Monday, April 2, 2018

McDowell And Bloomquist Nab Spring Nationals Checkers At Senoia Raceway

Dale McDowell
Submitted by Ted Austad
Photo credits: Francis Hauke

(April 2, 2018)  Dale McDowell of Chickamauga raced to a $10,000 victory in the 60-lap feature on Saturday night that closed out the Senoia Raceway Spring Nationals presented by Textron Off-Road.  McDowell held off a number of challenges from Friday night’s victor Scott Bloomquist of Mooresburg, TN through the final half of the race.  The veterans pocketed the lion’s share of the near record purse offered by promoters Mayes Massey, Bill Massey and Doug Stevens.

“After that lengthy caution, the top of the track went away,” said McDowell afterwards. “They were going to have to beat us by trying the high side.”

Starting from the outside of the front row next to local favorite Clint Smith of Senoia in the Spring Nationals Saturday night super late model event, McDowell took the lead from the drop of the opening green flag and led every circuit.  He claimed the honors over ninth-starting Scott Bloomquist, who closely trailed the race winner across the line on a track that dramatically narrowed near the middle stages.  The changing track conditions halted the supremely entertaining, multiple-grooved competition that had spiced the earlier stages of the event and left the low groove as the fastest way around at the 3/8-mile oval.


Hugging tight to the bottom, McDowell kept Bloomquist at bay over the final stages and crossed the finish line three car lengths ahead of his challenger.  Chatworth’s Aaron Ridley challenged early and used a three-wide maneuver off the second turn to pass Bloomquist for second during the race's earlier stages, but Bloomquist retook the spot a handful of laps later en route to his second-place finish.  Ridley fell back in the latter stages and posted a solid third-place finish over Smith and sixteen-year-old high schooler Zach Leonhardi of Cartersville.

During Friday night’s Spring Nationals opener for the super late models, a rough start turned into a smooth finish for ninth-starting Scott Bloomquist as the veteran driver recovered from an early spin to deftly snatch a potential victory away from three-time defending track champion Clint Smith in the 40-lap main event.  Smith settled for a second-place finish ahead of Zebulon’s Shane Clanton, Winston’s Michael Page and Zach Leonhardi as the top five settled a wild scramble for the lead over the final 10 circuits. Three and four-wide racing for the top spot spiced the closing stages with Bloomquist slipping underneath Smith with less than two laps remaining.

Bloomquist avoided disaster on the opening circuit when he got involved in a multi-car melee that sent Tennessee’s Shanon Buckingham upside down after sliding into the nose of Bloomquist’s machine.  Buckingham wasn’t injured.  Bloomquist (plus several others, minus Kyle Hardy) were able to participate in a complete restart since a lap hadn’t been officially registered.

While Page streaked away from the field in the early stages and built a comfortable advantage, Bloomquist picked his way into contention.  Holding a solid lead, Page suffered spoiler damage in a lap-17 incident when Rome’s Austin Smith spun between turns one and two and was clipped by Page’s approaching machine.

Page was reinstated as the leader on the restart, but 10 laps later he relinquished the point to local favorite Clint Smith who paced the field through the race’s most competitive stages. Smith, Page and Leonhardi raced all grooves in their quest for victory running three wide for the lead at one point.
Bloomquist made it a quartet reaching third place on lap 25.  He rolled underneath Smith on the 38th circuit taking the lead for good at a track he labeled as one of the better track surfaces in the country.

“I wish I had this place in my backyard,” he said during the victory lane interview. “This place is awesome, and you can really do some racing here.  It’s a place that’s just so racy, and it’s about as slick as it gets in the sport, so you can really fine tune your race car here and work on getting better in these conditions.”

Other feature winners from 2018 Spring Nationals weekend included LaGrange’s Dennis Hale and Chattanooga’s Ronnie Johnson in the Limited Late Models; Whitesburg’s Austin Horton and Michael Page in the Crate Late Models; Levi Campbell of McDonough and Alabama’s Dylan Knowles in the Late Model Sportsman; Loganville’s Dan Bennett and Carnesville’s Shannon Etheridge in the Mini Stock; Mableton’s Ryan Ray in Hobby; Alabama’s Dunie Dillard in the Bomber and Brian Nicholas in the Hot Shots division.

Great racing in all divisions kept the fans entertained as several key races included three and four wide racing for the lead and front of the pack positions.

Senoia Raceway will now gear up for the track’s Season Points Opener scheduled for Saturday, April 14th.  Many of the track’s defending champions will return to try and keep all their competitors a safe’s distance through the long and rigorous point’s season which will conclude in early September.  The Season Point’s Opener will also feature a special $1000 to win race for the Late Model Sportsman division and Kid’s Power Wheels Races.

For additional information, visit the track website at www.senoiaraceway.com or call the track at 770.599.6161.

