GREENVILLE, S.C. – official series release, audio and photo by Race Chaser Online Managing Editor Jacob Seelman –
Blair Addis scored his first-career Southeast Limited Late Model Series victory in style on Saturday night at Greenville Pickens Speedway, leading 73 of the 100 laps in the Pro division feature en route to a raucous celebration in victory lane at the historic half-mile oval.
Addis took the lead from Emilee Riley on lap 28 and managed the race pace to perfection during a 66-lap green flag run to the finish, capping a dominant performance by hoisting the winner’s trophy and collecting a $3,000 payday.
However, the ultimate result didn’t come without a little bit of help from an old friend.
“I worked with Darren Latham one time before in a UARA-STARS race out here, and I ran second that day in a 150-lap race with his coaching,” Addis explained after climbing from his Hedman Hustler Headers No. 1 machine. “He called me Friday night and said, ‘Hey, let me spot for you and I think we can get you a win out there.’ So I owe most of this to him. He was patient … he coached me to save, save, save … and I was just the monkey behind the wheel driving my heart out. This car was unreal tonight.”
“We stripped this car down and completely rebuilt it over the winter. I told the guys this is going to be my last rodeo, my last year in a race car, because I’m getting too old for this stuff. I tell the kids I’m racing against out here that I’ve got socks as old as they are. So man, this means so much to be standing here tonight.”
Reigning series champion Mack Little III led the field to the green flag from the Gale Force Suspension Pole Position and was credited with pacing the first lap, but a quick caution caused by a flat tire on outside polesitter Colby Howard’s machine re-racked the players at the front of the field and set the wheels in motion for an early lead change.
On the restart, Emilee Riley took her No. 21 machine hauling around Little to assume the top spot on the scoreboard, running out to a second advantage over the first long green flag run of the event. While she was leading, recent Hickory Late Model winner Kate Dallenbach took her No. 25 Bass Pro Shops-sponsored machine up to second to make it an all-female top two early on.
As the racing began to settle out up front, Howard’s charge from the back of the field after his early tire issue was just beginning. The 14-year-old was up to seventh by the one-quarter mark of the race and turning the fastest laps of anyone on the race track as he looked to come back and challenge for the win.
Meanwhile up front, Addis was on the march. He powered around Dallenbach for second – bringing Little through with him – before setting his sights on the race leader. Addis would finally complete the pass on the 28th round, running out to a 10 car length gap before the second caution of the race flew on lap 34 as fourth-running Dallenbach’s night ended in a cloud of smoke.
With Dallenbach’s engine failure setting the stage for a showdown among the leaders, Addis made it his mission to set the pace upon the race’s resumption. He quickly ran away to a near-one second lead over Riley, and by the time the crossed flags were displayed at halfway it was a second and a half between the two, with Anderson winner Luke Sorrow, Little and Howard behind them in the top five.
The polesitter’s veteran prowess would shine through in the second half of the race, however.
Little charged around Sorrow for a podium position three laps past the halfway point, and then methodically used the next 25 laps to close and set up the pass on Riley for the runner-up position. However, just as quickly as Little settled into a rhythm in his attempts to run down Addis for the win, Riley shot back around him with 11 laps to go and jump-started a mammoth run to try and steal the trophy in her own right.
Riley’s sprited drive had the lead all the way down to six tenths of a second with five laps remaining, but it was simply not to be for her on this night as Addis eased away in the final circuits.
“Up front when you’re trying to conserve tires, it’s just so hard to gauge how hard you need to run without burning up too much,” Riley admitted. “I was in shock early on, because this was just my second-ever limited race, so to qualify third, lead the laps we did and finish second is remarkable. I’m thrilled, but you know, we’ll get him next time.”
Little hung on to finish third ahead of Sorrow. Anthony Alfredo, who won a SELLM Pro feature at Greenville back on April 23, rounded out the top five.
Howard’s charge back through the field fizzled out late, as he faded to sixth at the checkered flag.
In the Daytona1 Challenger division’s 50-lap main event, 18-year-old Anthony Miller started from the pole and led wire-to-wire to capture his first major win in a late model-style car under the floodlights at GPS.
