Submitted by Ted Austad
Photo credits: Francis Hauke
(Senoia, GA – June 2, 2019) Four-time track champion and veteran wheelman, Clint ‘Cat Daddy’ Smith flexed his muscle early and often on Saturday night at Senoia Raceway. The Senoia resident qualified the fastest of the thirty-one cars signed in for the National Late Model Super Car Series race and then won going flag to flag for the victory.
“Super excited that we can still get it done,” said Smith following the win. “Every win is special never know when it’s the last one and one will be.”
Senoia Raceway now rolls into it’s summer season with LaGrange’s Colby Darda winning the Crate Late Model feature, Alabama’s Dylan Knowles the Late Model Sportsman main event, Shannon Stephens of Franklin topping the Bombers and Ernie Turner of Douglasville the best in the Hot Shots racing. Fayetteville’s Scott Shelton and Griffin’s John Holcomb split the twin features for the Chargers class.
“Cat Daddy’ Smith highlighted a night of tough racing on the gumbo clay surface. The hot, dry weather the past two weeks plus created a dry, crumbling race surface that began to come apart during feature race time. Smith and his fellow competitors used their skill to maneuver the rough spots while it created a number of anxious moments for the fans to enjoy.
Through the middle part of the 50-lap race for the National Late Model Super Car Series, Senoia’s Bubba Pollard pressured Smith. The asphalt racing guru races when he can at his local track and shows no signs of lesser ability on the different racing surface. Pollard was looking to take advantage of he and Smith beginning to race through lapped traffic on lap thirty when he slid up the track clipped the left rear quarter of the leader before spinning in front of the field in turn three. Third place runner Austin Horton of Whitesburg clipped him while trying to get past with the result being too much damage for Pollard to return after the caution.
Clint Smith would run the final twenty laps in the number one position with Horton and others only challenging for a short time on a few restarts. Smith claimed the victory and the $3000 cash prize ahead of Horton, Winston’s Michael Page, Alabama’s Dalton Cook and Gray’s Chaz Haskins. Dylan Knowles ran two features Saturday night and finished in sixth place after starting in the fourteenth position, but was not the race’s hard charger. That honor went to Thomas Lewis of Hamilton. Lewis improved fourteen spots nabbing an eighth place finish.
Knowles started third overall in the Late Model Sportsman race and battled early on with Newnan teenage lady McKenna Nelms before advancing past to take on the top two. A lap four caution for Evans’ Cody Overton would give Knowles a boost to sneak past Locust Grove’s Jamie Nicholson, Jr. to snare second on the restart. That left only Billy Stevenson of Locust Grove to overtake for the lead. He sized up his competition and with a near perfect slide job in turn one and then two, Knowles slid to the lead and the held off a challenge by Stevenson in turn four to take the lead for good.
Knowles would win his 31st feature at Senoia Raceway which places him fifth overall since the reopening of the track as a dirt track again in 2010. The twenty-two year old has won most of those races the past four seasons. Finishing behind him were Stevenson, Nicholson, Jr., Jason Williams of Locust Grove and Nelms.
A wild end to the Bomber feature left the fans standing in disbelief and driver tempers flaring in the pit area. Brooks’ Curtis Turner had led the race until a caution bunched the field with only two laps remaining. Turner would line up with Alabama’s Dunie Dillard and Senoia’s Dustin ‘Dune Buggy’ Smith directly behind for the restart. Turner would take the white flag with Dillard challenging on the inside. A small gap between the two allowed for Smith to try and squeeze in creating a three wide battle going into turn one. Dillard had to go low on the track and clipped the interior concrete wall busting a wheel in the process. Smith and Turner locked together through the turns with both spinning in turn two. Dillard sped past, but was slowing due to his mangled race car. This allowed Shannon Stephens to scoot by in the final turn and win his first race since early 2018. Wilson Boozer also was able to get past an ailing Dillard to grab the runner-up spot. Turner was visibly upset afterwards in the pit area shouting at Smith as their cars were hauled back to their trailers.
Another winning family enjoyed victory on Saturday night at Colby Darda ran flag to flag for the win in the Crate Late Model division. Darda is the son of former late model stand-out Tod Darda who won forty-one races at Senoia Raceway during his time behind the wheel. Darda was the fastest qualifier and then showed his speed throughout the race winning by one second over Evans’ teenage sensation Ahnna Parkhurst. Another teenager, Austin Aldridge of Temple, finished in third ahead of Whitesburg’s Blant Duke and Eastonolee’s Matthew Wyatt.
Senoia Raceway will celebrate it’s 50th Anniversary this Saturday, June 8th with a special featuring the National Vintage Racing Association. The vintage cars offer a look back at yesteryear with race cars from 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s. Many of the cars competed at the track after it was built in 1969. Fans can also enjoy free birthday cake and points racing in the Limited Late Models, Crate Late Models, Late Model Sportsman, Hobby and Chargers divisions.
