PORT ROYAL - Tim McCreadie didn't even realize he was leading the point standings heading into the Appalachian Mountain Late Model Speedweek finale Monday night at Port Royal Speedway.
The former Chili Bowl midget champion and Watertown N.Y. driver would control the final half of the main event and not only take the $4,000 winner's check in the Charlie Grinestaff Memorial, but picked up an additional $3,500 for the series championship as well. He's the first repeat series champion after winning the title in 2012. He won two of the four races in the series.
His final margin of victory was 5.5 seconds, but the driver didn't know how big of a lead he had.
Sentinel photo by TIM SHUMAKER
Driver Jeff Rine, left, leads the lap followed by Tim McCreadie during the Appalachin Mountain Dirt Late Model Speedweek Series Race Monday evening in Port Royal. McCreadie ended up winning the race and series championship.
"I didn't know where anybody was because my crew guy never made it to the infield," he said. "I had no idea and the camera guys kept taking pictures. I thought for sure Jamie (Lathroum) or Rick (Eckert) was underneath me. I tried to go as hard as I could."
It was McCreadie and only one other crew member as his truck driver had to go home to tend to a family emergency.
"A four-race swing seems to be pretty good for my team," he said. "It was a great effort."
Danville's Jeff Rine started on the pole and drove into the lead at the start of the 40-lap main event. McCreadie started second and was running in that spot until Tim Wilson passed him with an inside move in the corner.
Greg Satterlee was moving into third spot when his engine blew and he slowed bringing out the race's first caution with eight laps completed. Rine saw his huge lead erased.
Fast qualifier Justin Kann spun on the restart. When the racing resumed, McCreadie and Lathroum drove by Wilson and into second and third.
Wilson and Tim Fuller would then trade fourth.
McCreadie worked the outside lane and was gaining on Rine, who ran the middle groove into the corner and then drove across the bottom on exit.
McCreadie switched lanes and got under the leader in turn one. Rine pinched him down and McCreadie fell back to second. He tried it again the next lap and was able to make the move work and secure the lead with 21 laps completed.
Lathroum and Fuller would drive by Rine as well.
McCreadie was increasing his lead, until lap 29 when he got stuck in lapped traffic, allowing Lathroum to close.
A caution flag for Jim Yoder gave McCreadie a clear racetrack again and he was never seriously challenged.
Wilson's great run ended when he slowed with left front suspension damage with 10 to go.
York's Rick Eckert was into the top five with eight laps to go and began passing cars. McCreadie was gone as Eckert got as high as second by the time the checkers waived.
"My car was pretty good, but I don't know if I was as good as Tim," said Eckert. "I took the middle and was able to get by them both (Lathroum and Fuller), but I couldn't even see McCreadie. I don't think we had anything for him even if we got a caution."
Lathroum, Fuller and Dan Stone completed the top five. Austin Hubbard, Kenny Pettyjohn, Vic Coffey, Jason Covert and Mike Lupfer rounded out the top 10.
Covert, Fuller, Hubbard and Coffery were the top five drivers in Speedweek points. Satterlee and Hubbard won the other two races.
Kann set fast time over the 41-car field with a lap of 19.545 seconds. McCreadie, Eckert, Rine and Lathroum won the heat races.
Jake Jones won the 20-lap limited late model feature.