Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Zach Attack At Senoia As Leonhardi Claims First Super Victory

Submitted by Ted Austad
Photo credits: Francis Hauke

(Senoia, GA – June 10, 2018)  Zach Leonhardi of Cartersville dominated the thirty-lap main event for the Super Late Models at Senoia Raceway Saturday night.  The seventeen-year-old just obtained his license to drive legally on the streets of Georgia this past week, but he showed everyone he has known how to drive a racecar for a long time beating the three-time defending champion Clint ‘Cat Daddy’ Smith by over four seconds.  It was the young guns first career victory behind the wheel of a Super Late Model and first time back into victory lane at Senoia Raceway since he raced legends cars a few years back.

“It feels to great to get our first win,” said Zach afterwards. “What a car.”

Joining Leonhardi in victory lane during Saturday night’s important double points event were Hamilton’s Thomas Lewis in the Limited Late Models, Alabama’s Todd Morrow in the Crate Late Models and Macon’s Cory Compton in the Late Model Sportsman.  The Hobby winner was Keith West of Powder Springs while Newnan’s Dorough Bright and Tommy Faulkner won again in the Bombers and Mini respectively.  Alabama’s Dean Williams topped the Hot Shots class and Franklin’s Tanner Collins won for the third time in the beginner Chargers division.

“Great competition tonight,” said Senoia Raceway promoter Mayes Massey. “The track was a lot better this week.  Doug worked on it all week and had better cooperation from mother nature.  This is the track our drivers expect when they come to the south’s baddest bull ring.”

Leonhardi proved he was the baddest bull at the bull ring on Saturday night.  He charged to a straightaway length lead through the midway point of the race using the highest line possible on the icy slick 3/8ths mile gumbo clay track.  The only thing that slowed the leader was a caution on lap 16 for a spun Dalton Cook of Columbus.

Leonhardi ran flag to flag to win.  Clint Smith finished a distant second followed by Douglasville’s ‘Racin’ Mason Massey, Fayetteville’s Ricky Williams and Cook.

There was another driver nabbing his first Senoia Raceway victory as Alabama’s Todd Morrow collected the checkers for the Crate Late Models.  Morrow qualified the fastest earlier in the evening and led every lap of the main event.  He left the racing action to those chasing him.

Gray’s Chaz Haskins spent most of the race looking at the back of Morrow’s ride, but he also became engaged in a spectacular race with Powder Spring’s thirteen-year-old young gun Jake Rainey.  The two battled back and forth for several laps trading the second place position.  Haskins would gain the position in turns three and four while Rainey would steal it back in the opposite turns.  Rainey ran in the middle of a three wide sandwich on lap 13 to gain what he thought would be a secured second place finish, but Haskins would out duel him on the final lap to snare the runner-up spot behind Morrow.  Rainey ended up third with Lake Spivey’s Dow Kirkland fourth and Milledgeville’s Cory Dunn rounding out the first five.

A wild ride by McDonough’s Jamie Maurice hushed the crowd early in the race.  The defending points champion slapped the outside wall in turn one on lap five forcing his right side wheels to hop on top of the concrete wall.  Maurice rode the wall all the way to exit of the second turn before finally stopping.  He was able to continue for a few laps before retiring the pits.

Macon’s Cory Compton set a new track record for the Late Model Sportsman on Saturday night.  The aircraft mechanic at Robbins Air Force base fourteen second lap averaging over 93 miles per hour.  The time broke the old mark set this past April.

Compton followed up the record breaking qualifying round by leading all the laps of the main event for the crowd pleasing Late Model Sportsman division.  He bested the largest field of the night with a superb run using the top side of the speedway.  Following his line was Alabama’s ‘Flyin’ Ryan King who took advantage of the upper groove momentum to charge from his ninth place starting position to claim the runner-up spot behind Compton.  Alabama’s Andrew Bailey finished in third ahead of Locust Grove’s Jason Williams and Jackson’s Levi Campbell.

In the Limited Late Model feature, defending points champion ‘Magic’ Matt Dooley looked to be the man to beat as he darted past pole sitter Thomas Lewis at the on set of their main event.  Dooley ran the preferred top groove with Newnan’s Rucker Orr in hot pursuit.  Orr made a daring pass on lap 8 as he squeezed past Senoia’s Joey Armistead exiting turn two.  Armistead had pushed high through the turn leaving only a narrow gap between himself and the concrete wall.  Orr threaded the needle to gain second and continued his quest for Dooley.

That quest would end on lap 12 as Orr’s car developed problems and eventually rolling to a stop forcing a yellow flag situation.  During that caution, Dooley also developed issues and pulled off the track.  That left the door open for Lewis as he inherited the lead.  It was a lead he would never lose as he sped away from Armistead to secure his first Senoia Raceway victory of the season.  Armistead finished second ahead of Newnan’s Chris Carr.

A fun race in the Hobby division saw McDonough’s Ted Willingham, Covington’s Sam ‘Bam’ Carter and Keith West swap the top three positions during the opening laps.  West charged hard into the third turn on lap two, but slid up the track bumping into Carter.  Willingham shot down under both of them to steal away the lead although it was short lived as West came flying back to take it from him a couple of circuits later.  West never gave up the lead after that early scramble and won for the fourth time this season.  Willingham was second ahead of Carter.

Dean Williams held off every challenge the ‘Hillbilly’ Mark Meyers of Ellijay could throw at him during the Hot Shots race.  Meyers tried to run him down using every part of the race track, but could not muster enough speed to get past the past winner Williams.  The two were the class of the field of stock four cylinder beginner type racecars.  The Hot Shots is designed for competitors to try racing and keep it on the more affordable side.

