August 13, 2018 10:35:41 AM
Evan Ellis added win No. 13 to his dream season Saturday at Magnolia Motor Speedway.
Ellis passed Randall Beckwith off turn four as the white flag dropped, splitting Beckwith and lap-car DJ Brasfield for the Durrence Layne Late Model win.
Ellis has won 11 features this season at Magnolia.
"I can't even describe this year," Ellis said. "I'm just trying to race and keep it going as much as I can. Luck is falling my way."
Ellis used a bit of that luck when Justin McRee, who was running second, broke and exited the track with six laps to go. Ellis then chased down Beckwith in lap traffic. He said navigating the rough surface consistently at each of the tracks was key in closing the gap on Beckwith.
"Beckwith had a good lead on me, and he just kept hitting those ruts wrong," Ellis said. "I got through lap traffic, and I'd get by one lap car better, then he'd get by one better than me. (Beckwith) went in there and shoved a couple of times, got leaned on, and I got past him."
Beckwith took second and is second in track points to Ellis. Saturday marked Beckwith's second podium finish and seventh top five this season at Magnolia. He has won two races this year at Greenville, but he's still working to master Magnolia.
"We'll come here one time and be a top-three car, then come another time and be lucky to run top 10," Beckwith said. "This track is hard to get a hold of."
Beckwith said he was able to run wide open in the early stages, but he got "too cautious" in lap traffic and began lifting and paying too much attention to lap cars.
"I think that may have cost us the race," he said. "I wanted to be the streak-stopper."
Jamey Boland, Tim Dees, and Trey Rickman rounded out the top five.
Shelton pilots Ponds' car to win
Tony Shelton started sixth and picked off Jamie Pickard in the 602 Sportsman feature.
Shelton drove Roman Ponds' No. 15 car Saturday, as Ponds is having neck surgery and is unable to race.
Shelton left his car parked after setting it up for the $2,000-to-win feature next week at Whynot.
Shelton made his way through the field before passing Pickard on lap eight and winning his first Sportsman feature this season at Magnolia. Shelton has five Durrence Layne Sportsman wins and eight total this season.
Shelton said he was surprised Pickard, who has won four times at The Mag and leads track points, didn't challenge him for the lead in the last six or seven laps. However, MasterSbilt cars, like he drove Saturday, are better suited for tacky tracks than Capital cars, like Pickard's, Shelton said.
"I set the car up for a tacky track, and that's the way it was," Shelton said. "I got through the first two laps, and it felt good. I got to Jamie Pickard, and I just rolled in there and passed him, and I just never let off. It was so tacky, and I had it set perfectly. I just rolled."
Nick Thrash, Mike Pickard, and Zack Owens rounded out the top five.
In other action, Eddie Rickman won his second Street Stocks feature in as many weeks.
Lee Ray passed Rickman for the lead on lap two after beating Rickman to the bottom in turn one. Ray and Rickman raced door to door on laps eight and nine before reaching lap traffic. Rickman regained the lead on lap 10, splitting a lap car running the middle as he ran high and Ray ran low in turns one and two.
Rickman won last Friday at Columbus and finished second last Saturday at Whynot Motorsports Park.
Rickman and many of the area's Street Stock drivers will compete next week at the $3,000-to-win Southern Street Stock Nationals at Whynot.
John Beard won the Factory Stocks feature. Bill Sudduth, Jeff Collum, Cody Chism, and Jason Byrd rounded out the top five.