Submitted by Ted Austad
Photo credits: Francis Hauke
(Senoia, GA – August 20, 2017) Derek Hagar has won many races during his career in a 360 winged outlaw sprint car. But, he had been shut out at the 3/8th mile bull ring, Senoia Raceway, for the past several years. Hagar changed that and placed his name in the record books Saturday night winning the Senoia Summer Nationals VIII USCS Sprint Cars main event. The Arkansas champion dominated the night beating three-time Senoia Summer Nationals title winner Terry Gray and defending winner Morgan Turpen.
Other winners at the special event included Senoia’s Clint ‘Cat Daddy’ Smith in the Limited Late Models; Douglasville’s ‘Racin’ Mason Massey in the Crate Late Models; Newnan’s Bobby ‘Wild Child’ Arnold in the Late Model Sportsman and Michael Courtney of Powell, TN, in the Mini Stock. Cumming’s Brandon Taylor took home the laurels in the USCS Mini Sprints.
Hagar piloted his sprinter to a flag to flag victory, but it was not an easy task. The former USCS Tour champion darted in and out of lapped traffic keeping Gray and Turpen a safe distance behind until lap 24 when he narrowly escaped a four car pile-up in turn three. Charging down the back stretch at nearly 100 miles per hour Hagar found a small opening between two spinning cars to avoid the wreck that would have surely ended his quest.
On the restart with nothing but clean air ahead, Hagar powered out to a several car length victory over Gray and Turpen.
Lapped traffic was some of the story in the Limited Late Model race as well. Whitesburg’s Austin Horton, Cass Fowler of Acworth and Clint Smith were working lapped cars during the midway point of their 20-lap feature when Smith darted low on Fowler while passing a slower car. The two touched briefly upsetting Fowler’s mount and allowing Smith to move to second. A few laps later with Horton struggling to get past another lapped car, Smith squeezed between Horton and the lapped car making a three wide, middle lane pass in tight confines of the third turn. Smith then kept pace over the field to win his third Limited Late Model feature of the season. Fowler came home second with Horton in third. Hamilton’s Thomas Lewis came home fourth after a strong run through the field and Newnan’s Oliver Gentry enjoyed one of his best showing’s at Senoia with a top five finish.
Mason Massey took home a popular win as the Douglasville youngster finally won a race at the track his family took over the operation of three seasons ago. Massey went flag to flag to claim the victory for the Crate Late Models while fast qualifier and fellow young gun Matthew Wyatt of Eastonollee came home with second straight second place finish. Twenty-year-old ‘Thirllin’ Dylan Knowles of Lanett, AL, made a podium sweep for the young guns. Veterans Dennis Lykins, Jr. of Sharpsburg and Bobby Mills of Griffin completed the top five.
Bobby Arnold waited until the final 400 feet to move into the first place position and claim his fourth Late Model Sportsman win of the season. Arnold needed a late race caution to get up on the highside of race leader Jack Mills of Griffin. Arnold and Mills raced side by side for the entire final circuit with Arnold inching in front at the line. Whitesburg’s William Blair ran through the field to finish in third while ‘Ironman’ Chris Steele of Franklin and Marietta’s Drew Larson were fourth and fifth.
Out of town drivers were on hand to try and knock out the Senoia Raceway Mini Stock guru, ‘Mad Dog’ Mark Newton, from victory lane. The Hampton hot shoe had won seven straight in Senoia Mini Stock competition. Newton had not lost a points race since the end of April and track promoter Mayes Massey implemented a bounty for anyone that could come in and beat the surging veteran.
Carnesville’s Shannon Etheridge and Michael Courtney would start the feature ahead of Newton, but the two tangled in turn four of the first lap which almost resulted in the duo crashing into the outside concrete. Both recovered and then battled for the lead throughout with Newton just a breath away from taking advantage of any mistakes. Neither of the bounty hunters would waver as they crossed one-two ahead of Newton to snap the streak at seven.
Etheridge came across the scales light and was disqualified which handed the victory, the winner’s purse and bounty money to Courtney. All others, including Newton, moved up one spot in the final finishing order.
Brandon Taylor took advantage of a mistake by Florida’s Gregg Jones in the USCS Mini Sprint main event. Jones was nearly unstoppable until he lost control of this car exiting turn four and slammed the front stretch wall. Taylor stole the lead away from Mississippi’s Bobby Zaointz before the final checkers flew to claim the victory.
