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Thrilling win on last-lap pass caps race for Melton in Talladega

Image by Joe Martinez
Chris Melton Wins @ Talladega in a wild and fun finish!

Malanga takes thrilling finish

Image by Les Lamont
Talladega
ROUND 4
26 Oct 2010
RACING HOST
Joe Martinez
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26 Oct 2010 — Chris Melton got past Tom Malanga on the final lap and held it by the razor-thin margin of 0.067 seconds at the finish line to take first place in the Talladega in Round 4 of the Motor Sports Radio Show Pro Cup series.

After starting third, Melton gained his way to first and then dropped to 10th midway through. Melton wrestled the advantage back and forth with David Fridley in a lengthy and unrelenting fight for sixth starting midway through, running within a scuff of each other over a span of 38 laps. Melton ran the majority leading Fridley after initially being engaged by him on the first lap. Melton fended off an extended challenge by Fridley in the middle stages, staying just a scrape ahead of him over a solid run of seven laps. After losing the spot on lap 79, Melton got around Fridley for the fourth time and into seventh place by the tight margin at the checkered flag.

Melton is 11th in the standings for the series. He has two starts and led three of his 180 laps raced while taking the win once.

Tom Malanga held off Joseph Di Pino at the finish line by the hairline margin of 0.109 seconds to take second place.

After starting fifth, Malanga gained his way to second and then dropped to eighth in the early stages. Malanga swapped leads multiple rounds with Les Lamont in a long and tense battle for fifth starting early on, running within a scrape of each other over a stretch of 47 laps and changing positions 13 times. Malanga spent nearly equal parts leading Lamont after being engaged by him on lap 7. Malanga fended off an extended attack by Lamont late in the action, staying just a scuff ahead of him over a continuous run of 17 laps. Ultimately Malanga lost the spot on lap 80 and settled into sixth the lap running to the finish, holding off Di Pino by the tight margin at the line.

Malanga moves up to fifth in the standings, now tied in points with fourth's Kevin Brents. Malanga has three starts and led 17 of his 287 laps while finishing as high as second.

Joseph Di Pino held off Brian Kunze at the finish line by the razor-thin margin of 0.084 seconds to take third place.

After starting seventh, Di Pino gained his way to first and then dropped to ninth in the early stages. Di Pino traded positions multiple rounds with Danny Wylie in a long and tense battle for second from the beginning, running within a scuff of each other over a range of 30 laps. Di Pino drove the majority pursuing Wylie after initially being challenged and passed by him on the fourth lap. Di Pino launched a prolonged challenge at Wylie midway through, staying within a car length behind him and keeping pace over a continuous run of five laps. Ultimately Di Pino settled into fourth the couple laps running to the finish, holding off Kunze by the narrow margin at the line.

Di Pino is 17th in the standings for the series. He has one start and led 11 of his 80 laps raced while finishing as high as third.

A razor-thin 0.021 seconds separated Brian Kunze ahead of Joe Martinez at the checkered flag for Kunze to take fourth place.

Motor Sports Radio Show Pro Cup series moves on to Round 5 in a week at Salem Speedway . The series has 23 drivers competing for points in the championship.

Kunze traded positions back and forth with Les Lamont in a long and tense fight for third starting early on, running within a bumper of each other over a range of 13 laps and changing positions seven times. Kunze ran nearly equal parts leading Lamont after catching and passing him on lap 19, coming from as many as four places back. After losing the spot on lap 78, Kunze cleared Lamont for the fourth time and into second place on lap 79, and controlled it the remaining lap to the rousing finish with Martinez.

Kunze remains in the lead of the standings, increasing the lead over rival Les Lamont to 20 points. Kunze has four starts and led 74 of his 411 laps while finishing as high as second.

Joe Martinez raced past the checkered flag a whisker-thin 0.033 seconds ahead of Les Lamont to take fifth place.

Les Lamont made a last-lap pass and flash across the finish line just 0.085 seconds ahead of Matt Sotomayor to take sixth place.

Martinez spent the majority of five laps total pursuing Tom Malanga after catching him on lap 48, coming from as many as 10 places back. Martinez got around Malanga and into third place on lap 78, and held it the remaining couple laps to the exhilarating finish with Lamont.

Martinez moves up to sixth in the standings, 56 points behind Tom Malanga. Martinez has three starts and led 18 of his 292 laps while finishing as high as fifth.

After starting sixth, Lamont gained his way to second and then dropped to ninth midway through. Lamont traded positions multiple rounds with Tom Malanga in a long and tense fight for fifth starting early on, running within a scrape of each other over a stretch of 47 laps and changing positions 13 times. Lamont spent nearly equal parts leading Malanga after challenging and passing him on lap 11, coming from as many as eight spots back. Lamont fended off a prolonged challenge by Malanga in the middle stages, staying just a bumper ahead of him over a continuous run of eight laps. After losing the spot on lap 79, Lamont passed Malanga for the seventh time and into fifth place by the hairline margin at the checkered flag.

Lamont remains in second in the standings, increasing the lead over rival David Fridley to 68 points. Lamont has four starts and led 22 of his 411 laps while finishing as high as third.

Matt Sotomayor raced past the checkered flag a narrow 0.073 seconds ahead of Danny Wylie to take seventh place.

