Submitted by Ted Austad
Photo credits: Francis Hauke
(Senoia, GA – May 14, 2017) Senoia’s sixteen-year-old sensation, Ashton Winger, continues to win where ever he races these days. Winger has dominated in the Crate Late Model division at Senoia Raceway this season, but won at Rome Speedway last weekend before dropping a 358 Chevy into this #12 ride and then winning the Super Late Model main at Senoia on Saturday night. It was the first career Super Late Model victory for the young gun.
Other winners on Mother’s Day Eve were Locust Grove’s Jason Williams in the Limited Late Model, Sharpsburg’s Dennis Lykins, Jr. in the Crate Late Models and Bobby Arnold of Newnan in the Late Model Sportsman. Villa Rica’s Joe Hillman was victorious in the Hobby Stock while Hampton’s Mark Newton topped the Mini Stocks, Whitesburg’s Derick Matthews won the Bombers and Morgan Pittman of Grantville was first in the Hot Shots main event.
Winger set the Super Late Model fast time and then used it to pace the field for the entire 25 laps on Saturday night. The racing was a few car lengths behind him as Senoia’s two-time defending points champion, Clint ‘Cat Daddy’ Smith traded paint with Cartersville teenager Zach Leonhardi on a late race restart. The veteran move pushed Smith to second while Winston’s Michael Page and Stapleton’s Travis Pennington battled side by side for fourth and fifth.
Smith won the race for the runner-up spot behind Winger while Page and Pennington both slid past Leonhardi on the final circuit.
The race was a warm-up for the Saturday, May 20th Southern All-Star Tour stop and the Mike Head, Jr. Memorial paying $4,054 to the Super Late Model feature winner.
The competition was just a fierce in the Crate Late Model division, but featured the front runners for the entire duration of the 20-lap main event. Jenkinsburg’s Trey White used every bit of the track running the very top of the tight 3/8ths mile bull ring while his nearest competitor Jody Knowles of Tyrone hugged the interior wall. White ran so close to the wall that he would scrape the right rear quarter panel on occasion, but would keep his mount in front of Knowles.
On lap 9, the duo was joined by current Crate Late Model track point’s leader Dennis Lykins, Jr. The third man into the battle made the race for the lead three wide in each turn using a lower approach than Knowles who began to use the middle and upper groove trying to slide job White for the lead.
Knowles was able to wrestle away the lead from White just past the halfway mark, but Lykins would not let him getaway. After working past White as well, Lykins began to reel in Knowles. By lap eighteen, Lykins was right on Knowles before making it a side by side battle for the final lap and a half.
Coming through the final two turns, Lykins slid in front of Knowles, but Knowles would jump low for a drag race to the finish line. Lykins had too much steam winning the race by less than a fender gaining his first career win at Senoia Raceway and improving his point’s lead over Newnan’s Marty Lunsford who finished in third behind Knowles. Newnan’s Trey Wood and McDonough’s Jamie Maurice rounded out the top five while White faded over the final few laps to finish in seventh.
‘Magic’ Matt Dooley of Brooks and Newnan’s Corey Payton were the first to wage war in the Limited Late Model main as the Senoia Raceway ‘Bull Ring’ churned out great racing within all divisions. Payton qualified fastest for the second straight week, but could not hold back Dooley who has nearly mastered the top groove.
Former champion, Jason Williams, dropped Payton back one more spot on a lap five restart which placed Payton in a battle with another former champion Joey Armistead of Senoia. Unfortunatley, that ended with both drivers locked together near the turn one retaining wall after they came together on the front stretch racing for third place.
Williams worked past Dooley on lap 11 and then cruised to his second win of the season. Dooley would cross the finish line in second ahead of Alabama’s Tyler Thomason in third place. It was Thomason’s first appearance of the season at the slick surfaced Senoia Raceway. Newnan’s Chris Carr nabbed his best finish of the year in fourth while McDonough’s Brant Hardin rounded the top five.
‘Smokin’ Joe Hillman made his way past JR Hardy in the Hobby Stock division with only a couple laps remaining. Hillman and Hardy put on a show for several laps prior to the Villa Rica hot shoe taking over the lead position. Hillman ended up winning his division best fourth feature of the season ahead of Hardy, Whiteburg’s James Swanger and Blant Duke and Mableton’s Ryan Ray.
Grantville’s Blake Griffin returned to the Bull Ring on Saturday night, but did not have a challenge for Bobby ‘Wild Child’ Arnold in the Late Model Sportsman feature. Arnold won his second of the season while Griffin ran second. Brooks’ Curtis Turner was third ahead of Marietta’s Drew Larson and Keith Fields of Griffin.
Griffin’s Marc Leath tried to win any way he could in the Mini Stocks. After finishing second to Mark ‘Mad Dog’ Newton, Leath protested the winner and then the winner protested him as well. Both drivers’ race cars were found to be legal which left the original order the same. Newton winning, Leath in the runner-up spot and Carrollton’s Jamie Godbee third.
Derick Matthews raced past Newnan’s 14-year-old young lady, McKenna Nelms, to grab the Bomber’s top position. He then held off a late race charge by Nelms to win his fourth of the year. Last season’s point champion Tim Harmon of Conyers ran third with Newnan’s Dorough Bright fourth and Zebulon’s Jim Jackson fifth.
The final race of the night saw Morgan Pittman become the sixth different winner in the entry level, new racing division Hot Shots.
“The racing tonight was some of the best we have seen all season,” said promoter Mayes Massey. “Could not ask for a better program heading into a couple of the season’s most anticipated shows with the (Southern) All-Stars and (World of) Outlaws tours coming in.”
