MILES OF SMILES AT SENOIA RACEWAY SATURDAY NIGHT
April 28, 2012 (Senoia, GA) At times it became a war of attrition this past Saturday at the tight confines of Senoia Raceway. The 3/8ths mile bull ring welcomed a packed house for the Kids Rides in the Race Cars and the fans were not disappointed as the drivers put on a whale of a show. Senoia’s Joe Armistead, Jr. picked up the win for the Jodeco Auto Sales Late Models while Dow Kirkland of Lake Spivey returned to victory lane for the first time in 22 years winning the Newnan Bonding B Cadet feature. Newnan’s Brandon Bright won the Mini Stock main. Griffin’s David Johnson captured the checkers for the Bombers and Carrollton’s Clifton ‘Hog Head’ Moran waited for the misfortune of Grantville’s Austin Horton to land him in the winner’s circle for the fourth straight event.
Hundreds of young race fans were on hand Saturday night to experience one of the track’s most popular kid’s activities. The Kids Rides in the Race Cars allows for young race fans to hop on board with their favorite driver and cruise the track for a couple of laps. Then the kids can cheer those drivers on to victory during the evening’s racing events. There were miles of smiles as the kids rode around the 3/8ths mile clay track.
“I have never seen anything like this before,” said Bruce Miller of Stockbridge. “I have been going to races for over fifty years. Been to a lot of tracks. But, this is one of the best things I have ever seen for the kids. I want to go for a ride.”
The kids helped Lake Spivey’s Dow Kirkland get back into victory lane. The former track champion returned to Senoia Raceway this season after two decades on the sideline. Kirkland used his early heat race victory to land the pole position and then he won the drag race with Greenville’s Thomas Mewborn to snare the race’s lead spot. Mewborn slid into second while Newnan’s Corey Payton, Columbus’ Nick Marsolf, Box Springs Sam ‘Bam’ Moore and Newnan’s Marcus Caswell fought for position behind.
Cautions for a Corey Payton spin in turn two and a Marcus Caswell miscue that collected Marsolf and took away his shot at the win slowed the field in what turned out to be a yellow-filled race. But, when the race was green there was good racing throughout the field.
Finally, on a final green-white-checkered charge to the finish line, Kirkland held off the field. It was Kirkland’s first victory in twenty-two years at Senoia Raceway. Moore and Mewborn followed him across the line while rookie of the year contenders Bill Pitt of Stockbridge and Mike Johnson of Jonesboro completed the field. Moore was disqualified at the scales as the veteran racer was fifteen pounds light after the race.
“I want to thank the kids that rode with me tonight during the kids rides,” said a gracious Kirkland during the victory lane interview. “They are the ones that helped get this win.”
Kirkland won track titles back in the late eighties when the track was originally dirt. He stopped racing when the track became asphalt, but has returned after watching the program for the past two seasons and how the program has developed.
Senoia’s Joe Armistead, Jr., won the season opening Spring Fling 40 for the Jodeco Auto Sales Late Models, but then had engine problems at events afterwards. Armistead returned to his hometrack Saturday night and bested a field of sixteen high-powered machines during qualifying before rolling a lucky one with the invert dice.
“That man has a golden horseshoe somewhere,” said race fan Mitch Defarris of Peachtree City. “He is tough to beat when he starts back in the field.”
Defarris was dead on when the green flag dropped as Armistead shot out to the lead. But, it was not going to be easy as Craig ‘Zero Hero’ Scott of Newnan chased him down. Scott, the current points leader for the Late Model division, pulled up on the left quarter panel of Armistead on several occasions only to have the pole sitter slam the door shut. During the middle potion of the feature, the front duo had to work their way through lapped traffic at speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour with Armistead using it to his advantage.
The dry track conditions created a tire management scenario for the late model contingent and that tire wear became a factor with only two laps remaining. Craig Scott popped a right rear tire just as the field was given the two to go signal.
