WILLIAMSTON, S.C. — Audio and recap by Race Chaser Online Managing Editor Jacob Seelman — Chris Seelman photo —
“Double Aught” Jake Nelke made the Garden State proud on Friday night at Anderson Motor Speedway, hauling south from Manahawkin, New Jersey to South Carolina and leaving the three-eighths mile oval with the season-opening win for the USAC Eastern Midget Series.
Nelke drove around two-time and defending series champion Chris Lamb on lap 23 of the 35-lap main event and then held off reigning series Rookie of the Year Andrew Layser for the final 13 laps, scoring his second career series victory following a win at Dillon (S.C.) Motor Speedway last October.
“(Getting around Lamb) was kind of sketchy, to be honest,” Nelke admitted in victory lane. “I was hoping that he knew … or at least figured … that I was gonna be there entering the corner. From there on, it was good. We had a great car tonight, and this is a big way to start the year for us.”
The feature went caution free, and Lamb led the first 22 circuits from the pole during his “Double Duty” night at the South Carolina speed plant, also competing . The Greensboro, N.C. veteran would battle an ill-handling car as the laps clicked off, however, washing higher and higher up the race track in turns two and four before Nelke finally got through for the lead and the win.
Layser passed Lamb just moments after Nelke took the lead, but burned up his tires trying to catch the No. 00 and had to settle for a hard-earned second place finish in the end.
“I thought with about 10 to go I might have had him, or enough to get to him, but I just started driving it in way too hard,” the 15-year-old Pennsylvania native explained. “I think we had a good car — we set the track record in qualifying — so all in all, not really a whole lot to fuss about. Just missed it by one spot tonight.”
Scott Hunter rounded out the podium in third, with the fastest car among the leaders at the end of the race despite “sliding all over the place” trying to keep his car underneath him.
“Our car was tight all day long. We were trying to free it up from practice on, because this track is tighter than any of the other tracks we run (with this series), and we couldn’t get it freed up enough. I had to slide it into the corners to get around, but we came home third and I’m happy with that. We haven’t been racing for about a year, so this is a good first showing for us
Lamb faded to fourth at the twin checkers, with his teammate Sam Hatfield rounding out the top five.
The next race for the USAC Eastern Midget Series will be Saturday night, April 16 at Hickory Motor Speedway, alongside the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series.
For more information on the series, visit www.usacracing.com.
Audio with race winner Jake Nelke:
Audio with runner-up Andrew Layser:
Audio with third-place Scott Hunter:
RESULTS: USAC Eastern Midget Series; Anderson Motor Speedway; April 16, 2016
Time Trials (best of two laps): 1. Andrew Layser, 35, Layser-15.411; 2. Sam Hatfield, 8, Hatfield-15.510; 3. Scott Hunter, 14, Brown/Noffsinger-15.541; 4. Chris Lamb, 9, Lamb-15.549; 5. Jake Nelke, 00, Nelke-15.608; 6. Jessica Bean, 6, Radical-15.639; 7. Nolan Allison, 16, Allison-15.788; 8. Eric Lewis, 21, Leydig-15.824; 9. George Kurtz, 4, Kurtz-15.885; 10. Famous Rhodes II, 7, Radical-15.954; 11. Jagger Parker, 20, Parker-16.182.
A-Main (35 laps): 1. Jake Nelke, 2. Andrew Layser, 3. Soctt Hunter, 4. Chris Lamb, 5. Sam Hatfield, 6. Jessica Bean, 7. Nolan Allison, 8. Famous Rhodes II, 9. George Kurtz, 10. Eric Lewis, 11. Jagger Parker. NT
Lap Leaders: Lamb (1-22); Nelke (23-35).
About the Writer
Jacob Seelman is the Managing Editor of Race Chaser Online and creator of the Motorsports Madness radio show, airing at 7 p.m. Eastern every Monday on the Performance Motorsports Network. Seelman grew up in the sport, watching his grandparents co-own the RaDiUs Motorsports NASCAR Cup Series team in the 1990s.
The 22-year-old is currently studying Broadcast Journalism at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C., and is also serving as the full-time tour announcer for the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series.
Email Jacob at: [email protected]
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