Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Thomas, Johnson & Jones Claim Summer Sizzler Cash At Bull Ring

Submitted by Ted Austad
Photo credits: Francis Hauke

(Senoia, GA – June 3, 2018)  It was a rough road to victory lane on Saturday night as Senoia Raceway hosted the Summer Sizzler 2018.  Excessive rains for the past week, including showers during the morning and afternoon, resulted in a wet, soggy and rough surface for the drivers to compete upon.  But those that maneuvered their cars through the tough spots and kept their foot on the floor while also staying focused on the checkered flag, were the ones who came home victorious.

Alabama’s Jimmy Thomas topped the stellar field of forty-three entries for the Late Model Sportsman while Tennessee’s Ronnie Johnson collected the win for the Limited Late Models.  LaGrange’s Dusty Jones smoked the field in the Crate Late Models finally pulling the monkey of his back with a feature win.

“Doug (Stevens) worked on the track all afternoon and into the evening,” explained promoter Mayes Massey. “The show was delayed over an hour as he and his crew tried to get the track rolled into shape.  There was just a bunch of water in the clay and it never smoothed over or tightend up like our competitors are used to here.”

The bumpy race track caused some heartburn in the pit area, but it also turned out to be ok for others as Powder Springs’ Keith West, Newnan’s Dorough Bright and Tommy Faulkner returned to the winner’s circle with wins in the Hobby, Bomber and Mini.  Alabama’s Josh Allen picked up his first career victory at Senoia Raceway winning the final event of the evening in the Hot Shots.

Fourteen-year-old Newnan high schooler, McKenna Nelms, qualified the fastest among the forty-three racers in the Late Model Sportsman.  Nelms missed her starting point a bit allowing middle Georgia veteran Keith McGuire to charge out to the early lead in the A-Main feature.  Nelms would spin a few laps later and would be relegated to the rear of the field.

When racing resumed Jimmy Thomas made the move on McGuire to snare the lead on lap 7 while Macon’s Cory Compton followed him past.  McGuire’s drop continued as one lap later Austin Scarborough came charging past.  Scarborough found a smooth past on the high side of the race track and was hard charging towards the front from his row five starting position.  McGuire would break on lap 9 ending his quest for the Summer Sizzler title.

Scarborough caught up to Thomas and was challenging for the lead when the fina caution of the race came out.  This proved to be what Thomas needed while it was not for Scarborough.  On the final restart, Thomas ran through turns one and two perfectly opening up a several car length lead.  Scarborough picked the wrong line which allowed Lizella’s Monte Vaughn to shoot past on the low side of turn two.  Thomas would win pocketing the increased cash prize while Vaughn came home second and Scarborough third.

In the Limited Late Model main event, points leader Dennis Hale of LaGrange went for a wild ride after getting caught up with Columbus’ Joseph Brown on restart at lap four.  Hale slammed into the front stretch wall and then bit into the track sending him into a barrel roll that landed him on the roof of his racer.  Hale was ok, but his car was done for the night.

Dirt racing hall of famer, Ronnie Johnson, showed why he earned such a lofty honor when he moved past former champion Joey Armistead of Senoia.  Armistead had been holding off the Chattanooga Flash for a couple of laps before Johnson gained position on the inside heading into the first turn.  A improvised slide job was all the veteran needed as he then sped away to victory.  Armistead would come home second just ahead of the race’s hard charger Pearson Lee Williams of Dublin.  The young gun, Williams, started tenth and methodically worked his way to third.

Dusty Jones has struggled for the past several months trying to figure out the tricky surface at Senoia Raceway.  The veteran LaGrange competitor has qualified well, but has been shut out of victory lane for a long time.  Something that did not sit well with his team as he had enjoyed great success at the track for many years.

Jones not only got the monkey of his back on Saturday night.  He flung it to the next county.

Jones qualified the fastest and never allowed anybody to even get close enough to smell his car’s exhaust.  The twenty-one time feature winner at Senoia Raceway was not going to be denied any longer as he cruised flag to flag and won his first feature in over two years.  Touring series champion Chase Edge of Penton, AL, came across over three seconds behind Jones for second place while Statesboro hot shoe Joshua Bishop ran third.

The crash-filled Hobby feature saw Franklin’s Ben Steele start on the pole and then fade before getting caught up in ninth lap crash that collected four cars including Steele.  Current Hobby points leader, Keith West, stayed clear of the carnage to win his third of the season ahead of Covington’s Sam ‘Bam’ Carter and McDonough’s Ted Willingham.  Steele was able to recover and finish fourth ahead of the “Wolfman’ Phillip Wallace of Locust Grove.

Defending points champion Dorough Bright and Scott Amoson of Newnan entertained the crowd with a classic Senoia Raceway battle in the Bomber feature.  Bright ran the top side of the track while Amoson tried to gain the lead position using the bottom of the track.  Scott Stratton, also of Newnan, made it a three car tussle for a few laps before spinning on lap six.  Bright went on to win with Amoson settling for second and Whitesburg’s Michael Thomas in third.  Newnan’s Mike Nelms was fourth and Alabama’s Carley Arnett secured fifth place.

Josh Allen battled back and forth with several drivers in the Hot Shot feature.  The low cost racers are having a blast trading paint and racing with each other.  Allen won his first ever race at Senoia raceway while Canton’s Michael Fullmer was second.  Stacey Henderson of Senoia enjoyed her career best finish in third while newcomer Joseph Collins was fourth and defending Hot Shot champion Nathan Farrow of LaGrange was fifth.

Tommy Faulkner won again in the Mini Stock race that featured only five cars.

