RADFORD, Va. (April 29, 2019) – Adam Lemke’s first experience with Motor Mile Speedway produced a pair of top-10 finishes for the young California driver, as he guided the No. 98 Slick Products Chevrolet from JR Motorsports to ninth in the first 50-lap feature and eighth in the second.
The track, which reopened this year after a year sitting idle, featured group qualifying for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series event, and Lemke was 12th for the first 50-lap race on the .416-mile oval. Friday’s practice session was rained out, so the 16-year-old made his first laps just prior to qualifying for his first feature there. Slotting in 12th among 24 cars for the first feature, Lemke buckled down and began to learn on the job.
After extensive coaching from JR Motorsports team leader Josh Berry on how to handle the tight .416-mile oval during practice and qualifying, Lemke made his way up to ninth place early in the first feature and rode there for several laps, saving tires for the end. With eight laps remaining, Lemke made a move for eighth place, hoping to take advantage of the eight-car invert for the second race. With two laps remaining, Lemke was side-by-side for the spot, but overcooked the entry to Turn 3 on the white-flag lap and settled for ninth.
In the second, Lemke rolled off from the ninth spot and played a similar strategy, but his No. 98 Chevrolet was a tick tight in Turns 3 and 4, which meant he didn’t have the turn-in he needed to advance. He moved up a spot to eighth and stayed there, finishing with his second top-10 result of the evening.
Lemke will make another visit to Motor Mile in two weeks’ time to prepare for the CARS Racing Tour event scheduled there on May 18.
Mike Looney won the first 50-lapper over a fast-closing Phillip Morris, C.E. Faulk, Brandon Pierce and Kyle Dudley. In the second 50-lapper, Morris won the race over Looney, Pierce, Dudley and Ryan Wilson.
On May 3, Lemke and Josh Berry will race at Ace Speedway in Elon, N.C. with the CARS Racing Tour. Berry, the 2017 CARS Tour champion, currently leads the series points over Taylor Gray. Lemke is 13th in points after three races but is coming off his first top-five finish at Orange County (N.C.) Speedway earlier this month.
Adam Lemke, driver No. 98 Slick Products/JR Motorsports Chevrolet team
“This track is a lot of fun and it teaches you a lot of patience with the track being so tight and it being so hard to pass. We couldn’t get the No. 98 Slick Products Chevrolet to turn and get through Turns 3 and 4 as well as other people all day, which hurt us a little. Now, when we come back, we know what won’t work and it will give us a better idea of what we need to do to get better here. I feel like with the car that we had, I could have gotten to fifth but I would have had to drive really hard to get there. It was more important to just ride inside the top 10 and learn the track and get better here for when we come back.”