Montana Dudley brings home $4,000 in the Nesmith 604 race at Cochran
Video property of Nesmith and Bruce Carroll
News release from Nesmith Racing
Cochran, GA – Montana Dudley of Phenix City, Alabama swept the action at Cochran Motor Speedway in his Zaxby’s Rocket to pick up the $4,000 payday at the south Georgia oval promoted by Chris Martin and Jonie Martin. Dudley set quick time during qualifying time trials, was able to jump out to the lead on the initial start and led the feature for 60 laps. While that statistically sounds like a not so exciting event on paper, the action on track was
Dudley and the rest of the 20 drivers signed in for action were faced with uncertainty early in the program as the entire race night was in question as the first group of cars pulled onto the Georgia red clay surface when a light mist began to fall from an increasingly threatening sky. As the rest of the field of cars were dispatched to the speedway to help seal the track back in a heavier shower began to fall sending cars and drivers scurrying to the pit area for cover. Officials were watching the radar and seen that there were clearing skies just after the shower, so Cochran Motor Speedway sent their “packer fleet” out to get a start ironing the surface back in. With the help of the track crew and dedicated racers of the NeSmith Dirt Late Model Series things were quickly back on track.
Once hot laps and racing resumed disaster struck for current second place points driver Cory Hedgecock in the Eagle Racing Engines/Brucebilt Rocket of Loudon, TN as his car pulled off the track during his hot lap session. With time being of the essence with the rain delay, it appeared that Hedgecock would miss qualifying. A good will move by fellow Brucebilt/Rocket shoe Forrest Trent offered up his Service 101 ride to allow Hedgecock to remain in the hunt for the NeSmith Dirt Late Model Series National Championship.
Time trials were then contested as 19 of the 20 entrants took to the track in search of the coveted pole position. When the dust settled it was Phenix City, Alabama driver “Big Sky” Montana Dudley setting fast time, placing him at the helm to lead the field to green for the 60-lap, $4,000 to win feature event. With the rain delay pushing times back later into the night, track and series officials made the decision to scrap B-Mains or Hot Laps and lined the main event up after qualifying according to their qualifying position.
Dudley led the field to green with fellow front row starter Josh Bishop in what was a furious battle with racing side-by-side all through the field. The furious racing was slowed for the first of six caution periods when Wil Herrington had parts failures on his #14 machine exiting turn 4 on lap 8. Michael Blount was caught up as the slowing Herrington came off turn 4 before coming to rest at the bottom of the race track. Blount would continue as the home town driver Herrington’s night would prematurely end. The yellow flag would wave again at lap 10 for Alexander City’s Jason Britton who went for a solo spin in turn 3 on lap 10.
The restart on lap 10 put Chase Edge of LaFayette, AL and Jimmy Thomas right on the back bumper for Dudley for the dixie style double-file restart. Edge and Thomas were able to keep Dudley at arm’s reach as the leader began to experience lapped traffic. Thomas, Edge, and Dudley were in a dog fight for the top spot when Chase Edge made a move to challenge Dudley for the lead on lap 19. Edge was forced to change his line to get around the lapped car of Britton when disaster struck and he spun the Edge’s Gas Company special exiting turn 2. Britton and Edge made contact inflicting heavy damage to both cars and sending them pitside to the attention of their respective crews. Edge would return before the damage would force him to retire later in the race. On the lap 19 restart a major “shuffling” of cars toward the front of the field heading into turn 1 caused Riley Hickman of Ooltewah, TN to go for a spin which collected defending series champion Ronnie Johnson of Chattanooga, TN. Both cars were heavily damaged in the incident, but both were able to rejoin the field before Johnson would retire on lap 24.
The action was slowed again on lap 37 for a solo spin by the young man Payton Freeman who was impressive in his first outing with the series after qualifying 5th during time trials and contending amongst the top 10 all night. The final caution period would come on lap 43 as current points leader Scott Dedwylder pulled up lame while running in the second position and gaining ground on Dudley with rear-end issues in his Scott’s Body Shop and Towing special.
While Dudley remained out front, Jimmy Thomas threw everything he had at his Five Star Hyundai special to unseat the race long leader, but Dudley would prove that he was deserving as he held the hard charging Thomas off as he went under the checkered flag to roars from the crowd which seemed to be partial to the Phenix City driver who makes several appearances at Cochran.
The next events for the NeSmith Dirt Late Model series will be the annual “Salute to America Nationals” which will take place over the July 4th holiday weekend. It will all kick off at Talladega Short Track in Eastaboga, AL on Friday July 1st before moving to Penton Raceway Saturday July 2nd, East Alabama Motor Speedway Sunday July 3rd, and Flomaton Speedway Monday July 4th.
For more information about the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series, visit the series website at www.nesmithracing.com. You can also follow the series by Liking the Facebook page at NeSmith Racing; following on Twitter @NeSmithRacing; and Instagram @nesmithracing.
|18||14 JR||Victor Turner|
he track proved otherwise