ANNIVERSARY SEASON KICK-OFF AT SENOIA RACEWAY

ANNIVERSARY SEASON KICK-OFF AT SENOIA RACEWAY

(Senoia, GA – March 10, 2019)  Senoia Raceway officially kicked off their 50th Anniversary Season on Saturday night and the young guns showed the future is bright for the popular speed plant in eastern Coweta County.  Teenage drivers won the main events in the Super Late Models and Crate Late Models while a pair of twenty-somethings took home honors in the Limited Late Models and Late Model Sportsman.  None of the winners on Saturday night were even born when the track was built and opened in 1969 by Hence Pollard and his family.

 

“The history of Senoia Raceway is really interesting,” said track promoter Mayes Massey. “It has been a focal point in the development of so many drivers over the years.  First on dirt when it was originally built.  Then during it’s asphalt years.  And it is again now with the young drivers we continue to see reach success.”

 

One of those drivers to maximize his opportunity at Senoia Raceway has been Cartersville high school senior Zach Leonhardi.  The teenage sensation has really come along since tasting his first successes in the Super Late Model division at the Bull Ring.  Leonhardi flexed all his 2019 muscle on Saturday night qualifying the quickest in preliminary time trials and then leading every single lap of the 30-lap main event.  Leonhardi kept former World of Outlaws champion Shane Clanton of Zebulon at a safe distance before fending off a late race charge by Thomaston veteran Shane Fulcher.  It was Leonhardi’s first win of the season and sets the tone for his plans on chasing a title with the Southern All-Stars Dirt Late Model Tour.

 

“We hate to see our local drivers go off and chase the tours as it hurts the weekly show,” said Massey.  “But, they see the tours as a way to showcase their talents to a broader audience.  Zach will do well, but we will miss seeing him each week here at Senoia.”

     

Another high schooler led flag to flag for a victory on Saturday night as Commerce sixteen-year-old Payton Freeman won for the second straight week in the Crate Late Model division.  Freeman smoked the field from the drop of the green leaving all the positional racing behind him.

 

McDonough’s Jamie Maurice showed he may have found his championship form as the former points champ in the Crate Late Models moved from a sixth place starting spot to second place.  Maurice battled with Acworth’s eighteen-year-old Logan Palmer for several laps before the two traded some paint on lap 10.  The result was Palmer slamming into the front stretch wall and breaking a right front wheel.

 

Freeman would stay ahead of the pack throughout with Maurice running second ahead of another former points winner Bobby Mills of Griffin.  Tyrone’s Phillip Deal was fourth just ahead of Franklin’s Tanner Collins in fifth.  The nineteen-year-old Collins was disqualified from preliminary qualifying and relegated to the back of the pack for the feature.  The young talent worked the field and was able to secure a top five passing the most cars by any driver on the night.

Twenty-five year old Dusty Jones of LaGrange struggled for the first few years of racing on the unique gumbo clay surface at Senoia Raceway.  The slick conditions place more importance on the wheelman than most other dirt tracks in the nation.  Jones has it figured out this season.  For the second straight week he has gained the lead spot and then turned on the afterburner.  This week he left fellow LaGrange competitor Jake Traylor in his vapor trail leading flag to flag.  Traylor would be second ahead of the veteran Fayetteville driver and former two-time champion Glenn Morris. 

Great racing in the Late Model Sportsman kept the crowd of Season Opener fans cheering for their favorite drivers.  Side by side battles, three wide tussles and a little bumping were highlighted throughout the field in their feature race. 

 

Fast qualifier Billy Stevenson of Locust Grove battled with Alabama youngster Dylan Knowles for several laps.  Stevenson would hold down the low line of the track while Knowles used the high side and then low side trying to get Stevenson to guess wrong on where he was going to try and pass.  Knowles finally used the top side momentum to get past Stevenson on lap 11 before setting sail for the winner’s circle.

 

Other good races for position included duels between Newnan teenage lady McKenna Nelms and veteran Bowden hotshoe Craig Scott.  Nelms would work past Scott and then find herself racing against Locust Grove’s young gun Jamie Nicholson, Jr.  Carrollton’s Jordan Benefield also mixed it up with several drivers including last week’s feature winner Jack Mills of Griffin.

 

“There was some really good racing in the (Late Model) Sportsman tonight,” Mayes Massey said afterwards.

 

The 22-year-old Knowles won for the first time this season at Senoia Raceway.  It was his 28th career win and moved him into fourth place on the career win list at the speedway since it returned to dirt racing in 2010.  Nicholson won the race for second with Nelms in third.

Wild action in the Mini Stock feature also saw instances of three wide racing.  Hampton’s Harold Leath was the first to take the racing three wide as he dove low in turn two to race with the front row.  Leath nabbed the lead, but it was short lived as last week’s Mini Stock feature winner Jamie Godbee would shoot past before the first lap was completed.

 

Leath would break on lap 12 and leave what looked to be an easy ride for Carrollton’s Godbee.  It is never easy in racing though and Godbee realized that with two laps remaining when his right rear tire blew apart.  That final caution left the top spot to last year’s points champ in the Mini Stock Newnan’s Tommy Faulkner.  The defending champ held off a challenge from Hot Shot turned Mini Stock entry Lee Hutchinson from Montgomery, AL to win his first of the year.  Godbee would charge back to finish in third .

