STUNNING FINISHES HIGHLIGHT SENOIA RACEWAY SUMMER SIZZLER
June 24, 2012 (Senoia, GA) The 2012 version of Senoia Raceway’s Summer Sizzler will be remembered as a night of crazy, unpredictable finishes as Tod Darda and Clifton Moran made late race passes to steal away victories from Racin’ Jason Williams and Blant Duke.
On a track that was as rough as a cornfield, Darda overtook Williams on the final turn of the final lap in the Jodeco Auto Sales Late Models. Darda beat Williams to the finish line by less than two feet using a smoother track surface at the top of the track. Moran made his pass for the lead on Duke with only two laps remaining in the Summit Racing Equipment Hobby Stock main. Duke wobbled in the rough part of turn three and Moran shot past into the lead.
Brandon Bright also won his fifth of the season in the Mini Stocks and Scott Duffey made a triumphant return to Senoia Raceway with a hard fought win in the Newnan Bonding B Cadets.
Locust Grove’s Racin Jason Williams was celebrating his birthday and wedding anniversary on Saturday night. He enhanced the joyous occasion with the top speed in pre-event qualifying for the high powered late models. Williams captured his second fast qualifier award of the season and was looking to add more padding to his current points lead in the Jodeco Auto Sales Late Models.
Williams held off the initial start charge by LaGrange’s Tod Darda to garner the race lead. Darda challenged Williams throughout the 25-lap main event, but each time Darda would try to make a run on the low side Williams would slam the door shut.
The track became rougher and rougher as the night went along this past Saturday. Track preparation found a bit too much water resulted in one of the toughest scenarios for drivers since the track reopened two and half years ago. The conditions in turn three and four escalated to drivers bouncing around and working twice as hard to control their machines.
On the final lap, Williams charged into the roughest part of the track while Darda decided to hit the high road and some slightly smoother territory. The result was a side by side drag race to the finish line coming out of the final turn. With the crowd on its feet, Darda nosed in front of Williams at the line by less than two feet.
“The bottom was rough so I decide to give it one last shot up top,” said Darda in victory lane. “I had only one chance to make it work.”
The story was similar in the Summit Racing Equipment Hobby Stock special as Whitesburg’s Blant Duke was looking to cash in on the added prize money. Duke snared the early race lead over Franklin’s Gary ‘Cornbread’ Brand. The duo had won early night qualifying heat races which placed them on the front row of the 30-lap special event paying $500 to the winner.
Duke did an excellent job of running the low side of the track allowing his car to float through the rough areas while using his throttle to help get through the rough turns. LaGrange’s Dusty Jones tried to get under Duke on several laps but to no avail.
Current point’s leader and defending champion Clifton ‘Hog Head’ Moran had to work from the back of the pack after suffering a broken rear shock in the heat race. The Carrollton shoe found himself in a classic Senoia Raceway battle with Brand by the halfway point of the extended lap feature.
On lap 13, Dusty Jones stalled coming off turn four, but was lucky a caution came out for two other drivers involved in a spin out before going down a lap. Jones would drop to the infield pit area, find the problem and get back into the restart line-up at the tail of the field.
The restart saw Duke in the top spot, Brand running second, Moran third followed by Newnan’s Jay Conner and Rusty ‘Rocketman’ Johnson. As the green flag flew to restart the race, Moran shot down low and passed Brand positioning himself to make a charge to catch Duke. Moran would catch up to Duke and kept trying to get to the inside along the concrete retaining wall, but Duke would slide back to the front every time.
On lap 18, Duke wobbled a bit rolling through the rough part of turn three and his mount slid to the high side. This mistake allowed for Moran and a hard charging Dusty Jones to move past. Jones tried to chase down Moran, but ran out of time. Moran would claim the Summer Sizzler 30 victory pocketing the five hundred dollar bills while Jones would settle for second and a disappointed Duke third. Gary Brand and Senoia’s Winford Minix would round out the first five finishers.
“Blant had me covered tonight,” said Moran afterwards. “Had he not gotten into trouble over there, I don’t think I would have caught him tonight.”
Rough driving was more of an issue in the Newnan Bonding B Cadet feature race than the rough track. Greenville’s Thomas Mewborn nabbed the pole position with an early round qualifying heat race win. Mewborn was looking to win his first of the season after coming home second on seven race nights and being disqualified from an apparent win a month earlier. It would take three attempts to start the main event, but when the race did finally go green Mewborn would be the race’s first leader.
Newnan’s Scott Duffey made his return to Senoia Raceway Saturday night. The former late model competitor was hurt in a work related accident last fall and had been out of racing recovering. Saturday night Jason Williams invited Duffey to pilot his B Cadet entry as his father Buck Williams was unavailable.
