The Les Enterprises MP Roy Approval Series headed the Bristol Motor Speedway for race five. #22 AJ Bunch led the field to green and would jump out to the early lead. #12 Brian Rogers pressured early but Bunch’s Bud machine held strong on the top side. #18 AJ Hamel and #52 Bruce Hilton watched the show just behind the two leaders with #86 Travis Wallace in 5th. The race would go green for the first 20 laps when a self spin from Brandon Atkins would slow the field down for the first time. The next 30 laps featured a couple of yellows and a lot of AJ Bunch at the front. Rogers, Hamel and Hilton kept him in sight trading positions 2-4 each restart.
Just past halfway the yellow flew for a spin and all of the leaders came in for their set of fresh rubber except for Rogers. Rogers Mountain Dew Chevy held the lead for a while on the old tires but Bunch would get back by him on fresher tires on lap 66. The racing for second was heated as Travis Wallace and Hamel pressured to get by Rogers overworked tires. Hamel inched ahead of Rogers as the yellow flew with around 20 to go. Wallace got by Rogers on the restart but his strong night ended in an incident with a hard charging #20 Al Smith Jr around lap 85. The final restart occurred with 10 to go, featuring a pair of Upstate Racing Team teammates and a pair of AJ’s. Bunch launched to the lead but had to fend off one last charge from Hamel before shaking the pressure and grabbing a well deserved checkered flag. Hamel was 2nd, a career best in the URL. Brian Rogers was the only driver not to take tires and fought hard for his URL career best 3rd place, holding off 4th place #99 Greg Netherwood in the closing laps. #4 Cale Frennier rounded out the top 5 which was also his career best URL finish.
It was a rough night for the top of the points standings. #57 Trevor Williams, Al Smith Jr, and #26 Dylan Gaudette all failed to finish the race and #51 Justin Fuller required a provisional. Fuller and Smith now sit tied at the top of the standings. Gaudette and Williams are tied for 3rd just 3 points behind. Hamel and Bunch’s strong finishes moved them to 5th and 6th respectively, just 8 and 11 points off the leaders.
The series heads to South Boston next week for the BRM 100.
URL 100 Results: 1. AJ BUNCH 2. AJ Hamel 3. Brian Rogers Jr 4. Greg Netherwood 5. Cale Frennier 6. Jay Dee Callahan 7. Mike Holtsclaw 8. Brandon Atkins 9. Travis Wallace 10. Al Smith Jr. 11. James McIntyre Jr 12. Dylan Gaudette 13. Bruce Hilton 14. Danny Dubuque 15. Trevor Williams 16. Jay Dubuque 17. Dale Owen 18. Charlie Ryan 19. Matt Smith
Justin Fuller, Justin MacDuff, Carson Hocevar