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Blake Stallings recovered from a wipeout crash on Friday night in practice at Ace Speedway and recovered to dominate the Rodney Cook Classic on Saturday night.

The triumph netted him $10,000, but importantly, a win named after a racer that everyone loved and that Stallings himself embodies.

“This is the biggest accomplishment in my racing career by far,” Stallings said in Victory Lane. “Rodney Cook was such a special person not only to the racing community, but as an individual. He can never be replaced, and for me to be able to win this race in his honor is a blessing in itself. I have a great group of guys with me, and they worked hard on this car all weekend. I can’t give enough appreciation to them.”

Despite having to rebuild the car overnight on Friday, the No. 77 team returned to the track and looked very much like the Superman embroidered on Stallings’ hood.

Stallings qualified fourth and first took the lead on lap 20 from Jason York. He survived a Lap 26 incident in which Holden Kurth spun directly in front of the leaders, one in which Stallings just narrowly avoided. On the ensuing restarts, Stallings had his hands full with York, Dennis Holdren and Timothy Peters.

He only lost the lead once on those restarts, to Peters, but got it back on Lap 95. He never looked back.

“I did not expect us to be this good at all,” Stallings said. “We were slow in practice, but we qualified really well, and I thought that we had a decent race piece, but the fact that this car was as great as it was is unreal.”

Meanwhile, Stacy Puryear marched from 16th and second over the final 50 laps. He spent the evening missing the various incidents and was in contention when it mattered the most. He spun his tires on the final restart with 15 laps to go but was pleased to finish second.

“I spun the tires on that final restart and we could maintain, but he was so good off Turn 4, and that was the difference,” Puryear said. “I could get to him in the corner but he was so good off. It was a good run from 16th to second.

“Too many seconds lately, but we’ll take it because a lot of folks didn’t even finish today.”

Peters suffered a flat tire leading up to the halfway point, had to overcome a tire change violation at the break, but was able to get to fourth by the finish, with Josh Berry completing the top-5. His JR Motorsports teammate Anthony Alfredo finished sixth.

The pace of the race was established on the first lap, when the front row of Layne Riggs and Kyle Dudley bounced off each other entering Turn 1. Booboo Dalton and John Moore crashed into the melee. The entire race took over three and a half hours to complete 140 green flag laps. Only 15 of the 30 cars that started the race, finished it.

The complete results can be found below.

  1. Blake Stallings
  2. Stacy Puryear
  3. Jason York
  4. Timothy Peters
  5. Josh Berry
  6. Anthony Alfredo
  7. Justin Snow
  8. Dylan Ward
  9. Burt Myers
  10. Thad Moffitt
  11. Trevor Ward
  12. Gary Young Jr.
  13. Kevin Neal
  14. Dean Fogleman
  15. Thomas Scott -3
  16. Dennis Holdren OUT
  17. Kyle Dudley OUT
  18. Thomas Beane OUT
  19. Peyton Sellers OUT
  20. RD Smith OUT
  21. Craig Moore OUT
  22. Robert Powell OUT
  23. Colin Garrett OUT
  24. Dustin Rumley OUT
  25. Heath Causey OUT
  26. Logan Jones OUT
  27. Holden Kurth OUT
  28. Layne Riggs OUT
  29. BooBoo Dalton OUT
  30. John Moore OUT

 

Matt Weaver is the owner and founder of Short Track Scene. Weaver grew up in the sport, having raced himself before becoming a reporter in college at the University of South Alabama. He is also the associate motorsports editor of Autoweek Magazine and its website, which allows him to cover the highest levels of the sport.

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