There was a surprise late entry for South Alabama Speedway’s Viper Series Cottonmouth 100 on August 3. But it wasn’t a surprise when he pulled into victory lane after the 100-lap Pro Late Model event around the famed Opp, AL speedway.
Bill Elliott Racing notified the track late in the week that Chase Elliott would be making the trip for Saturday’s race. He flew home from Pocono, PN where he competed in an ARCA event Friday. They were the last car entering the pits Saturday, but that didn’t matter in the end.
Elliott set fast time in qualifying with a time of 15.376, breaking Justin South’s long string of Viper Series poles. Inversion put Elliott fourth on the starting grid with R.S. Senter on the pole. South lined up on the outside and quickly grabbed the lead going into turn one. Senter slid back through the field with Hunter Robbins, Elliott, Korey Ruble, and Brandon Odom all getting past the pole sitter. Elliott settled into fourth spot as the field got some laps in. Elliott worked his way back around Ruble on lap 40 to move into third. At the halfway point, South led Robbins, Elliott, Ruble, and Odom.
South continued to lead after the halfway point, but Elliott was moving his way into position. On lap 55, he passed Robbins to move into second, several car lengths behind South. Elliott cut into South’s lead each lap. By lap 70, he was on South’s bumper. Five laps later, he made the move to the inside to take the lead.
Elliott survived a couple of late cautions to take the win over Robbins, South, Ruble, and Josh Adkins.
In the Modified feature, Brandon Odom took the lead when Heath Mills pulled into the pits as the race went to a red flag. Mills took the early lead from the pole and built a sizable lead over the field in the early laps. Odom, started eighth, but moved up to second on lap six, just before the races first caution. Mills continued to lead after the caution, but mechanical problems sent him to the pits as the race was red flagged for a medical emergency in the pit area. Odom assumed the lead, but still had some work to do. Kip Whitehead was on Odom’s bumper, looking for a way past the leader. Odom was able to keep Whitehead behind him for the remainder of the race to take the hard earned win. Mario Lupi was third, followed by Martin Lilland, Jr., and Rick McCarson.
Gary Davis and Chad Roberts had a good battle for the Street Stock feature trophy, with Davis coming out on top in the end. Daniel Parker led the first five laps before Davis took the lead on a restart. Roberts followed Davis around the leader and six laps later passed Davis to take the point. Davis stayed with Roberts, and on lap 18, worked his way past Roberts to regain the lead. Davis led the final eight laps to take the win. Billy Maxie overcame some early mechanical issues to come back and finish third. Adam Salter was fourth with Todd Valdez fifth.
Bubba Deaton and Charles Gardner battled side by side the final ten laps to decide the Roadrunner feature winner. Deaton grabbed the early lead and enjoyed it while Gardner was making his way through the field. Gardner moved into second on lap 15 and went to work on Deaton. Gardner moved to the outside of Deaton, but Deaton held his ground. Gardner beat Deaton to the stripe to lead lap 18, but Deaton battled back to regain the lead. The pair raced side by side to the end but Deaton had the advantage on the inside and took the win. David Daniels almost snuck under the two leaders in the closing laps, but settled for third. Ricky Strickland finished fourth, followed by Tim Peters.
In the Roadrunner feature, Jonathan Johnson came from the tenth starting spot, took the lead on lap five, and went on to take the win. Rusty Locklar led the first lap, but his night ended on the second lap when he stopped on the track with mechanical troubles. David Williams took over the point, but Lee Rogers took over on lap four. Johnson passed Rogers one lap later and led the rest of the way to take the win. Danny Thompson finished second with Rogers third. Williams was fourth and Brain Missildine fifth.
Jack Whittle came from the seventh starting spot to take another CupLite win. Jason Fowler led the first 17 laps before Rick Northey grabbed the lead. Northey led the next four laps before Whittle to over the top spot. Northey didn’t give up and kept the pressure on Whittle. Northey’s last shot came as the pair headed out of turn four, heading to the checkers. Northey dove to the inside, but came up short as Whittle beat him to the line. Cory Tillman finished third ahead of Dylan Northey and Carroll Williams.
Paul Gay took the lead with just two laps to go to capture the win in the Mini Sportsman feature. Donnie Howell led the first 18 laps before Gay got by to take the win. Keith Hutchinson and Dylan Wolfe also got by Howell in the closing laps to take second and third. Howell was fourth, with Chris Weaver fifth.
BY MARK CHISUM Raceweek Illustrated