Duffey moved to second behind Williams after passing Grantville’s Blake Griffin during the early laps of the 20-lap feature. Griffin was also making a return to Senoia Raceway after blowing an engine during the opening month 2012.
On lap 17, Duffey shot down low in turn three, bounced and jostles his ride into the low groove side by side with Mewborn and then shot past into the lead down the front stretch. Mewborn faded one more spot one lap later as Griffin moved past. Griffin would not have enough time to give any challenge to Duffey having to settle for second. Mewborn ended up third ahead of Lake Spivey’s Dow Kirkland and Newnan’s Johnny Stinchcomb.
“I have to thank everyone who helped me get to this point again,” said an emotional Duffey. “My wife, family, Jason, everyone. Thank you.”
Newnan’s Bobby Arnold and Brandon Bright along with Barnesville’s Gary Parker put on a great Mini Stock racing show. The fans enjoyed a three car tussle that at many times saw the three cars only inches apart from each other. Bright was able to scoot past Arnold on lap eight while Parker developed problems and dropped to the pit area on the ninth lap. That was all that Bright would need as he won his fifth of the season ahead of Arnold and a patient Joe Spencer of Newnan. Spencer started scratch on the field and patiently worked his way to a top three finish. Thomaston’s Michael Crawford and Douglasville’s Rocky Johnson completed the top five.
Senoia Raceway will crank back up this Saturday night with one of the fan’s most favorite promotional events taking place. Kids Rides in the Race Cars will be offered to kids of all ages prior to the racing action on Saturday, June 30. Parents are invited to bring their children to the speedway where they can hop on board with their favorite Senoia Raceway driver and go for a controlled ride around the high banks of the 3/8ths mile clay track.
“The kids love the rides in the race cars,” said Amey Moses, wife of promoter Tim Moses and mother of three. “The smiles you see are worth more than anything. It is a special event for our young race fans and their parents.”
The kids can ride along with drivers who compete in the Jodeco Auto Sales Late Models, Newnan Bonding B Cadets, Summit Racing Equipment Hobby Stocks, Mini Stocks and Bombers. Then they can cheer those drivers on to victory.
“The kids are the ones who helped me win my feature,” said Newnan Bonding B Cadet driver Dow Kirkland after winning his feature at the last Kids Rides event. “They inspired me to do better.”
This Saturday, 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 continues to offer very affordable ticket prices. Grandstand admission is only $12 for adults, $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, June 23, 2012
Jodeco Auto Sales Late Models
Feature: 1-Tod Darda, LaGrange 2-Jason Williams, Locust Grove 3-Glenn Morris, Fayetteville 4-Troy Tyson, Fayetteville 5-Shane Fulcher, Thomaston 6-Randy Hester, Coulmbus 7-Craig Scott, Newnan 8-Randy Brown, Jr., Locust Grove Fast Qualifier: Williams (14.924 seconds)
Newnan Bonding B Cadets
Feature: 1-Scott Duffey, Newnan 2-Blake Griffin, Grantville 3-Thomas Mewborn, Greenville 4-Dow Kirkland, Lake Spivey 5-Johnny Stinchcomb, Newnan 6-Jeff Carter, Stockbridge 7-Josh Beck, Fayetteville 8-Marcus Caswell, Newnan 9-Ricky Payton, Newnan 10-Michael Stover, Gay DNS: Austin Horton, Grantville; Jayce Southwell, Brooks Heat winners: Mewborn and Carter.
Summit Racing Equipment Hobby Stocks
Feature: 1-Clifton Moran, Carrollton 2-Dusty Jones, LaGrange 3-Blant Duke, Whitesburg 4-Gary Brand, Franklin 5-Winford Minix, Senoia 6-Warren Mobley, Griffin 7-Bill Brown, Jackson 8-Jay Conner, Newnan 9-David Johnson, Griffin 10-Zak Sockwell, Newnan 11-John Landrum, Fayetteville 12-Rusty Johnson, Newnan 13-Sam Carter, Covington 14-Bobby Slawson, Monticello 15-Chad Foster, Griffin DNS: Brandon Jones, Newnan Heat Winners: Brand and Duke.
Feature: 1-Brandon Bright, Newnan 2-Bobby Arnold, Newnan 3-Joe Spencer, Newnan 4-Michael Crawford, Thomaston 5-Rocky Johnson, Douglasville 6-Victor Parrish, Roopville 7-Gary Parker, Barnesville 8-Robbie Scadron, Sharpsburg 9-Tim Collier, Hogansville 10-Stephen Hill, LaGrange DNS: Dorough Bright, Newnan