Southern New Mexico Speedway – Las Cruces, NM – Springfield, Missouri’s Terry Phillips raced around early race leader Tommy Weder and motored away to score the win the 16th annual Winter Meltdown and the huge $20,000 payday. Phillips also picked up a $2,000 preliminary win on Friday, and Sunday’s win was his second Winter Meltdown victory.
When 24 USRA Modifieds rolled onto the track for the feature, with blustery wind howling throughout the day, it was Weder and Tommy Meyer ready to lead the field to the green flag. Weder, who also won Saturday’s $2,000 preliminary feature, quickly jumped out into the lead, with Meyer tucking in behind. Phillips, who started 3rd, dropped back to 4th as Jason Krohn raced the top groove of the track into 3rd on the opening lap. After running the bottom groove for the first few laps, Phillips also moved to the high line running behind Krohn, who was making his first visit to the Las Cruces track. Weder lead the first 11 laps, while Krohn and Phillips raced around Meyer on lap 10. A lap later, Phillips was able to get around Krohn and set
his sights on Weder.
Wasting no time, Phillips quickly drove around Weder after battling side-by-side for a lap. Weder, who continued to run the bottom groove, kept the new leader in his sights while Krohn was still trying to take over the runner up spot. The first caution flag flew on lap 13 when Jimmy Ray and Phillip Houston spun in turn 4.
Phillips held the lead over Weder, Krohn, 6th starting Jason Grimes (who was also making his Las Cruces debut), local star Johnny Scott and Meyer. On the restart, Scott was able to move into 4th, getting by Grimes. The caution flew again on lap
16 when Holly Jones spun in turn 4. As the leaders were battling up front, 17th starting Kellen Chadwick was beginning to make a charge towards the front and was running in 11th on lap 16.
Krohn charged past Weder on lap 17 to take over the runner up spot on lap 17. The caution flag flew when Darrel Nelson spun in turn 2. Weder and Krohn were battling for the 2nd spot, with them trading the spot several times. On lap 20, Scott made his move to take over the 3rd spot, getting by Weder. A lap later, Meyer moved by Weder to take over 4th. 12th starting Jeff Taylor had moved up to 6th spot on lap 23. By lap 30, Phillips was approaching lapped traffic, while he had opened up a 10 car length. Weder ended his bid for the win when he slid high in turn 3 and came to a stop. He was able to get moving again but was now a lap down and decided to head to the pits.
Chadwick was continuing his charge and got by Rodney Sanders on lap 33 to move up to 7th. Phillips worked thru traffic with ease, as Krohn was chasing and trying to hold off Scott. Meyer and Taylor continued to give chase as well, but Phillips held
a half straight lead over his closest competitors. On lap 38, Chadwick moved by Grimes to move into 6th and he looked to track down 5th running Taylor. A couple laps later, Scott was looking under Krohn, trying to get to 2nd.
Phillips continued to hold a comfortable lead, while Scott was able to get by Krohn for the runner up spot. On lap 45, Chadwick moved by Taylor into 5th and they looked to try to catch 4th running Meyer. A couple laps later, Chadwick, who was making up some ground on Meyer, slid too high in turn 3, which allowed Taylor to get back by as they were about to take the white flag.
Phillips easily motored away and won, with Scott, Krohn, Meyer, Taylor, Chadwick, Sanders, Grimes, Fito Gallardo and Nelson rounding out the top 10. “My car was awesome all weekend,” noted Phillips. “The track was perfect. I found the cushion
and went to the front,” he added.