EASLEY, S.C. – Colby Howard continued his roll in the Southeast Limited Late Model Series Pro division at Greenville Pickens Speedway, winning his second-consecutive race both in the series and at the historic-half mile during Saturday night’s Fall Finale 100.
Howard led 81 of the race’s 100 laps, including the final 77, on his way to his second career Pro victory and second of the season.
The race was the most competitive event for the series so far this season, featuring seven lead changes before Howard took the lead for good on the 24th circuit.
“That was a really hard race,” Howard said in victory lane. “Luke raced me hard and I raced him hard, but it was clean. I thought he might get me or get to me there at the end, but we were able to hang on. Hats off to him … for a great race. I had a lot of fun.”
With the win, Howard maintains a slim mathematical chance at the series title and will enter Myrtle Beach Speedway in three weeks’ time third in the standings, 24 points behind Sorrow.
“This win gives us hope and pumps up our confidence,” he added. “It’s definitely not over. Our plan is simple: go to Myrtle Beach and try to win the race. That’s all we can do. If we can do that, we’ll be proud of our effort and then we’ll just see what happens from there.”
Sorrow and Howard started from the front row, with Sorrow leading the opening two laps from the pole before Howard edged ahead by .014 of a second to top the third circuit on the outside lane.
Sorrow reclaimed the lead on lap four, edging a car length ahead as Howard stalked him through the early stages from the runner-up position.
Caution flew for the first time on the night at lap 13, when Daytona1 Challenger division points leader Thad Moffitt got tangled up with Taylor Sorrow and Tasha Kummer at the exit of turn two, leading to an early retirement on the night for all three drivers.
On the restart, Howard could do nothing with Luke Sorrow from the outside initially, but stormed up the top on lap 15 and sparked a stretch of five lead changes in 10 laps – trading the point with Sorrow lap after lap before crossing Sorrow over and powering past him on the inside at lap 24.
From there, Howard dropped the hammer and walked away from the field, leading all the way to the race’s second caution for debris with 40 to go – a yellow that erased a near-two second gap for the No. 16.
Howard was unfazed, though, and powered back away from the field off the restart, leading handily until reaching slower traffic with 20 laps to go that allowed Sorrow to close back in to within two car lengths as the two friends and rivals battled for the win.
But though Sorrow tried everything, including giving a couple taps to Howard’s back bumper inside the final dozen circuits; he could not get alongside to attempt a pass for the win and had to settle for a runner-up finish.
After the hard-fought battle, .212 of a second was all that separated Sorrow from his third win of the season.
“I don’t really know where he (Howard) had us beat, honestly,” said Sorrow. “I feel like we had the best car here, but it’s the same (luck) every week. The breaks just didn’t go our way. It’s getting kind of frustrating, but we’ll eventually get another win.”
The 15-year-old will enter the series finale on Nov. 12 with a four-point lead over Anthony Alfredo in the race for the championship.
“We just have to go in there (to Myrtle Beach) and do our best,” Sorrow explained. “Whatever’s going to happen will happen, but hopefully we can stay out of trouble, do what we need to do and come out on top in three weeks.”
Alfredo came home on the podium in third, followed by Brandon Fox and former PASS South super late model champion Tyler Church.
Emilee Riley, Omar Jurado, Mitchell Mote, Lexi Gay and Blair Addis completed the top 10.
The Southeast Limited Late Model Series will conclude its 2016 season with the Bash at the Beach, Nov. 11-12 at South Carolina’s Myrtle Beach Speedway.
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