McDonald sets Pure Stock Track Record, wins Feature; Heil Wins Outlaws; Lambert in Sportsmen; Steven Davis Takes Trucks



Davis Gets Better of Thompson; Heil Makes Long Haul, Hauls in another Outlaws Victory at 5 Flags


By Chuck Corder

Last September, Grant Thompson posted a photo on Facebook arm-in-arm with Steven Davis.

The 14-year-old youthful hotshoe barely came up to the shoulder of the 35-year-old veteran wheelman, but the young Thompson still could be seen wearing an ear-to-ear smile.

Underneath the post, Davis replied, “My buddy!!”

Davis got the better of his buddy as the duo were the class of the a 13-trucks field in the 35-lap Pro Trucks feature Friday night at Five Flags Speedway.

“That wasn’t too bad,” Davis said with a smile. “It was a good night of racing. I was glad to be a part of it.”

The Theodore, Ala., native and 2015 Pro Trucks Snowball Derby champion was only a part of Friday night because he was filling in for Brandon Sager, who owns and regularly drives the No. 8.

Davis made a crafty, deft move late in the race to ensure the distance he needed to secure the victory.

The leaders approached lapped traffic, two-wide, with seven laps remaining. As Thompson edged closer on the back straightaway, Davis threaded the needle to escape the lapped trucks. While Thompson made the same courageous move to keep pace, Davis’ quick-thinking had given him a healthy cushion.

“Sometimes, you gotta go,” Davis said bluntly.

Thompson settled for runner-up, a week after capturing the season opener. Proving their stranglehold over the field, Davis and Thompson were nearly 10 seconds ahead of Cameron Weinberg, Thompson’s teammate at Curt Britt Motorsports who finished third for the second week in a row.


Faith Chapel Outlaws

When you drive 721 miles, you don’t want to waste time and you want to make the most of the trip.

It’s a concept John Heil grasps extremely tightly.

The driver from Floresville, TX – just outside of San Antonio – has won his last two races at Pensacola’s high banks. They just so happen to be during a span of five months.

On Friday, he dominated a 21-car field to win the Faith Chapel Outlaws 35-lap feature. Last December, he was the talk of Snowball Derby weekend when he surprised many by winning the Outlaws Derby edition.

“It ran good there,” said Heil, who had short-track active legend Augie Grill in his pits. “We were even half-throttle out there a few times and it was just cruising.”

Cantonment’s Bubba Winslow finished second and Pensacola’s Conner Sutton third.

It appeared Heil was on a rail from the moment his No. 96 car unloaded at the famed half-mile asphalt oval Friday. He was .066 seconds shy from setting a track record as the fastest time in group qualifying, and then comfortably had the lead by Lap 3 against strong competition.

He held a huge half-straightaway lead until the midway point of the 35 lapper when three cars tangled to bring out the feature’s only caution.

But a well-timed and controlled restart with 17 complete pushed Heil clear of Winslow and the first two rows behind him. With less than five laps remaining, Heil’s lead had exceeded 2.5 seconds.

Here’s hoping he doesn’t drive that fast back to Floresville.


The Dock on Pensacola Beach Sportsmen

There has always been a friendly rivalry among The Dock on Pensacola Beach Sportsmen drivers.

“Battle of the Bay” some have dubbed it. Mobile vs. Pensacola, period.

And, in recent years, Mobile-area drivers have enjoyed bragging rights in the class with the triumphs of Mark Barnhill, Tommie Blocker, B.J. Leytham among many others.

Pensacola is, officially, up off the mat in the first two weeks of the 2020 season. Twenty-year-old Hunter Lambert, who celebrated his first career victory a week ago, made a return appearance to Victory Lane on Friday at Five Flags by winning The Dock on Pensacola Beach Sportsmen’s 25-lap feature.

Lambert emerged from his car, hammering the roof with joyous pounds of his fists. Jim Pokrant, who finished third at the season opener, improved one spot and led a handful of laps.

It’s obvious that both Lambert and Pokrant used their time wisely during the COVID-19 pandemic self-isolation by putting in extra work on their hot rods.

“I think it has a little something to do with me improving as a driver and, mainly, the work we put in over the winter. It drives great now.”

Mobile’s Chad Robinson rounded out the podium in third.


Lloyd’s Glass Pure Stocks

Daryl McDonald III needed a deep freezer leaving Five Flags Speedway on Friday.

The 14-year-old from Theodore, Ala., swept the night in the Pure Stocks series, setting a new track record (21.362 seconds) in qualifying and then holding off Jerry Goff Jr. to win the 20-lap feature. (Speed51 photo)

His reward, in addition to a checkered flag and trophy almost as tall as him, was a couple of boxes of steaks from division sponsor, Lloyd’s Glass.

“It was a good race,” said McDonald, affectionately known as D3. “I stayed patient early, and had to run the outside line a little bit, but the car did great.”

A week after winning the season opener, Goff finished runner-up and Dylan Courtney rounded out the podium.

Twelve Lloyd’s Glass Pure Stocks took the green, but just two were the class of the field.

Goff took an early lead from Courtney, the polesitter, but McDonald was dogging Goff early and often.

McDonald took his first lead when he nudged Goff out of the way coming out of Turn 4 on Lap 8, but lapped traffic picked him in Turn 2 and Goff reclaimed P1.

Three laps later, though, McDonald made a smooth pass under Goff and never relinquished his lead en route to Victory Lane.