Hopkins Scores First MEP Late Model Win

By Ken de la Bastide

(September 9, 2013) - New Castle driver Fred Hopkins became the latest driver to record a win in the McGunegill Engine Performance Late Models at Anderson Speedway on Saturday.

Hopkins led all 35 laps on AERCO Heating & Cooling night, but he was chased the entire distance by a pack of cars first led by Rob Allman followed by Jeff Marcum, Danny Trent and Ronnie Rose.

The only caution flag waved on lap 15 when Chris Hacker, Brandon Mefford and Joe Woodring tangled in turn three while batting for position.

On the restart Hopkins was able to maintain the lead over Allman, who lost positions to Marcum, Trent, Wes Russell Jr. and Ronnie Phipps over the next five laps.

At the finish it was Hopkins followed by Marcum, who held off fast qualifier Trent over the final two laps.

“It’s about time,” Hopkins said of his victory. “Once you get out front here, you have to protect the bottom.”

Trent was the driver on the move after starting eighth in the field, he moved into the top five after six laps by passing both Rose and Mefford with inside moves.

The first of the two heat races got off to a slow start as Josh Cave spun on the opening lap on the front straight.

It was discovered that Cave’s car was leaking fluids and after the track crew handled the first situation, Cave returned for the restart but the car continued to leak fluids.

Once it got underway Rose lead the entire distance chase closely by Allman and Marcum. Hacker and Russell rounded out the top five.

Phipps recorded his third heat win of the season by passing early race leader Rob Noel with an inside move down the back stretch.

Noel and Mark Soots had brought out the caution flag on the first lap when they tangled entering turn one.

On the restart Noel took the lead followed by Soots, Phipps, Joe Woodring and Hopkins.

But it only two the veteran Phipps three laps to claim the top spot.

Mefford passed Woodring on the fourth lap entering turn one to take the fifth spot.

At the checkers Phipps was followed by Noel, Soots, Hopkins and Meffort.