SOUTH BOSTON, Va. — Saturday night short track racing is always bound to entertain. And this time, it provided two first-time winners.
Tyler Ankrum and Anthony Alfredo both visited victory lane for the first time in their NASCAR K&N Pro Series East careers on Saturday evening at Virginia’s South Boston Speedway, each taking a checkered flag in the Who’s Your Driver Twin 100s.
But the way each driver did it couldn’t have been more different.
Ankrum, who had finishes of fifth, fourth and third entering Saturday’s event, ran up front all race long in the first 100-lap race. He finished it off with his first win in the K&N Pro Series and for his No. 17 TyCar Trenchless Tech/D&A Concrete Toyota team.
“The restarts were definitely crucial,” Ankrum said. “With it being so hard to pass here and the top being so dominant, it just makes it really tough on the bottom. Getting the lead was very important. That’s what we try to do every restart. We had a fast car. I enjoyed the race, it’s nice leading laps and being up front.”
In a race that saw multiple cautions that left less than 10 cars running at the finish, Justin Carroll, Colin Garrett, Marcos Gomes and Tyler Dippel rounded out the top five.
Ronnie Bassett Jr., Juan Manuel Gonzalez, Spencer Davis, Chuck Buchanan, Jr. and Grant Quinlan completed the top 10. Quinlan won his first career pole earlier in the day and led the opening half of the race, but was forced to make repairs due to a brake issue.
The second 100-lapper seemed like it might mirror the first, until the intensity ramped up in the closing laps.
Chase Cabre looked to have the race in hand for what would have been his first K&N Pro East victory, but Ankrum started running Cabre down.
From an entire straightaway behind, Ankrum got to the bumper of Cabre and was able to clear the driver of the No. 4 momentarily.
That was until the duo entered turns 3 and 4 with under 10 laps to go. The two made slight contact and Ankrum, who was on the outside, was sent spinning in turn 4. His chances at a win were gone.
That left Cabre in the catbird seat, until he experienced a carbon copy of the Ankrum situation. Only this time, it was Alfredo who ran him down from a straightaway back.
The two raced side-by-side for most of the final lap. But entering turns 3 and 4, Cabre was sent spinning into the wall and Alfredo cruised to the checkered flag.
“I got to his bumper in 3 and 4 coming to the white,” Alfredo said. “So I moved him. We were 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’ve worked.”
Alfredo, who had results of 24th, 18th and second coming into South Boston, was one of the cars involved in a multi-car pileup in the first race, forcing his MDM Motorsports crew to break out the back-up and start the second event at the rear.
“It just turned out that the back-up was just as good if not better, honestly,” Alfredo said. “I didn’t know what to expect with it. It was incredible, especially considering those unfortunate circumstances in the first race, but we’re all super excited right now.”
Dippel came home second, while Ankrum was able to rebound and finish third. Bassett, Jr. followed in fourth, with Davis in fifth.
Carroll, Quinlan, Dillon Bassett, Gomes, and Cabre completed the top 10.
Ankrum was able to stretch his lead over teammate Dippel to 11 points. Ronnie Bassett, Jr. and Vargas are third and fourth respective, while Alfredo and Gonzalez are tied for fifth — on point ahead of Garcia and just nine points ahead of 10th.
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East will take a few weeks off before visiting visit Memphis International Raceway on Saturday, June 2.
NASCAR K&N Pro Series East
South Boston Speedway – South Boston, VA
Who’s Your Driver Twin 100s – May 12, 2018
1. Tyler Ankrum
2. Justin Carroll
3. Colin Garrett
4. Marcos Gomes
5. Tyler Dippel
6. Ronnie Bassett, Jr.
7. Juan Manuel Gonzalez
8. Spencer Davis
9. Chuch Buchanan, Jr.
10. Grant Quinlan
11. Connor Hall
12. Ruben Garcia, Jr.
13. Chase Cabre
14. Brandon McReynolds
15. Anthony Alfredo
16. Ryan Vargas
17. Dillon Bassett
1. Anthony Alfredo
2. Tyler Dippel
3. Tyler Ankrum
4. Ronnie Bassett, Jr.
5. Spencer Davis
6. Justin Carroll
7. Grant Quinlan
8. Dillon Bassett
9. Marcos Gomes
10. Chase Cabre
11. Ryan Vargas
12. Chuch Buchanan, Jr.
13. Connor Hall
14. Juan Manuel Gonzalez
15. Ruben Garcia, Jr.
16. Colin Garrett