Diaz beats the rain to earn 5th SNMP victory of season

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Mason Diaz picked up his fifth Southern National victory on Saturday night before severe weather arrived at Southern National Motorsports Park, canceling much of the night’s racing program.

The first of two scheduled Late Model Stock Car races and the Bandolero feature race were both completed. The Fast Five Pro Late Model race went green but, five laps into the race, the skies opened up and a torrential downpour, along with lightning, forced the race to be cancelled.

Andrew Grady, in his first Southern National start of the season, qualified on the pole for the Late Model Stock Car raced and battled with Chris Chapman side-by-side for the first five laps before taking sole possession of the top spot. A few laps later, Jonathan Findley roared past to take the lead, and then Findley fell off the pace, surrendering the lead to Rusty Daniels.

Daniels held off a challenge from Diaz and Andrew Grady on a restart and pulled away. When the caution came out on lap 23 for an incident involving Gerald Benton, Daniels’ lead was erased. Under the caution, Daniels’ car lost power and he was forced out of the race, handing the lead, and the win, to Diaz.

“There was some early race contact for Chapman, he pushed up the right front nose and made the car tight,” Diaz said after the race. “Aftcer that, the car just wasn’t the same and weren’t the fastest car. We got some luck with Findley and Daniels breaking out. That’s what got me the lead and after that, I kind of set sail.”

Parker Frazier dominated in the 15-lap Bandolero feature. Behind him, a wild race between Josh Speas, Cameron Murray and Ethan Johnson ended when all three cars spun in turn 4. Johnson would recover, racing his way up to second. Camryn Rice, who had been involved in an incident on the race’s opening lap, rebounded from her problems to finish in third.

Jonathan Findley qualified on the pole and was leading in the Pro Late Model race, trying to fend off a challenge from Colt James when the caution came out for precipitation. The rain quickly turned into a downpour, accompanied by lightning and thunder, forcing the track to call the rest of the racing program off.

Tickets and pit passes from Saturday night’s race will be honored at the Aug. 19 race.

This weekend the Pro All Stars Series (PASS) Super Late Model Tour will invade Southern National Motorsports Park for the secon d time in 2017. Matt Craig won at Southern National Motorsports Park back in March during first PASS visit of the season. The PASS Super Late Model Tour will be accompanied by the Mid Atlantic Street Stock Championship Series and the USAC Eastern Midgets.

For more information about Southern National Motorsports Park, check out SNMP’s website at www.snmpark.com, “like” Southern National Motorsports Park on Facebook or “follow” @SNM_Park on Twitter.