Miller held off a spirited charge from Thad Moffitt, the grandson of seven-time NASCAR premier series champion Richard Petty, over the final 25 laps before being able to park in victory lane to celebrate his first Challenger division score.
“This hot rod was awesome tonight,” Miller said in victory lane. “The whole race I could stay hooked up on the bottom, for the most part. At the end it started getting a little tight in and loose off the corners, but my spotter helped me stay focused and we pulled it off.”
The main event began largely single file, as Miller drove away from the pole starting spot and paced the way as the field fell into their original starting positions early on.
By the time Moffitt was able to make the first pass for position on-track – taking second from Dan Moore on the 13th round of 50 – Miller had a two second advantage over the entire field.
Moffitt rapidly cut that gap in half over the next 15 laps, running the margin all the way down to eight tenths of a second by the halfway point on the 25th round, but could get no closer than two car lengths in the end as Miller managed the gap en route to the win.
For Moffitt, his second-place effort was a career-best in both the SELLM Challenger Division and in his late model career, marking another rung on the ladder in his climb towards the top level of stock car racing that his grandfather dominated decades before.
“I drove a little bit too hard into one on the next to last lap,” the teenager admitted. “The car broke loose off of turn two and I somehow managed to save it. I just gave it everything I had and that one time was all it took to leave us just a little bit short tonight.”
“I’m still proud of all the work my guys have put in and thankful that we can come out and perform like this in just my seventh race. Hopefully we can keep building on this and work towards moving up the ladder in the months and years to come.”
Mark Goin, Phillip Peters and Amber Lynn rounded out the Daytona1 Challenger top five. Goin was later DQ’d in post-race tech for being too light moving Peters to third, Lynn to fourth and Dan Moore to fifth in the final tally.
For more information on the Southeast Limited Late Model Series, visit them on the web at www.southeastlimiteds.com.
Audio with Pro race winner Blair Addis:
Audio with Pro runner-up Emilee Riley:
Audio with Pro third-place Mack Little:
RESULTS: Southeast Limited Late Series; Greenville Pickens Speedway; May 14, 2016
Southeast Limited Late Model Series Pro Division Qualifying (best of two laps): 1. #16L – Mack Little, 20.999; 2. #16 – Colby Howard, 21.016; 3. #21 – Emilee Riley, 21.075; 4. #25 – Kate Dallenbach, 21.105; 5. #9 – Luke Sorrow, 21.137; 6. #5 – Anthony Alfredo, 21.179; 7. #1A – Blair Addis, 21.202; 8. #22 – Dan Moore, 21.258; 9. #4 – Dylan Hall, 21.326; 10. #46 – Thad Moffitt, 21.490; 11. #15 – Omar Jurado, 21.758; 12. #1 – Phillip Peters, 21.816; 13. #56 – Anthony Miller, 21.911.
Southeast Limited Late Model Series Pro Division (100 laps): 1. Blair Addis, 2. Emilee Riley, 3. Mack Little III, 4. Luke Sorrow, 5. Anthony Alfredo, 6. Colby Howard, 7. Dan Moore, 8. Thad Moffitt, 9. Omar Jurado, 10. Anthony Miller, 11. Phillip Peters, 12. Kate Dallenbach, 13. Dylan Hall.
Lap Leaders: Little 1, Riley 2-27, Addis 28-100.
Southeast Limited Late Model Series Daytona1 Challenger Division Qualifying (best of two laps): 1. #56 – Anthony Miller, 22.276; 2. #22 – Dan Moore, 22.309; 3. #46 – Thad Moffitt, 22.354; 4. #77 – Mark Goin, 22.361; 5. #2 – Amber Lynn, 22.479; 6. #1 – Phillip Peters, 22.580; 7. #8 – Nick Thunder, 22.938; 8. #3 – Everette McMahan, 23.064.
Southeast Limited Late Model Series Daytona1 Challenger Division (50 laps): 1. Anthony Miller, 2. Thad Moffitt, 3. Mark Goin (DQ’d in post-race tech), 4. Phillip Peters, 5. Amber Lynn, 6. Dan Moore, 7. Matt Lockee, 8. Nick Thunder, 9. Everette McMahan, 10. Andrew Cordell.Q
Lap Leaders: Miller 1-50.
CREDIT: Southeast Limited Late Model Series