The Camping World SRX Series (Superstar Racing Experience) is officially underway. Stafford Speedway on Saturday hosted the inaugural race for the short track spec series. By the end, local track star and six-time NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Doug Coby successfully held off the full-time drivers to win.
Under the SRX race format, two fifteen-minute heat races were held that awarded points. A random draw placed NASCAR Cup Series veteran Greg Biffle on the pole for the first heat.
Biffle, in a ringer car, had a very nice showing in the #69 car when he led every lap of the first heat. The lone incident of the race came when Michael Waltrip spun Paul Tracy, forcing Marco Andretti to stop to avoid contact. In a battle that evoked memories of NASCAR in the 2000s, Biffle battled with Bobby Labonte throughout the heat and the latter would finish second.
A field inversion placed Tracy and his wounded car on the pole to start the second heat alongside Willy T. Ribbs, while Biffle had to work his way from the back. Waltrip took the lead on the opening lap while Coby gave chase. Biffle’s race abruptly halted when Ribbs spun and he was impacted from behind by Hélio Castroneves, forcing him into a backup car for the feature. Waltrip continued to lead at the restart with two minutes remaining but Coby passed him on the final lap to win.
Heat #1 results
|4||4||2||Ernie Francis Jr.||36|
|11||9||17||Willy T. Ribbs||36|
Heat #2 results
|5||9||2||Ernie Francis Jr.||35|
|10||2||17||Willy T. Ribbs||24|
As the top two in Heat #2, Coby and Waltrip comprised the front row to start the 100-lap feature. Biffle, in an unmarked backup car, started last. Bill Elliott‘s car lost fuel pressure during pace laps and resulted in a delayed start; he would retire from the race after nine laps.
Coby led the first four laps before Waltrip spun after a bump from Ernie Francis Jr. The restart took place on lap nine with Coby and Stewart, who battled with one another until Andretti took the lead on a three-wide pass. Biffle completed his climb through the field when he took the lead on lap 15.
After Biffle led eight laps, Coby retook the position and was the leader when the competition caution came out. The two sparred for first as the race crossed the halfway point until it was halted by Andretti’s spin on lap 57 following a tap from fellow IndyCar Series driver Castroneves. Waltrip was black-flagged due to damage. Biffle led the first two laps of the restart before Coby reclaimed the top spot.
When it appeared Coby would run away with the win, Andretti’s right-front tyre went down and resulted in a caution with six to go. The restart came with two laps remaining. Coby cleared Biffle on the backstretch, and Biffle and Stewart’s battle for second enabled Coby to pull away and score the victory.
The second race will take place next Saturday at Knoxville Raceway.
|6||5||2||Ernie Francis Jr.||100|
|8||10||17||Willy T. Ribbs||100|