ASCAR Rockingham September 28

Ben Collins sealed the ASCAR crown in style at Rockingham, smashing the lap record on his way to a pair of dominant race wins

ASCAR Rockingham September 28

It was the Deuce Racing/RML driver's first major championship title and it couldn't have come to him in a more perfect fashion. "The car was awesome all weekend," he said afterwards. "We've been working hard on set-up all year and it came good this weekend. I was able to push a lot harder in the early laps."

In the first half of the race, Collins did indeed look comfortable at the front despite a couple of moments while lapping backmarkers. These allowed Roland Rehfeld to close on the leader, but as soon as Collins got back into clean air, he pulled away.

Behind these two, Derek Hayes was a safe third ahead of Ian McKellar Jr. McKellar had his rapid team boss John Mickel on his tail by lap 10, but that threat disappeared when Mickel's power-steering failed.

That left Michael Vergers fifth while Colin White was sixth, just holding sway in a great battle with Anthony Swan, Andrew Kirkaldy, Andy Smith and Rob Speak.

It was this scrap which caused the first safety car period at the stroke of half time, as the field descended on the pits. An altercation in the pitlane entrance between Smith and Speak sent Rob careering over the back of Kirkaldy and out of the race.

After a lengthy caution period, Collins again waltzed away from Rehfeld, while McKellar had leapfrogged Hayes. Derek later had to pit to repair his broken radio, putting him out of contention.

With Vergers unable to challenge McKellar thanks to a car that was not handling to his liking, Ian moved on to the tail of Rehfeld, who was also struggling with his car's set-up. A dive up the inside at Turn Four with 10 laps left gave him second, while Speak led home the five-car battle for fifth.

It was a similar story for Collins in race two, as no-one could touch him at any of the numerous restarts in the shortened event. Each time, he powered away from the field.

McKellar was second throughout, having no answer to Collins' speed. His only glimpse of hope came after a quick stop by his Torquespeed crew put him right on the tail of the leader as Collins emerged from his stop, but it still wasn't enough to take him past Ben, who eased away.

In the closing section of the race McKellar had to switch to defence as Speak latched on to him, having powered past Vergers for third at Turn Four on lap 27.

Steve Dance had to wait until the very last round of the Pickup championship to clinch the title.

Dance could have won it in Sunday's first race, but his run to sixth proved a little too cautious, especially as rival Gavin Seagar won race one.

Seager's win came thanks to a fabulous dive between early leader Graham France and Kevin Clarke at Turn One, and stout defence from a late assault by Robert Butterfield.

Seagar put up another valiant effort in race two. But, as Dance moved into a safe second behind Mark Willis, Seagar got trapped in a fierce scrap for fourth which he won from Michael Smith, Pete Wilkinson, Dave Briggs and Nic Grindrod.

ASCAR Days of Thunder (60 laps) 1 Ben Collins (Chevrolet Monte Carlo) 43m40.482s (121.91mph); 2 Ian McKellar Jr (Chevrolet) 43m41.290s; 3 Roland Rehfeld (Pontiac Grand Prix); 4 Michael Vergers (Pontiac); 5 Colin White (Chevrolet); 6 Rob Speak (Chevrolet); 7 Andrew Kirkaldy (Pontiac); 8 Anthony Swan (Chevrolet); 9 Mark Proctor (Pontiac); 10 Kieran Dynes (Chevrolet). Fastest lap Collins 34.901s (152.55mph). Race two (50 laps) 1 Collins 44m24.071s (99.93mph); 2 McKellar 44m29.943s; 3 Speak; 4 White; 5 Vergers; 6 Rehfeld; 7 Swan; 8 Derek Hayes (Pontiac); 9 Dynes; 10 Phil Weaver (Chevrolet). FL Collins 34.475s (154.44mph). Final championship standings 1 Collins 2299pts; 2 White 2044; 3 Verger 1963; 4 Rehfeld 1962; 5 McKellar 1821; 6 Swan 1804.

Pickup trucks (25 laps) 1 Gavin Seagar 18m46.431s (118.17mph); 2 Robert Butterfield 18m46.450s; 3 Nic Grindrod; 4 Graham France; 5 Phil White; 6 Stephen Dance. FL Grindrod 42.905s (124.00mph). Race two (25 laps) 1 Mark Willis 17m893s (127.88mph); 2 Dance 17m21.139s; 3 Field; 4 Seagar; 5 Smith; 6 Peter Wilkinson. FL Willis 40.645s (130.99mph).

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