Austin Hubbard

Austin Hubbard races toward his second win of the season at Screven Motor Speedway. His first was a Southern All Stars victory at Golden Isles Speedway in Brunswick, Ga. (Craig Whyte)

Delaware Showboat Hubbard Takes It Off Down South Again

SYLVANIA, Ga. - March 20. Austin Hubbard loves Georgia – and Georgia loves him back.

Back in the state where he burst on the national scene with his first major victory two months ago, the 18-year-old sensation from Seaford, Del., thrilled his growing Peach State fan base again by winning his first career World of Outlaws Late Model Series A-Main Saturday night at Screven Motor Speedway.

Hubbard passed 2007 WoO LMS champion Steve Francis for the lead on lap 30 and repelled a late challenge from defending tour titlist Josh Richards to emerge triumphant in the 50-lap event. Then he reached Victory Lane and upped the ante on the wild, clothes-shedding post-race celebration he performed after his O'Reilly Southern All-Stars Series win on Jan. 30 at Golden Isles Speedway in Brunswick, Ga.

Austin Hubbard

Call it a  striptease up in Delaware, or "shuckin' them duds" down south, but
teenager Austin Hubbard brought his own brand of Ricky Bobby style burlesque to
Georgia for the second time this season, this time in World Outlaws action at
Screven Motor Speedway. (Craig Whyte)

With the standing-room-only crowd cheering him on, Hubbard climbed out of his Beitler Motorsports Rocket car, removed his shoes, uniform and fireproof top, and ran down the homestretch wearing only his helmet and long underwear a la Ricky Bobby in Talladega Nights. He even added new wrinkles to his performance, rolling several times in the mud and high-fiving fans who stuck their hands through the catch fence.

"It's a dream come true," said Hubbard, who became the fourth driver in WoO LMS history to win an A-Main while chasing the Rookie of the Year title. "I'm just glad to be racing with these people. I'm just a country boy from Delaware, and this is all I've wanted to do since I was a little kid.

"It's so great that we finally made it. I won a World of Outlaws race and I couldn't be more excited."

Hubbard crossed the finish line 0.925 of a second ahead of the 21-year-old Richards, who was unable to take advantage of a final restart on lap 47 to steal the race from the rising young star following in his WoO LMS tire tracks. Richards, who started sixth in his father's Rocket Chassis house car, chased Hubbard for the final 19 laps en route to padding his points lead after four events.

"He did a heck of a job," Richards said of Hubbard. "I knew that he was gonna' be competitive in that car this year – he has good equipment, he has Robby Allen as a crew chief and he's an awesome driver, so I'm not surprised he's doing what he's doing.

"I was glad to be there for his first win at Brunswick, and to run second to him in his first Outlaw win means a lot to me."

Darrell Lanigan advanced from the 11th starting spot to finish third in his Rocket mount, backing up his first win of 2010 earned the previous evening at Ocala (Fla.) Speedway. Fifth-starter Tim McCreadie placed fourth – matching Richards with his fourth top-five finish in as many events this season – and outside polesitter Tim Fuller finished fifth after slipping as far back as eighth midway through the race.

Hubbard, who started third, slid into second place on lap 10 when he passed Ivedent Lloyd Jr. of Ocala, Fla. He ran down Francis, who started from the pole position, and was in the process of overtaking the 42-year-old veteran for the

Austin Hubbard

Austin Hubbard in Screven Motor Speedway's Victory Lane. (Craig Whyte)

top spot when Russell King spun in front of the leaders to bring out a caution flag on lap 26.

Francis, who ironically preceded Hubbard as the driver of Dale Beitler's familiar No. 19, proved to be no match for the teenager after the restart. Hubbard sailed underneath Francis off turn two and assumed command for good as lap 30 was scored.

"The car was just great tonight," said Hubbard, hailing his car owner and chief mechanic Robby Allen. "Francis, he just couldn't quite keep it down off two. He left me about a car length down there so I could get under him.

"We could just get through one and two so well once I found that outside. When I did, I was like, 'All right, now we're in business.' I felt like I had one of the best cars I've ever had under me."

Francis faded to sixth in the final rundown after leading laps 1-29 in his Valvoline Rocket car. He said he was "scared to tighten the car up tonight because that thing was completely stupid last night" in a subpar outing at Ocala – and as a result, his machine became too loose for him to hold a firm line around the three-eighths-mile oval.

Rick Eckert of York, Pa., moved forward from the 17th starting spot to finish seventh. Brent Robinson of Smithfield, Va., recorded a career-best WoO LMS finish of eighth after starting 20th, while 23rd-starter Chub Frank of Bear Lake, Pa., placed ninth after nearly going a lap down midway through the event and Brady Smith of Solon Springs, Wis., was 10th after spinning out of fourth place on lap 31 to trigger the third of the race's fourth caution flags.

Hubbard earned $10,750 for his victory, which moved him to fifth in the WoO LMS points standings.

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