That was all that Armistead needed as he then cruised to the victory over LaGrange’s Tod Darda, Locust Grove’s ‘Racin’ Jason Williams, Phenix City, Alabama’s ‘Top Dog’ Dana Eiland and Fayetteville’s Glenn Morris.
Darda and Williams are now tied for the points lead while Thomaston’s Shane Fulcher is tied with Eiland for second place. Glenn Morris is only one point behind the second place knot going into this Saturday night’s racing action.
One final note on the Jodeco Auto Sales Late Models from this past Saturday night is for Senoia Raceway young gun Marty ‘The Wild Child’ Lunsford. The fifteen year old Newnan High School student qualified sixth on Saturday night. This is his best effort since his move to the late model division. Lunsford finished 12th after losing the handling on his race car early in the main event.
The Summit Racing Equipment Hobby Stock saw a heated battle again. The rough and tough, fan favorite division entertained race fans from the initial start of their main event. ‘The Grantville Grenade’ Austin Horton captured the pole and snared the lead over Scott ‘Shotgun’ Sherrer. The Newnan hot shoe, Sherrer, was returning to a track where he won twelve features two years ago.
Behind the two leaders, Griffin’s Mike Parker, Whitesburg’s Blant Duke and Carrollton’s Clifton ‘Hog Head’ Moran swapped positions with this season’s dominant driver, Moran, using his patented sling shot to move past both drivers at the bottom of turn four.
A lap six caution for a wild wreck involving Athen’s Wayne Scott, Loganville’s Bill Brown and Brooks’ Mike Jenkins allowed the field to be bunched back together. While the field was pacing the caution laps, Sherrer and Moran began jostling with each other bumping and pushing each other around. Sherrer ended up getting the worst of the deal as track promoter Tim Moses parked him on the trailer.
Another caution later in the show saw one of the best races of the night end with both drivers on the inside of turn two. Mike Parker and Blant Duke had a classic Senoia Raceway battle end with the two touching in turn one and then Duke spinning in turn two. The two were fighting for the third place position when the tussle ended in caution.
Up front, Austin Horton held back everything that Moran had to throw at him. The Senoia Raceway young gun captured the checkered flag with Moran coming home second in front of Brooks’ Kerry ‘Hop’ Carden and LaGrange’s Dusty Jones.
“We had to hold off Hog Head,” said the sixteen year old feature winner Horton. “I gave it my all tonight.”
Unfortunately, Horton crossed the scales and was three pounds light. Horton was disqualified from the win which helped Moran keep his win streak intact. The defending Summit Racing Equipment Hobby Stock champion is now four wins for four races in 2012.
“I hated it for Horton and his team,” said Senoia Raceway tech inspector Johnny Walls. “But, there is no tolerance with the weight rules.”
In the Mini Stocks, Newnan’s Brandon Bright and his father Dorough Bright swapped paint and the lead as the family team won an early race fight with rookie Brandon Creech, also of Newnan. The Brights jostled for the top position while current points leader Stephen Hill of LaGrange moved methodically through the field of fourteen four cylinders.
Brandon Bright took advantage of his father’s car developing problems on lap 12. Dorough Bright had to drop from the race allowing his son to win for the first time at Senoia Raceway in two years. Hill would wind up second ahead of Douglaville’s Rocky Johnson, Newnan’s Brandon Libri and Hogansville’s Tim Collier.
“It feels good to be back here at Senoia,” said Brandon Bright. “And to race Pops like that. Lots of fun.”
Griffin’s David Johnson became the only driver to repeat as a feature winner in the Bomber division this season. Johnson held off challenges from Newnan’s Casey Bruce and Taylor Cozad to capture his second win of the season. Carrollton’s Robbie Hogeland was second ahead of Cozad, Newnan’s Jesse Wilson and Lee Owenby. The victory also moves Johnson to the division point’s lead over Owenby and Cozad.
Senoia Raceway will crank back up this Saturday, May 5th with a special Cinco De Mayo Night at the Races. Race fans can look forward to a full night of racing in all five weekly divisions, plus the Modified Mini Stocks will be on the racing card. The kids will have the opportunity to pound on the racing piñatas and win free candy while the adults can compete in the Taco Eating Contest and win tickets to various upcoming events.
