Old Dominion Speedway
A change was in order for Danny Fair. The five-time Old Dominion Speedway champion had endured an up-and-down year, although more up than down in the second half of the season. But with just two races remaining entering Saturday night's 200-lap race, the Manassas resident seemingly found himself in an unfamiliar position: out of the running for the points title.
So to shake things up a bit, Fair, 46, shaved off his more than 20-year-old beard. In response, he raced like a young man, taking the lead midway through the race and holding on for his second victory of the season.
"I felt that we should just take a torch to this car and cut it up," Fair said of his frustration following the Sept. 18 race, which he dedicated to his mother, who had passed away earlier in the week.
But rather than take out his frustration on the car, Fair did a little cosmetic work on himself that puzzled some of his track buddies.
"He walked right by, and I didn't even know who he was," said track spokesman Dave Menefee, who has known Fair for 12 years.
The victory moves Fair back into contention, trailing Late Model points leader Dale DeLozier by 30 points. To catch him, Fair would have to finish 15 spots ahead of DeLozier in Saturday's final race of the season, a 100-lap event.
Dion Ciccarelli, who has worked his way up the leader board on the strength of his first two career victories, trails DeLozier by 16 points.
DeLozier, however, is in the driver's seat, needing to finish only in the top eight to guarantee his second consecutive track title. He has finished in the top five 14 times this season.
"I'm going to drive my normal race, just like I do every Saturday night," DeLozier said, admitting the pressure of winning a second straight title is beginning to wear on him. "I'm ready to get it over with. It's a lot of stress, you know."
Two other divisions will be decided Saturday night.
In Grand Stock, Tom Dyson is seeking his second consecutive championship but holds just a 10-point lead over Stan Owens. Owens narrowed the gap last week by 16 points, finishing in sixth place while Dyson ended up in the back of the field in 15th place.
In the Mini-Stock division, Doug Freeman is trying to hold off Jason Lineweaver, who also trails by just 10 points. Lineweaver won Saturday's race, but was unable to shake Freeman, who finished second.
Jim Todd Jr. has clinched the Speedway Sportsman division, leading Scott Lunceford by 54 points.
Late Model: 1, Danny Fair, Manassas; 2, Dion Ciccarelli, Severn, Md.; 3, Dickie Boswell, Friendship, Md.; 4, Dale DeLozier, Alexandria; 5, Andreas Kestermann, Woodbridge. Grand Stock: 1, Chris Donnelly, Stafford; 2, Mike Darne, Manassas; 3, Mark Winstead, Stafford; 4, Dennis Werner, Warrenton; 5, Mark Cropp, Fredericksburg. Mini-Stock: 1, Jason Lineweaver, Stephens City; 2, Doug Freeman, Fredericksburg; 3, Steve Coleman, Fredericksburg; 4, Dave Lucash, Haymarket; 5, Garry Klaus, Alexandria. Speedway Sportsman: 1, Ray Miller, Manassas; 2, Jeff Sisak, Linden; 3, Walt Keel, Clifton; 4, Ronnie Dillon Jr., Millersville, Md.; 5, Tim Neuman, Fredericksburg.
Late Model: 1, DeLozier, 860; Ciccarelli, 844; 3, Fair, 830. Grand Stock: 1, Tom Dyson, Manassas, 872; 2, Stan Owens, Haymarket, 862; 3, Darne, 834. Mini-Stock: 1, Freeman, 758; 2, Lineweaver, 748; 3, Klaus, 692. Speedway Sportsman: 1, Jim Todd Jr., Casanova, 832; 2, Scott Lunceford, Burke, 778; 3, Sisak, 772.