Big T's

Big T's

Monday, May 9, 2016

Parker Wins For Mom On Mother's Day Weekend

Gary Parker
Photo Credit - Francis Hauke

Submitted by Ted Austad

(May 8, 2016 - Senoia, GA)  An emotional victory capped a night of action packed stock car racing at Senoia Raceway Saturday night.  Barnesville’s Gary Parker lost his mother earlier in the week and contemplated skipping out on a night at the track.  The former mini stock track champion opted to ‘race for mom’ and came home victorious on Mother’s Day eve.

“He said in the truck on the way to the track that he was going to win for mom,” said his wife Norma Jean afterwards.  “And he did win it!”

Joining Parker in victory lane were Senoia’s Clint ‘Cat Daddy’ Smith in the Super Late Models an Joey Armistead in the Limited Late Models.  Newnan’s Parrish Duncan topped a strong field of B Cadets while fellow Newnan driver Michael Nelms bested the Bombers.  Franklin’s Chris ‘Ironman’ Steele notched the victory in the Hobby Stock.

Parker had to work for his first win of the season.  He worked past another former champion Harold Leath of Hampton near the halfway mark and then used the high side of the race track to dispose of Lithia Springs Ronnie Teal.  The determined Parker would hold off Powder Springs’ Denver Stepp on a later race restart to secure his trip to the winner’s circle and honor his mother’s memory.  Stepp ended up second ahead of Teal.  Locust Grove’s Mike Younginer was fourth with Leath rounding out the first five.

Two streaks ended in the Hobby Stocks Saturday night.  Warner-Robins’ Randy Cornwell came into the evening on a four race win streak while Franklin’s Chris Steele entered with a year and half absence from victory lane.

Chris Steele
Photo Credit - Francis Hauke
Cornwell would lead out of the gate, but Steele was not far behind.  By lap 8, Steele had used the top side momentum on the bull ring to overtake Cornwell who preferred the low line around the 3/8ths mile track.  The two swapped the lead position until the halfway point of the feature when Cornwell came up limping with a flat tire.  Steele overtook the lead and the survived a last lap restart accident that caused officials to go back to the last completed lap which placed Steele in victory lane ending his winless streak.

In post race tech, Steele and second place finisher Tyler Brown of Monroe fell under protest.  Both cars were found to be legal and retained their position, points and cash payout.

Clint Smith
Photo Credit - Francis Hauke
Surprisingly, another driver who has plenty of wins at the 3/8ths mile gumbo clay speed plant had been kept away from winner’s circle this season.  The defending points champion in the Super Late Models, Clint ‘Cat Daddy’ Smith had been winless thus far in the Super Late Model division.  That changed on Saturday night.

Smith dominated the 25-lap main event as he led every lap and scored the victory by nearly a straightaway length lead over Senoia 15-year-old Ashton Winger.  Whitesburg’s Austin Horton celebrated his 21st birthday with a third place finish after working past Douglasville’s eighteen year old wheelman Mason Massey.  Veteran Joe Armistead, Jr. completed the first five finishers.
Joey Armistead
Photo Credit - Francis Hauke

Nineteen-year-old young gun Joey Armistead continues to be strong in his points title defense in the Limited Late Models.  The third generation driver qualified on the pole and then led every single lap en route to his third win of the season.  Clint Smith settled for second in his second race of the night followed by former two-time Limited Late Model champion Glenn Morris of Fayetteville.  Greenville’s Thomas Mewborn was the race’s hard charger finishing in fourth ahead of Carrollton’s Aubrey Merritt.

Mewborn had trouble in qualifying as his ride slid high in turn three and slapped the outside concrete wall.  Mewborn had to change several front suspension parts and then started scratch on the field.  The former B Cadet champion at Senoia Raceway calmly worked his way through the field to post his best finish thus far in 2016.
Parish Duncan
Photo Credit - Francis Hauke

Parrish Duncan also is defending his championship run from last year by winning races.  Duncan stayed in front of the field the entire way claiming his second win in a row for the B Cadet division.  He waited out several cautions before holding off the race mover Marc Gooden of Lafayette, AL.  Gooden had battled with Whitesburg’s Blant Duke, Newnan’s Bobby ‘Wild Child’ Arnold and Locust Grove’s Billy ‘The Kid’ Stevenson for several laps before settling into the runner-up position.  Duke came home in third ahead of McDonough’s Ted Minnix and Sharpsburg’s Dennis Lykins, Jr.
Michael Nelms
Photo Credit - Francis Hauke

Michael Nelms stayed away from the wild carnage in the Bomber division race to win his first race this season.  The former Bomber champion held off several attempts to pass by Conyers Tim Harmon before the final green, white, checkered finish.  Zebulon’s Jim Jackson was third ahead of Alabama’s Herbie Donath and fifteen-year-old lady racer Carly Arnett.  Donath and Arnett locked horns near the midway part of the race with Donath’s car launched high into the air on the front stretch.

Numerous cautions throughout the night caused the program to run later than normal.  The result was Senoia Raceway running up against it’s curfew and not being able to start the 19-car Crate Late Model feature.  The race will be made up this coming Saturday with the Crate Late Models scheduled to run a pair of features with the second event paying $1000 to the winner.  It will be part of the 2nd Annual Billy Clanton Classic weekend.

