Harrod leads flag-to-flag for $2,000 at Malden
By Roby HelmNeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series
MALDEN, Mo. (May 4) — Larry Harrod of Plains, Ga., made the long trip to Missouri a profitable one Friday at Malden Speedway, picking up a $2,000 NsSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series victory at the 3/8-mile oval.
Harrod used the occasion to celebrate the birthday of his crew chief Melvin Welch. Instead of getting a cake, Welch got the trophy. | Video
“I didn’t even realize it was Melvin’s birthday until we were on our way to the track, and my girlfriend told me on the phone to wish Melvin a happy birthday,” Harrod said. “All I’ve thought about since then was wouldn’t it be nice if we could win the race tonight and I would give Melvin the trophy for his birthday.”
Harrod had the dominant race car all night. He topped 28 cars in time trials, lowerin the Crate Late Model track record with a time of 16.123 seconds, but that was just the start of the evening’s performance.
Harrod took the lead at the start of the main event and never looked back. He led all 40 laps, surviving lapped traffic and turning back a challenge from R.C. Whitwell of Tucson, Ariz.
Whitewell looked inside of Harrod amid heavy traffic on lap 31, but a caution on lap 33 slowed the field, giving Harrod clear track ahead for a final eight-lap dash to the finish.
Harrod held Whitwell off in the run to the checkered flag with a .478 second margin of victory.
“Today was the first time I’ve ever seen Malden Speedway, but Melvin Welch and the crew had a great set up on the car tonight,” Harrod said. “It was fast in hot laps, and it just got faster as the night went on.”
Whitwell settled for the runner-up finish with Chase Washington of Houlka, Miss., third. Chris Cantrell of Chester, S.C., and Chris Ragan of Ramer, Tenn., rounded out the top five finishers.
NeSmith @ Malden: (1) Larry Harrod, (2) R.C. Whitwell, (3) Chase Washington, (4) Chris Cantrell, (5) Chris Ragan, (6) Johnny Stokes, (7) Ashley Newman, (8) Ricky Waggoner, (9) Eric Cooley, (10) Anthony White, (11) Matthew Turner, (12) Chase Edge, (13) Kyle Berry, (14) Ronnie Cooper, (15) Marcus Minga, (16) Michael Blount, (17) Jake Teague, (18) Jamie Robards, (19) Cody Kierre, (20) Jerry Buck, (21) Jeff Cagle, (22) David Earl Gentry, (23) Tait Davenport, (24) Robby Moore. Fast qualifier (among 28 cars): Harrod, 16.123 seconds. Consolation race winners: Edge, Cooley.