Photo credits: Francis Hauke
(Senoia, GA – March 4, 2018) Zebulon’s Shane Clanton overtook Senoia’s Bubba Pollard on lap four after Pollard made a daring pass on the inside of turn two. The former Craftsman Tool World of Outlaws champion then turned it up a notch distancing himself from Pollard and the remainder of the field to claim the opening night laurels for the Super Late Model division at Senoia Raceway. Clanton claimed it was a tune-up for the Spring Nationals at Senoia Raceway on Easter weekend.
Other feature winners on the opening night for the 2018 racing season included Alabama’s Cruz Skinner in the Limited Late Models, Senoia’s Clint ‘Cat Daddy’ Smith in the Crate Late Models and Cory Compton of Gray in the Late Model Sportsman. Locust Grove’s Larry Bednar claimed his first career win at Senoia in the Hobby division while Newnan’s Bobby Faulkner did the same in the Mini Stock class. Alabama’s Dunie Dillard claimed the checkered flag for the Bombers while 16-year-old Grantville student Lucas Pittman won the Hot Shot main event.
“We are happy with the turn-out for the opener,” said fourth year track promoter Mayes Massey. “We welcomed over 100 cars to the first night of competition and the grandstand numbers were solid as well. There are still a few guys working on their cars and a few always wait a couple of nights before joining the fun. We are excited about the new season.”
The fans were excited to see that the racey 3/8ths mile still creates some of the best short track racing in the nation as all divisions saw close, three wide racing throughout the fields.
Clanton battled with Pollard through the first few laps of the Super Late Model feature. Pollard shot down low in turn two to snare the lead away on lap four, but Clanton fought back to retake the lead on the next lap. He then built a half straight-away lead over Pollard who was caught up in another fight with Whitesburg’s Austin Horton.
Horton, the 2017 Southern All-Stars Tour champion, finally found the grip he needed to pass Pollard on lap 17 securing the second place position. He did not have enough speed to track down Clanton over the final laps.
Cartersville’s ‘Diamond’ Dale Thurman found some late race magic as he cruised the high side of the tight bull ring. Thurman overtook Douglasville’s Mason Massey before finding his way past Oregon’s Rob Mayea to snare fourth place. Thurman ran out of laps chasing down a podium finish as Clanton won it going away, Horton was second and Pollard third.
Cruz ‘Missle’ Skinner won his first race at Senoia Raceway in over a year and half as he shot past another Alabama hot shoe, Tyler Thomason with nine laps remaining in the Limited Late Model feature. Thomason looked to be the class of the field qualifying the fastest earlier in the evening. But, Skinner found his speed when it mattered the most claiming the opener ahead of Thomason and Hamilton’s Thomas Lewis. Fayetteville teenager Bailey Williams was fourth ahead of Greenville’s Thomas Mewborn in fifth place.
It was a sweet and sour night for Clint ‘Cat Daddy’ Smith. The three-time defending Super Late Model track champion did not have his Super car ready for the opener so he opted to compete in the Limited Late Models and Crate Late Models. During hot laps his Limited Late Model car developed problems creating a sour start to the season. But, he made his night sweeter by qualifying fastest in his Crate Late Model entry. Smith set a new track record for the division besting a time set by Griffin’s Bobby Mills in October of 2016 by five one thousandths of a second. Smith followed that up with a victory in the feature.
An early race battle with youngster Ashton Winger of Senoia, saw Smith lose the lead momentarily before gaining it back within the same circuit. Winger than faded back a few spots before charging back in later stages.
Commerce fifteen year old phenom, Payton Freeman, provided a jolt for the crowd. The young gun ran his car through small openings on the inside, as well as, finding some top side momentum to pass others in his quest for an opening night victory. The only driver he would not catch was Smith as Cat Daddy claimed the win with Freeman in second. Winger won a wild race with Alabama’s Dylan Knowles and Tyrone’s Jody Knowles over the final two laps to snare third.
Dylan Knowles started at the tail end of the eighteen car field in the Late Model Sportsman and used every single lap to almost complete the ultimate challenge of starting in the rear and winning the race. Knowles worked through the field, but could not get past Cory Compton who led the race flag to flag. Griffin’s Jack Mills was third ahead of Jackson’s Levi Campbell and Locust Grove’s Morgan Alexander.
Newnan’s Scott Amoson fought as hard as any driver on Saturday night, but just could not muster enough of a run to get past Dunie Dillard in the Bomber main event. Amoson could get along side of the veteran driver Dillard, but could not pass him. Amoson would settle for second with defending Bomber points champion Dorough Bright of Newnan in third. Another former Bomber champion, Mike Nelms of Newnan was fourth ahead of yet another former title winner John Holcomb of Griffin in fifth.
Sixteen-year-old Lucas Pittman held off all challenges from last year’s points champion Nathan Farrow in the Hot Shot feature. The duo raced each other hard over the final five laps with Pittman slamming the door on every attempt Farrow could throw at him. Ellijay’s ‘Hillbilly’ Mark Meyer was third ahead of Zebulon’s Jim Jackson and Alabama’s Dean Williams.
Racing continues this Saturday, March 10th with the Thousand Dollar Thriller which will offer thousand dollar pay days to the feature winners in each of the Limited Late Model and Crate Late Model divisions. The Late Model Sportsman, Hobby, Mini, Bomber and Hot Shots are also on the schedule along with the Kid’s Bike & Trike Races.
