If I could have just got to the lead, it would have been a different race.”
Entering the night, Ben Watkins held a small, two-point lead over Robbie Emory and a 20-point advantage over Harrell.
With about 10 laps complete, Watkins went to make a move under Harrell coming off turn four. They got together and Watkins got hit from behind, ending his night early.
As a result, Watkins and Emory left Fayetteville tied atop the FUEL points standings with Harrell just a handful of markers behind.
Even though Harrell is chasing Watkins, he said that he felt terrible for what had happened on the race track.
“I feel bad because I got a little sideways and almost spun out but I caught it,” Harrell explained. “Ben got involved in it. He’s the points leader, so I feel bad. I went over and apologized to him. That sucks.”
“I was committed to the bottom,” said Watkins. “It was one of those deals where I had nowhere to go. When we hit, it was a pretty solid hit to the rear end and it broke the J-bar, so that took us out. We were really looking at this race to make some gains or at least hold our ground. So we lost a little bit there.”
Every driver gets a “drop” race at the end of the season, so this way a poor result will not be held against them. Watkins said he is hoping this 17th-place result is his drop race.
“If this is my worst one then obviously we’ll take this as a drop and move forward.”
The FUEL Racing Series moves forward and southbound to Gastonia, North Carolina’s Carolina Speedway in just a few days on Friday, June 29th.
Saturday’s race was live-streamed on Speed51.com as part of our Summer Thunder TV Series presented by PFC Brakes. An on-demand replay is available for premium members of the Speed51 Video Network here.
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Associate Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com
FUEL Racing Series
Fayetteville Motor Speedway, Fayetteville, North Carolina
|8||33||Chuck Smith Jr.|