Submitted by Ted Austad
Photo credits: Francis Hauke
(Senoia, GA – June 17, 2018) Former track champion Joey Armistead finished his late race charge on Saturday night at Senoia Raceway by narrowly inching in front at the finish line beating Shane Fulcher by only .035 seconds winning the Limited Late Model Trifecta Saturday special event. The Senoia young gun pocketed $1000 for his efforts and inched closer to the top of the point standings for the 2018 season.
Joining him in victory lane were fellow Senoia residents Clint ‘Cat Daddy’ Smith in Crate Late Models and Ashton Winger in the Late Model Sportsman. Dorough Bright of Newnan and Dean Williams from Alabama continued their win streaks while Newnan’s Jamie Nicholson, Sr. picked up the win in the Mini Stocks and McDonough’s Ted Willingham was moved to the winner’s circle after a disqualification in the Hobby.
“That was a great show,” said promoter Mayes Massey. “There was some really good racing, Unfortunately, some bad wrecks and a lot of passing and racing through the fields. Next weekend should be one of the best shows of the season with the way these drivers are currently battling.”
Armistead stayed steady throughout the main event for the Limited Late Models. The third generation driver rode around the very top of the race track just inches from the concrete wall patiently closing the gap between he and race leader Shane Fulcher of Thomaston. As the field was given the five laps to go signal, Armistead began to push the issue closing in on Fulcher’s rear bumper. He reduced the lead to less than a second on the final circuit and then with Fulcher squeezing him out of the final turn he snuck past by a cat’s hair at the finish line. The closest race this season showed Armistead winning by thirty-five one thousandths of a second over Fulcher. LaGrange’s Dennis Hale was third with Newnan’s Rucker Orr fourth and Griffin’s Bobby Mills making a final lap pass as well to snag a top five finish.
It looked as though a newcomer would steal the show in the Crate Late Model feature. Cody Smith appeared out of nowhere on Saturday night making his first ever visit to the tricky track, Senoia Raceway. Cody Smith ran the top of the race track to near perfection as he shot past veteran driver Clint Smith just before the halfway mark. Cody Smith looked to have the field covered until a caution on lap 20 forced a restart.
Cody Smith slid high on the restart allowing a hard charging Mason Massey of Douglasville to slide in front out of the second turn. Cody Smith hammered the gas trying to slide back in front by turn three, but lost control of his car on the slick surface. A couple of cars had no where to go clipping the spun car. The damage was too great for Cody Smith to continue.
Since a lap was not completed before the second caution came out, the field was realigned to their previous position prior to the lap 20 restart. That gave the lead to Clint Smith and the veteran did not waiver leading the final five laps and beat Mason Massey for the win. Winston’s Marty Massey, Mason’s uncle, finished in third ahead of Gray’s Chaz Haskins and McIntyre’s Steven Bloodworth.
The track’s young guns showcased their growing prominence at the track during the main event for the Late Model Sportsman division. Alabama’s ‘Thrillin’ Dylan Knowles jumped out to the early lead with Newnan’s Craig Scott in pursuit along with fourteen-year-old Newnan high schooler McKenna Nelms in third. Not far off the pace was recent high school graduate Ashton Winger and he was coming fast on the highside.
A scary crash on lap 12 slowed the leaders progress. Alabama’s ‘Flying’ Ryan King was running his familiar line at the top of the track following the tire tracks of Winger when a battle between Scott and Byron’s Brandon McDaniel closed the gap too much between Scott and the concrete wall. King was trying to shoot into the gap but it closed quickly and he slammed the outside wall nearly destroying his car in one of the hardest hits of the season. His crunched up racer slid down across the track where McKenna Nelms crashed into him bringing out a red flag and stopping the race.
Ashton Winger had taken over the lead just prior to the big crash and he did a great job of keeping his competitors behind him through several cautions in the final half of the race that eventually was shortened by five laps. Eighteen-year-old Brandon McDaniel passed Craig Scott during the final lap shoot-out to finish in second. Knowles ended up fourth behind Craig and current Late Model Sportsman points leader Cory Compton of Macon rounded the first five.
Jamie Nicholson, Sr. returned to victory lane for the first time since April winning the Mini Stock feature. Nicholson, Sr. battled with Newnan’s Tommy Faulkner throughout the race before collecting his second win of the year.
Newnan’s Dorough Bright extended his points lead and win streak by claiming another win in the Bombers on Saturday night. The defending class champion has been unstoppable for the past month winning four straight features. Newnan’s Scott Amoson finished as the runner-up with Alabama’s Abe Chase in third.
Barnesville’s Landon DeGraff looked to have won his first career feature as he was first across the line in the Hobby race. But DeGraff was found to have an illegal nose piece as he went through post race inspection and was stripped of the win. Ted Willingham was moved up one spot and declared the winner.