The track is located just five miles west of Senoia, GA, on Georgia Highway 16. Easy access from both Interstate 75 and 85.
The pit gates open at 4pm and the grandstand gates open at 5pm. Practice rounds and qualifying is set to start at 6pm with racing to follow around 7:30pm.
Tickets are $12; kids 5-11 are $5; four & under are free. The track also offers trackside parking and spectator viewing.
Pit passes can be purchased for $30; kids 5-11 are $20 while four & under are free.
For additional information, visit the track website at www.senoiaraceway.com or call the speedway at 770.599.6161.
Official Results – Saturday, March 3, 2018
Super Late Models (Feature): 1-Shane Clanton, Zebulon 2-Austin Horton, Whitesburg 3-Bubba Pollard, Senoia 4-Dale Thurman, Cartersville 5-Rob Mayea, Bend, OR 6-Mason Massey, Douglasville 7-Shane Fulcher, Thomaston 8-Ricky Williams, Fayetteville 9-Landon Bagby, Winston 10-Steven Bloodworth, McIntyre 11-Jason Lively, Jacksonville, AL 12-Chad Marchman, LaGrange 13-Glenn Morris, Fayetteville 14-Brandon Roberts, Anniston, AL Fast Qualifier: Clanton (13.477 – 100.2 mph)
Limited Late Models (Feature): 1-Cruz Skinner, Oxford, AL 2-Tyler Thomason, Phenix City, AL 3-Thomas Lewis, Hamilton 4-Bailey Williams, Fayetteville 5-Thomas Mewborn, Greenville 6-Bobby Mills, Griffin 7-Corey Payton, Newnan 8-Oliver Gentry, Newnan 9-Rucker Orr, Newnan 10-Brand Lewis, Hamilton 11-Tate McCullom, Ball Ground 12-Dustin Elliott, Pine Mountain DNS: Lawson Hill, Dallas; Mike Bruner, Jr., Dallas Fast Qualifier: Thomason (14.313 – 94.3 mph)
Crate Late Models (Feature): 1-Clint Smith, Senoia 2-Payton Freeman, Commerce 3-Ashton Winger, Senoia 4-Dylan Knowles, Lanett, AL 5-Jody Knowles, Tyrone 6-TJ Brittain, Centre, AL 7-Woodrow Mullis, Pearson 8-Jamie Maurice, McDonough 9-Will Herrington, Cochran 10-Matthew Wyatt, Eastonolee 11-Jordy Nipper, Gray 12-Marty Massey, Winston 13-Wayne Harbin, Sharpsburg 14-Dow Kirkland, Lake Spivey 15-Tina Johnson, Senoia 16-Keith Fields, Griffin 17-Ken Limrick, Warner Robbins 18-Mike Abercrombie, Jackson 19-Jim Manka, Savannah 20-Matt Black, Rome 21-Phil Deal, Tyrone 22-Jonathan Harrell, Newnan DNS: Chris Carr, Newnan Fast Qualifier: Smith (new track record – 14.461 – 93.4 mph)
Late Model Sportsman (Feature): 1-Cory Compton, Macon 2-Dyaln Knowles, Lanett, AL 3-Jack Mills, Griffin 4-Levi Campbell, Jackson 5-Morgan Alexander, Locust Grove 6-Chris Steele, Franklin 7-Morgan Sheffield, Eastman 8-Steve Pate, Heflin, AL 9-Taylor Cole, Cartersville 10-Drew Larson, Marietta 11-Dustin Newell, Gray 12-Nick May, White 13-Randy Cornwell, Fayetteville 14-Johnny Stinchcomb, Newnan 15-Justin Thornton 16-Bobby Arnold, Newnan 17-Shane Payton, Newnan 18-Dave McWilliams, Brooks Fast Qualifier: Arnold (15.370 – 87.8 mph)
Hobby (Feature): 1-Larry Bednar, Locust Grove 2-Brandon Henderson, Senoia 3-Keith West, Mableton DQ: Phillip Wallace, Locust Grove (light) DNS: Blake Harmon, Mansfield Fast Qualifier: Harmon (16.609 – 81. 3 mph)
Bomber (Feature): 1-Dunie Dillard, Phenix City, AL 2-Scott Amoson, Newnan 3-Dorough Bright, Newnan 4-Mike Nelms, Newnan 5-John Holcomb, Griffin 6-Tim Harmon, Conyers 7-Shannon Stephens, Franklin 8-Larry Pierce, Griffin 9-Bud Roland 10-Curtis Turner, Brooks 11-Scott Stratton, Newnan Fast Qualifier: Dillard (16.859 – 80.1 mph)
Mini Stock (Feature): 1-Bobby Faulkner, Newnan 2-Joshua Till, McDonough 3-Wesley Patterson, Williamson 4-John Caldwell, Senoia 5-Jeff Dean, Helena, AL 6-Tommy Faulkner, Newnan 7-Harold Leath, Hampton 8-Jamie Nicholson, Sr., Locust Grove
Hot Shots (Feature): 1-Lucas Pittman, Grantville 2-Nathan Farrow, LaGrange 3-Mark Meyer, Ellijay 4-Jim Jackson, Zebulon 5-Dean Williams, Lanett, AL 6-Cale Buford 7-Stacey Henderson 8-Hunter Childs, Senoia 9-Joseph Moral