|Photo Credit - Francis Hauke & Glen Starek|
Submitted by Ted Austad
(May 15, 2016 - Senoia, GA) Zebulon’s Shane Clanton made it two for two in the race honoring his late father. Clanton claimed the 2nd Annual Billy Clanton Classic Saturday night at Senoia Raceway after working past Southern All-Star Series points leader Riley Hickman from Cleveland, Tennessee, with ten to go. He used late race cautions to get close to Hickman before overtaking him and then pulling away.
“The cautions helped us tremendously. We had a good race car all night, but just messed up in qualifying,” said Clanton afterwards. “We just got a game plan together there to bide our time. The cautions fell at the right time…man what a race track. I’ve said it before: this is the best race track in the country now!”
Other drivers finding their way to victory lane at the special event were Clint Smith of Senoia in the Limited Late Models, Douglasville’s Chuck Page in the B Cadet, Conyers Tim Harmon in the Bombers, Mike ‘Bam Bam’ Younginer in the Mini Stock and Alabama’s Richie ‘Rocketman’ Stevens clean sweeping the twin main events for the Crate Late Models.
The main event of the night honored last year’s Georgia Racing Hall of Fame inductee Billy Clanton. The legendary competitor won many times at tracks across the southeast including Senoia Raceway’s bull ring. The race also marked the first time since 1986 that the Southern All-Stars Dirt Late Model Tour conducted an event at the ‘Bull Ring’.
Riley Hickman gained the edge over Douglasville’s Mason Massey on the drop of the green for the 50-lap feature. Hickman built a strong lead while drivers battled behing. The first contender to emerge from the pack was ‘Cat Daddy’ Clint Smith. The defending Super Late Model points champion at Senoia worked the top groove to near perfection finally snaring the lead on lap 14. The lead was short lived as Hickman reclaimed the top spot one lap later. Smith’s tires went away after that as he faded through the middle part of the race.
Kansas hot shoe Chase Junghans was the next driver to come from the pack. Junghans also used the top groove to reel in the leader Hickman. The World of Outlaws Series regular also made a snazzy move through lapped traffic while battling Illinois competitor Frank Heckenast, Jr. for position. A pair of cautions slowed Junghans progress and cooled his tires taking away some of the grip he was gaining on the high side of the track.
With about 15 to go, defending race winner Shane Clanton began to flex his muscle. Clanton worked the top side, but they would also slide down low trying to find the best groove to place his Super K Transport sponsored machine. Clanton got past Heckenast, Jr. and Junghans before putting the pressure on Hickman.
At lap 39, Clanton worked the upper groove off of turn two. Hickman slid up the track a bit in turn three trying to cut off some of the momentum Clanton had built. The veteran swapped lanes with the leader jumping down low across the stripe getting underneath Hickman entering the first turn. It was the move that would gain him the victory as he wrestled away the lead out of the second turn and then never looked back. Junghans was able to work past Hickman with two to go to gain second with Hickman hanging for the show position. Richie ‘Rocketman’ Stevens came from near the back of the pace with a crate engine to finish in fourth ahead of Heckenast, Jr.
Stevens pulled triple duty on Saturday night. The Alabama wheelman clean swept the features in the Crate Late Model division. After last weekend’s postponement of the Crate Late Model feature, Stevens was not sure he would be able to race this weekend in Georgia. Much to the dismay of his fellow competitors, he was able to work his schedule out led every lap of both main events. Dallas’ Mike Bruner was second in feature race number one while Winston’s Mark Page was the runner-up in the night cap.
A three first time Senoia Raceway winners highlighted the action in the Mini Stock, Bomber and B Cadet divisions. Mike ‘Bam Bam’ Younginer snuck past Hampton’s Harold Leath after he bobbled a little in the first turn. Younginer never was challenged on his way to career win number one in the Mini Stocks.
Tim Harmon went flag to flag in the Bomber feature to claim his first win at the ‘Bull Ring’. Harmon finished ahead of Senoia’s Michael Couch and Alabama teenage girl Carly Arnett.
In the B Cadet, Chuck Page held off all dust ups with Alabama’s Marc Gooden and McDonough’s Ted Minnix to visit victory lane for the first time this season. Minnix would end up second after Gooden was penalized for his crew going on the track during a caution. Sharpsburg’s Dennis Lykins, Jr. finished in third for another good showing while former points champion Roger Arnett of Lanett, Alabama was fourth and Whitesburg’s William Blair fifth.
Nobody had anything for Clint Smith in the Limited Late Model feature race. Smith driving for Matt Wilson in the Limited series this season pulled away from the field leaving Temple’s Chris Fennell to battle with Fayetteville’s Glenn Morris and Locust Grove’s ‘Racin’ Jason Williams. That is exactly how the drivers came across the finish line with Hamilton’s Thomas Lewis rounding out the top five.
The Hobby Stock feature fell victim to the curfew of midnight. Their feature race has been rescheduled for this Saturday, May 21st. They will run the make-up feature and their regularly planned race.
Also on the race schedule this weekend are the Super Late Models, Limited Late Models, Crate Late Models, B Cadets, Bombers and Mini Stocks.