OFFICIAL RESULTS – SPRING NATIONALS 2018

Official Results – Saturday, March 31, 2018
Super Late Models ‘Spring Nationals’ (Feature):  1-Dale McDowell, Chickamauga  2-Scott Bloomquist,  Mooresburg, TN  3-Aaron Ridley, Chatsworth  4-Clint Smith, Senoia  5-Zach Leonhardi, Catersville  6-Eric Wells, Hazard, KY  7-Kyle Hardy, Stephens City, VA  8-Austin Smith, Rome  9-Riley Hickman, Chattanooga, TN  10-Shane Clanton, Zebulon  11-Ivedent Lloyd, Ocala, FL  12-Joseph Joiner, Milton, FL  13-Shannon Buckingham, Morristown, TN  14-Mason Massey, Douglasville  15-Cody King, McDonough  16-Jason Croft, Woodstock  17-Ryan King, Seymour, TN  18-Brandon Kinzer, Lexington, KY  19-John Ownby, Cleveland, TN  20-Casey Roberts, Toccoa  21-David Payne, Murphy, NC  22-Dalton Cook, Columbus  23-Michael Page, Winston  24-Payton Freeman, Commerce  25-Austin Horton, Whitesburg  Failed to Qualify: Chicky Barton, Middlesboro, KY; Brandon Cameron, Lake City, FL; Justin Duty, Portland, OR; Timothy Culp, West Monroe, LA; Frank Ingram, Woodstock; Jimmy Sharpe, Jr., Soperton; John Henderson, North Augusta, SC  Fast Qualifier: Clint Smith  (16.382 – 82.4 mph)


Dennis Hale

Limited Late Models (Feature):  1-Dennis Hale, LaGrange  2-Matt Dooley, Brooks  3-Dale Thurman, Cartersville  4-Joey Armistead, Senoia  5-Clint Smith, Senoia  6-Zach Leonhardi, Cartersville  7-Bailey Williams, Fayetteville  8-Oliver Gentry, Newnan  9-Landon Bagby, Winston  10-Tyler Thomason, Phenix City, AL  11-Chris Fennell, Temple  12-Dalton Polston, Lithia Springs  13-Rucker Orr, Newnan  14-Andy Morris, Canton  15-Rob Johnson  16-Thomas Mewborn, Greenville  17-Corey Payton, Newnan  18-Cruz Skinner, Oxford, AL  19-Jamie Carr, LaGrange  Fast Qualifier: Hale  (16.435 – 82.1 mph)


Austin Horton

Crate Late Models (Feature):  1-Austin Horton, Whitesburg  2-Michael Page, Winston  3-Riley hickman, Chattanooga, TN  4-Woodrow Mullis, Pearson  5-Jody Knowles, Tyrone  6-Clint Smith, Senoia  7-Lamar Haygood, Douglasville  8-Ahnna Parkhurst, Evans  9-Marty Massey, Winston  10-Josh Copeland, McDonough  11-Travis Price, Oxford  12-Jamie Maurice, McDonough  13-Tina Johnson, Senoia  14-George Wilson  15-Clay Harris, Milton, FL  16-Ashton Winger, Senoia  17-Mike Abercrombie, Jackson  18-Wayne Harbin, Sharpsburg  19-Mark Page, Winston  Fast Qualifier: Horton (16.414 – 82.3 mph)


Levi Campbell

Late Model Sportsman (Feature):  1-Levi Campbell, McDonough  2-Keith Fields, Griffin  3-Brandon McDaniel, Byron  4-Jamie Nicholson, Jr., Locust Grove  5-Billy Stevenson, Locust Grove  6-Nick May, White  7-Johnny Stinchcomb, Newnan  8-Dustin Newell, Gray  9-Ty Ellis, Covington  10-Dave McWilliams, Brooks  11-Kayla Boswell, Winston  12-Jamie Nicholson, Sr., Locust Grove  13-Jack Mills, Griffin  14-Jason Turner, McDonough  15-Randy Cornwell, Fayetteville  16-Logan Carlyle, Bethlehem  Fast Qualifier: Stevenson (16.736 – 80.7 mph)


Dunie Dillard

Bomber (Feature): 1-Dunie Dillard, Phenix City, AL  2-Abe Chase, Valley, AL  3-McKenna Nelms, Newnan  4-Herbie Donath, Columbus  5-Shannon Stephens, Franklin  6-Larry Pierce, Griffin  7-Bud Roland, Molena  8-Dorough Bright, Newnan  9-John Holcomb, Griffin 10-Carley Arnett, Lannett, AL DNS: Curtis Turner, Brooks  Fast Qualifier: Stephens (18.128 – 74.5 mph)


Dan Bennett

Mini Stock (Feature):  1-Dan Bennett, Loganville  2-Bo Minor, Ralph, AL  3-Shannon Etheridge, Carnesville  4-Todd Brewster, Villa Rica  5-Bobby Faulkner, Newnan  6-Tommy Faulkner, Newnan  Fast Qualifier: Bennett (18.378 – 73.4 mph)


Brian Nichols

Hot Shots (Feature):  1-Brian Nicholas  2-Jody Jeffery, Smith, AL  3-Mark Meyer, Ellijay  4-Nathan Farrow, LaGrange  5-Dean Williams, Lannett, AL  6-Fred Woodrum  7-Lucas Pittman, Grantville  8-Hunter Ducker, Phenix City, AL  9-Stacey Henderson, Senoia  10-Kyle Hope, Seale, AL  11-Cale Burford, Milner


