Photo credits: Francis Hauke
(Senoia, GA – May 7, 2017) The ‘Whitesburg Warrior’ Blant Duke wrestled away the lead from pole sitter Richard Goode on the second lap of the May Day Special for the Late Model Sportsman division at Senoia Raceway on Saturday night and then kept everybody behind him the remainder of the way. The veteran competitor notched his eighteenth career victory at the Bull Ring in the division while pocketing the top pay of $1000.
Senoia’s Clint ‘Cat Daddy’ Smith was the victor for the second straight weekend in the Super Late Model division while ‘Magic’ Matt Dooley of Brooks topped the Limited Late Models. Cochran’s Will Herrington made his first trip to Senoia Raceway this season successful by winning the Crate Late Model main and Ted Willingham of McDonough also made his debut in the winner’s circle after besting the field of Hobby Stocks. Hampton’s Mark Newton, Whitesburg’s Derrick Matthews and Waco’s Shane Davis also top home checkered flags on Saturday evening.
With the spotlight on the Late Model Sportsman, Blant Duke battled with Goode for the first couple of circuits before using the top side momentum to move to the lead. Duke moved out to a several car length lead while Goode settled in behind. Whitesburg’s William Blair charged up to third after a hard fought race with Brooks’ Curtis Tuner. Griffin’s Keith Fields and Clyde Alexander also raced side by side for several laps fighting for fifth place.
On a lap nine restsart, Alexander snuck down low to steal away three positions and become the closest man to Duke. But the young gun could not reel in the determined leader. Duke crusied to the big win with Alexander coming home second. William Blair finished third ahead of Turner and Goode.
‘Cat Daddy’ doubled up his win total after leading flag to flag in the Super Late Model contest. Smith worked past pole sitter and fast qualifier Zach Leonhardi of Cartersville at the drop of the green. Then held off a strong campaign by Stapleton’s Travis Pennington to capture the victory. Pennington making his first appearance at Senoia Raceway finished in second ahead of Leonhardi. LaGrange’s Tod Darda had another good showing finishing in fourth and Douglasville’s ‘Racin’ Mason Massey made a late race pass of current point’s leader Glenn Morris of Fayetteville to snare a top five finish.
Corey Payton of Newnan jumped into the Bowen Motorsports Limited Late Model ride two weeks ago and has done better than any hired gun this season. Payton qualified for the pole on Saturday night edging out Limited Late Model point leader ‘Magic’ Matt Dooley in time trials.
Dooley has proven his mount runs it’s best on the top side of the 3/8ths mile speedway and he took advantage of his outside front row spot. Dooley and Payton ran side by side for several laps with each edging in front for a moment or two before sliding back giving each an opportunity to lead. Dooley finally was able to garner enough steam on the third lap off of turn two sliding in front of Payton and becoming the final leader. Payton would chase, but not catch his fellow young gun and came across the finish line in second. LaGrange’s Dennis Hale was third ahead of former divisional champions Joey Armistead of Senoia and Jason Williams of Locust Grove.
Wil Herrington was able to take advantage of an early race miscue by Crate Late Model fast qualifier Dow Kirkland of Lake Spivey. Kirkland bobbled in turn two and then had his hands full again in the next turn allowing Herrington the clean pathway to the lead. Newnan’s Marty Lunsford moved up quickly along with Tyrone’s Jody Knowles and Atlanta’s Kyle Cochran.
Herrington stayed out front while Knowles used a couple of restarts to move into second with Cochran settling into third. That is how the top three finished the 20-lap main for the Crate Late Models.
The absence of Crate Late Model point leader Ashton Winger scrambled the standings after Saturday night. Sharpsburg’s Dennis Lykins, Jr. was involved in a first lap crash that sent him to the pits, but did not push him far enough back to not inherit the points lead. On the strength of a top five finish, defending points champion Marty Lunsford of Newnan has closed to within striking distance while Alabama’s ‘Thrillin’ Dylan Knowles is only a few points behind Lunsford. The top six drivers are separated by less than 20 points heading into next Saturday’s Mother’s Day weekend race.
Whitesburg’s HB Duke and Villa Rica’s ‘Smokin’ Joe Hillman were in a dog fight for the victory in the Hobby Stock division. Duke held the low side daring Hillman to try the high side to get around. On the tenth lap, Hillman looked high and then darted low to try an scoot past. He slid up the track and hooked Duke in turn three as the duo pushed towards the wall in turn four. That opened the door for Ted Willingham as he shot past and into the lead. Duke would end up spun on the front stretch and be relegated to the tail for a late race restart.
Willingham held back all the challenges by Hillman to record his first career win at Senoia Raceway. Hillman finished in second while Duke charged back through the field to nab a podium finish in third place. Stockbridge’s Josh Pitt finished in fourth while newcomer Cody Gibbons rounded out the top five.
‘Kid Quick’ Derrick Matthews returned to the Senoia Raceway winner’s circle for the third time this season as he held back all pursuit by the ‘Godfather’ Dorough Bright of Newnan. Matthews had stolen the top spot from fourteen-year-old birthday girl McKenna Nelms of Newnan on the third lap.
Racing will return to Senoia Raceway this Saturday, May 13th with a full line-up of racing in the Super Late Models, Limited Late Models, Crate Late Models, Late Models Sportsman, Hobby Stock, Bomber, Mini Stocks and Hot Shots.
The pit gates open at 4pm with the grandstand gates opening at 5pm. Hot laps will begin at 6:30pm and racing will follow immediately.