The pit gate will open 4pm while the grandstands open at 5pm. Hot laps will begin at 6:30pm with racing at 7pm. Grandstand tickets are $12; ages 5-12 are $5 with four & under admitted for free. Pit passes and trackside parking tickets are $25; ages 5-12 are $20 and four & under are admitted for free.
For additional information, schedules, rules and more, visit the Senoia Raceway website at www.senoiaraceway.com. The track also offers an e-mail newsletter (sign-up on the website), Facebook page, twitter feed, instagram and snapchat for social media access to news and information. You can also contact the track directly at 770.599.6161.
Super Late Models (2nd Annual Billy Clanton Classic): 1-Shane Clanton, Zebulon 2-Chase Junghans, Manhatten, KS 3-Riley Hickman, Cleveland, TN 4-Richie Stevens, Smith Station, AL 5-Frank Heckenast, Jr., Frankfort, IL 6-Dylan Ames, Harvest, AL 7-Austin Smith, Cedartown 8-Jason Hiett, Oxford, AL 9-Clint Smith, Senoia 10-Ashton Winger, Senoia 11-TJReaid, Acworth 12-Mason Massey, Douglasville 13-Jim Rogers, Statesboro 14-Cody King, McDonough 15-Austin Horton, Whitesburg 16-Joe Armistead, Jr., Senoia 17-Brad Skinner, Spring Hill, TN 18-Joey Armistead, Senoia 19-Michael Page, Winston 20-Laddie Fulcher, Thomaston 21-Tod Darda, LaGrange 22-Lamar Haygood, Douglasville 23-Dusty Jones, LaGrange 24-Matt Dooley, Brooks DNQ: Scott Groves, Canton; Jody Knowles, Tyrone; Brian Reese, Sharpsburg; Zach Leonhardi, Cartersville; Ricky Williams, Fayetteville. Fast Qualifier: Hickman (16.137/83.6 mph)
Limited Late Models (Feature): 1-Clint Smith, Senoia 2-Chris Fennell, Temple 3-Glenn Morris, Fayetteville 4-Jason Williams, Locust Grove 5-Thomas Lewis, Hamilton 6-Brand Lewis, Hamilton 7-Gary Hardin, McDonough 8-Jayce Southwell, Brooks 9-Matt Larson, Marietta 10-Shane Criswell, Bowden 11-Bailey Williams, Fayetteville 12-Brantley Hardin, Griffin 13-Brandon Bright, Newnan Fast Qualifier: Smith (16.721 seconds/80.7 mph)
Crate Late Models (Feature #1 – makeup from 5.7.16): 1-Richie Stevens, Smith Station, AL 2-Mike Bruner, Dallas 3-Marty Lunsford, Newnan 4-Mark Page, Winston 5-Dow Kirkland, Lake Spivey 6-Taylor Mitcham, Lafayette, AL 7-Brian Reese, Sharpsburg 8-Corey Payton, Newnan 9-Zach Shelton, Temple 10-Kyle Cochran 11-Jamie Brown, Temple 12-Phillip Deal, Tyrone 13-Dorough Bright, Newnan 14-Jamie Maurice, McDonough DNS: Bubba Pollard, Senoia; Chris Carr, Newnan; Mike Combs, Odenville, AL; Jack Mills, Griffin; Bobby Mills, Griffin; Trey Wood, Newnan; Cord Dodgen, Lafayette, AL.
Crate Late Models (Feature #2): 1-Stevens 2-Page 3-Lunsford 4-Bruner 5-Shelton 6-Maurice 7-Payton 8-Reese 9-Brown 10-Mitcham 11-Cochran 12-Kirkland 13-Bright 14-Deal
B Cadet (Feature): 1-Chuck Page, Douglasville 2-Ted Minnix, McDonough 3-Dennis Lykins, Jr., Sharpsburg 4-Roger Arnett, Lanett, AL 5-William Blair, Whitesburg 6-Bobby Arnold, Newnan 7-Scott Gaddy, Newnan 8-Clyde Alexander, Locust Grove 9-Benny Croy, McDonough 10-Billy Stevenson, Locust Grove 11-Jamie Simmons, Tyrone 12-Johnny Stinchcomb, Newnan 13-Parrish Duncan, Newnan 14-Corey Hillman, Douglasville 15-Marc Gooden, Lafayette, AL
Hobby Stock (Feature): Rescheduled for May 21, 2016 (curfew)
Mini Stock (Feature): 1-Mike Younginer, Locust Grove 2-Denver Stepp, Powder Springs 3-Harold Leath, Hampton 4-John Caldwell, Senoia 5-Jamie Nicholson, Sr., Locust Grove 6-Tommy Faulkner, Newnan 7-Jamie Nicholson, Jr., Locust Grove 8-Keith West, Mableton 9-Chris Middleton, Stockbridge
Bomber (Feature): 1-Tim Harmon, Conyers 2-Michael Couch, Senoia 3-Carly Arnett, Lanett, AL 4-Tim McCoy, Manchester 5-Ted Willingham, McDonough 6-Jim Jackson, Zebulon 7-Michael Nelms, Newnan 8-Keith Koffman 9-Pappy Powell, Hogansville 10-Scott Amoson, Newnn 11-Chris Arnett, Lanett, AL