Through the first three races in the 2021 Carolina Pro Late Model Series season, no driver has been able to touch Nick Loden
After only winning one race last year, Loden has established himself as the definitive championship favorite by winning the first three races on the calendar.
Veteran Gus Dean temporarily put an end to Loden’s dominance on Saturday evening by taking home the checkered flag at Florence Motor Speedway.
Dean could not help but feel sentimental in victory lane, as he began his career racing at Florence by racing in the Allison Legacy Series.
“This is where I got my start on asphalt,” Dean said. “The line is still the same and the asphalt is in great shape. They’ve done a great job of restoring [this track] but I have to give a big thanks to DLP Motorsports. This car has been a rocket ship and I’m glad I could get a win for them.”
Dean believed that he should have won in his other CPLMS appearance at Hickory Motor Speedway but a mechanical failure relegated him to a 19th place finish.
The speed Dean showed that weekend carried over into Florence and was needed for him to climb through the field after an invert placed Dean in the middle of the field.
While Dean was able to methodically work his way up to the front of the field, he had very little room to relax with Loden slowly closing in on his back bumper.
Loden ultimately ran out of laps to tally his fourth consecutive win of the year and had to watch Dean celebrate in front of a packed grandstands at Florence.
Dean knew that it was going to be a challenge to hold off Loden and praised the young driver for the maturity he showed in his attempt to wrestle the lead away in the closing laps.
“Nick Loden did a really good job of saving his stuff,” Dean said. “I thought I had him by a longshot and that he had already burned his stuff up but he pulled the trigger and got back to us. That’s a great job by him.”
Even though his win streak is over, Loden carries momentum on his side ahead of the third CPLMS race at Hickory, where Loden has won at twice this year.
1. Gus Dean
2. Nick Loden
3. Leland Honeyman
4. William Sawalich
5. Tovia Grynewicz
6. Sarah Cornett-Ching
7. Nathan Byrd
8. Penn Crim
9. Kyle Campbell
10. Josh Lowder
11. Joshua Vanwinkle
12. Bryce Carver
13. Gil Linster
14. Jasec Holladay
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