Ryan Walker has been strong at Greenville-Pickens for the last few weeks, but he just had not been able to put it all together to be able to drive into victory lane at the end of a race. Until Saturday night. Walker dominated the 50-lap Late Model Stock Car feature at the historic half-mile to claim his first ever Late Model victory.
Walker qualified fifth, but started on the pole due to the roll of the big die on Greenville’s frontstretch. He used that front row starting spot to his advantage by quickly securing the lead.
The driver of the black and red no. 37 led all 50 laps en route to the win. He beat polesitter Trey Gibson to the checkered flag by half a straightaway.
“It feels awesome to lead every lap of this thing and just drive the wheels off it into victory lane,” Walker said. That’s awesome. Just the most awesome feeling in the world.”
Gibson may have had the only car that was as strong as Walker’s. Gibson set fast time, but started from the fifth position after the invert. He needed about 40 laps do due it, but he was able to make his way back up to second. He just didn’t have the time to get any closer to Walker who was on cruise control.
Two drivers the many expected to run stronger were Kres Vandyke and Kyle Barnes. Coming into the weekend Vandyke was fourth in NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national points. He’s scored 12 wins already this season, but he wasn’t able to get any higher than sixth, where he finished.
Barnes is a two-time winner this year with wins coming at Lonesome Pine Raceway (VA) and Kingsport Speedway (TN), but he struggled all race long on Saturday at Greenville. Barnes finished 13th, two laps down.
After the race, Walker struggled to find the words in victory lane to describe his emotions.
“This is amazing,” he told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time. It’s just been one heck of a ride.”
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Northeast Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com
NWAAS Late Model Stock 50-Lap Feature
Greenville-Pickens Speedway, Greenville, South Carolina
1. 37 Ryan Walker
2. 12 Trey Gibson
3. 18 David Roberts
4. 40 Kyle Plott
5. 5 Jamie Tate
6. 15 Kres Vandyke
7. 35 Tasha Kummer
8. 78 Karson Plott
9. 16 Rodney Howard
10. 33 Andrew Cordell
11. 55 Dale Dove
12. 88 TJ Lollis
13. 0 Kyle Barnes
14. 63 Matt Lookee