Senoia Raceway keeps the end of the summer specials rolling this upcoming weekend as the Ultimate Super Late Model Series visits for the ‘Friends of the Dream 40’. The regional travelling series will bring in some of the area's best super late model competitors to take on the weekly Senoia Raceway super late model drivers in a $4000 to win race that will also raise money for disadvantaged kids. Also on the racing schedule will be points race with increased purses for the Limited Late Models, Crate Late Models, Late Model Sportsman, Hobby Stock, Bombers, Mini Stocks and Hot Shots. Only three points races remain in the 2017 championship campaign.
Grandstand tickets Saturday’s event 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, August 19, 2017
USCS Sprint Cars (Feature): 1-Derek Hagar, Marion, AR 2-Terry Gray, Bartlett, TN 3-Morgan Turpen, Cordova, TN *USCS results not submitted past third place* Fast Dash: Jordan Mallett, Greenbriar, AR Heat Winners: Turpen; Matt Linder, Hoschton; Hagar
Limited Late Models: 1-Clint Smith, Senoia 2-Cass Fowler, Acworth 3-Austin Horton, Whitesburg 4-Thomas Lewis, Hamilton 5-Oliver Gentry, Newnan 6-Jason Williams, Locust Grove 7-Joe Armistead, Jr., Senoia 8-Joey Armistead, Senoia 9-Kenneth Pendley, Acworth 10-Matt Bishop, Dallas 11-Matt Dooley, Brooks 12-Bailey Williams, Fayetteville 13-Ricky Williams, Fayetteville 14-Lawson Hill, Dallas 15-Jimmy Price, Oxford 16-Dustin Elliott, Pine Mountain 17-Brant Hardin, McDonough 18-Marc Gooden, LaFayette, AL 19-Corey Payton, Newnan DNS: Dakota Weeks, Douglasville Fast Qualifier: Horton (15.838 – 85.2 mph)
Crate Late Models: 1-Mason Massey, Douglasville 2-Matthew Wyatt, Eastonollee 3-Dylan Knowles, Lanett, AL 4-Dennis Lykins, Jr., Sharpsburg 5-Bobby Mills, Griffin 6-Marty Lunsford, Newnan 7-Colby Darda, LaGrange 8-Dow Kirkland, Lake Spivey 9-Matt Black, Douglasville 10-Wayne Harbin, Sharpsburg 11-Jamie Maurice, McDonough 12-Chris Carr, Newnan 13-Tina Johnson, Senoia 14-Clay Fancher, Loganville Fast Qualifier: Wyatt (16.138 – 83.6 mph)
Late Model Sportsman: 1-Bobby Arnold, Newnan 2-Jack Mills, Griffin 3-William Blair, Whitesburg 4-Chris Steele, Franklin 5-Drew Larson, Marietta 6-Curtis Turner, Brooks 7-Travis Price, Conyers 8-Keith Fields, Griffin 9-Billy Stevenson, Locust Grove 10-Blake Griffin, Grantville 11-Jamie Nicholson, Jr., Locust Grove 12-Ted Minnix, McDonough 13-Jake Traylor, LaGrange 14Johnny Stinchcomb, Newnan 15-Roger Arnett, Lanett, AL 16-Sam Carter, Covington 17-Dewayne Aldridge, Bremen 18-Lee Fuller, Newnan 19-Brandon Huffman, Newnan 20-Buck Williams, Stockbridge 21-Chad Duncan, Newnan DNS: Wesley Robertson, Cochran; Clyde Alexander, Locust Grove Fast Qualifier: Mills & Steele (15.665 – 86.2 mph)
Mini Stock (Feature): 1-Michael Courtney, Powell, TN 2-Mark Newton, Hampton 3-JJ Garett, Auburn 4-Paris Simmons, Baldwin 5-Jamie Nicholson, Sr., Locust Grove 6-Tyler Waits 7-Kyle Braswell, Monroe 8-Wally Smith 9-Rocky Johnson, Douglasville 10-Dean Williams, Lanett, AL 11-Bo Minor, Ralph, AL DQ: Shannon Etheridge, Carnesville (light) Fast Qualifier: Etheridge (18.264 – 83.0 mph)
USCS Mini Sprints (Feature): 1-Brandon Taylor, Cumming 2-Bobby Zaiontz, Columbus, MS 3-Conner Morrell, Palmetto, FL 4-AJ Parrish, Jacksonville, FL 5-Jim Kradel, Navarre, FL 6-Jim McNully, Navarre, FL 7-Gregg Jones, Navarre, FL 8-Alex Lyles, Arlington, TN Fast Dash: Jones Heat Winner: Taylor