In the Bombers, defending points champion and current points leader Dorough Bright won for the fourth straight race night to pad his growing points lead while Tommy Faulkner did the same in the dwindling Mini Stock class.

Senoia Raceway is back in action this Saturday, June 16th offering fans and drivers a ‘Trifecta Saturday’.  The Late Model Sportsman division will compete for $2,000 to win while the Limited Late Models and Crate Late Models will run for $1,000 each.  The Hobby, Bomber, Mini and Hot Shots are also on the schedule for this upcoming weekend.

“Thanks to Joey Gipson at Gipson Electric Motor Repair in Tyrone, the Late Model Sportsman will have a chance at some pretty good money,” said Mayes Massey. “We also had a fan, Mike Heard, throw a couple hundred bucks in the pot which will be paid to the fastest qualifier in the Late Model Sportsman.  The fans are enjoying the strong competition that this class has shown this season at Senoia Raceway.”

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 9, 2018

Super Late Models (Feature): 1-Zach Leonhardi, Cartersville  2-Clint Smith, Senoia  3-Mason Massey, Douglasville  4-Ricky Williams, Fayetteville  5-Dalton Cook, Columbus  6-Shane Fulcher, Thomaston  7-Lamar Haygood, Douglasville  8-Laddie Fulcher, Thomaston  9-Kyler Haygood, Douglasville  10-Jimmy Gaylor, Luthersville  11-Glenn Morris, Fayetteville  Fast Qualifier: Cook (14.398 seconds – 93.8 mph)  Next Race – June 23 ($5,454 to win)

Limited Late Models (Feature): 1-Thomas Lewis, Hamilton  2-Joey Armistead, Senoia  3-Chris Carr, Newnan  4-Hunter Worley, Alvaton  5-Matt Dooley, Brooks  6-Rucker Orr, Newnan  7-Corey Payton, Newnan  DNS: Brand Lewis, Hamilton; Bailey Williams, Fayetteville  Fast Qualifier: Thomas Lewis (14.039 seconds – 96.2 mph)  Next Race – June 16 ($1,000 to win)

Crate Late Models (Feature):  1-Todd Morrow, Lafayette, AL  2-Chaz Haskins, Gray  3-Jake Rainey, Powder Springs  4-Dow Kirkland, Lake Spivey  5-Corey Dunn, Milledgeville  6-Chase Edge, Penton, AL  7-Marty Massey, Winston  8-Wayne Harbin, Sharpsburg  9-Mike Abercrombie, Jackson  10-Chase Baker, LaGrange  11-Kyle Bryant, Navarre, FL  12-Dennis Lykins, Jr., Sharpsburg  13-Lark Haskins, Gray  14-Bobby Richer, Jr., Chattanooga, TN  15-Tina Johnson, Senoia  16-Jamie Maurice, McDonough  Fast Qualifier: Morrow (15.281 seconds – 88.4 mph)  Next Race – June 16 ($1,000 to win)

Late Model Sportsman (Feature):  1-Cory Compton, Macon  2-Ryan King, Anniston, AL  3-Andrew Bailey, Woodland, AL  4-Jason Williams, Locust Grove  5-Levi Campbell, Jackson  6-Randy Cornwell, Fayetteville  7-Ted Minnix, McDonough  8-JJ Drawhorn, Macon  9-Wiley McDaniel, Byron  10-Cord Dodgen, Lafayette, AL  11-Brandon McDaniel, Byron  12-McKenna Nelms, Newnan  13-Keith Fields, Griffin  Fast Qualifier: Compton  (14.437 seconds – 93.6 mph NTR)  Next Race – June 16 ($2,000 to win)

Late Model Sportsman Charger (Feature): 1-Tanner Collins, Franklin  2-Jamie Nicholson, Jr., Locust Grove  3-Jeff Robinson, Hampton  4-Justin Clark, Monticello  5-JC Mattox  6-Parris Simmons, Baldwin  7-Dave McWilliams, Brooks

Hobby (Feature): 1-Keith West, Powder Springs  2-Ted Willingham, McDonough  3-Sam Carter, Covington  4-Ben Wells, Milner  5-Landon DeGraff  6-Phillip Wallace, Locoust Grove  7-Timothy Anderson, Carrollton  Fast Qualifier: Willingham (15.598 seconds – 81.3 mph NTR)  Next Race – June 16

Bomber (Feature): 1-Dorough Bright, Newnan  2-Chris Arnett, Lannett, AL  3-Ricky Henderson, Gray  4-Dozier Jones  5-Mike Nelms, Newnan  6-Larry Drawhorn, Macon  7-Abe Chase, Valley, AL  Fast Qualifier: Chase (17.613 seconds – 76.7 mph)  Next Race – June 16

Mini (Feature): 1-Tommy Faulkner, Newnan  2-Jamie Nicholson, Sr., Locust Grove  3-Josh Till, McDonough  4-Harold Leath, Hampton  5-Bob Faulkner, Newnan  6-Bo Chambers, Griffin  DNS: Dustin Satterfield  Fast Qualifier: Nicholson, Sr. (18.617 seconds – 72.5 mph)  Next Race – June 16

Hot Shot (Feature): 1-Dean Williams, Lannett, AL  2-Mark Meyer, Ellijay  3-Larry Pierce, Griffin  4-Stacey Henderson, Senoia  5-Cale Burford, Milner  6-Ernest Turner, Douglasville  Next Race – June 16