The gates will open at 4pm for the pit area and trackside parking while the grandstand will open at 5pm. Opening ceremonies takes place at 7:30pm. Tickets are $12; kids 5-12 are $5 with four and under admitted for free.
For the full schedule of events along with special attractions, promotions and additional information, visit the track website at www.senoiaraceway.com or call the speedway at 770.599.6161.
Official Results – Saturday, June 1, 2019
National Late Models (Feature): 1-Clint Smith, Senoia 2-Austin Horton, Whitesburg 3-Michael Page, Winston 4-Dalton Cook, Smith’s Station, AL 5-Chaz Haskins, Gray 6-Dylan Knowles, Lannett, AL 7-PL Williams, Dublin 8-Thomas Lewis, Hamilton 9-Ricky Culpepper, Hamilton 10-Brand Lewis, Hamilton 11-Jacques Daniel, Cartersville 12-Jody Knowles, Tyrone 13-Dustin Elliott, Pine Mountain 14-Jordy Nipper, Gray 15-Oliver Gentry, Newnan 16-Ahnna Parkhurst, Evans 17-Russ Ogletree, Phenix City, AL 18-Bubba Pollard, Senoia 19-Dusty Jones, LaGrange 20-Terrance Nowell, Phenix City, AL 21-Dennis Hale, LaGrange 22-Mason Massey, Douglasville 23-Shane Fulcher DNS: Rodney Martin, Cartersville DNQ: Thomas Mewborn, Greenville; Johnny Cloer, Chatsworth; Marty Lunsford, Newnan; Matt Dooley, Brooks; Jimmy Sharpe, Jr., Soperton; Mark Page, Villa Rica; Jamie Carr, LaGrange. Fast Qualifier: Michael Page – 15.604 seconds/86.5
Crate Late Models (Feature): 1-Colby Darda, LaGrange 2-Ahnna Parkhurst, Evans 3-Austin Aldridge, Temple 4-Blant Duke, Whitesburg 5-Matthew Wyatt, Eastonolee 6-Wayne Harbin, Sharpsburg 7-Marty Massey, Winston 8-Landon Bagby, Winston 9-Jamie Maurice, McDonough 10-Dow Kirkland, Lake Spivey 11-Cody Haskins, Marietta 12-Jordan Feider, Bloomingdale 13-Glenn Morris, Fayetteville 14-Tina Johnson, Senoia 15-Phillip Deal, Tyrone DNS: Chris Carr, Newnan Fast Qualifier: Darda – 16.133 seconds/83.6 mph
Late Model Sportsman (Feature): 1-Dylan Knowles, Lannett, AL 2-Billy Stevenson, Locust Grove 3-Jamie Nicholson, Jr., Locust Grove 4-Jason Williams, Locust Grove 5-McKenna Nelms, Newnan 6-Ryan Knight, Villa Rica 7-Cody Overton, Evans 8-Nick May, White 9-Jonah Bozeman, Moultrie 10-Ted Minnix, McDonough 11-Parris Simmons, Baldwin 12-William Blair, Whitesburg 13-Jordan Benefield, Carrollton 14-Shane Payton, Newnan 15-Jason Turner, McDonough 16-Todd Brewster, Villa Rica 17-Jack Mills, Griffin 18-Zach Hutto, Perry 19-Chris Steele, Franklin 20-Bobby Arnold, Newnan 21-Mike Abercrmbie, Jackson DNS: Parrish Duncan, Newnan Fast Qualifier: Nicholson, Jr. – 15.703 seconds/86.0 mph
Bomber (Feature): 1-Shannon Stephens, Franklin 2-Wilson Boozer, Jackson 3-Dunie Dillard, Phenix City, AL 4-Vern Miller, Newnan 5-Ricky Neill, Whitesburg 6-Larry Pierce, Griffin 7-Curtis Turner, Brooks 8-Dustin Smith, Senoia 9-Kyle McClure, Locust Grove 10-TJ Boetz, Midland Fast Qualifier: Turner – 16.728 seconds/80.7 mph
Hot Shots (Feature): 1-Ernie Turner, Douglasville 2-Tommy Smith, Forsyth 3-Cory Wilson, Locust Grove 4-Stacey Henderson, Senoia 5-Tracy Boswell, Brooks 6-Robert Holder, Griffin DNS: Corey Greene, Griffin
Chargers (Feature #1): 1-Scott Shelton, Fayetteville 2-Braxtin Barber, Valley, AL 3-Scott Amoson, Newnan 4-Dave McWilliams, Brooks 5-Johnny Stinchcomb, Newnan 6-Chad Atha, Loganville 7-John Holcomb, Griffin 8-Keith West, Powder Springs 9-Justin Clark, Monticello 10-Lucas Pittman, Grantville
Chargers (Feature #2): 1-Holcomb 2-Atha 3-Barber 4-McWilliams 5-West 6-Pittman 7-Stinchcomb 8-Shelton 9-Amoson 10-Clark