This Saturday, May 5th, the pit gates will open at 5pm. Grandstand gates will open at 6pm. Hot laps are at 7pm with the first green flag set to fly at 8pm. Senoia Raceway offers affordable ticket prices to maintain a spot on the entertainment calendar for many families. Ticket prices are $12 for adult grandstand admission, $5 for children ages six through twelve while children five and under are admitted for free.
For additional information on Senoia Raceway, visit the speedway website at www.senoiaraceway.com, join their family of friends on Facebook or call the speedway at 770-599-6161.
Official Results for Saturday, April 28, 2012
Jodeco Auto Sales Late Models
Feature: 1-Joe Armistead, Jr., Senoia 2-Tod Darda, LaGrange 3-Jason Williams, Locust Grove 4-Dana Eiland, Phenix City, AL 5-Glenn Morris, Fayetteville 6-Shane Fulcher, Thomaston 7-Laddie Fulcher, Thomaston 8-Trey White, Stockbridge 9-Troy Tyson, Fayetteville 10-Parrish Duncan, Newnan 11-Carey Smith, Carrollton 12-Marty Lunsford, Newnan 13-Craig Scott, Newnan 14-Michael Martin, Lutherville 15-Steven Nicholson, Jackson DNS-Jamie Carr, LaGrange Fast Qualifier-Armistead (14.720 seconds)
Newnan Bonding B Cadets
Feature: 1-Dow Kirkland, Lake Spivey 2-Thomas Mewborn, Greenville 3-Bill Pitt, Stockbridge 4-Mike Johnson, Jonesboro 5-Buck Williams, Watkinsville 6-Marcus Caswell, Newnan 7-Nick Marsolf, Columbus 8-Jeff Carter, Stockbridge 9-TJ Joiner, Lithia Springs 10-Corey Payton, Newnan DQ-Sam Moore, Box Springs DNS-Josh Pitt, Stockbridge Heat Winners: Kirkland and Mewborn
Summit Racing Equipment Hobby Stocks
Feature: 1-Clifton Moran, Carrollton 2-Carl Jones, Carrollton 3-Kerry Carden, Brooks 4-Dusty Jones, LaGrange 5-Blant Duke, Whitesburg 6-Eddie Albitron, Barnesville 7-Zack Sockwell, Newnan 8-Brandon Jones, Newnan 9-Mike Parker, Griffin 10-Joey McConnell, Hogansville 11-Bill Brown, Loganville 12-Mike Jenkins, Brooks 13-Wayne Scott, Athens 14-Gary Brand, Franklin 15-Scott Sherrer, Newnan DQ-Austin Horton, Grantville DNS-Rusty Johnson, Newnan; George Purgason, Hoganville; Mike Hillman, Douglasville Heat Winners: Horton and Sherrer
Feature: 1-Brandon Bright, Newnan 2-Stephen Hill, LaGrange 3-Rocky Johnson, Douglasville 4-Brandon Libri, Newnan 5-Tim Collier, Hoganville 6-Michael Spencer, Hoganville 7-Bo Chambers, Griffin 8-Robert Caldwell, Senoia 9-Dorough Bright, Newnan 10-Brandon Creech, Newnan 11-Gary Parker, Barnesville DNS-Matt Swancey, Hoganville; Billy Jack Jenkins, Jackson; Chad Cleveland, Roopville Heat Winners: Creech and Dorough Bright
Feature: 1-David Johnson, Griffin 2-Robbie Hogeland, Carrollton 3-Taylor Cozad, Newnan 4-Jesse Wilson, Newnan 5-Lee Owenby, Newnan 6-Pappy Powell, Hoganville 7-Russell Frost, Locust Grove 8-Casey Bruce, Newnan 9-Jonathan Hemmings, Newnan 10-Aaron Gazaway, Hoganville DNS-Josh Roddy, Palmetto; Jonathan Flournoy