It was all about position for Amarillo’s Chris Douglas on Saturday night at Route 66 Speedway.
Douglas held the pole position in the sprint car feature in the first finals event of the evening and he made sure he didn’t surrender it. He held a sizeable lead for most of the 20-lap race then negotiated a caution late in the race to cruise to victory and move within one point of the season’s points standing lead.
That still left Douglas in third place with 181 points on the season at Route 66 as Amarillo’s Bryson Oeschger and Lubbock’s Braxston Wilson are tied for the lead. Douglas held off Wilson to win.
While he may be just a hair out of the points lead, Douglas nonetheless was in control Saturday night.
“For sure being on the pole helps a lot,” Douglas said. “We just had to make the right decisions and run the bottom the whole race. It was pretty slick up top. We were able to set the car up right to rip around the bottom.”
Douglas had an impressive showing in winning his heat which gave him an upper hand during the feature. He roared out to an early lead and never relinquished it, leading by almost half a lap at points over the one-third mile dirt oval track.
The closest Douglas came to being in trouble came with eight laps remaining when there was a caution flag, the biggest momentum killer for any driver who’s dominating the field. It was like starting over again, and Douglas knew better than to do anything rash once the green flag came out to resume the race.
“I just had to make sure I didn’t spin my tires at the restart and get a good run down the straightaway and keep doing what I was doing,” Douglas said. “It’s what got me to that point. I knew (Wilson) was going to be quick and try to rip around the top.”
Wilson was able to close the gap somewhat over the last eight laps, but Douglas was still able to win comfortably.
Douglas seemed primed for a big evening from the time he won his heat. He also acknowledged some good fortune in maintaining his top dog position in the main event.
“It definitely helps,” Douglas said of winning the pole. “In the redraw usually I’m not lucky enough to draw the front row. When I drew the pole I knew it was going to be on.”
Douglas is a perennial contender in the sprints at his home track. On Friday nights he races at the West Texas Raceway in Lubbock and he seems comfortable at both tracks.
“I’m leading the points in Lubbock at the track down there,” Douglas said. “I want to win the Lubbock track championship and the championship here. That’s my goal.”
Next Saturday, though, the points title takes a backseat for Douglas, who will be competing in the G.W. Elkins Memorial Lucas Oil Elite Non Wing Sprint Cars touring event at Route 66. That will feature many of the region’s top sprint car drivers.
There were two other familiar names who made their way to the winner’s circle Saturday night. Amarillo’s Michael Johnson scored his second feature victory of the season in the street stocks, while Canyon’s Teddy Lindsey got his fifth win of the season in the tuners to maintain his points lead in that class.
Two other drivers were first time winners at the track. Chris Elliott held off Brittany Hogan Venable in the limited late models, and Humberto Roacha rallied in the final laps to pull out his first win in the limited modifieds.