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Ottinger Rallies From Rear, Wins Late Model Championships

Heading into the 5th Annual Late Model Championships (LMC) Presented by Fast Track Sims, Nick Ottinger (Claremont, NC) was one of the favorites to sweep the event. Following a stumble in qualifying which prevented the #05 Rheem Toyota from scoring a lap, Ottinger got up on the wheel by winning his heat race, opting in on the Northern Sports and Entertainment Pole Challenge and stormed through the field to win his first Late Model 250 in only his second attempt at the crown.

With Ottinger electing to take the Pole Challenge, it left the front row to pole sitter Daniel Pope II (Smyrna, TN) and Jeremy Davis (Tamworth, NH). Seven yellows slowed the 250-lap feature, including two early wrecks that happened behind of or in front of Ottinger’s drive to the front. The biggest accident happened on the Lap 14 restart when Justin Hoyle (Wallburg, NC), Joe “The Show” Reuter (Green Bay, WI) and Chad Detillier (Picayune, MS) made contact on the inside line as Detillier led the train in fifth. The ensuing pile-up swept up over a dozen cars, including open qualifying winner Richard Dusett (Rochester, NH) and NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Parker Kligerman (Charlotte, NC).

Pope led the opening 65 laps of the race before handing the lead over to Davis on Lap 67 (Ottinger led a lap during a sequence of caution period pit stops). Ottinger then passed Davis for the lead on Lap 113 and led the race until the 129th circuit. Pope and Ottinger would led all but one of the final 81 laps of the race, with Ottinger taking the lead for the final time from the #31 Rightway Logistics Chevrolet on Lap 192. Davis captured third, with NASCAR Series World Championship drivers Andrew Fayash III (Pennsylvania) and Adam Gilliland (Texas) completing the top five. Nineteen drivers completed the race of the 30 starters, which took one hour, 35 minutes to complete.

For his win, Ottinger pockets $154, becoming third on the all time Late Model Championships money list behind 2012 winner Tyler Hudson (Brandon, MS) and 2010 titlist Parker Hammons (Midland, NC). Pope will take home $68 for second place with Davis grabbing $27 for his podium run.

Eighty-three drivers attempted to qualify for the feature through Open Qualifying, with Dusett topping the field on a 19.825 second tour around Martinsville. Davis, Peter Fisher (Shelburne, VA), Pope and Landon Sciacca (Millersport, OH) locked themselves into the Late Model 250 Presented by Fast Track Sims through their qualifying time. Ottinger, Gilliland and Smith kicked off Sunday with a 35-lap Heat win, while Erik Mahlik (Green Bay, WI) and Daniel Williamson (Roanoke, VA) took the “C” and JL Conceptions “B” Mains respectively. Jeff Gilmet (Glace Bay, NS) finished 10th in the “B” Main and received the “I Almost Made It” Award from JL Conceptions as the first driver to fail to qualify for the 250.

The Late Model Championships are back in action this fall (date TBA) for the 3rd Annual Late Model 150, where the winner will lock himself directly into the LMC 250. In 2012, Kevin Gram took the checkers and put himself 30th on the starting grid for last Sunday’s race.

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