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Defending champion Hubbard captures season-opening victory

Dixieland Speedway

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Billy Hubbard and crew celebrate in victory lane following the Budweiser Allstars event, Friday, May 3, 2019 at Dixieland Speedway.

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From Dixieland Speedway

Sunday, May 5, 2019

With two consecutive championships in 2017 and 2018, Billy Hubbard started the season in a familiar place, victory lane.

Hubbard, 44, of Cobbs Creek, Virginia, earned the pole position and led the entire marquee 50-lap Budweiser Allstars event. Side by side action and close calls occurred throughout the 16-car field, keeping fans on the edge of their seats. Two top runners were eliminated early in the race.

While running second, Ryan Steeley, of Elizabeth City, suffered extensive front end damage after contact with the inside cushion of the track in turn one.

The damage was severe enough to relegate his car to the pit area as the first retiree of the event.

While under caution and in fourth place, past champion in 2015, Brent Robison, also exited the racing surface to seek attention from his crew for apparent mechanical problems.

Ultimately, Robinson’s night would also be over.

On the restart, Hubbard would accelerate and pull away from second place runner Tom Wilson, of Knotts Island, NC.

While Hubbard would extend his margin between two and four seconds ahead of Wilson, the battle on the track was for the runner up position.

Wilson felt pressure for multiple laps from Larry Jackson, who appeared to have a faster and better handling race car, but wasn’t able to make the pass.

The second and final caution would occur on lap 31 when just before, Hubbard and a lapped car, Toby Davis, nearly made contact on the front stretch.

Davis would go on to spin in turn one, allowing the field to slow and regroup for a 19-lap showdown.

When the field returned to full speed, Jackson would ride behind Wilson for several more circuits while looking for the best line to make a pass.

With less than six to go, Jackson would make a successful pass for second in turn four.

On the money lap it was Hubbard across the line first, allowing him to pickup the victory and a $2,000 check.

He held off Jackson, who finished second, with Wilson in third, Kerry King of Delmar, DE finished fourth and Sherman Underwood rounded out the top five.

“I was just trying to conserve tires for the first half of the race and stay out of trouble with those lapped cars,” said Hubbard. “We took our time though and picked our way through there and went easy on the equipment,” he continued. Hubbard was all smiles in victory lane with his crew members and families close by.

Past Champion, Joe Weiss started on the pole and led flag to flag en route to earning the Rapid Ron’s Racing Sportsman victory.

It wasn’t easy for the Elizabeth City racer, who saw Mark Gonzales in his rear-view mirror in close proximity throughout the 20-lap race.

Tight battles occurred for the third position in the opening laps between Doug Lincoln and Troy Brickhouse.

While racing for the final podium spot, Brickhouse would go for a single car spin, resulting in a yellow flag and forcing the five-time winner in 2018, to restart the race at the rear of the field. Overall, four cautions would slow the race.

At the end it was Weiss out-dueling Gonzales for the victory.

Brickhouse worked his way back up to finish in third with Nick Odell and Lincoln rounding out the top five.

James Hissom, Jr. of Moyock, held off Trevor Battoia of Elizabeth City to claim the Biggs Cadillac, Buick, GMC Stock Fours victory.

It was a thrilling 15-lap feature with 16 entries that saw both Battoia and Hissom at the head of the field.

While negotiating lapped traffic, both top runners had trouble clearing traffic, creating tense moments with cars nearly colliding.

They traded the top spot, with Hissom ultimately gaining the upper hand after the exchanges.

Harrison Moore of Chesapeake earned his first podium finish, claiming third, with Chris Freeman and Justin Bohn securing fourth and fifth respectively.

Justin Pruitt of Chesapeake started the Little Caesars Super Street feature in first.

On the start he lost the top spot to Ben Thomas who was able to clear the pole-sitter in turns one and two.

Thomas would lead until he fell victim to a multiple car incident while catching the rear of the field in turns three and four.

His left rear tire was cut, forcing the 11 car to pit under caution for a new one and relegating him to the end of the lead lapped vehicles.

On the final restart veteran racer, Dennis Barnes, chased Pruitt for position number one to no avail, even as they were separated only inches apart.

Pruitt was able to hold off Barnes, to collect his first ever victory.

Danny Bagwell, Thomas and Joe Shannon completed the top five.

Racing resumes this Friday, May 10.

All four divisions will return, and the Virginia Sprint Series will make its first stop in northeastern North Carolina.

The wing midget cars feature drivers from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia and more.

Gates open at 5 p.m. Practice kicks off at 6:30 p.m. followed by qualifying and racing begins at 8 p.m.

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