By ROB LEE
LAKE CITY, Fla. (May 7) – When Rhett Carter mashed down the accelerator pedal at the drop of the green flag he knew the road to the checkered flag would be more finesse than speed.
The Hoboken, Ga. driver found the right mixture and won the Southern Thunder Late Model Series event at North Florida Speedway Saturday evening.
Carter picked up $2,000 and led all 40 laps on the 3/8-mile clay oval.
“It definitely was a lot more than going fast tonight,” Carter said in Victory Lane. “I stuck to the bottom and made it work even around traffic.”
He wheeled the 44 Trucking/Wildcat Performance/Taylor Pools Wildcat-powered Rocket from the pole on the rubbered down racetrack and built as much as a straightaway advantage even after six caution periods.
Veteran Bo Allen stuck to his strategy to settle in second after falling back to fourth at one point.
“I really wanted to try the top,” Allen said. “You just couldn’t run up there in the marbles and some of the guys were trying to run too low. (Carter) was really good tonight.”
“You don’t come to North Florida Speedway without having to beat Bo Allen and we knew that,” Carter added after finishing off a Florida weekend sweep. He also won the night before in a non-sanctioned event at a different track.
“That’s what we set out to do. I can’t express how happy I am. Let’s go do it again tomorrow.”
After Allen came Travis Carter, Kyle Bridges and Dalton Cook. All but Allen are from Georgia. The next Florida top finisher was sixth place Larry Anderson.
Bridges looked as if he would have something for the winner early. He started sixth, but got good restarts after three early cautions and moved by Allen for second on Lap 9. However, he nearly was tangled up with lapped traffic on Lap 16 and fell back.
STLMS point leader Cole Exum left the race early with mechanical issues, finishing 12th.
Rhett Carter also was the Cobra Exterminating fast qualifier.
Robbie Smith shook off fuel pump problems earlier in the evening and dominated the Florida Outlaw Micro Sprint 20-lap feature.
The “Rocket” blasted to the top spot on the initial circuit and was never challenged before the checkered flag. Timing was perfect as the issue returned and stalled the car on the cool down lap.
Kenny Brewer, Russ Heider, Robby Hoffman and David Hall rounded out the top five.
Devin Walker used the outside to move by early leader Kenny Hicks and then held off his dad Heath Walker to win the Hobby Stock 15-lap finale.
Jerry Fortner, Hicks and Bryar Zimmerman were next.
Andy Olson won the 15-lap Thunder Stock feature after presumed winner Darrell Roberts was disqualified in post-race tech.
Willard Driggers, David Dowling, Kris Salyards and Trey Spradley followed.
The DQ topped off a rough night for Roberts. Coming to the checkered flag in the first heat side by side with Driggers they both turned toward the outside wall after contact. Driggers machine went nose first nearly over the wall under the flagstand, cradling on the wall and Roberts’ s stopped car.
The show was delayed for the removal of the racers and wall and catch fence repair.
Driggers jumped behind the wheel of Arthur Conquest’s car for the feature.
Seth Caudill, Jr. won his second Box Stock feature of the season, beating brothers Ryan and Randy Newman and Garrett Risner in the 8-lap ender.
Action returns to NFS this Saturday May 14 with Fan Appreciation Night. Free grandstand admission, prizes and fun for all ages are featured. Not to be forgotten are four classes of stock cars – Florida Outlaw EMods, Open Wheel Modifieds, Thunder Stocks and Box Stocks.
Gates open at 5pm with racing at 7pm.
For more information log on to northfloridaspeedway.com, the track’s Facebook page or call 386-754-8800.
Following are feature race results from racing Saturday May 7 at North Florida Speedway, Lake City, Fla.
Southern Thunder Late Model Series
Feature (30 laps) – 1. 44 Rhett Carter 2. 71 Bo Allen 3. 99 Travis Carter 4. 6 Kyle Bridges 5. 1D Dalton Cook 6. 03 Larry Anderson 7. 21 Jamie Dayhaw 8. 33B Lee Brinkley 9. 37 Allen Cribbs 10. 10x Dave Ponton 11. 4 Brandon Cameron 12. 01 Cole Exum 13. 1 Matt Perry 14. 22J Jimmy Dispennette.
Cobra Exterminating Qualifying – 1. R. Carter 18.45 2. Cook 18.57 3. Allen 18.70 4. Exum 18.87 5. T. Carter 19.37
Florida Outlaw Micro Sprint Series
Feature (20 laps) – 1. 77 Robbie Smith 2. 45 Kenny Brewer 3. 86 Russ Heider 4. 66 Robby Hoffman 5. 67 David Hall 6. 68 Dirk Miller 7. 13 John Kahl 8. 8 Eddie Moss 9. 24 Ken Penta 10. 23 Raelynn Moss 11. 38 Mike Brewer 12. 04 Paige Moss 13. 14K Kat Kudla.
Feature (15 laps) – 1. NINE Devin Walker 2. 55 Heath Walker 3. F16 Jerry Fortner 4. 15K Kenny Hicks 5. 98C Bryar Zimmerman
Feature (15 laps) – 1. 13 Andy Olson 2. 78 Willard Driggers 3. 66 David Dowling 4. 30 Kris Salyards 5. 15 Trey Spradley 6. 22I Trey Isgette 7. 58 Justin Wilson 8. 22K Nelda King 9. 26 Cliff Bellomy 10. 19 Brad Nixon 11. 17C Tami Clark 12. 98C Bryar Zimmerman (Disqualified – 1x Darrell Roberts)
Feature (10 laps) – 1. C2 Seth Caudill, Jr. 2. 22 Ryan Newman 3. 99 Randy Newman 4. 22JR Garrett Risner (Did Not Start – 71 James Deese, 7 Damion Brown