Scott Bloomquist

Official Results – Friday, March 30, 2018
Super Late Models ‘Spring Nationals’ (Feature):  1-Scott Bloomquist,  Mooresburg, TN  2-Clint Smith, Senoia  3-Shane Clanton, Zebulon  4-Michael Page, Winston  5-Zach Leonhardi, Catersville  6-Eric Wells, Hazard, KY  7-Donald McIntosh, Dawsonville  8-Austin Horton, Whitesburg  9-Casey Roberts, Toccoa  10-Dalton Cook, Columbus  11-Aaron Ridley, Chatsworth  12-Jason Croft, Woodstock  13-Ryan King, Seymour, TN  14-Cody King, McDonough  15-John Henderson, North Augusta, SC  16-David Payne, Murphy, NC  17-Mason Massey, Douglasville  18-Timothy Culp, West Monroe, LA  19-Brandon Kinzer, Lexington, KY  20-Austin Smith, Rome  21-Shannon Buckingham, Morristown, TN  22-Kyle Hardy, Stephens City, VA  Failed to Qualify: Chicky Barton, Middlesboro, KY; John Ownby, Cleveland, TN; Riley Hickman, Chatanooga, TN; Payton Freeman, Commerce; Brandon Cameron, Lake City, FL; Justin Duty, Portland, OR.  Fast Qualifier: Page (15.214 - 88.8 mph)


Ronnie Johnson

Limited Late Models (Feature):  1-Ronnie Johnson, Chatanooga, TN  2-Cruz Skinner, Oxford, AL  3-Clint Smith, Senoia  4-Austin Horton, Whitesburg  5-Dennis Hale, LaGrange  6-Matt Dooley, Brooks  7-Oliver Gentry, Newnan  8-Dale Thurman, Cartersville  9-Chris Fennell, Temple  10-Landon Bagby, Winston  11-Thomas Mewborn, Greenville  12-Tyler Thomason, Phenix City, AL  13-Clint Thompson, Newnan  14-Dalton Polston, Lithia Springs  15-Jacques Daniel, Cartersville  16-Corey Payton, Newnan  DNS: Zach Leonhardi, Cartersville  Fast Qualifier: Skinner  (16.165 - 83.4 mph)

Crate Late Models (Feature):  1-Michael Page, Winston  2-Austin Horton, Whitesburg  3-Clint Smith, Senoia  4-Ronnie Johnson, Chattanooga, TN  5-Ashton Winger, Senoia  6-Woodrow Mullis, Pearson  7-Jordy Nipper, Gray  8-Lamar Haygood, Douglasville  9-Wayne Harbin, Sharpsburg  10-Jody Knowles, Tyrone  11-Jamie Maurice, McDonough  12-Clay Harris, Jupiter, FL  13-Ross White, Knoxville, TN  14-Tina Johnson, Senoia  15-Brian Swank, Morganton, WV  16-Mike Abercrombie, Jackson  17-Ahnna Parkhurst, Evans  18-Tim Guy, Molena  19-Marty Massey, Winston  20-Mark Page, Winston  DNS: Riley Hickman, Chattanooga, TN  Fast Qualifier: Smith (15.422 – 82.2 mph)


Dylan Knowles

Late Model Sportsman (Feature):  1-Dylan Knowles, Lanett, AL  2-Jack Mills, Griffin  3-Keith Fields, Griffin  4-Jamie Nicholson, Jr., Locust Grove  5-Brandon McDaniel, Byron  6-Randy Cornwell, Fayetteville  7-Billy Stevenson, Locust Grove  8-William Blair, Whitesburg  9-Johnny Stinchcomb, Newnan  10-Dave McWilliams, Brooks  11-Dustin Newell, Gray  12-Dalton Benefield, Carrollton  13-Kayla Boswell, Winston  14-Morgan Alexander, Locust Grove  10-Ty Ellis, Covington  Fast Qualifier: Knowles (16.342 – 82.5 mph)


Ryan Ray

Hobby (Feature):  1-Ryan Ray, Mableton  2-Tim Harmon, Conyers  3-Joe Hillman, Villa Rica  4-Ted Willingham, McDonough  5-Jamie Garner, Mableton  6-Blake Harmon, Mansfield  7-James Swanger, Whitesburg  8-Daniel Doster, Bogart  9-Wilson Boozer, Locust Grove  10-John Holcomb, Griffin  11-Phillip Wallace, Locust Grove  12-Jordan Benefield, Carrollton  13-Brandon Henderson, Senoia  Fast Qualifier: Tim Harmon (16.363 – 82.6 mph)


Shannon Etheridge

Mini Stock (Feature):  1-Shannon Etheridge, Carnesville  2-Bo Minor, Ralph, AL  3-Tommy Faulkner, Newnan  4-Bobby Faulkner, Newnan  5-Todd Brewster, Villa Rica  6-Joshua Till, McDonough  7-Keith Brewster, Villa Rica  DNS:  Jamie Nicholson, Sr., Locust Grove  Fast Qualifier: Etheridge (18.198 – 74.2 mph)