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Plenty of skill; a dash of luck

Neumann takes advantage of breaks to hold on for a Late Model victory.

© St. Petersburg Times
published September 24, 2002

INVERNESS -- Drivers often repeat the adage that some nights it's better to be lucky than good.

But defending Citrus County Speedway champion Herb Neumann Jr. found Saturday night that it's best to be both.

Leading a hard-charging Herb Hoefler into the final turn of the 30-lap Late Model feature, Neumann narrowly missed slamming into a slower car.

But quick thinking and some stellar steering allowed Neumann to barely beat Hoefler to the finish.

"It was all I could do to keep my car headed straight out of the last turn," Neumann said.

"All I know is I must have towed (Hoefler) about 200 feet," he said.

For Neumann, who led every lap, it was a night of lucky moves.

The first came on Lap 15 when Mike Bresnahan attempted to dive below Neumann in Turn 1.

The resulting contact sent both cars spinning, and Bresnahan was relegated to the rear of the field on the restart.

Neumann thought the officials' call was correct.

"I know Mikey wasn't happy about it, but as the leader I was holding my line. He just stuck the nose of his car where it wasn't supposed to be."

Though Hoefler tailed Neumann's orange No. 98 the rest of the way, he was unable to muster the power to get by.

Further back, Raymond Lovelady, who now sits 30 points behind division leader Rex Struble, worked his way from the ninth starting spot to finish third behind Hoefler.

For Neumann, who has devoted several weekends this season to running at other tracks, the victory was a hopeful signal.

"We've struggled with the car this season, so any time you run well, it's a positive thing," Neumann said.

"We want to be ready so we can maybe win some of the big races coming up."

ANOTHER NEUMANN WINS: Sportsman driver George Neumann, Herb's brother, picked up his first feature win of the season in a flag-to-flag run.

Neumann, in his first full season in Sportsman, also collected his third heat win.

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