Dean Fairbanks needed a driver. James Stands needed a ride. The family combo clicked at the Black Hills Speedway Nationals.
Stands took over his uncle’s No. 171 Wissota Street Stocker just after mid-season and found victory lane twice, the second win coming after a nose-to-tail duel with another steady driver, Toby Price of Oglala, in Saturday night’s season finale at the half-mile oval.
Price kept the pressure on for most of the 15-lap feature, but Stands used the car’s tendency to step out in the corners to his advantage to ease away in the late laps.
“I feel like when it’s loose, I can drive it as far into the corner as I want. You just have to be able to hang on to it. I’ve been doing it for a while. I kind of know how to drive. I just got it out front and did my best to keep it there. The car did the rest,” Stands said.
Third went to Russ Phillips of Winner. Stands and Fairbanks said constant adjustment on the car along with a set of used tires purchased from Phillips keyed their late season resurgence.
“It gave me a bad back but it was worth it,” Fairbanks said. “I got me a heck of a driver now. My nephew is da bomb.”
Season champ Arlo Provost started on the pole and lead the early laps, but faded and eventually suffered a fiery engine failure on the final lap.
Alan “Chico” McNeil of Rapid City (Thunder Stock), Jamie Neumiller of Rapid City (Super Stock), Kyle Harkin of Hermosa (Midwest Modified), Eric Mass of Rapid City (Late Model), Tom Sires of Rapid City (Non-winged Sprint) and Randi Miller of Rapid City (winged sprint) all completed the weekend sweep of their respective classes.
Miller dominated the sprint main, pulling away for a near half-lap margin over Clint Anderson of Belle Fourche and Matt Heinzerling of Sturgis.
Sires held off Lany Reber to post his class-leading ninth main event win, including seven straight to end the inaugural season for the class.
“It’s good. It’s fun, affordable. They’re easy to work on,” Sires said of the class.
Harkin capped a strong surge with his third main event win of the year including Friday’s main and a second place at last week’s East-West Clash at Gillette Thunder Speedway.
“I never lifted or hit the brakes in (turns) one and two the whole race. Three and four were a little different. It was pretty slick over there,” Harkin said.
Mass, 2013 Late Model point champion at BHS rode the high line on a dry-slick track to a wide gap win over Brent Nielsen of Rapid City.
Neumiller, season point champion in the Super Stock division overtook Kevin Aga of Sturgis and maintained a steady 10-car length cushion for his eighth feature win of the year.
McNeil capped a dominating year in the sparcely-populated Thunder stock division with his 15th win in 16 starts. Runner-up Brian Schearer was only other starter
Dallas Porter, the only other driver to crack the Thunder Stock win column, heavily crunched his Chevy Friday night, smacking the Turn 4 concrete after avoiding a driver’s side hit on another car.
Also missing Saturday night was Kevin Ingle of Huron, who flipped his winged sprinter Friday.
The Nationals conclude the 2013 racing season at BHS.