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 "The Flying Hippie" Grabs Late Model Checkers At Natural Bridge (Va.) Speedway As Points Races Heat Up

On a cool and clear night, David "The Flying Hippie" Sibold put an end to a season-long string of bad luck. He made a daring pass to take the lead on lap 10 and then held the point the remainder of the way in claiming the victor’s trophy in the 35-lap Late Model feature.

Three drivers earned the checkers and seized the points lead in their respective divisions at Natural Bridge Speedway last Saturday evening. Points leaders in the remaining three classes extended their leads as the 2005 season heads into turn four.

Sibold started on the Late Model pole, but Shawsville’s Damien Wilson jumped to the lead from his position on the outside of the front row and held a strong lead through the first nine laps before approaching two slower cars. Wilson became trapped behind the slower cars, and Sibold bolted to the high side on the backstretch and burst to the lead, which he held for the remainder of the feature. Wilson rolled home second followed by defending Late Model champion Gerald Wolfe, Jr. and David Bennett, both of Covington, and fifth-place finisher Neil Murray of Buchanan. Bennett holds a 10-point lead over Wolfe with three features remaining.

After starting the night six points behind Mini Stock points boss Mike Cromer, it appeared it would take Stephen Campbell a couple of weeks at best to close the gap. However, Campbell buzzed to a convincing win as Cromer limped home in sixth place, leaving the two drivers in a dead heat for first place in the points race with three races remaining. Robert Falls, Barney Gunter and Crystal Taylor finished third, fourth and fifth, respectively.

Fincastle’s David Brogan picked up his seventh Street Stock win of the season, which allowed the two-time division defending champion to move back into first place in the Street Stock points tussle. Brogan now leads Lexington’s Troy Fitzgerald, who finished third Saturday night behind Brogan and Madison Heights’ Skye "Rocket" Reynolds, by a scant two-point margin with three flags yet to drop. Lynchburg’s Tom Guthrie ran fifth, and Ricky Higgins of Clifton Forge finished fifth.

Buena Vistan Shad Cooper continued his drive to move from 2004 Pure Stock champion to 2005 Sportsman champion as he surged into the Lee’s Auto Repair Sportsman Division points lead by claiming his second consecutive feature win. Cooper started fourth and ran third behind Tim Stalnaker and Ricky Wells until the two leaders tangled in turn four on lap 4 and were shuffled to the rear of the field. Cooper took the lead, but fought off constant challenges from Chris Barger and Terry Dame on his way to his big win, which gives him a two-point lead over Buchanan’s Danny Hylton, who finished fourth on Saturday. Barger finished second; Dame posted a strong third-place performance, and Shipman’s Mike Bryant completed the top 5.

Lexington’s Coray Brown powered to the lead on the first lap and covered the field the rest of the way to grab the checkers in the 25-lap Pure Stock feature. Brown’s win moved him into second place in the points behind veteran Rick Mayberry of Spout Spring, who finished second to Brown. Mayberry has a 21-point edge. Evergreen’s Todd Garrett finished third. Amherst’s Mike Bryant crossed the line fourth, and Brian Campbell finished fifth.

Any Car points leader Fred Clark of Lexington joined Brogan as the speedway’s winningest drivers of the season, grabbing his seventh win on Saturday night in the special 30-lap Any Car feature. Jason Barger led the first seven laps before sway bar problems forced him to drift back in the pack. James Fitzgerald led from lap 8 until Clark took the lead on lap 20. Fitzgerald finished second. Jamie Wright, Scottie Hostetter and Brian Newton completed the top 5.

Gates will open Saturday, Sept. 10 at 4 p.m., and a 50-lap Sportsman feature will highlight the show. The first green flag is scheduled to fall at 7:30 p.m.