It’s been a while since he’s led the way into victory lane, but Chuck Lawson was the big winner at Orange County Speedway on the night of the second annual Paul Ring Memorial. Lawson scored two wins Saturday – in both the 100-lap late model main event and the 35-lap limited sportsman Affair.
Saturday’s wins were the first this year for Lawson and vaulted him over Mike Chambers for second place in the 2014 late-model points race.
Lawson’s most recent win before Saturday came on the final night of the 2013 season in Rougemont, when he won the first half of a twin-bill of events at OCS. Since then, he’d finished in the top five of each of the first three late model races, but victory eluded him.
This season’s opening night was a good example of Lawson’s persistence. He raced side by side with eventual winner Josh Oakley for 25 laps before fading in the last 10 circuits. In the night’s limited sportsman division, Lawson was disqualified for rough driving after an incident involving himself and the race leader.
Two weeks later, Lawson was leading a see-saw battle until Chris Denny got the jump on him on the restart following the night’s last caution flag.
Lawson has achieved the nickname “Mr. Excitement “ for his aggressive and daring driving at the three-eighths mile oval and he acknowledged as much Saturday night after the late-model victory lane.
“Some of the fans are booing me and some are cheering for me. I’m hearing a lot of noise so I must be doing something right,” he stated.
In Saturday night’s Ring Memorial 100-lap race for late models, Thomas Scott broke to an early lead and fronted a four-car breakaway that included Lawson, Stacy Puryear and defending 2013 track champ Craig Moore.
A spinout by Moore just past the halfway mark brought out the race’s only caution and set up a key restart. Lawson got the jump on Scott and pulled away to a comfortable advantage.
Moore retired from the event shortly after his spin.
Scott and Puryear ended up second and third, respectively, in the late-model race.
Scott was running at OCS for the first time this season and implied that he lost the handle on his mount after the restart.
“The car was fine in clean air but, once we got behind Chuck, it never felt right again,” Scott said.
In the limited race, Lawson survived an early duel with pole-sitter Brandon Baker to beat out Donald Brace and Jerry Hinesley.
Baker, a Durham driver who won the season’s first two limited events, was in a virtual tie with Lawson in the limited points race after finishing sixth Saturday.
In Saturday’s other races at OCS:
• Cory Purnell took advantage of a late race restart to win the 25 lap street stock race over early leaders Jason Warsing and Jerry Wilkerson;
• Ray Chriscoe garnered the 20 lapper for super mini trucks;
• Layne Riggs dominated the 25 lap pure stock battle;
• Carson Hudson took the 12 lap bandolero trophy when the front duo of Jordan Pickrel and Kate Lambert crashed while battling for the lead on the final lap.