WATERFORD – With a comfortable lead in the standings going into the final event of the season Walt Hovey Jr. came into Saturday’s final Street Stock event of the season at the Waterford Speedbowl ready to use the ultra-conservative plan to secure a track championship.
His six-year old son Nick had some other wishes.
“We came into the weekend and Nick said ‘Dad, you’ve got to win the championship race.’” Hovey said. “He thought you had to win the race to win the championship. I said ‘No buddy, we’re just going to finish the race and it should come to us with the championship.’
In the end, Nick got his wish.
Hovey, of Chaplin, clinched his first Speedbowl track championship in style Saturday, winning the 50-lap Street Stock Finale feature.
Corey Hutchings of Salem was second and Chris Meyer of North Franklin third.
Hovey came into the final event of the year with a nearly insurmountable lead, but that also seemed to be the case two years ago in the division. In 2010 Hovey led the standings for nearly the entire season, but in the final race he was involved in an accident and lost the championship by seven points to Al Stone III.
Hovey wasn’t in the mood to take any chances on Saturday, but when Meyer had a tire go down on a restart with 28 laps left, Hovey went to the lead and never trailed again.
“I knew where I needed to finish and I was pretty content just riding around back there and holes kept opening up and next thing you know I was in a position where I had to race a little bit, but I couldn’t push it,” Hovey said. “It worked out pretty well. To go out on top is pretty good. It’s cool.”
Hovey came into the day with a 33-point lead over Josh Galvin. Galvin ended up 20th in the race, giving Hovey a 76 point lead in the final standings.
“It’s quite an accomplishment,” Hovey said. “There’s only one championship every year. People run a lot of years without even winning a race, we’re lucky enough to win races and we’ve got a championship.
It’s quite a bit of weight lifted off my shoulders. Not for myself but more for my family and my supporters and sponsors. They all deserve this as much as I do.”
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