Ben Watkins added fuel to his FUEL Series Racing championship run with a dominating performance at Carolina Speedway in Gastonia. North Carolina on Friday night.
Watkins set the pace early on by being quickest in his group and setting overall quick time over heavy hitters of the series like Steve Banal and Derrick Ramey.
Watkins went on to win the first of three heat races, with Steve Banal and Brandon White claiming heat race wins as well.
Watkins and Banal would start on the front row and lead the field to green. However, it was not quite the initial start they were looking for. Due to a handful of on-track incidents, several restarts took place before logging a lap around the 4/10-mile dirt oval.
“We has a really good car right out of the box,” Watkins said. “These guys put in a lot of work to make us competitive and fast. Tonight, we showed that by setting quick time and winning our heat race.”
Watkins jumped out to an early lead as competitors such as Steve Banal and Derrick Ramey encountered issues.
Watkins continued to show the way, but was challenged by the FUEL Racing Series point leader Robbie Emory, as well as Brandon White on the restarts.
“I knew the guys behind me on the restarts were fast and we had a lot of restarts,” Watkins stated. “I felt like we would be able to hold them off, but later in the race we were encountering our own issues and started overheating, so I’m happy that we had just enough left to be able to pickup a win.”
Emory, White, Ramey and Adam Yarborough completed the top five when the checkered flag waved.
Race fans will be able to watch race highlights from Friday night’s race soon on the Speed51 Network.
-By Madison Mabry, Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent
-Photo credit: Speed51.com