After starting first, Sotomayor dropped to 10th in the middle stages. Sotomayor traded positions back and forth with Chris Melton in a long and tense fight for seventh starting midway through, running within a scrape of each other over a stretch of 31 laps. Sotomayor drove the majority pursuing Melton after catching him on lap 28, coming from as many as 10 spots back. Sotomayor launched an extended attack at Melton midway through, staying within a scuff behind him and keeping pace over a solid run of eight laps. Ultimately Sotomayor settled into eighth the lap running to the checkered flag, holding off Wylie by the tight margin at the line.

Sotomayor is 20th in the standings for the series. He has one start and finished as high as seventh.

Danny Wylie raced at the front of the field most of all drivers, leading 61 of 80 laps on a run to eighth place.

Wylie traded positions back and forth with Joseph Di Pino in a long and tense fight for the race lead from the beginning, running within a scuff of each other over a span of 30 laps. Wylie spent the majority leading Di Pino after originally challenging and passing him on the fourth lap, coming from as many as six positions back. Wylie fended off an extended challenge by Di Pino midway through, staying just an apex ahead of him over an unbroken run of five laps. After losing the spot on lap 78, Wylie cleared Di Pino for the fourth time and into first place on lap 79, and held it the remaining lap to the checkered flag.

Wylie is 19th in the standings for the series. He has one start and led 61 of his 80 laps raced while finishing as high as eighth.

RESULTS Click driver name for individual report
1 Chris Melton CanAm Racing 80 1:22:10.646
2 Tom Malanga CanAm Racing 80 1:22:10.713
3 Joseph Di Pino LMTC MotorSports 80 1:22:10.822
4 Brian Kunze K.E.M Racing Team 80 1:22:10.906
5 Joe Martinez K.E.M Racing Team 80 1:22:10.927
6 Les Lamont CanAm Racing 80 1:22:10.960
7 Matt Sotomayor K.E.M Racing Team 80 1:22:11.045
8 Danny Wylie CanAm Racing 80 1:22:11.118
9 David Fridley Ohio Valley Motorsports 80 1:22:12.173
10 Chris Torres 79 1:22:19.942
11 Ian Eichendorf GearBanger Racing 78 1:22:19.998
12 Mike Guzman 38 DNF
13 Darwin Meints 9 DNF
Image by Les Lamont
POSTRACE

INT
–0.280
FIN
5
Q
8
REP
+1
CLASS
ARCA
CAR
ARCA
Posted by Joe Martinez at 09:16 AM on Tue Oct 26 IST

Now that was a race.

Wild last four laps and ASR showed how good it really is.
Good Job Chris on the win and hope to see you at Salem.

INT
–0.176
FIN
3
Q
7
REP
+1
CLASS
ARCA
CAR
ARCA
Posted by Joseph Di Pino at 07:32 PM on Tue Oct 26 IST

Good race, fellas.

During the first half, I drove more aggressively than usual with my pushing. With no teammates, I had no choice but to try and keep the Can Am gang and their helper, Malanga, separated. If the guy on the point was Can Am, the idea was to push him far enough ahead to keep him from hooking up with his teammates. The idea worked relatively well because if the 4 or 5 of them hooked up, they were gone. I realize there was one sequence where 3 or 4 of them were lined up and I was ducking very low into the tri-oval to lift guys out of line. It was clean but hard and I do hope you guys understand the idea.

Once I got the point, I thought I had a good shot at the win and probably had it locked up until the yellow with about 9 to go. That restart was total mayhem. Again, I really had no choice but to be aggressive particularly with Malanga and Melton in 2nd and 3rd. Yep, I was blocking and yep, I tried to nudge Tom off of Chris' bumper but I had to go a bunch lanes up to nudge Tom and by the time I got to them, they had too much speed. Kinda hard to win when your racing 4 or 5 guys who know what they're doing. :)

I had a blast and thanks for letting me run with you guys. Only 3 cautions in a very fast paced race. Good job!

Posted by David Ulmer at 02:51 AM on Wed Oct 27 IST

Sorry to have missed this - life came up at the last minute.

Congrats Chris et al.

INT
–1.527
FIN
9
Q
4
REP
 
CLASS
ARCA
CAR
ARCA
Posted by David Fridley at 09:31 PM on Wed Oct 27 IST

Perfectly understandable David. We did miss ya, could have used all the help we could get to thwart the CanAm guys. :)

Seriously though, this was fantastically fun. Spent most of my time hanging in the back of the lead pack, waiting for the end of the race. When that final caution came out, I knew I was in great position even in 7th. Made my moves and had moved up to third by the final lap. I thought about just taking that, but with a good push from Joe DiPino I decided to try to sneak under Tom Malanga going into turn 3 since him and Chris Melton were giving some room on the bottom.

Unfortunately, it was tight and I just barely clipped the bottom of the apron. That was enough to slow me up enough to cause Joe's push to begin to turn me. (I'm not saying you're at fault Joe, you were doing exactly what I wanted you to, it was my goof up) I did save it, but ended up sliding up the track causing other drivers to take evasive action. They did a good job avoiding me and I would ultimately finish 9th.

Definitely decided to go for broke, didn't work out, but was a lot of fun. Looking forward to Salem.


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