Submitted by Ted Austad
Photo credits: Frances Hauke
(Senoia, GA – August 27, 2017) Riley Hickman of Chattanooga, TN, finally captured an elusive checkered flag at the tough bull ring Senoia Raceway. Hickman led all 40 laps of the Friends of the Dream 40 and without any mistakes pocketed the four grand winner’s take ahead of North Carolina’s Ray Cook and Stapleton’s Travis Pennington.
“I love coming here (to Senoia Raceway). Some of our finishes don’t prove it,” said Hickman afterwards in victory lane. “We’ve led a lot of races over here and in the end give it up or just couldn’t put a solid 40 or 50 laps together and finally we were able to do that. Heck, I am worn out in the car just thinking about it, just hoping, telling myself not to screw up. Whenever you got to go someplace with finesse, that’s more my speed.”
Other winners at the special event that benefited disadvantaged children were Whitesburg’s Austin Horton in the Limited Late Models, Ashton Winger of Senoia in the Crate Late Models, Newnan’s Craig Scott in the Late Model Sportsman and Villa Rica’s ‘Smokin’ Joe Hillman in the Hobby. Barnesville’s Gary Parker was the best in the Mini Stock while Newnan’s Dorough Bright won the Bomber feature and Kenny Clark of Dallas the Hot Shots main.
Hickman showed his strength early posting the fastest time in qualifying before dominating the second appearance of the season for the regional touring clan of super late models. Hickman was slowed by lapped cars in final quarter of the race which allowed Ray Cook to close in, but a caution came out creating clean air once again for the former Southern All-Stars Tour champion. Hickman ran away from Cook to snare his first major win at the 3/8ths mile slick gumbo track. Cook was second ahead of Pennington while Alabama’s Jason Hiett and Whitesburg hot shoe Austin Horton rounded out the first five finishers.
Horton rebounded quickly as he ran flag to flag for the victory in the Limited Late Model feature. Horton, pulling double duty, jumped out to the lead early staying clear of a lap 6 pile-up involving six cars on the front stretch. The cautions seemed to breed more cautions as the field was slowed again only one lap later when former track champion Jason Williams of Locust Grove locked horns with Newnan’s Rucker Orr that resulted in both drivers slamming the inside retaining wall in turn three ending the night for both competitors.
Horton would take home the honors ahead of the previous week’s winner Clint Smith of Senoia, Thomas Lewis of Hamilton, Matt Dooley of Brooks and Dennis Hale of LaGrange.
Senoia’s Ashton Winger subbed for Sharpsburg’s Dennis Lykins, Jr. and did not disappoint as another driver competing in dual classes took home the winner’s share. The sixteen-year-old hot shoe was never seriously challenged leaving all the racing for positions behind him. Sharpsburg’s Wayne Harbin battled with Newnan’s Marty Lunsford for several laps before a number of cautions jumbled positions on wild restarts.
In the end, Winger was the winner of the shortened race with Harbin second. Douglasville’s Mason Massey charged up to snag third place ahead of Griffin’s Bobby Mills and Lunsford.
The Late Model Sportsman race saw several great battles for the lead and positioning within the top five as pole sitter Billy Stevenson of Locust Grove and Griffin’s Jack Mills ran side by side for several laps before Chickamauga’s Booger Brooks and Newnan’s Bobby Arnold joined the fray.
Craig Scott sat back and waited patiently before moving forward past Mills, Brooks and Arnold before setting up Stevenson for a cross-over pass on lap 16 to take over the lead. He would not waver in his final few laps winning over Stevenson, Arnold, Curtis Turner and Brooks.
Griffin’s John Holcomb dueled with Joe Hillman during the first half of the Hobby Stock feature. The former champion moved into the lead a few times, but the current points leader Hillman would fight back to retake each time. On lap 9, Holcomb slung his car down low out of turn four and ended up sliding into the door panel of Hillman as the two charged into turn one. The end result was Holcomb’s car spinning causing a caution.
Hillman went on to record his eighth win of the season ahead of Mansfield’s Blake Harmon and McDonough’s Ted Willingham. Newnan’s Scott Sherrer had his best outing since returning with a fourth place finish while newcomer Tanner Collins of Franklin snagged his first top five finish.
