It was well into Sunday morning before the UCars finally got out onto the track at Friendship Motor Speedway.
Afternoon rain and an influx of drivers from nearby closed tracks pushed the start time back and led to more races and more crashes.
No matter how wet the track was or how late the UCars ran their feature, it was just fine with 44-year-old Clifton Richardson.
Just shy of 2 a.m., Richardson was posing for his feature win photo with a trophy. It was his first feature win. “I got a late start,” Richardson said of his now two-and-a-half-year-old racing career.
At 4:30 a.m. Richardson, who lives just south of Mocksville in Greavey Corner, was home. “We missed church,” he said.
This is Richardson’s first year racing at Friendship. And the track’s condition Saturday night suited him just fine. “The track stayed in good shape the whole night,” he said. “I’ve never gotten to race on a track that’s like that.”
The UCars usually run late or last and there had been more than six hours of racing before they took the track at 1:30. “By the time we get to run, there’s usually ruts,” he said.
Richardson, after beginning his racing caeer in Street Stocks at Bowman Gray, tried to run at Friendship last year. “We blew a motor in practice,” he said. So, he said, after doing some homework, he returned this season ready to roll.
The first win, he said, was nerve-wracking. “I got to start on the pole,” he said. “I got out front. Then we’d have a caution.”
The caution put his cousin’s wife, Stephanie Clew Caudle, on his rear bumper. “She’d hit me in the back every once in a while,” he said. “She’s been racing a long time. I thought she was going to get me.”
Caudle, as Richardson said he found out, was apparently well rested for the feature. While the UCars waited nearly 90 minutes to run their feature after being lined up, Richardson said he had to go to the restroom. When he came back, he thought he would visit with Caudle.
“When I spoke to her she jumped,” Richardson said. Caudle had fallen asleep in her car. “We all got a pretty good laugh out of that,” he said.
Racing continues at Friendship Saturday night.
Jim Fuller may be reached at 336-258-4052 or Twitter @elkinareasports.