For the first time in five races, Mark McFarland was not standing in the winner's circle at the end of the Winston Racing Series Late Model division race at Old Dominion Speedway.
In his place was Mike Colabucci, a Waldorf resident who had finished no worse than third place this season and has been McFarland's toughest competitor.
Colabucci held off McFarland, who was pressed by defending track champion Dale DeLozier, to break McFarland's win streak and narrow the Winchester resident's overall lead to 14 points.
"I think everybody needed it," Colabucci said of his victory Saturday night. "I think everybody needed to see that he could be beat. He had a bad night, and I'm sure he'll be right back. . . . [McFarland is] not going to go away by any means."
After every race this season, Colabucci has come away feeling his car was a little off, that a slight adjustment could propel him past McFarland. After centering the right rear axle, Colabucci felt his car was finally ready to make a run at McFarland.
Ironically, a different mechanical problem almost kept Colabucci from racing at all.
During routine maintenance before the race, a member of Colabucci's crew noticed a hairline fracture on the right rear hub -- the aluminum piece that essentially holds the wheel to the car. After searching unsuccessfully for a spare hub among his fellow racers, Colabucci's team decided to shift the cracked hub from the right rear -- which endures the most pressure in the turns -- to the front left. From there all the crew could do was hope it would last the 75-lap race.
The cracked hub did not become a concern until the 63rd lap, when an accident brought racing to a halt. Colabucci glanced over to his pit and saw his crew pacing back and forth.
"They were wearing a hole in the asphalt," Colabucci said. "When you're 13 laps from the finish, you start hearing everything. The last couple of laps I heard this clunking noise and thought it was going to break."
McFarland said he was slowed down with a dented hood after colliding with DeLozier midway through the race.
"If we wouldn't have messed up the car, I think we would've had a good shot at winning," said McFarland, adding that he is not dissapointed with a second-place finish. "I knew we would have to be lucky to win 'em all."
In the Grand Stock 50-lap race, Jeff Callihan led wire to wire to earn his second victory of the season. Callihan, who won the first race of the season, had crashed out of the last two races. The win brings him within 64 points of overall leader Tom Dyson, who placed third behind Stan Owens.
"When the green flag dropped I just took off," Callihan said. "I wasn't taking any chances."
The Mini-Stocks ran twin 30-lap races to make up for a canceled race earlier this season. Points leader Mike Bryant and Mike Cadle each came away with a victory. . . .
Scott Lunceford won his second race of the season in the Speedway Sportsman division.
Late Model (75 laps): 1, Mike Colabucci, Waldorf; 2, Mark McFarland, Winchester; 3, Dale DeLozier, Alexandria; 4, Danny Fair, Manassas; 5, Dustin Storm, Prince Frederick, Md.
Grand Stock (50): 1, Jeff Callihan, Fredericksburg; 2, Stan Owens, Haymarket; 3, Tom Dyson, Manassas; 4, Mike Darne, Manassas; 5, Mike Winstead, Stafford.
Mini-Stock (30): 1, Mike Bryant, Midland; 2, Mike Cadle, Sterling; 3, Jason Lineweaver, Stephens City; 4, Ed Zbignewich, New Windsor, Md.; 5, Rick Bowman, Catlett.
Mini-Stock (30): 1, Cadle; 2, Doug Freeman, Fredericksburg; 3, Lineweaver; 4, Adam Flis, Annandale; 5, Garry Klaus, Alexandria.
Speedway Sportsman (25): 1, Scott Lunceford, Burke; 2, Jim Todd Jr., Casanova; 3, Ted Queen, Manassas; 4, Jeff Sisak, Linden; 5, Mark Pollard, Clifton.
Late Model: 1, McFarland, 298; 2, Colabucci, 284; 3, DeLozier, 250.
Grand Stock: 1, Dyson, 330; 2, Darne, 308; 3, Owens, 288.
Mini-Stock: 1, Bryant, 278; 2, Lineweaver, 256; 3, Zbignewich, 242.
Speedway Sportsman: 1, Todd, 294; 2, Sisak, 276; 3, Lunceford, 256.
CAPTION: Mark McFarland, shown in action last season, won five consecutive races in the Winston Racing Series Late Model division before finishing second on Saturday.