Robert Arch Opens Thanksgiving All-Star Classic with Decisive Charger Victory

LUCAMA, NC – It took only 12 laps for Robert Arch to charge from worst to first on his way to victory lane in the opening night of the 15th commencement of the Thanksgiving All-Star Classic.

Robert Arch, who won in the 40 lap Charger feature, joined Street Stock winner Jeff Melton, Modified winner Jimmy Humblet and Bandolero winner Blaise Brinkley as drivers who visited victory lane on Friday night. Arch struggled with the car all race long and started at the rear of the field but, after Joe Heigl and his team worked on his car, they got it dialed in when it mattered.

“I got to thank all those guys that really worked on my car,” Arch said. “Without those guys, my car was terrible this morning. It was all my fault. The credit goes to Joe Heigl. He's the reason my car's fast and, without him, I wouldn't be where I'm at. The car's been fast all year long. Just, come down here with the weather temperature and everything changes so much, it just throws you for a loop.

“I can't thank those guys enough for working on it all day long and getting it where we could come from the back after just being so terrible earlier in the day to having a stellar racecar that would just fly around this place.”

Nicholas Fulghum finished second in the Charger race while Mike Jones, Brian Pulley and Al Coombs rounded out the top-five. After showing speed early, Michael O'Brien had issues during the race, causing his car to slow on track. He was penalized a lap by race officials for intentionally drawing the caution and was never able to rebound.

After review, Michael O'Brien was awarded the second position.

Jeff Melton led wire-to-wire in the 50 lap Street Stock race, holding off Gary Ledbetter, Sr. and Greg Barnett to score the win. The victory was a form of redemption after mechanical issues relegated him out of contention in a Mid-Atlantic Street Stock Championship Series race he had been leading back in August.

“This is like the third or fourth time we ran here over the last three or four years and each time we come back, we get a little bit better,” Melton explained. “The last MASS race here, I was leading and burned up a right from wheel bearing and ended up finishing a couple laps down. We're glad to be able to come back and redeem ourselves. You've got Gary Ledbetter, [Kevin] Benton, Barnett and all these guys, you're talking about a class act to beat those guys so we really felt good with the car today.”

Jimmy Humblet led wire-to-wire in an eventful 40 lap Southern Lightning Modified feature that saw contenders Chris Humblet and Hunter Slayton both drop out of the race with problems. Despite their problems, Humblet was the class of the field right from the start, passing Slayton for the lead in the first turn on the first lap and never looking back to score the victory.

“We had an outstanding night,” Humblet said. “We worked really hard. We worked very tough to get these cars to run again today. My son [Chris[ was running well. He was faster than I was most of the day today. We kept working on the car. Without my guys, I wouldn't be able to be here.”

Blaise Brinkley led wire-to-wire in the 15 lap Bandolero feature but his victory was no cakewalk. Brinkley had to deal with a challenge from Cole Bruce, who was locked to his bumper all race.

“The trouble here is, if you don't start on the pole, you're probably not going to win because it's so hard to pass here,” Brinkley said. “But, we got it figured out and we got the pole so we got the win.”

The 15th Thanksgiving All-Star Classic continues on Saturday with the Bojangles' Limited Late Model feature, the 25 lap INSCO U-CAR feature, the 40 lap Bojangles' Mini-Stock Mayhem feature and a Legends race that could pay up to $900 to win with a bounty that was placed on Dillon Spain. Qualifying and heat races will be held which will set the field for Sunday's 200 lap Late Model Stock Car as well as qualifying for Sunday's 125 lap Super Late Model race. Gates open at 2pm, qualifying starts at 3pm and racing begins at 4:15pm.

UNOFFICIAL RESULTS:

Bandolero

  1. #24 Blaise Brinkley
  2. #31 Cole Bruce
  3. #51 Ethan Johnson
  4. #12 Savannah Beasley
  5. #14 Conner Jones
  6. #1 Hailey Wilson
  7. #06 Camryn Rice
  8. #18 Emily Day
  9. #42 Jacob Bradley
  10. #17 Parker Frazier
  11. #3 Tyler Roberson
  12. #2 Kaleb Bradley
  13. #51 Holden Haddock -- DNS

Street Stock

  1. #6 Jeff Melton
  2. #32 Gary Ledbetter, Sr.
  3. #8 Greg Barnett
  4. #1 Kevin Benton
  5. #44 Drew Starling
  6. #32 Jody Jones
  7. #75 Mack Parker
  8. #80 Mike Keith
  9. #3 Travis Roberson
  10. #17 Jessica Gusler
  11. #00 Jesse Council -- DNS
  12. #42 Stephen Sharp -- DNS

Charger:

  1. #16 Robert Arch
  2. #77 Nicholas Fulghum
  3. #6 Mike Jones
  4. #68 Brian Pulley
  5. #06 Alton Coombs
  6. #61 Michael O'Brien
  7. #12 Robbie Allison
  8. #16 Steven Marshburn

Modified:

  1. #11 Jimmy Humblet
  2. #44 Robbie Babb
  3. #5 Andrew Fortin
  4. #49 Todd Whitesell
  5. #77 Hunter Slayton
  6. #20 Chris Humblet

For more information about Southern National Motorsports Park, check out SNMP’s website at www.snmpark.com“like” Southern National Motorsports Park on Facebook or “follow” @SNM_Park on Twitter.

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