WINSTON-SALEM — The stakes are high and the conditions are challenging for this Saturday’s Colors Edge Sportsman 100 at Bowman Gray Stadium.
The 100-lappers for the Texas Steak & Tap House Sportsman Series are endurance contests both physically and mentally for the competitors – not to mention the demands made on the cars. And in the points race, this may be a critical juncture for Derek Stoltz of Walkertown and John Holleman of Winston-Salem.
The two started off the season evenly tied for the points lead, matching each other race for race. Holleman won the first race. Stoltz won the second. The next week, Holleman claimed the checkered only to be followed by Stoltz taking victory one week later.
But things took a sour turn for Holleman during the first Sportsman 100-lapper of the season. “Tommy Neal and I were racing hard. It was a caution, and I chose the outside,” said Holleman. “We went down into turn one side-by-side. I wasn’t giving him any room, and he wasn’t giving me any room – and we both got loose.”
“I ended up spinning out and somebody came by that didn’t have anywhere to go and clipped the radiator. That ended our night early,” said Holleman, who ended up finishing 14th. He dropped down to fourth in the points.
Since then, Holleman has turned on the heat. He’s finished in the top five each of the last seven races and has won three of the last four – including taking the checkered for both halves of a double-header. The run of strong performances has moved him up to second in the points – but he’s still behind Stoltz.
Now with Saturday’s schedule including the Colors Edge Sportsman 100, Holleman is hoping luck turns in his favor and he can gain serious ground in the points race. And Holleman is quick to say that he’s not afraid to do what it takes – not afraid to lay it on the line even though aggressiveness cost him in the last 100-lap race.
“I don’t think what happened last time will really affect my decision to go outside on a restart, because sometimes you’ve got to take chances and do what you’ve got to do,” said Holleman. “And we’re in the position with the points where we’ve got to take chances and hope things happen.”
Be sure to be at Bowman Gray Stadium this Saturday night – not only will it be the Colors Edge Sportsman 100, but there will also be racing for the Modified Series, the Street Stock Series, and the Stadium Stock Series. And the night will end with the season’s final Chain Race.
Gates open Saturday at 6 p.m. for practice, and the first race begins at 8 p.m. Ticket prices, directions, and more information can be found online at www.bowmangrayracing.com or by calling (336) 723-1819.