Getting back into the swing of things with the fantastic local South Carolina racing, this past weekend has set our minds back in the racing mode. TR Speedway held such a great event with the O’Reilly SAS East Super Late Models that fans and drivers came from all over the South to participate or show their support.
Saturday practice and heats went off without a hitch. Young Guns, Pure Stock, Stock 4, Renegade and Stock 8 all had their qualifying Saturday afternoon under the sun at TR Speedway making it a little easier to run the full program Sunday by getting some of it out of the way a day a head of time. As most people know, TR is faced with time limits and noise ordinance situations when it comes to Sunday racing which made this huge event a 2 day show.
After getting a heads up early Sunday morning that people were already rolling in at 9:30 am, we headed out to the track to get in line early and thank goodness we did. People were packed in every available spot that you could see. Those stands have not seen that kind of crowd since last year at the Nationals. It was a sight you have to see in person. The warm, sunny Spring day brought out the fans (Young and old) and some nation wide drivers in droves.
As the racing began, Young Guns started the race off with a blast. Mack Norris lead the first several laps until problems of some kind caused him to take a turn to the pits coming back in last place allowing Chris Goodman the chance to take the lead. As the race went on Chris Patterson and Austin Aker tried to take the lead but was unable to get just where they needed to be. Morgan Gentry was the show for Young Guns. Mack Norris kept moving his way back up the field only to be stopped by the lady of the day who blocked his advancement allowing Chris Goodman to bring home the win. Each of these young men and women should get a hand for their driving in today’s race. Good job done by all.
Renagade always puts on a good show for the fans and Sunday was no exception. A few impact situations and a couple of cars stuck together right past the flag stand made for a sad driver or two. The show down race was on for Morris, Dwight and Ayers upfront through out with the f15 Morris bringing it in for the win. This class showed a good car count even with several local drivers not able to actually make it this time around. The upcoming season should be a good one with some new and old faces who look to be doing a great job at wheeling those cars around the track.
The ever infamous battle of Stock 4 was toned down today without some of the stunts we have seen before by a few of these drivers. Playing it safe and some what clean, this huge field of cars took the green flag head on from the start. Positions were swapped left and right, all while Donnie Atkins and Russell Shirley battled for 1st place all the way up till the last lap when something happened and they both lost it colliding in to each other between turns 3 and 4 allowing Joey Kelly to win the whole thing.
Timmy Smith, Wildman, Rodger Gilliam and David Ayers took Stock 8 to a whole new level this week. Timmy Smith lead each lap from the start with all the others hot on his heels battling for 2nd and 3rd. Timmy Smith has always been my first choice with Wildman and Gilliam coming in as my second but this week starting off the 2009 season the 27a David Ayers is a driver to watch. Each of the Stock 8 drivers did a wonderful job but keeping up with Timmy may fair to be a challenge this year.
What can be said about the Pure Stock class. My favorite driver Allen Wilson was unable to make it but the field was packed with cars non the less. This division makes for a unique show with veterans and new drivers just getting in the swing of racing. James Abernathy battled and took the checkered flag winning the race even with all the great drivers on the field.
Once the big boys came out to play, the crowd was ready for a show. The Late Models were out in full force with so many cars that I lost count at 28. (My favorite driver Zack Mitchell (Kid Quick) was unable to race due to some transmission problems after qualifying to start 5th. Oh well maybe next week we will see him in the Limited Late Model race at TR.) As always during a day race, the track had some problems with dust flying making it hard for anyone to see anything. After a lap of the water truck, the race was back on with a few cautions flying here and there for some minor bump ups only to start back with everyone battling for position. Davenport, Blackwell and Bailes battling for 1st, the last lap was seen on your feet with Bailes bringing home the checkered flag. These guys only seem to get better and better each season. 2009 will no doubt be the best one yet.
Once the final race of the day was ready to start, the dust had settled and track conditions improved for the O’Reilly SAS Super Late Model series. This class has some of the best drivers I have ever seen all in one place and one coming from as far away as Florida and West Virginia. From the drop of the green flag to the wave of the checkered was non stop flying action with Dennis Franklin bringing in the win at Travelers Rest Speedway 2009 season opener.
Look out next week when the Limited Late Models will be in the house for the first night race of the season. Stay tuned for more information in the next few days.
Top 3 finishes in each class for March 22, 2009 are:
Young Guns – 1st) Chris Goodman #92x, 2nd) Chris Patterson #P8, 3rd) Austin Aker #07
Renegade – 1st) Dustin Morris #f15, 2nd) Dwight Smith #8, 3rd) David Ayers #27a
Stock 4 – 1st) Joey Kelly #88, 2nd) Benji Griffin #13, 3rd) Darrell Gilbert #ct5
Pure Stock – 1st) James Abernathy #15, 2nd) Josh Ayers #27, 3rd) Chris Harvell #21
Stock 8 – 1st) Timmy Smith #6, 2nd) Rodger Gilliam #28, 3rd) David Ayers #27a
Late Models – 1st) Ross Bailes #87, 2nd) Johnathan Davenport #49, 3rd) Travis Blackwell #999
SAS East – 1st) Dennis Franklin #2, 2nd) Johnathan Davenport #6, 3rd) Randy Weaver #116