Landon Degraff of Barnesville won the crash-filled Hobby feature while Newnan’s Brandon Bright captured the checkered flag in the Chargers class.

Senoia Raceway hosts professional motorcycle racing this upcoming Saturday, March 16th.  The top riders in the AMA Flat Track Series will be taking on the 3/8ths mile Bull Ring as they venture back north after the completion of Daytona Bike Week.  Multi-time champion Jared Mees of California will lead a strong contingent of the world’s best flat track motorcycle racers.  The pits open at noon while the grandstand will open at 2pm for the first round of practice.  Heat racing is slated to begin at 4pm with the main events beginning at 6pm.  Ticket prices are $20; Kids 6-11 are $5; Five & Under are FREE.

Stock car racing will return to action on Saturday, March 30th with the 4th Annual Schaeffer’s Oil Spring Nationals.  The Super Late Models will be racing that night for $10,000 to win.  Some of the nation’s best dirt late model drivers will be in attendance for this annual special event.

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, March 9, 2019

Super Late Models (Feature):  1-Zach Leonhardi, Cartersville  2-Shane Fulcher, Thomaston  3-Shane Clanton, Zebulon  4-Johnny Cloer, Chatsworth  5-Dalton Polston, Lithia Springs  6-Mason Massey, Douglasville  7-Ricky Williams, Fayetteville  Fast Qualifier: Leonhardi – 15,685 seconds/85.5 mph

Limited Late Models (Feature): 1-Dusty Jones, LaGrange  2-Jake Traylor, LaGrange  3-Glenn Morris, Fayetteville  4-Randall Powell, Oxford  5-Jimmy Price, Oxford  6-Drew Collins, Auburn  7-Jacques Daniel, Cartersville  8-Dustin Elliott, Pine Mountain  9-Chris Hill,  10-Curtis Cline, Dallas  11-Bob Johnson, Loganville  DNS: Shane Criswell, Bowden  Fast Qualifier: Jones – 15.851 seconds/85.2 mph

Crate Late Models (Feature): 1-Payton Freeman, Commerce  2-Jamie Maurice, McDonough  3-Bobby Mills, Griffin  4-Phillip Deal, Tyrone  5-Tanner Collins, Franklin  6-Dow Kirkland, Lake Spivey  7-Colby Darda, LaGrange  8-Morgan Alexander, Jackson  9-Corey Payton, Newnan  10-Travis Price, Conyers  11-Lee Fuller, Newnan  12-Joe Williamson, Wedowee, AL  13-Logan Palmer, Acworth  14-Matthew Wyatt, Eastonolee  15-Dan Eiland, Phenix City, AL  16-Bailey Temples, McDonough  17-Marty Massey, Winston  18-Ty Ellis, Covington  DNS: Blant Duke, Whitesburg  Fast Qualifier: Freeman – 15.730 seconds/85.8 mph

Late Model Sportsman (Feature): 1-Dylan Knowles, Lannett, AL  2-Jamie Nicholson, Jr., Locust Grove  3-McKenna Nelms, Newnan  4-Craig Scott, Bowden  5-Jason Turner, McDonough  6-Jack Mills, Griffin  7-Jordan Benefield, Carrollton  8-Todd Brewster, Villa Rica  9-Sam Carter, Covington  10-Billy Stevenson, Locust Grove  11-Tyler Hill, Nowell, AL  12-Rickey Payton, Newnan  13-Dalton Benefield, Carrollton  DNS: Parris Simmons, Baldwin  Fast Qualifier: Stevenson – 14.505 seconds/93.1 mph

Hobby (Feature): 1-Landon Degraff, Barnesville  2-Tim Harmon, Conyers  3-Ben Wells, Milner  4-Larry Bednar, Locust Grove  5-TJ Boetz, Midland  6-Daniel Jackson  7-Larry Drawhorn, Macon  8-Ryan Ray, Mableton  9-Blake Harmon, Mansfield  10-Wilson Boozer, Jenkinsburg  11-Keith West, Powder Springs  Fast Qualifier: Ray – 15.731 seconds/85.8 mph

Mini Stock (Feature): 1-Tommy Faulkner, Newnan  2-Lee Hutchinson, Montgomery, AL  3-Jamie Godbee, Carrollton  4-Clint Thornton  5-Doug Smith, Carrollton  6-Carl Shelton  7-Cody Lively, Locust Grove  8-Brandon Henderson, Senoia  9-Bob Faulkner, Newnan  10-Harold Leath, Hampton  11-Russell Teal, Ranburne, AL  12-Billy Tidwell, Montevello, AL DNS: Tavis Harris, Palmetto; Douglas Pointer; Joshua Till, McDonough  Fast Qualifier: Till – 17.375 seconds/77.7 mph

Chargers (Feature): 1-Brandon Bright, Newnan  2-Johnny Stinchcomb, Newnan  3-Dave McWilliams, Brooks  4-Griffin Alexander, Locust Grove  5-Dawson Martin, Oxford  6-JJ Drawhorn, Macon  7-Lucas Pittman, Grantville  8-Chad Atha, Loganville  DNS: JC Mattox, Griffin  Heat Winner: Atha

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