Photo credits: Francis Hauke
(Senoia, GA – July 22, 2018) The sports quote “It ain’t over til it’s over” rang true on Saturday night at the South’s Baddest Bull Ring, Senoia Raceway. The 3/8ths mile gumbo clay track had a pair of races that were not decided until the final turn of the final lap with two cars that were running in third place when the white flag flew indicating one lap remaining actually crossed the finish line in first. Hampton’s Mark Newton watched the lead cars spin each other before sneaking past for the victory in the Mini Stock while Winston’s Mark Page used a one lap dash restart to snag his first career Senoia Raceway win in the Limited Late Model main event.
“That win came with help from my dad,” said Newton afterwards speaking of his recently passed father. “Duck this one’s for you.”
Other winners on Saturday included Senoia’s Clint Smith in the Crate Late Models, Macon’s Cory Compton in the Late Model Sportsman, Keith West of Powder Springs in the Hobby and Carrollton’s Jordan Wallace in the Hot Shots. Newnan’s Dorough Bright won his seventh straight in the Bombers while McDonough’s Jason Turner was victorious in the Chargers.
The defending Mini Stock points champion, Mark Newton, has had a difficult time getting his racecar ready for the 2018 season after losing his crew chief and father earlier this year. Newton finally was able to load up the car and head to Senoia Raceway on Saturday night trying to get past the heavy heart that came along with it.
Newton had his pop riding with him on Saturday night as he ran among the top five for most of the way before making a move late in the race. Those moves made it possible for the last lap theatrics where race leader Tommy Faulkner of Newnan overtook Alabama’s Russell Team before losing control of his car in the final turn of the final lap. Faulkner collected Good Hope teenager Grant Roberts allowing Newton to scoot past on the outside. The ecstatic champion pumped his fist out the window as he crossed the finish line ahead of all others. Faulkner and Roberts regained enough control to finish in second and third respectively.
It was a similar finish in the Limited Late Model race. Thomaston’s Shane Fulcher was the man to beat most of the night, but former champion and current points leader Joey Armistead tracked him down through the final five laps of the race. Armistead worked the highside in turns three and four and then would dart low in turns one and two. Fulcher’s car began to push up the track in the final stage allowing Armistead to dive low in turn one on the white flag lap. The third generation driver lost control of the car spinning which brought out a caution and set up a one lap dash for the checkers.
Mark Page started third on the restart and pounced on the opportunity. Page drove his car hard into the first turn using the high side to scoot past Fulcher and Newnan’s Craig Scott. Fulcher charged hard into the third turn trying to retake his lead from Page, but lost control of his car on the tricky gumbo clay surface. Page kept steady winning the race ahead of Craig Scott and Dennis Hale of LaGrange.
A great battle between multi-time track champion Clint Smith and young gun ‘Thrillin” Dylan Knowles highlighted the early laps of the Crate Late Model feature. The duo ran side by side for several laps with Knowles finally wrestling away the lead on lap five. Powder Springs thirteen-year-old hot shoe Jake Rainey was also making waves as he charged through the field working the high side and the low side while also running three wide at times to gain his positions.
A caution at the midway point bunched the field back and was the undoing for Knowles. As the field charged into the first two turns when the race resumed Knowles lost control of his car spinning in front of the entire field. Cars scattered and missed until Newnan’s Lee Fuller collected the spun Knowles ending both of their nights.
No more cautions and drivers battling for position behind allowed Smith to claim his 56th win since 2010 which tied him with Carrollton’s Clifton Moran for most career wins since the track returned to a dirt surface. Senoia’s Ashton Winger was second ahead of former champion Marty Lunsford of Newnan in third. Rainey ended up in fourth just ahead of Douglasville’s Mason Massey in fifth.
A tribute race in the Hot Shots on Saturday night honored divisional stand-out Dean Williams from Lannett, AL. Williams passed away in his sleep on July 2nd and Senoia Raceway decided to honor his memory with a special 18-lap race. Williams racecar was #18. The track also made the decision that the points chase for the Hot Shots division would be stopped as of July 3rd and Williams who was leading the standings at the time of his death was declared the season champion. His dad, Gene Williams, drove his son’s car on Saturday night.
Defending Hot Shot points champion Nathan Farrow of LaGrange led most the tribute race before losing the lead to newcomer Jordan Wallace with only two laps remaining. Farrow held on for second ahead of Brian Wallace, Gene Williams and Senoia’s lady racer Stacey Henderson.
In the Bombers, Dorough Bright won his seventh straight feature. He was harassed by Brooks Curtis Turner for the final few laps, but never relinquished his lead posting the win. Bright was also celebrating his 60th birthday on Saturday night.
After nearly a month of sitting idle, Senoia Raceway continues their 2018 racing season this Saturday, July 28th with another full night of racing and motorsports excitement. The Limited Late Models, Crate Late Models, Late Model Sportsman, Hobby, Bomber, Mini and Hot Shots will be on the schedule competing in qualifying and features.
The pits will open at 4pm this weekend with the grandstands opening at 5pm. Hot laps and qualifying will begin at 6:30pm 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, July 22, 2018
Limited Late Models (Feature): 1-Mark Page, Winston 2-Craig Scott, Newnan 3-Dennis Hale, LaGrange 4-Thomas Mewborn, Greenville 5-Corey Payton, Newnan 6-Jody Knowles, Tyrone 7-Rucker Orr, Newnan 8-Shane Fulcher, Thomaston 9-Joey Armistead, Senoia 10-Bobby Mills, Griffin 11-Glenn Morris, Fayetteville Fast Qualifier: Scott (16.194 seconds – 83.3 mph)
Hobby (Feature): 1-Keith West, Powder Springs 2-Ted Willingham, McDonough 3-Landon DeGraff, Barnesville 4-Shane Tidwell, Whitesburg 5-Griffin Alexander, Locust Grove 6-Lee McElwaney, Newnan 7-Josh Pitt, Stockbridge 8-Brandon Jones, Newnan 9-Jeff Carter, Carrollton 10-Christian Ewing, Hiram 11-Ben Wells, Milner 12-Jamie Garner, Mableton 13-Dustin Newell, Gray Fast Qualifier: Tidwell (15.990 seconds – 84.4 mph)
Hot Shot (Feature): 1-Jordan Wallace, Carrollton 2-Nathan Farrow, LaGrange 3-Brian Wallace, Carrollton 4-Gene Williams, Lannett, AL 5-Stacey Henderson,, Senoia 6-Cory Green 7-Ernest Turner, Douglasville 8-Mike Roberson 9-Cale Burford, Milner