Submitted by Ted Austad
Photo credits: Francis Hauke
(Senoia, GA – September 16, 2018) It has been a long road since the beginning of the Senoia Raceway points season back in April. For some drivers, the road has been a treacherous journey filled with crashes, engine problems and missed opportunities. For others, it has been a dream season that culminated Saturday night with putting their names in the track’s record books by achieving a season points championship.
“A lot of people do not understand the dedication, skill and luck that it takes to win a championship,” explained track promoter Mayes Massey. “And the help you need from family and friends, the sacrifice it takes from those closest to you and many times additional funds that were not budgeted when the season started this past spring. It is pretty awesome to win a title and these guys deserve all the accolades they will receive.”
Winning his fourth straight title in the Super Late Model division was Senoia’s Clint ‘Cat Daddy’ Smith. The stand-out veteran won a pair of Super Late Model features including the final points race this season. The only other repeat champion from last year was Newnan’s Dorough Bright in the Bomber class. Bright had has win streak snapped on Saturday night. He had not lost in the Bomber only feature race since late April dominating the class all season.
Joey Armistead won his second career title in the Limited Late Model division. The third generation driver from Senoia also won the title in 2015.
Winston’a Marty Massey won his first track title winning the points for the Crate Late Model division. Massey came into the final night of point’s racing with a slim eight point lead over Gray’s Chaz Haskins. The two battled for the second place spot the entire second half of the main event with Massey holding off all the challenges and securing the points title.
Other drivers winning their first career championships were Macon’s Cory Compton in the Late Model Sportsman; Keith West of Powder Springs in the Hobby and Newnan’s Tommy Faulkner in the Mini Stock. The late Dean Williams who passed this past summer was declared the champion for the Hot Shot at the time of his passing.
Clint Smith was the only driver to take home his title in winning fashion on Championship Night. The winningest driver in the Senoia Raceway modern days (since 2010 when dirt racing returned) collected his fifty-eighth career win and fourth consecutive title in the Super Late Models. Smith ran flag to flag for the win ahead of Douglasville’s Lamar Haygood and Alabama’s Dylan Knowles.
Several positions changed during a caution-filled Limited Late Model main event. The only spot that did not see a change was the first place spot as Acworth’s ‘Fast’ Cass Fowler led every single lap on his to his second straight feature victory at the ‘South’s Baddest Bull Ring’. LaGrange’s Dennis Hale ran second with Whitesburg’s Austin Horton third. Fast qualifier Ahnna Parkhurst from Evans finished fourth with Alabama’s Russ Ogletree rounding out the top five.
In the Crate Late Model feature most eyes were watching the points title battle between Massey and Haskins, but some were watching another excellent display of skill by Alabama teenager Cruz Skinner. The Oxford phenom led the entire race going wire to wire to nab the victory.
Franklin’s Tanner Collins was forced to move up in the Late Model Sportsman division earlier this year after winning three Charger events. Collins used those early season races to craft his style and gain the seat time experience needed to be successful in the regular sportsman races. That plan worked perfectly as he won his first Sportsman feature holding off a number of challenges by former track champion Jason Williams of Locust Grove and then a late race charge by another former track champion Jamie Nicholson, Jr. also from Locust Grove. Collins would cross the finish line first with Nicholson gaining his best finish with the Sportsman in second and Williams third. Nicholson also gained early season experience in the Charger class.
“We started the class this season to give the younger or lesser experienced drivers an opportunity to gain seat time before moving into the highly competitive Sportsman class,” said Mayes Massey. “You can see how it has worked very well for most of the drivers. Many gained confidence through competing in the Chargers before moving into the regular race. We have had several new drivers visit the track just to get that better quality seat time in the Chargers and not have to worry about racing with the stronger competition until they feel they are ready.”
Jackson’s Mike Abercrombie has struggled a bit in the first couple of season behind the wheel of his race car. After purchasing a new Late Model Sportsman car, he decided to run with the Chargers to get more experience and learn more about his race car. That decision paid off on Saturday night as he passed Hampton’s Jeff Robinson for the lead of the Riley’s Warriors Charger feature before leading the rest of the way to gain his first career win at Senoia Raceway.
Brook’s Curtis Turner won for the first time this season in the Bomber division. Turner was never seriously challenged during the first part of 20-lap feature. But late in the race, Newnan’s Scott Amoson closed the gap and pressured Turner for the win. He would hold back the hard charging Amoson to claim the victory with Whitesburg’s William finishing in third place.
Whitesburg’s Blant Duke returned to Senoia raceway with his Hobby car to snag the win on Saturday night. Duke has run a car in many of the weekly divisions and is always a threat to pick up the checkered flag. Divisional points champion Keith West settled for the runner-up spot with Barnesville’s Landon DeGraff in third.
A pair of teenagers squared off with McDonough’s Joshua Till passing Good Hope’s Grant Roberts near the halfway mark of the Mini Stock main event. The two gave race fans a glimpse into the future with a classic side by side battle for the lead. Roberts would provide one final charge at the end of the race, but Till would slam the door shut to win his first feature since mid-April.
Last year’s Hot Shot champion waited until the final night of the point’s racing season to win his first feature of the year. LaGrange’s Nathan Farrow led all fifteen laps keeping Douglasville’s Ernest Turner behind him. Franklin’s Shannon Stephens finished third.
The championship winning drivers along with other top drivers from each division will be honored on Saturday, September 29th in a pre-race award ceremony. Afterwards a full night of racing will begin with the Limited Late Models, Crate Late Models, Late Model Sportsman, Hobby, Bomber, Mini and Hot Shots competing.
