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STOCKTON, Calif. – It didn't take long for David Mayhew to get back into the groove and find Victory Lane.
The Atascadero, Calif., driver led nearly the last two-thirds of the race at Stockton 99 Speedway Saturday night in the Stockton 150 to pick up his fifth career NASCAR K&N Pro Series West victory.
Mayhew won the Coors Light Pole Award earlier in the day behind the wheel of his No. 17 MMI/Ron’s Rear Ends Chevrolet and then held off a furious challenge from Greg Pursley to pick up his first win since Phoenix in March of 2012.
“It was a great battle with Greg, but it started with qualifying. The guys gave me an awesome car to qualify up front,” said Mayhew. “The whole team gave me what we needed to win tonight. Greg is a first-class racer. You know you’re safe running next to him. We’re going to beat and bang, but you know it’s going to be a good straight-up battle at the end.”
Pursley scored his best Stockton finish in four starts at the track with his previous best being a fourth-place showing in 2012. The veteran echoed Mayhew’s thoughts on the close, competitive racing throughout the night.
“I really enjoyed racing David tonight,” the driver of the No. 26 Gene Price Motorsports/Star Nursery/Real Water Ford said. “David’s a great competitor. We always race each other hard, but clean. That’s the way it’s supposed to be. It’s very easy to go in there and pile drive someone into the corner and take them out for the win, but that’s not the way we race each other.”
With a third-place finish Giles Thornton recorded his best series finish in 17 starts.
“I had a car to go win it or ride it out and fight for third,” Thornton said. “I was watching (Mayhew and Pursley). They were either go and wreck each other or we were going to finish third. I was right on their bumper waiting for them to wreck.”
Rounding out the top five was Brandon McReynolds and Thomas Martin, who also picked up his best series finish in 19 tries.
Mayhew lost the lead early in the race to Pursley, but worked his way past on Lap 53 and led the rest of the way.
“I thought the outside was the place to be at the start, but we lost the lead to Greg and settled in behind him for a while,” Mayhew stated. “Then, we got the lead back on the outside once everyone got some laps on their tires.”
Mayhew finished fifth in points in 2012, but ran just five series races in 2013 while he was winning the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model championship at the newly-opened Kern County Raceway Park in Bakersfield, Calif. Returning to the West full-time this year, Mayhew was second at Irwindale and collected the win in the season's third race.
Dylan Lupton finished sixth at Stockton, followed by Taylor Cuzick, Anthony Giannone, and rookies Tyler Monroe and James Bickford.
Both McReynolds and Lupton are part of this season’s 12-member NASCAR Next class that was introduced on April 25 at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway. NASCAR Next spotlights the emerging stars in the sport.
Pursley extended his points lead to nine over McReynolds, 10 over Thornton and 11 over Lupton. Mayhew is fifth in points, 16 back of Pursley.
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series West will be back in action on May 17 in the Casey's General Store 150 at Iowa Speedway in Newton. The event is the first of two meetings between the K&N Pro West and East in the nation’s heartland.
The Stockton 150 will air on FOX Sports 1 on Friday, May 9 at 1:30 p.m. as a one-hour broadcast.
David Mayhew (17) held off Greg Pursley (26) to win the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Stockton 150 Saturday night at Stockton (Calif.) 99 Speedway. Getty Images for NASCAR