Grandstand tickets are $12; kids 5-12 are $5; four and under are free. Pit passes and trackside parking passes are $30; kids 5-12 are $20; four and under are free.
Senoia Raceway is located just five miles west of Senoia, GA, on Georgia Highway 16. Easy access from both Interstate 75 and 85.
For additional information, visit the track website at www.senoiaraceway.com or call the speedway at 770.599.6161.
Official Results for Saturday, May 6, 2017
Super Late Models (Feature): 1-Clint Smith, Senoia 2-Travis Pennington, Stapleton 3-Zach Leonhardi, Cartersville 4-Tod Darda, LaGrange 5-Mason Massey, Douglasville 6-Glenn Morris, Fayetteveille 7-Laddie Fulcher, Thomaston 8-Shane Fulcher, Thomaston 9-Ty King, McDonough 10-Ricky Williams, Fayetteville 11-Jim Manka, Savannah 12-Scott Groves, Canton Fast Qualifier: Leonhardi (15.426 – 87.5 mph)
Limited Late Models (Feature): 1-Matt Dooley, Brooks 2-Corey Payton, Newnan 3-Dennis Hale, LaGrange 4-Joey Armistead, Senoia 5-Jason Williams, Locust Grove 6-Dusty Jones, LaGrange 7-Bailey Williams, Fayetteville 8-Oliver Gentry, Newnan 9-John Anderson, Monroe 10-Chris Woods, Staham, SC 11-Jimmy Price, Oxford 12-Thomas Mewborn, Greenville 13-Brant Hardin, McDonough 14-Shawn Cater, Roopville 15-Randall Powell, Oxford 16-Aubrey Merritt, Carrollton DNS: Donnie Whatley Fast Qualifier: Payton (15.524 – 87.0 mph)
Crate Late Models (Feature): 1-Will Herrington, McDonough 2-Jody Knowles, Tyrone 3-Kyle Cochran, Atlanta 4-Dylan Knowles, Lanett, AL 5-Marty Lunsford, Newnan 6-Craig Scott, Newnan 7-Josh Copeland, McDonough 8-Dow Kirkland, Lake Spivey 9-Jamie Maurice, McDonough 10-Chris Justus, McDonough 11-Chase Baker, LaGrange 12-Colby Darda, LaGrange 13-Tina Johnson, Senoia 14-Trey White, Jenkinsburg 15-Dennis Lykins, Jr., Sharpsburg 16-Mike Abercrombie, Jackson 17-Jayce Southwell, Brooks 18-Jamie Brown, Maysville Fast Qualifier: Kirkland (15.466 – 87.3 mph)
Late Model Sportsman (Feature): 1-Blant Duke, Whitesburg 2-Clyde Alexander, Locust Grove 3-William Blair, Whitesburg 4-Curtis Turner, Brooks 5-Richard Goode, Hampton 6-Taylor Cole, Cartersville 7-Keith Fields, Griffin 8-Marc Gooden, Lafayette, AL 9-Travis Price, Conyers 10-Jake Traylor, LaGrange 11-Jeff Robinson, McDonough 12-Jamie Nicholson, Jr., Locust Grove 13-Lee Fuller, Newnan 14-Dustin Newell, Gray 15-Brandon Huffman, Newnan 16-Brandon Bright, Newnan 17-Kayla Boswell, Winston 18-Joe Armistead, Jr., Senoia 19-Billy Stevenson, Locust Grove 20-Preston Stevenson, Locust Grove DNS: Bobby Arnold, Newnan; Chris Steele, Franklin Fast Qualifiers: Armistead (Group 1); Arnold (Group 2); Cole (Group 3) Heat Winners: Goode; Duke; Blair
Hobby Stock (Feature): 1-Ted Willingham, McDonough 2-Joe Hillman, Villa Rica 3-HB Duke, Whitesburg 4-Josh Pitt, Stockbridge 5-Cody Gibbons 6-Larry Bednar, Griffin 7-Brian Jones, Cochran 8-John Holcomb, Griffin 9-Chris Kozusnik 10-Griffin Alexander, Locust Grove 11-Michael Couch, Senoia
Mini Stock (Feature): 1-Mark Newton, Hampton 2-Marc Leath, Griffin 3-Jamie Nicholson, Sr., Locust Grove 4-David Brackett, Douglasville 5-Tommy Faulkner, Newnan 6-Rocky Johnson, Douglasville 7-Bobby Faulkner, Newnan DNS: Ronnie Teal, Lithia Springs
Bomber (Feature): 1-Derrick Matthews, Whitesburg 2-Dorough Bright, Newnan 3-Jr Hardy 4-Charlie Garrett, West Point 5-Carly Arnett, Lanett, AL 6-Chris Pittman, Cochran 7-Jonathan Hemmings, Newnan 8-McKenna Nelms, Newnan 9-Dunie Dillard, Phenix City, AL 10-Russell Teal, Ranburne, AL 11-Ricky Neill, Whitesburg 12-Bruce Tidwell, Douglasville
Hot Shot (Feature): 1-Shave Davis, Waco 2-Mark Meyer, Ellijay 3-Kenny Mathis 4-Richard Powell 5-Jeff Peardon 6-Jerry Lee Sisson, Rockmart 7-Morgan Pittman, Grantville 8-Chris Woodall 9-Nathan Farrow, LaGrange 10-Tony Newman 11-Dave McWilliams, Fayetteville 12-Michael Fullmer, Canton 13-Buddy Edmundson