Second place isn’t good enough for Lang

  • By Scott Whitmore Herald Writer
  • Wednesday, August 22, 2007 10:46pm
  • SportsSports

MONROE – A thrilling race ended with an all-too-familiar conclusion for one super stock driver.

Two-time defending champion Shane Harding passed Naima Lang with two laps to go and then held on to win his second straight race Saturday at Evergreen Speedway.

Lang, who is still looking for his first win in the top tier of the NASCAR Whelen All American Series, led from the start of the 50-lap race, and appeared to have an edge on the field when his car ran well in the higher groove of the three-eighths mile oval.

“I had it and I lost it,” Lang said after the race. “I’ve lost races like this before. … I don’t know how many times I’ve finished second — second to me is like finishing 10th.”

Lang jumped out to a large lead in the early laps, but a series of cautions bunched the field, giving points leader John Zaretzke a chance to challenge for the lead.

After a restart on lap 23, Zaretzke pulled even with Lang and the two raced side-by-side — with Lang in the middle groove and Zaretzke down low ­— for several laps. Zaretzke’s car got loose coming out of turn four and he spun out, bringing out another yellow on lap 33.

“(The car) was good on that second groove,” Lang said. “I got there and it stuck, I could rotate real well. There at the end when I was racing with Johnny, I was really surprised I could hang with him.”

Harding passed Roger Habich for third place before Zaretzke’s spin-out, and on the restart he began to press Lang for the lead. Harding and Lang raced side-by-side between two more yellow flags, before Harding finally got past on lap 48.

“I knew Naima would race me clean,” Harding said. “I wanted the win just as bad as he did. … I was just patient, took my time and brought it home just in the nick of time.”

Habich finished third and rookie of the year candidate Mike Holden finished fourth.

Mann wins yellow-filled bombers race: Scott Mann survived a light rain and caution after caution to win his first race of the year in the second-tier bombers feature main Saturday at Evergreen.

Travis Blackwood was second and James Mugge finished third.

The bombers continue to be the tightest championship race in the Whelen series. Lane Sundholm, who entered the night as the points leader, finished 12th after tangling with Darrel Lutovsky on lap 7 and pitting for a tire change.

Sundholm dropped into second in the points and Lutovsky took over the top spot after finishing the race sixth. Just 10 points separate Lutosvky from No. 6 Jim Foti.

Points leaders shut out at Skagit: Points battles tightened Saturday at Skagit Speedway, with none of the division leaders finding victory lane in the final races before the season championships.

:Rod Perkins led flag-to-flag in the 25-lap 360 sprints main with Travis Jacobsen second and Robby Vaughn third. Points leader Steve Kilcup finished 12th.

Jayme Barnes won his third 410 sprints main of the season, leading all 25 laps. Kilcup finished second and Tayler Malsam was third. Points leader Brock Lemley finished ninth, losing ground to No. 2 Barry Martinez, who was seventh.

In the sportsman sprints main, Kelleigh Johnson won his second feature main in a row by going wire-to-wire for 20 laps. Johnson closed the gap on points leader Kevin Smith, who finished third, and No. 2 Eric Fisher. Glenn Reinstra was second in the main, his best feature finish in two years.

:Points leaders: NASCAR Whelen All American Series at Evergreen Speedway: Super stocks — 1. John Zaretzke 356; 2. Shane Harding 320; 3. Roger Habich 312; 4. Darin Stordahl 292; 5. Naima Lang 288. Bombers —1. Darrel Lutovsky 681; 2. Lane Sundholm 680; 3. Travis Blackwood 676; 4. James Mugge 675; 5. Jill Lang 672. Mini-stocks­—1. Chuck Richard 453; 2. Joe Hobbs 423; 3. Kris Harriss 412; 4. Bob Edwards 364; 5. Drew Harthorn 356.

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