Whitwell claims third straight SWDRA victory
TUCSON, Ariz. (Sept. 8) — Hometown driver R.C. Whitwell raced to his third consecutive Southwest Dirt Racing Association victory Saturday night at Tucson International Raceway, earning $1,000 for his fifth-career victory on the series.
Six-time series champion Lonnie Parker Jr. of El Mirage, Ariz., took the early lead over polesitter Jeremy Payne of Springfield, Mo., with Whitwell also moving by for second.
Whitwell didn't wait long to make his move to the lead, passing Parker exiting turn two on the second lap. Whitwell never looked back from that point, and had no serious challenges while opening a half-lap lead in a car owned by Mike and Sue Tahatinen of Casa Grande, Ariz.
The only time Parker even pulled close to Whitwell came when the leader caught lapped traffic on lap 11 and got caught between two slower cars on lap 19. The lost momentum briefly allowed Parker a small window to catch him, but Whitwell made a bold pass to split the lapped cars and close the door on Parker's chances.
Parker and hometown driver James Chavez Jr. battled for the second spot late in the race with Parker claiming the position at the finish.
Chavez settled for third with Joey Moriarty of Phoenix, Ariz., and Anthony Madrid of Phoenix, Ariz., rounding out the top five.
SWDRA @ Thunder: (1) R.C. Whitwell, (2) Lonnie Parker Jr., (3) James Chavez Jr., (4) Joey Moriarty, (5) Anthony Madrid, (6) John Cornell, (7) Brad Williams, (8) Chad Ayers, (9) Jeremy Thornton, (10) Jerry Fincher, (11) Bruce Duckett, (12) Chris Duchac, (13) Wes Hall.