Despite driving a flawless last 35 laps of the race in route to his second Modifieds of Mayhem victory of the season, Jeff Letson was still thinking about an early slip as he pulled into Victory Lane.
Letson was never seriously challenged in the latter stages of the race after contact with Billy Melvin a dozen laps into the race took out Melvin and fellow contender Ty Roberts. Even while congratulating his crew and thanking his sponsors, Letson immediately apologized profusely to those caught up in the accident.
“We had a caution there for a lot of fluid on the track,” explained Letson, “and I thought the track was clean. We went down into turn one and two and it looked clear. But then I got into three and just lost all the grip. I really, really hate I got into Billy. I never want to win a race like that.”
“I still thought it was a great race. I really appreciate what Montgomery does for this series, so to win here tonight is special. There were a couple of hard months recently where it felt like we were just always running in the back. Plus racing is suffering up there in Huntsville [his hometown]. But we got things turned around for sure.”
Modifieds of Mayhem points leader Ryan Paul was second as he continues to look for his first series win.
“I’m just having a lot of fun, but man these guys are tough,” Paul said after taking a breather on the car’s nerf bars. “I really got to thank Donnie Hamrac for racing me clean. Nobody had anything for the 131 [Letson] tonight, but I thought that was a good battle for second.”
Hamrac, trailing Paul in the points and to the line in the battle for the runner-up spot, was perhaps the most interesting storyline this week on the tour.
He had a hard crash with his machine at Five Flags Speedway the previous week and wound up teaming up with Adam Crawford’s team to run their machine at Montgomery Saturday night.
“To be honest, I thought we were going to lose more points to Ryan than we actually did,” said a pleased Hamrac after the race. “I really want to get this first Mayhem title and obviously I couldn’t miss this race. I have to thank Adam Crawford for letting me jump in his car. The team worked really hard all day and by the end of practice I knew we could carry a lot of speed through the corner and that we’d be competitive in the race.”
Despite the good run, Hamrac intends to have his familiar #8 rebuilt in time for the next Tour race, back at Montgomery as part of the Alabama 200 weekend on September 13th.
1 131 Jeff Letson 50
2 07 Ryan Paul 50
3 64 Donnie Hamrac 50
4 57 Jason Huffmaster 50
5 14 Mike Maddox 50
6 02 Butch Wade 50
7 88 Larry Hughes 49
8 15 Nick Martin 21
9 145 Billy Melvin 12
10 50 Ty Roberts 12
11 71 Johnny Brazier 12
— Story & Photos by Tim Quievryn // Speed51.com Southeast Editor // @thethirdturn