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  • Allen Wannamaker

Bianchi Victorious at Richmond

Three times was not a “charm” for Tom Ogle as Red Light Racing’s Brian Bianchi played spoiler at Richmond and took home his first victory of the Season. Ogle had his sights set on a third straight win in the series to go three-for-three, but it didn’t materialize. Ogle picked up slight rear-end damage mid-way through the race and was stuck pack racing for the remainder of the night. It all went “pear-shaped” in the waning laps of the event when Ogle collected Rex Hoyle bringing out the last caution of the night. Ogle finished 17th bringing him “back to Earth” in the overall League point standings.

Bianchi was in the mix all night. At a little over the halfway point, it looked like fellow Red Light Racer and Culpepper-teammate Rex Hoyle were positioning themselves for a one-two finish. Hoyle stretched out a 3-second lead at one point and looked in the clear. However, a caution came out on a Lloyd Moore turn-two spin that bunched everyone back up for a restart. Hoyle was slightly slow off the pits and relinquished the lead, only to tangle with Ogle later in the race. Bianchi, on the other hand, was able to stay clean as the laps wound down. He came out from the pits in second place after the last caution and made an aggressive move to take the lead on the final restart. Ryan Pittman, who finished second in the race after almost going a lap down earlier due to a pit strategy miscalculation, was applying maximum pressure to Bianchi during the last 10 laps of the race. Bianchi, however, did not crack and hit his marks driving his Culpepper-sponsored modified to victory lane.

Bootleg’s Todd Liston grabbed third place in the event while also collecting the “Hard Charger” award. Liston started 19th after a poor qualifying performance but managed to work his way up throughout the race. Jerry Isaacs, who started on Pole and ran solid the entire night, finished in the fourth spot. Rex Hoyle, who was arguably the fastest car on the track from the mid-point of the race until the Ogle incident, deservingly received the “Goody’s Headache award.

With the win, and subsequent 17th finish by Ogle, Bianchi took over the overall points lead by 6 points over Ryan Pittman, who now sits second. Ogle is only 3 points behind Pittman before a gap of 23 points to fourth place Dale Copeland. The Series will take a week off before heading to North Wilkesboro, North Carolina on April 23rd, 2024, for the Zach Brewer Classic. Practice will open at 7:30pm EST, with the race beginning at 8:30.

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