This upcoming Saturday, June 23rd, Senoia Raceway will host the 21st Annual Michael Head, Jr. Memorial Race and the Southern All-Stars Tour will headline the show. The travelling Super Late Model series will offer some of the region’s best competitors the opportunity to pocket the top prize of $5454 on Saturday night. Local ‘Guardians of the Gumbo’ Clint Smith. Zach Leonhardi, Mason Massey, Shane Fulcher and others will take on the best that the Southern All-Star tour has to offer. The tour was at Senoia Raceway last month and Winston’s Michael Page was the winner.
Joining the Southern All-Stars on the schedule of racing includes the Crate Late Models, Late Model Sportsman, Hobby, Bomber and Legend Cars.
The pits will open at 4pm this weekend with the grandstands opening at 5pm. Hot laps and qualifying will begin at 6:15pm with racing at 7:30pm.
For additional information, event schedule, ticket prices and more, visit the track website at www.senoiaraceway.com or call the speedway at 770.599.6161.
Official Results – Saturday, June 16, 2018
Limited Late Models (Feature): 1-Joey Armistead, Senoia 2-Shane Fulcher, Thomaston 3-Dennis Hale, LaGrange 4-Rucker Orr, Newnan 5-Bobby Mills, Griffin 6-Jimmy Johnson, Monroe 7-Thomas Mewborn, Greenville 8-Kenneth Pendley, Dallas 9-Matt Black, Douglasville 10-Marcus Caswell, Newnan 11-Glenn Morris, Fayetteville 12-Matt Dooley, Brooks 13-Chris Carr, Newnan 14-Corey Payton, Newnan DNS: Bailey Williams, Fayetteville Fast Qualifier: Fulcher (15.876 seconds – 85.1 mph)
Crate Late Models (Feature): 1-Clint Smith, Senoia 2-Mason Massey, Douglasville 3-Marty Massey, Winston 4-Chaz Haskins, Gray 5-Steven Bloodworth, McIntyre 6-Marty Lunsford, Newnan 7-Logan Palmer, Acworth 8-Tina Johnson, Senoia 9-Michael Queen, Cartersville 10-Travis Price, Oxford 11-Chase Baker, LaGrange 12-Randall Powell, Oxford 13-Brent Clark, Tunnel Hill 14-Dow Kirkland, Lake Spivey 15-Mike Abercrombie, Jackson 16-Cody Smith 17-Lark Haskins, Gray 18-Trey White, Jenkinsburg 19-Jamie Maurice, McDonough 20-Wayne Harbin, Sharpsburg 21-Chris McCullough Fast Qualifier: Clint Smith (15.627 seconds – 86.4 mph)
Late Model Sportsman (Feature): 1-Ashton Winger, Senoia 2-Brandon McDaniel, Byron 3-Craig Scott, Newnan 4-Dylan Knowles, Lannett, AL 5-Cory Compton, Macon 6-Curtis Turner, Brooks 7-Chris Steele, Franklin 8-Jamie Nicholson, Jr., Locust Grove 9-Bobby Arnold, Newnan 10-Blant Duke, Whitesburg 11-Jason Turner, McDonough 12-Morgan Alexander, Locist Grove 13-Drew Larson, Marietta 14-Ted Minnix, McDonough 15-Ty Ellis, Covington 16-McKenna Nelms, Newnan 17-Chris Arnett, Lannett, AL 18-Timothy McKinn 19-Ryan King, Anniston, AL 20-Dave McWilliams, Brooks 21-Kayla Boswell, Winston 22-Shane Payton, Newnan 23-Scott Gaddy, Newnan DNS: Johnny Stinchcomb, Newnan; Bud Roland, Molena Fast Qualifier: Scott (15.714 seconds – 85.9 mph)
Hobby (Feature): 1-Ted Willingham, McDonough 2-Chris Kozusnik, Newnan 3-Josh Pitt, Stockbridge 4-Keith West, Powder Springs 5-Ben Wells, Milner DQ-Landon DeGraff, Barnesville (nose piece) DNS: Michael Couch, Senoia; Mike Jenkins, Brooks Fast Qualifier: Wells (17.028 seconds – 79.3 mph)
Bomber (Feature): 1-Dorough Bright, Newnan 2-Scott Amoson, Newnan 3-Abe Chase, Valley, AL 4-Stratton Scott, Newnan 5-Mike Nelms, Newnan 6-John Holder, Milner 7-Vern Miller, Newnan Fast Qualifier: Bright (17.044 seconds – 79.2 mph)
Mini (Feature): 1-Jamie Nicholson, Sr., Locust Grove 2-Tommy Faulkner, Newnan 3-Gary Parker, Barnesville 4-Bo Chambers, Griffin 5-Bob Faulkner, Newnan 6-Tracy Southerland DQ: Joshua Till, McDonough (unsportsmanlike conduct) Fast Qualifier: Nicholson, Sr. (18.421 seconds – 73.3 mph)
Hot Shot (Feature): 1-Dean Williams, Lannett, AL 2-Ernest Turner, Douglasville 3-Shannon Stephens, Franklin 4-Cale Burford, Milner 5-Justin Bentley 6-Stacey Henderson, Senoia 7-Cory Green