Two twin 100-lap races, two brand new winners in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and tempers flaring.
Just your average short-track Saturday night from South Boston Speedway.
Tyler Ankrum and Anthony Alfredo graced Victory Lane for the first time in their respective K&N Pro careers in each of the twin 100-lappers from the 0.4-mile facility, but when the checkered flag flew, there was plenty more to unpack.
The driver who possibly experienced the biggest heartbreak was Rev Racing’s Chase Cabre. The Tampa, Florida native was one corner away from his first career victory in the series, until his No. 4 was spinning toward the outside wall as eventual winner Alfredo claimed the checkered flag.
After finishing 13th in the first race due to being involved in an early accident, the second year K&N Pro contender wasn’t pleased with his fellow competitor.
“He ran down into turn one like 20 car lengths too deep and ran over me,” Cabre said of Alfredo. “Got me completely sideways, barely held onto it going down the back straightaway. We got into each other, we doored each other and it’s like he turned right, entered in the third groove and just wrecked us. It’ll turn out the other way around. It’s going to be a heartbreaker for him when it goes around the other way.”
Alfredo ran Cabre down from a straightaway behind in the closing 10 laps. Once the MDM Motorsports No. 40 Toyota was within striking distance, the feeling at SoBo was palpable that a classic finish was in the works.
“I was able to run him down and I got to his bumper in three and four coming to the white, so I moved him,” Alfredo said. “Racing hard for the win, you gotta do what you gotta do. We came from dead last, so I wasn’t going to cut these guys short especially with how hard they worked.”
Despite earning the pole for race two (posted the fastest lap in race one), Alfredo was forced to start from the rear after being having to bring out the back-up car (was also involved in the race one melee).
“We moved him but it was clean,” Alfredo said of the race-winning move. “We both raced hard, we both ran side-by-side for a lap and when I went down into Turn 3 I cleared him and then we came off of four, we came to the line. It was incredible especially after that unfortunate circumstance in the first race. We’re all super excited right now.”
PHOTO GALLERY: Who’s Your Driver Twin 100s
But before Alfredo was able to get to Cabre, it was Ankrum who seemed to have the weekend sweep in the bag. After leading the final 76 laps in race one, Ankrum visited Victory Lane for the first time. Quickly after the celebration concluded, he set his sights on winning race two.
And with 16 laps remaining in the second race, the driver of the No. 17 took the lead from Cabre. But less than a lap later, the San Bernardino, California, native was spinning out of the lead.
“(We) once again (had) the best car in the field by far,” Ankrum said of his performance in the second twin race. “And then Chase Cabre decides to go wreck me. Even when I spot him from a freaking straightaway and a half back. Me and him are going to have a talk later, I just need somebody to point me in the direction of his hauler.”
In his inaugural season with DGR-Crosley in the K&N Pro Series East, Ankrum had finishes of fifth (New Smyrna), fourth (Bristol) and third (Langley) coming into the twin 100s at South Boston. Despite the incident with Cabre in the second race, a win in the first race and another solid top five result left him leaving Virginia with confidence.
“We had a really good car, got a third out of it,” Ankrum said. “I’m actually really quite happy he got dumped at the end, too. Awesome weekend still by the guys. Best car once again. Just got unlucky in the second (race) and had a win taken away from us.”
Despite the end result, Cabre vowed the contact was completely unintentional.
“I really didn’t mean to wreck him,” Cabre said of Ankrum. “I tried to cross him over and drive into the corner really, really hard. And I tried to kind of use him up and I got in a little too deep and got into him. I’m going to go apologize because I really didn’t mean to do that. I don’t like to race people like that, but I guess the No. 40 does.”
“This was one of the races this year that I had circled. We had a shot to win it and I was going to everything in my possibility to do it. We tried, it just sucks to come up short. I hate it for my guys.”
As for the possible budding rivalry between the two drivers? Ankrum promised this would carry on.
“Oh it definitely will,” Ankrum said, “It’s going to get fun next race.”
RACE RECAP: South Boston Produces Pair of First-Time Winners
Ankrum’s teammate Dippel wasn’t able to back-up his Langley Speedway victory with another one in SoBo, but earned two top five results.
“Man, I screwed kind of the whole team here,” he said. “I made a mistake the first race, got into the outside wall. Car wasn’t the same after that. I’m just frustrated with myself to say the least. I took us out of contention the first race, still managed to come home fifth. And then the guys busted their (butts) the second one — I don’t know if we could have won that race, but it was definitely really better. I’m just mad at myself but our team did a really good job to minimize the losses tonight. Came home with second (in the second race), can’t really be mad about that.”
Dippel sits 11 points behind Ankrum for the championship points lead heading into Memphis International Raceway for the Memphis 150 presented by AutoZone in three weeks time.
- Starting from the pole in the first race, Grant Quinlan led the first 24 laps before being forced to pit road for repairs following a red flag on the left front brake caliber. He went on to finish 10th.
- In the second race, Quinlan led the first 50 circuits after starting up front once again. He brought his No. 30 Rette-Jones Racing Ford home seventh.
- On lap 24 in the first race, a multi-car incident involving Alfredo, Brandon McReynolds, Ryan Vargas, Rueben Garcia Jr., Spencer Davis and Dillon Bassett brought out the red flag. Only McReynolds’ Visconti Motorsports team did not compete in the second event.
- Marcos Gomes earned his first top five and top 10 finishes on Saturday, two weeks after he led his first laps of his career at Langley Speedway. The 2015 Stock Car Brasil champion survived the seven cautions in race one to come home fourth and held on for a ninth-place result in race two.