Crazy action in the Bomber’s feature saw Dorough Bright not only win his first race since March, but he also overtook the point’s lead from West Point’s Charlie Garrett who was involved in a wreck causing him to lose several positions in the final rundown.
Bright will go into the final two points races of the season with a four point lead over Garrett. Newnan’s fourteen-year-old McKenna Nelms kept her slight chances at a championship season by finishing in the second place position over Fayetteville’s Randy Cornwell.
Current Mini Stock points leader Mark ‘Mad Dog’ Newton of Hampton ran into problems on Saturday night. Newton inherited the race lead from Griffin’s Marc Leath when Leath’s right rear tire shredded exiting turn three. One lap later, Newton’s mount developed transmission problems and he had to drop from the race.
Former Mini Stock champion, Gary Parker took over from that point and led the rest of the way claiming his first win of the year over Newnan’s Tommy Faulkner and Jamie Nicholson, Sr. of Locust Grove. Senoia’s John Caldwell and Carrollton’s Wesley Patterson completed the top five.
Kenny Clark started scratch on the field of Hot Shots Saturday night after scooting through Atlanta following a rained out event at Woodstock’s Dixie Speedway. Clark and a few other Saturday night warriors decided to cruise to the southside speed plant in search of the opportunity to race on a soggy northside night.
Clark would hustle through the field chasing fellow Dixie stand-out Chris Bragg of Douglasville. Clark worked past Bragg with only two laps remaining and notched his first career win at Senoia Raceway. Bragg ended up second ahead of Silver Creek’s Logan Johnson, Kennesaw’s Rick Ricks and Casey Creighton of Woodland.
The 2017 points season begins to wind down this weekend with only two races remaining in the charge to the championship. The Super Late Models, Limited Late Models, Crate Late Models, Late Model Sportsman, Hobby Stock, Bombers, Mini Stocks and Hot Shots will compete on the holiday weekend racing card with the final points race slated for the week after. A complete points rundown for all divisions is available at www.senoiaraceway.com.
Grandstand tickets Saturday’s event 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, August 26, 2017
Friends of the Dream 40 (Ultimate Super Late Models): 1-Riley Hickman, Chattanooga, TN 2-Ray Cook, Brasstown, NC 3-Travis Pennington, Stapleton 4-Jason Hiett, Oxford, AL 5-Austin Horton, Whitesburg 6-Clint Smith, Senoia 7-Ashton Winger, Senoia 8-Mason Massey, Douglasville 9-Michael Page, Winston 10-Jason Welshan, Maryville, TN 11-Shane Fulcher, Thomaston 12-Ethan Hunter, Tiger 13-Dennis Franklin, Gaffney, SC 14-PL Williams, Dublin 15-Tyler Millwood, Kingston 16-Corey Payton, Newnan 17-Steven Roberts 18-Zach Leonhardi, Cartersville 19-Glenn Morris, Fayetteville 20-Ricky Williams, Fayetteville Fast Qualifier: Hickman (14.835 – 91.0 mph) B-Main: R. Williams