Next Saturday, May 13th, Senoia Raceway will welcome back the Southern All-Stars Super Late Model tour for the Mike Head, Jr. Memorial race. The special event should draw some of the best competitors from the region while honoring one of Senoia Raceway’s most regaled families. Mike Head, Sr., continue to be one of the most winning drivers in the track’s history and Mike Head, Jr. was working his way into his own legacy when he tragically lost his life over two decades ago. The Memorial race will celebrate the 20th Anniversary run with a new home, Senoia Raceway, this season after a 19-year run at Talladega Short Track.
“We are looking forward to the race being held at what really is our home track, Senoia Raceway, this year,” said Mike Head, Sr. “It will be closer to home for us and should be a great race on this new gumbo clay.”
The show will feature a full compliment of racing joining the All-Stars. The night also has racing with the Limited Late Models, Crate Late Models, Late Models Sportsman, Hobby Stock, Bomber, Mini Stocks and Hot Shots.
The pit gates open at 4pm (maybe a little earlier to assist the travelling teams) with the grandstand gates opening at 5pm. Hot laps will begin at 6:30pm and racing will follow immediately.
Grandstand tickets are $20; kids 5-12 are $10; four and under are free. Pit passes and trackside parking passes are $35; 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 13, 2017
Super Late Models (Feature): 1-Ashton Winger, Senoia 2-Clint Smith, Senoia 3-Michael Page, Winston 4-Travis Pennington, Stapleton 5-Zach Leonhardi, Cartersville 6-Tod Darda, LaGrange 7-Glenn Morris, Fayetteville 8-Mark Page, Douglasville 9-Mason Massey, Douglasville 10-Lamar Haygood, Douglasville 11-Ricky Williams, Fayetteville 12-Laddie Fulcher, Thomaston 13-Kyler Haygood, Douglasville 14-Ty King, McDonough 15-Shane Fulcher, Thomaston DQ: Ted Ray (illegal driver substitution) Fast Qualifier: Winger (16.053 – 84.1 mph)
Limited Late Models (Feature): 1-Jason Williams, Locust Grove 2-Matt Dooley, Brooks 3-Tyler Thomason, Phenix City, AL 4-Chris Carr, Newnan 5-Brant Hardin, McDonough 6-Jamie Carr, LaGrange 7-Clint Thompson, Newnan 8-Joey Armistead, Senoia 9-Corey Payton, Newnan 10-Bailey Williams, Fayetteville Fast Qualifier: Payton (16.370 – 82.4 mph)
Crate Late Models (Feature): 1-Dennis Lykins, Jr., Sharpsburg 2-Jody Knowles, Tyrone 3-Marty Lunsford, Newnan 4-Trey Wood, Newnan 5-Jamie Maurice, McDonough 6-Dow Kirkland, Lake Spivey 7-Trey White, Jenkinsburg 8-Phil Deal, Tyrone 9-Josh Copeland, McDonough 10-Craig Scott, Newnan 11-Matthew Wyatt, Eastonollee 12-Tina Johnson, Senoia 13-Bobby Mills, Griffin 14-Zach Shelton, Temple 15-Bailey Temples, McDonough Fast Qualifier: Lunsford (16.514 – 81.7 mph)
Late Model Sportsman (Feature): 1-Bobby Arnold, Newnan 2-Blake Griffin, Grantville 3-Curtis Turner, Brooks 4-Drew Larson, Marietta 5-Keith Fields, Griffin 6-Ted Minnix, McDonough 7-Billy Stevenson, Locust Grove 8-Brandon Bright, Newnan 9-Jamie Nicholson, Jr., Locust Grove 10-Jeff Robinson, McDonough 11-Johnny Stinchcomb, Newnan 12-Josh Roddy, Palmetto 13-Lee Fuller, Newnan 14-Kayla Boswell, Winston Heat Winners: Arnold & Griffin
Hobby Stock (Feature): 1-Joe Hillman, Villa Rica 2-JR Hardy 3-James Swanger, Whitesburg 4-Blant Duke, Whitesburg 5-Ryan Ray, Mableton 6-Jake Sanders, Camp Hill, AL 7-Ted Willingham, McDonough 8-John Holcomb, Griffin 9-Larry Bednar, Locust Grove 10-Chris Kozusnik, Newnan 11-Mike Trull
Mini Stock (Feature): 1-Mark Newton, Hampton 2-Marc Leath, Griffin 3-Jamie Godbee, Carrollton 4-Jamie Nicholson, Sr., Locust Grove 5-Bobby Faulkner, Newnan 6-Grant Roberts, Good Hope 7-Cassie Dingler-Still, Newnan 8-Bo Chambers, Griffin 9-Rocky Johnson, Douglasville 10-Trey Rogers, Villa Rica 11-Tommy Faulkner, Newnan
Bomber (Feature): 1-Derrick Matthews, Whitesburg 2-McKenna Nelms, Newnan 3-Tim Harmon, Conyers 4-Dorough Bright, Newnan 5-Jim Jackson, Zebulon 6-Randy Cornwell, Fayetteville 7-Charlie Garrett, West Point 8-Carly Arnett, Lanett, AL 9-Scott Amoson, Newnan 10-Shannon Stephens, Newnan
Hot Shot (Feature): 1-Morgan Pittman, Grantville 2-Christy Matthews, Brooks 3-Nathan Farrow, LaGrange 4-Dave McWilliams, Fayetteville