The Southern All-Stars Dirt Late Model Tour returns to Senoia Raceway for the first time in three decades this upcoming weekend.  The nation’s oldest dirt late model tour will headline the 2nd Annual Billy Clanton Memorial race on Saturday, May 14th.  The Super Late Model race will pay $5025 to win and $400 to start.  Defending race champion, Shane Clanton will return to try and claim a second straight victory in the race that honors his legendary father.  Clanton won the Craftsman Tool World of Outlaws Dirt Late Model Series race in Kentucky this past Friday night.

Also on the race schedule this weekend is the Limited Late Models ($1200 to win); Crate Late Models ($750 to win & $1000 to win races); B Cadets ($700 to win); Hobby Stocks ($600 to win); Bombers and Mini Stocks ($500 to win each).

The track will also host several characters from the Walking Dead television series.  The popular program is produced in nearby Senoia.  Characters will be available for photos and autographs throughout the night.

The pit gate will open this Saturday, May 14th at 3pm while the grandstands open at 5pm.  Hot laps will begin at 6:30pm with racing at 7pm.  Grandstand tickets are $25; ages 5-12 are $10 with four & under admitted for free.  Pit passes and trackside parking tickets are $35; ages 5-12 are $20 and four & under are admitted for free.

There will be an open practice on Friday, May 13th from 7pm until 10pm.  All divisions are invited to practice.  Pit passes are $20 an grandstand admission is free on Friday.

For additional information, schedules, rules and more, visit the Senoia Raceway website at  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.

Official results from Saturday, May 7, 2016
Super Late Models (Feature):  1-Clint Smith, Senoia  2-Ashton Winger, Senoia  3-Austin Horton, Whitesburg  4-Mason Massey, Douglasville  5-Joe Armistead, Jr., Senoia  6-Matt Dooley, Brooks  7-Brian Reese, Sharpsburg  8-Laddie Fulcher, Thomaston  9-Jason Williams, Locust Grove  10-Zach Leonhardi, Cartersville  11-Ricky Williams, Fayetteville  12-Scott Groves, Canton  13-Shane Fulcher, Thomaston  14-Russell Brown, Jr., Valdosta  DNS: Dana Eiland, Phenix City, AL  Fast Qualifier: Smith (16.452/82.0 mph)
Limited Late Models (Feature):  1-Joey Armistead, Senoia  2-Clint Smith, Senoia  3-Glenn Morris, Fayetteville  4-Thomas Mewborn, Greenville  5-Aubrey Merritt, Carrollton  6-Bailey Williams, Fayetteville  7-Brandon Bright, Newnan  8-Jayce Southwell, Brooks  9-Cameron Heath, Weaver, AL  10-Clint Thompson, Newnan  11-Hunter Worley, Alvaton  12-Jason Williams, Locust Grove  Fast Qualifier: Armistead (16.741 seconds/80.6 mph)
Crate Late Models (Feature):  Curfew – will be made up on Saturday, May 14th
B Cadet (Feature):  1-Parrish Duncan, Newnan  2-Marc Gooden, Lafayette, AL  3-Blant Duke, Whitesburg  4-Ted Minnix, McDonough  5-Dennis Lykins, Jr., Sharpsburg  6-Clyde Alexander, Locust Grove  7-Corey Hillman, Douglasville  8-Josh Copeland, McDonough  9-Wesley Robertson  10-Billy Stevenson, Locust Grove  11-Josh Ellington, McDonough  12-Bennie Croy, McDonough  13-Bobby Arnold, Newnan  14-Scott Gaddy, Newnan  Heat Winners: Duncan & Arnold
Hobby Stock (Feature):  1-Chris Steele, Franklin  2-Tyler Brown, Monroe  3-Gary Brand, Hogasnville  4-Jonathan Archer, Griffin  5-Lee McElwaney, Newnan  6-Curtis Turner, Brooks  7-Chad Foster, Griffin  8-Mike Hillman, Douglasville  9-Steven Parker, Temple  10-Randy Cornwell, Warner-Robins  11-Blant Duke, Whitesburg  Fast Qualifier: Turner (17.861/75.6 mph)
Mini Stock (Feature):  1-Gary Parker, Barnesville  2-Denver Stepp, Powder Springs  3-Ronnie Teal, Lithia Springs  4-Mike Younginer, Locust Grove  5-Harold Leath, Hampton  6-John Caldwell, Senoia  7-Jamie Nicholson, Jr., Locust Grove  8-Jamie Nicholson, Sr., Locust Grove  9-Chris Middleton, Stockbridge  10-Rocky Johnson, Douglasville  11-Joe Spencer, Newnan  12-Cassie Dingler-Still, Newnan  13-Thornton Whitley  DQ: David Brackett  Heat Winners: Leath & Teal
Bomber (Feature):  1-Michael Nelms,  Newnan  2-Tim Harmon, Conyers  3-Jim Jackson, Zebulon  4-Herbie Donath, Phenix City, AL  5-Carly Arnett, Lanett, AL  6-Ted Willingham, McDonough  7-Chris Arnett, Lanett, AL  8-Scott Armoson, Newnan  9-Darrin Parrott, Sharpsburg  10-Michael Couch, Senoia  11-George Purgason, Hogasnville  12-Tim McCoy, Manchester  13-Ricky Neill, Whitesburg  14-James Swanger, Whitesburg  DNS: Derrick Matthews, Whitesburg; Wilson Boozer, Jackson.  Heat Winners: Nelms & Donath.