Limited Late Models: 1-Austin Horton, Whitesburg 2-Clint Smith, Senoia 3-Thomas Lewis, Hamilton 4-Matt Dooley, Brooks 5-Dennis Hale, LaGrange 6-Glenn Morris, Fayetteville 7-Joseph Darda, Greenville 8-Zach Leonhardi, Cartersville 9-Dustin Elliott, Pine Mountain 10-Jason Williams, Locust Grove 11-Rucker Orr, Newnan 12-Kenneth Pendley, Dallas 13-Joseph Brown, Columbus 14-Bailey Williams, Fayetteville 15-Brant Hardin, McDonough Fast Qualifier: Horton (15.026 – 89.9 mph)
Crate Late Models: 1-Ashton Winger, Senoia 2-Wayne Harbin, Sharpsburg 3-Mason Massey, Douglasville 4-Bobby Mills, Griffin 5-Marty Lunsford, Newnan 6-Jimmy Waldrop, Seffner, FL 7-Matthew Wyatt, Eastonollee 8-Jimmy Thomas, Phenix City, AL 9-Zach Shelton, Temple 10-Tina Johnson, Senoia 11-Jamie Maurice, McDonough 12-Mark Page, Winston 13-Dow Kirkland, Lake Spivey 14-Phillip Deal, Tyrone 15-Mike Abercrombie, Griffin 16-Josh Copeland, McDonough 17-Colby Darda, LaGrange 18-Jody Knowles, Tyrone 19-Scott Groves, Canton 20-Chae Baker, LaGrange DNS: Trey Wood, Newnan Fast Qualifier: Winger (15.372 – 87.8 mph)
Late Model Sportsman: 1-Craig Scott, Newnan 2-Billy Stevenson, Locust Grove 3-Bobby Arnold, Newnan 4-Curtis Turner, Brooks 5-Booger Brooks, Chickamauga 6-Jack Mills, Griffin 7-Ronnie McCullough, Franklin 8-Chris Steele, Franklin 9-Logan Walston, Dalton 10-Blake Griffin, Grantville 11-Keith Fields, Griffin 12-Jamie Simmons, Tyrone 13-Ted Minnix, McDonough 14-Levi Campbell, McDonough 15-Jamie Nicholson, Jr., McDonough 16-Johnny Stinchcomb, Newnan 17-Lee Fuller, Newnan 18-Brandon Bright, Newnan 19-Josh Roddy, Palmetto 20-Ben Snider, Valley, AL 21-DeWayne Aldridge, Bremen Fast Qualifier: Stevenson *new track record – division* (14.842 – 91.0 mph)
Hobby Stock (Feature): 1-Joe Hillman, Villa Rica 2-Blake Harmon, Mansfield 3-Ted Willingham, McDonough 4-Scott Sherrer, Newnan 5-Tanner Collins, Franklin 6-Kayla Boswell, Winston 7-Shane Tidwell, Whitesburg 8-John Holcomb, Griffin 9-Brandon Henderson, Woodbury 10-Chris Kozusnik, Newnan 11-Brandon Jones, Newnan 12-Jonathan Archer, Griffin 13-Jamie Garner, Mableton 14-Dustin Perry, Carrollton DNS: James Swanger, Whitesburg Fast Qualifier: Hillman (16.039 – 84.2 mph)
Bomber (Feature): 1-Dorough Bright, Newnan 2-McKenna Nelms, Newnan 3-Randy Cornwell, Fayetteville 4-Scott Amoson, Newnan 5-Dunie Dillard, Phenix City, AL 6-Wilson Boozer, Jenkinsburg 7-Ricky Neill, Whitesburg 8-David Jackson, Whitesburg 9-Richard Dale, Winston 10-Shannon Stephens, Newnan 11-Larry Pierce, Griffin 12-Michael Thomas, Whitesburg 13-Charlie Garrett, West Point 14-Carley Arnett, Lanett, AL DQ: Tim Harmon, Conyers Fast Qualifier: Dillard (17.109 – 78.9 mph)
Mini Stock (Feature): 1-Gary Parker, Barnesville 2-Tommy Faulkner, Newnan 3-Jamie Nicholson, Sr., Locust Grove 4-John Caldwell, Senoia 5-Wesley Patterson, Carrollton 6-Cassie Dingler-Still, Newnan 7-Bob Faulkner, Newnan 8-Mark Newton, Hampton 9-Marc Leath, Griffin 10-Rocky Johnson, Douglasville Fast Qualifier: Newton (17.793 – 75.9 mph)
Hot Shots (Feature): 1-Kenny Clark, Dallas 2-Chris Bragg, Douglasville 3-Logan Johnson, Silver Creek 4-Rick Ricks, Kennesaw 5-Casey Creighton, Woodland 6-Mark Meyer, Ellijay 7-Nathan Farrow, Newnan 8-Dave McWilliams, Fayetteville 9-Chandler Ortwein, Silver Creek 10-Jim Jackson, Zebulon 11-Michael Fullmer, Canton 12-Morgan Pittman, Grantville 13-Shane Davis, Waco DNS: Wesley McCard, Zebulon