Senoia Raceway will crank back up this Saturday with the first ‘double points’ race of the season.  Drivers in the Super Late Models, Limited Late Models, Crate Late Models, Late Model Sportsman, Griffin Hose & Hydraulic Chargers, Hobby, Bomber, Mini and Hot Shots will continue their charge for the season titles with an opportunity to cash in on twice the number of points.

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 2, 2018

Limited Late Models (Feature): 1-Ronnie Johnson, Chattanooga, TN  2-Joey Armistead, Senoia  3-P.L. Williams, Dublin  4-Glenn Morris, Fayetteville  5-Darren Porter  6-Thomas Mewborn, Greenville  7-Cory Hillman, Douglasville  8-Matt Dooley, Brooks  9-Chris Carr, Newnan  10-Russ Ogletree, Phenix City, AL  11-Bailey Williams, Fayetteville  12-Joseph Brown, Columbus  13-Dennis Hale, LaGrange  14-Matthew Knight, Villa Rica  15-Mark Knight, Villa Rica  16-Dana Eiland, Salem, AL  Fast Qualifier: Armistead (14.658 seconds – 92.1 mph)

Crate Late Models (Feature):  1-Dusty Jones, LaGrange  2-Chase Edge, Penton, AL  3-Joshua Bishop, Statesboro  4-Chas Haskins, Gray  5-Marty Massey, Winston  6-Caleb Gay  7-Jamie Maurice, McDonough  8-Kenneth Limerick, Warner Robbins  9-Dennis Lykins, Jr., Sharpsburg  10-Will Herrington, Cochran  11-Tina Johnson, Senoia  12-Andrew Cole, Hartwell  13-Michael Turner, Dallas  14-Matthew Wyatt, Eastonollee  15-Lark Haskins, Gray  16-Colby Darda, LaGrange  17-Jason Turner, McDonough  18-Dow Kirkland, Lake Spivey Fast Qualifier: Jones (14.517 seconds – 93.0 mph)

Late Model Sportsman (Feature):  1-Jimmy Thomas, Phenix City, AL  2-Monte Vaughn, Lizella  3-Austin Scarboro, Swainsboro  4-Jason Williams. Locust Grove  5-Cory Compton, Macon  6-Daniel Bailey, Sylvester  7-McKenna Nelms, Newnan  8-Jeff Norrell, Macon  9-Jamie Holt, Heflin, AL  10-Jamie Nicholson, Jr., Locust Grove  11-Randy Cornwell, Fayetteville  12-Dylan Knowles, Lannett, AL  13-Wiley McDaniel, Byron  14-Shannon Graham  15-Tyler Sanders, Dublin  16-Dave McWilliams, Brooks  17-Justin Thornton, Columbus  18-Keith McGuire  19-Chris Steele, Franklin  20-Dustin Newell, Gray  21-Bobby Arnold, Newnan  22-Curtis Turner, Brooks  23-Craig Scott, Newnan  24-Brandon McDaniel, Byron  Last Chace Qualifier #1: 1-Arnold  2-Thornton  3-Holt  4-JC Drawhorn  5-Morgan Alexander, Locust Grove  6-Shane Payton, Newnan  7-Chris Arnett, Lannett, AL  8-Brandon Bright, Newnan  9-Ted Minnix, McDonough  10-William Blair, Whitesburg  DNS: Richard Dale, Winston; Jake Traylor, LaGrange  Last Chance Qualifier #2:  1-Steele  2-Wiley McDaniel  3-Nicholson, Jr.  4-Keith Fields, Griffin  5-Logan Tanner, Rockledge  6-Tanner Collins, Franklin  7-Blake Martin, Cochran  8-Colby Graves, Covington  9-Johnny Stinchcomb, Newnan  10-Blant Duke, Whitesburg  11-Kayla Boswell, Winston  DNS: Jeff Robinson, Hampton  Fast Qualifier: Nelms (15.257 seconds – 88.5 mph)

Hobby (Feature): 1-Keith West, Powder Springs  2-Sam Carter, Covington  3-Ted Willingham, McDonough  4-Ben Steele, Franklin  5-Phillip Wallace, Locoust Grove  6-James Swanger, Whitesburg  7-Tim Harmon, Conyers  8-Bryan Renfroe, Salem, AL  9-Brandon Jones, Newnan  10-Jamie Garner, Mableton  DNS: Josh Pitt, Stockbridge; Dalton Benefield, Carrollton  Fast Qualifier: Steele (16.316 seconds – 82.7 mph)

Bomber (Feature): 1-Dorough Bright, Newnan  2-Scott Amoson, Newnan  3-Michael Thomas, Whitesburg  4-Mike Nelms, Newnan  5-Carley Arnett, Lannett, AL  6-Christy Matthews, Griffin  7-Ricky Neill, Whitesburg  8-Ricky Henderson, Gray  9-Larry Pierce, Griffin  10-Scott Stratton, Newnan  11-Abe Chase, Valley, AL  DNS: Vern Miller, Newnan; John Holder, Milner  Fast Qualifier: Bright (17.090 seconds – 79.0 mph)

Mini (Feature): 1-Tommy Faulkner, Newnan  2-Tyler Waits, Fairburn  3-Jamie Nicholson, Sr., Locust Grove  4-Bob Faulkner, Newnan  5-Josh Till, McDonough  Fast Qualifier: T Faulkner (19.254 seconds – 70.1 mph)

Hot Shot (Feature): 1-Josh Allen, Five Points, AL  2-Michael Follmer, Canton  3-Stacey Henderson, Senoia  4-Joseph Collins, Salem, AL  5-Nathan Farrow, LaGrange  6-Larken Stephens  7-Dean Williams, Lannett, AL  8-Cale Burford, Milner  9-Ernest Turner, Douglasville