Michael Arnold in Greenville Speedway Victoy Lane.
(NeSmith Media photo)
(NeSmith Media photo)
Greenville, MS – Michael Arnold has seen great success in his racing endeavors over the last couple of seasons, and has already visited victory lane several times in 2016. He was the 2015 NeSmith Chevrolet Weekly Racing Series National Champion and is in contention for the 2016 Weekly Racing Championship as well. But one thing that has eluded the Hattiesburg, MS driver has been picking up one of the NeSmith Touring Series golden helmets that are awarded to the winners at national events. That quest has come to an end after Arnold picked up his first golden helmet trophy on Saturday night at Greenville Speedway in Greenville, MS on night 2 of the Rumble on the Gumbo.
Arnold almost didn’t stick around for night 2 in Greenville as he had decided to venture to a Weekly Racing Series event early in the afternoon. His hauler was seen leaving the pit area around 4 PM, but casual observers noticed that it had returned shortly after being seen leaving the track. “I was going to run a NeSmith Weekly Racing event tonight, but racing the Touring Series events are too much fun. So, I decided we would stick around and am glad we did”, Arnold said. Arnold was late getting to the track on Friday night after having hauler trouble and when asked in victory lane on Saturday night why he left and decided to come back he quipped “I was just test driving that truck to make sure it was fixed”.
The night would begin rough for a couple of competitors as Kenny Carpenter made contact with the outside wall during hot laps. The worst luck came for Jay Downs in the J1 car. Downs was collected in an accident on Friday night and worked feverishly all day in the heat Saturday to make necessary repairs to make it back for Saturday’s event. During his hot lap session, he would get into the turn 3 and 4 wall which ultimately led to his car landing on its roof in turn 4. His crew once again went to work and made repairs and his car came into the infield at the last second to line up for qualifying. Downs and crew definitely proved their dedication and will to race as he ran the rest of the night’s events.
Four drivers would be locked into the feature from qualifying time trials, and Chase Edge in his Edge’s Gas Company sponsored machine set fast time with a lap of 15.419 to start from the pole position. Two B-Mains were ran to determine the starting order for the rest of the field. The field assembled for the start of the feature with Edge, current points leader Cory Hedgecock to his outside, Michael Arnold third, and Marcus Minga in his B&M Auto Salvage Rocket making up the front two rows. Fireworks lit up the sky as the cars prepared to battle on the gumbo clay surface for 50 laps.
Edge led the field to green and jumped to an early led barely edging past Hedgecock on the initial start. Hedgecock and 5th starting Justin McRee went to work on each other battling for the second position. Edge was still in the sites of both Hedgecock and McRee as the battle started to tighten up for the lead. McRee had jumped to the top side of the track while Edge and Hedgecock had dedicated themselves to the bottom. McRee and Hedgecock battled door to door right on the back bumper of Chase Edge. McRee used his top side assault to get by Hedgecock, and then threaded through heavy traffic to get past Edge to take the lead on lap 14.
The field would begin to settle in with McRee setting a good pace out front working the middle to bottom of the track. Meanwhile Michael Arnold had begun to work an extremely high line around the speedway, using the outside berm and retaining wall to navigate and reel in the leader. The gumbo surface at Greenville began to slick off and widen out even further making for intense and exciting action all over the speedway. Arnold battled door-to-door with Hedgecock before being able to clear him, and then set his sights on McRee. Arnold had been using the extreme outside line but made a crossover move on lap 25 heading into turn 1. He pulled to the inside of McRee in turn 1, and the two made contact in the center of the corner with neither driver wanting to relinquish. Arnold would ultimately come out in front as he was the new race leader, and would remain there virtually unchallenged by the other competitors for the rest of the distance. Arnold’s biggest challenge the remainder of the race was threading the fine line between fast and disaster as he was using the unique layout of the dirt berm and outside wall of Greenville Speedway to turn blistering laps. Arnold would avoid disaster and roll on to the win.
The next event for the NeSmith Dirt Late Model Series will be Saturday night July 23rd at I-75 Raceway in Sweetwater, TN – 50 laps, $2,500 to win.
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.
Feature Finish from Round 12 at Greenville Speedway
Car # Driver Name Hometown
1 4 Michael Arnold Hattiesburg, MS
2 23 Cory Hedgecock Loudon, TN
3 25 Justin McRee Woodstock, AL
4 77 Greg Fore Greenville, MS
5 8 Mike Palasini Jr. Leland, MS
6 18 Chase Edge LaFayette, AL
7 19 Marcus Minga Shannon, MS
8 7p Peter Hazzard Greenville, MS
9 33 Scott Dedwylder Vossburg, MS
10 5 Ronnie Johnson Chattanooga, TN
11 21 Kody Barber Bogalusa, LA
12 73 Evan Ellis Plantersville, MS
13 121 Michael Blount Sumrall, MS
14 44 Peyton Wilkerson – Y Leland, MS
15 D8jr Christopher Showah Indianola, MS
16 J1 Jay Downs Leland, MS
17 38 Chase Washington Houlka, MS
18 70 Dewayne Estes Sturgis, MS
19 5F Clay Fisher Dewitt, AR
20 56jr Colton Horner – Y Katy, TX
21 46 Kenny Carpenter Cleveland, MS
22 15 Nathan Mayes Springdale, AR
23 15 Jason Britton – R Alexander City, AL
FAST QUALIFIER: Chase Edge – 15.419