The month of October offers racers and race fans a pair of special events. Saturday, October 6th is the track’s first run of an Endurance Race. Drivers will compete in nearly stock automobiles for six hours with the team completing the most laps winning $10,000. Rules and entry forms are available on the track website at www.senoiaraceway.com.
The track will then turn it’s attention to the big four day ‘Showdown at Senoia’ on October 18, 19, 20 and 21. The four day festival of speed will feature all divisions competing for the season’s largest purses with the culmination on Sunday with a $10,000 to win tilt for the Super Late Models.
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, September 15, 2018
Super Late Model (Feature): 1-Clint Smith, Senoia 2-Lamar Haygood, Douglasville 3-Dylan Knowles, Lannett, AL 4-Dalton Polston, Lithia Springs 5-Ricky Williams, Fayetteville 6-Dana Eiland, Salem, AL 7-Kyler Haygood, Douglasville 8-Marty Lunsford, Newnan 9-David Doherty, Sydney, Austrailia Fast Qualifier: Smith (16.212 seconds – 83.2 mph) 2018 Season Points Champion – Clint Smith (fourth straight title)
Limited Late Models (Feature): 1-Cass Fowler, Acworth 2-Dennis Hale, LaGrange 3-Austin Horton, Whitesburg 4-Ahanna Parkhurst, Evans 5-Russ Ogletree, Phenix City, AL 6-Joey Armistead, Senoia 7-Oliver Gentry, Newnan 8-Jimmy Johnson, Monroe 9-Jaques Daniel, Cartersville 10-Craig Scott, Newnan 11-Joseph Darda, Greenville 12-Jamie Carr, LaGrange 13-Jake Hollis, Anniston, AL 14-Landon Bagby, Winston 15-Glenn Morris, Fayetteville Fast Qualifier: Parkhurst (16.056 seconds – 84.1 mph) 2018 Season Points Champion – Joey Armistead
Crate Late Models (Feature): 1-Cruz Skinner, Oxford, AL 2-Marty Massey, Winston 3-Chaz Haskins, Gray 4-Logan Palmer, Acworth 5-Jamie Maurice, McDonough 6-Wayne Harbin, Sharpsburg 7-Mason Massey, Douglasville 8-Bobby Mills, Griffin 9-Jake Traylor, LaGrange 10-Dow Kirkland, Lake Spivey 11-Josh Copeland, McDonough Fast Qualifier: Marty Massey (16.267 seconds – 82.9 mph) 2018 Season Points Champion – Marty Massey
Late Model Sportsman (Feature): 1-Tanner Collins, Franklin 2-Jamie Nicholson, Jr., Locust Grove 3-Jason Williams, Locust Grove 4-McKenna Nelms, Newnan 5-Parris Simmons, Baldwin 6-Cory Compton, Macon 7-Chris Steele, Franklin 8-Ted Minnix, McDonough 9-Billy Stevenson, Locust Grove 10-Lance Chitwood, Danielsville 11-Justin Angle, Anniston, AL 12-Sam Moore, Columbus 13-Trey Wood, Newnan 14-Keith Fields, Griffin Fast Qualifier: Collins (16.147 seconds – 83.6 mph) 2018 Season Points Champion – Cory Compton
Hobby (Feature): 1-Blant Duke, Whitesburg 2-Keith West, Powder Springs 3-Landon DeGraff, Barnesville 4-Ben Wells, Milner 5-Ted Willingham, McDonough 6-TJ Joiner, Lithia Springs 7-Larry Bednar, Locust Grove 8-Jeff Carter, Carrollton 9-Phillip Wallace, Locust Grove 10-John Holcomb, Griffin DNS: Joe Hillman, Villa Rica Fast Qualifier: DeGraff (17.160 seconds – 78.7 mph) 2018 Season Points Champion – Keith West
Bomber (Feature): 1-Curtis Turner, Brooks 2-Scott Amoson, Newnan 3-William Blair, Whitesburg 4-Dorough Bright, Newnan 5-Dustin Smith 6-Vern Miller, Newnan 7-Stratton Scott, Newnan 8-Ricky Neill, Whitesburg 9-Larry Pierce, Griffin 10-TJ Boetz, Midland 11-Mike Nelms, Newnan 12-Wilson Boozer, Jackson Fast Qualifier: Turner (17.475 seconds – 77.2 mph) 2018 Season Points Champion – Dorough Bright (two consecutive titles)
Mini (Feature): 1-Joshua Till, McDonough 2-Grant Roberts, Good Hope 3-Tommy Faulkner, Newnan 4-Bob Faulkner, Newnan 5-Harold Leath, Hampton 6-Jamie Nicholson, Sr., Locust Grove Fast Qualifier: Till (18.119 seconds – 74.5 mph) 2018 Season Points Champion – Tommy Faulkner
Hot Shot (Feature): 1-Nathan Farrow, LaGrange 2-Ernest Turner, Douglasville 3-Shannon Stephens, Franklin 4-Bryce Ussery 5-Cale Burford, Milner 6-Brandon Henderson, Senoia 7-Cory Greene 2018 Season Points Champion – Dean Williams
Riley’s Warriors Chargers (Feature): 1-Mike Abercrombie, Jackson 2-Jason Turner, McDonough 3-Jeff Robinson, Hampton 4-Cole Compton, Macon 5-Dave McWilliams, Brooks 6-Steven Bryant, Gordon 7-Johnny Stinchcomb, Newnan