Submitted by Ted Austad
Photo credits: Francis Hauke
(Senoia, GA – June 4, 2017) The World of Outlaws Craftsman® Late Model Series took the track at Senoia Raceway for the first time ever for the third annual Billy Clanton Classic. Despite this race being many of the drivers first time on the unique gray gumbo surface, everyone seemed to enjoy how racy the track was all night long. It was ultimately Illinois’ Brandon Sheppard who was able to hold off the field to land his fifth Series win of the season.
“We got the win and it was tough racing out there,” said Sheppard. “Lap traffic was tricky and if you hit the top just right it was awesome and you couldn’t hardly move off of it and be fast. Congratulations to Terbo. He raced me hard and we had a lot of fun out there.”
Texas youngster Tyler Erb left everything he had on the track come the checker flag but he came up just a little short. The teenager was putting Sheppard to work throughout all 50-laps as he was trying find the line to his first Series win. With the help of lap traffic, Erb was able to cut down Sheppard’s lead to only .6 seconds, but unfortunately a few cautions would throw away the ground he had gained on the leader and eliminated the obstacles for Sheppard.
“I hated to see all of those cautions,” said Erb. “Every time I would catch lap cars was when Brandon would start having to move off of that top. I might have had a shot but we gave it everything that I had so we will just have to try to come back next year and try again.”
Kentucky’s Eric Wells also found his way to the podium but it wasn’t an easy task to get there. Wells, Erb, and Zebulon’s Shane Clanton found themselves three wide throughout the feature event dueling for second and third. Pennsylvania’s Chub Frank also found himself in the mix with Erb, Wells and Clanton after battling with Ohio’s Devin Moran and Senoia’s ‘Cat Daddy’ Clint Smith in similar fashion.
“This is more like the kind of tracks that we like,” said Wells. “I was telling my crew guys that it is too bad we don’t live in Atlanta because we would run every class this place has weekly. I love this place. I had a lot of fun out there. This place was really racy tonight. I hope we get to come back again.”
Although Clanton finished one spot short of the podium he was still all smiles in Victory Lane as he spoke about his late father, Billy Clanton, and the race that was created in his honor three years ago.
“It’s hard to be up here and him not being with me and he has been gone for a couple of years now,” said Clanton. “As long as we can live his life like we’re doing and just honor him as much as we can. He’s done a lot for the racing in the south east. It’s an honor to be here tonight.”
Other winners on Saturday night included ‘Cat Daddy’ Clint Smith snagging the checkered flag for the Limited Late Models while Locust Grove’s Billy Stevenson won the Late Model Sportsman, Villa Rica’s ‘Smokin’ Joe Hillman the Hobby Stock and Alabama’s Dunie Dillard the Bombers.
Smith started second row outside of the Limited Late Model feature. He battled with Acworth’s Cass Fowler before setting his sights on fast qualifier Dennis Lykins, Jr who had moved out front of the pack. Lykins had qualified the fastest of twenty-seven cars with his crate engine powered racer. The Crate Late Model division had the night off and the track points leader in the Crate class decided to give the Limited class a try.
Lykins battled all night with Smith, but in the end lapped traffic ended up costing him his shot at the upset. He would settle for second behind Smith with Fowler winning his race long war with Georgia Racing Hall of Fame member Ricky Williams of Fayetteville. Whitesburg’s Austin Horton rounded out the first five.
Alabama’s Dunie Dillard worked past Whitesburg’s Derrick Matthews near the halfway mark of the Bomber feature and then built a several car length lead before the final flag fell. It was Dillard’s first win on the season at Senoia Raceway.
Stevenson and Hillman went flag to flag in their contests.
Racing action continues this Saturday, June 10th as regular points racing returns to the bull ring Senoia Raceway. The Super Late Models, Limited Late Models, Crate Late Models, Late Models Sportsman, Hobby Stock, Bomber, Mini Stocks and Hot Shots will be on the racing schedule. The Hot Shots division will compete in a special ‘Hot Shot Gumboree’ event paying $500 to the winner.
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, June 3, 2017
World of Outlaws Late Models (Billy Clanton Classic): 1-Brandon Sheppard, Berlin, WI 2-Tyler Erb, Magnolia, TX 3-Eric Wells, Hazard, KY 4-Shane Clanton, Zebulon 5-Chris Madden, Gaffney, SC 6-Chub Frank, Bear Lake, PA 7-Casey Roberts, Toccoa 8-Devin Moran, Dresden, OH 9-Brian Shirley, Springfield, IL 10-Clint Smith, Senoia 11-Morgan Bagley, Tyler, TX 12-TJ Reaid, Acworth 13-Michael Page, Winston 14-Jimmy Owens, Newport, TN 15-Joey Coulter, Mooresville, NC 16-Frank Heckenast, Jr., University Park, IL 17-David Breazeale, Four Corners, MS 18-Ashton Winger, Senoia 19-Rick Eckert, York, PA 20-Mason Massey, Douglasville 21-Zach Leonhardi, Cartersville 22-Steven Roberts, GA 23-Glenn Morris, Fayetteville 24-Austin Horton, Whitesburg DNQ: Jim Rogers, Swainsboro; Laddie Fulcher, Thomaston; Shane Fulcher, Thomaston; Craig Scott, Newnan Fast Qualifier: Sheppard (13.498 – 100.1 mph)
Limited Late Models (Feature): 1-Clint Smith, Senoia 2-Dennis Lykins, Jr., Sharpsburg 3-Cass Fowler, Acworth 4-Ricky Williams, Fayetteville 5-Austin Horton, Whitesburg 6-Chaz Haskins, Gray 7-Thomas Mewborn, Greenville 8-Jason Williams, Locust Grove 9-Michael Page, Winston 10-Matt Dooley, Brooks 11-Cole Exum, Valdosta 12-Rucker Orr, Newnan 13-Dennis Hale, LaGrange 14-Joey Armistead, Senoia 15-Chase Baker, LaGrange 16-Aubrey Merritt, Carrollton 17-Trey White, Jenkinsburg 18-Hunter Worley, Alvaton 19-Dow Kirkland, Lake Spivey 20-Dillon Crim, Munford, AL 21-Jamie Carr, LaGrange 22-Jamie Maurice, McDonough 23-Dusty Jones, LaGrange 24-Bailey Williams, Fayetteville 25-Glenn Morris, Fayetteville 26-Tina Johnson, Senoia 27-Corey Payton, Newnan Fast Qualifier: Lykins (14.785 – 91.3 mph)
Late Model Sportsman (Feature): 1-Billy Stevenson, Locust Grove 2-Andrew Bailey, Woodland, AL 3-Bobby Arnold, Newnan 4-Curtis Turner, Brooks 5-Brian Hansford, Altha, FL 6-Daniel Bailey, Woodland, AL 7-William Blair, Whitesburg 8-Keith Fields, Griffin 9-Ted Minnix, McDonough 10-Blake Griffin, Grantville 11-Chris Steele, Franklin 12-Jeff Robinson, Hampton 13-Johnny Stinchcomb, Newnan 14-Jamie Nicholson, Jr., Locust Grove DNS: Richard Goode, Hampton; Matt Larson, Marietta Heat Winners: Stevenson & Hansford
Hobby Stock (Feature): 1-Joe Hillman, Villa Rica 2-Ryan Ray, Mableton 3-John Holcomb, Griffin 4-Ted Willingham, McDonough 5-Blake Harmon, Mansfield 6-Larry Bednar, Locust Grove 7-Chris Kozusnik, Newnan 8-Mike Jenkins, Brooks