Submitted by Ted Austad
Photo credits: Francis Hauke
(Senoia, GA – September 17, 2017) A pair of twenty-year-olds and a teenager showed the grizzled veterans of Senoia Racewaynhow to get things done on Saturday night. Newnan’s Marty Lunsford qualified the fastest in the Crate Late Model division before leading every lap in his feature while Alabama’s ‘Thrillin’ Dylan Knowles did the same thing in the Late Model Sportsman. Not to be out done by his fellow young guns, Senoia’s seventeen-year-old Ashton Winger worked past current Southern All-Star Series points leader Austin Horton before winning his second Super Late Model event of the season at the tough ‘bull ring’.
‘Our young guys are some of the best in the region,’ said Senoia Raceway promoter Mayes Massey. ‘I am proud to have so many young, talented, up and coming drivers compete so well here at the south’s baddest bull ring. It is fun to watch these young guys race against the old veterans.’
Some of the veterans also found their way into victory lane including LaGrange’s Tod Darda who won the Limited Late Model feature. Whitesburg’s Shane Tidwell and William Blair won the Hobby and Bomber mains respectively while Mark ‘Mad Dog’ Newton of Hampton won his tenth Mini Stock feature of the year. Newnan’s Nathan Farrow bested the field of Hot Shots.
Whitesburg hot shoe Austin Horton qualified on the pole for the Super Late Model race and looked like he would have smooth sailing as he left Winger and the rest in his dust through the first few laps of the race. Thomaston’s Shane Fulcher was climbing through the field as was three time points champion Clint ‘Cat Daddy’ Smith of Senoia.
Winger picked up his pace catching Horton by lap fourteen and passing him on the high side. A few laps later Smith continued Horton’s slide moving into second place. Horton than found himself in a furious fight for third place with Fulcher as the two swapped the position back and forth for the final three circuits.
Smith could not catch Winger as the youngster posted the victory. Horton would win the battle for third as Fulcher slipped up and then lost fourth to a hard charging Bubba Pollard before the end.
One of the most competitive races of the night came in the Limited Late Model feature. LaGrange’s Dennis Hale was the race’s first leader with points champion ‘Magic’ Matt Dooley racing him hard until lap six when Dooley’s engine blew.
Hale lost his lead on the restart as he, Tod Darda, Joey Armistead and Dustin Elliott ran four-wide past the flag stand daring each other to try and hold their position as they charged into the first turn. Darda would escape the second turn with the lead with Elliott sliding past Hale on the next lap to snag second place.
As Darda sped away, Elliott and Hale raced side by side until twenty-year-old Joey Armistead split them perfectly coming out of the second turn. The former division champion, Armistead, threaded the needle to move into second place setting his sights on the veteran Darda.
Darda would not waiver though as he picked up 40th career Limited Late Model victory at Senoia Raceway ahead of Senoia’s Armistead and Elliott of Pine Mountain. Greenville’s Thomas Mewborn made an exciting final lap pass of Hale to steal away fourth leaving Hale in fifth.
Marty Lunsford went flag to flag for his second victory of the season in the Crate Late Model division. The 2016 points champion battled with this year title winner, Jamie Maurice of McDonough, through most of the 20-lap main. But when the checkered flag fell, Lunsford was first ahead of Maurice, Oxford’s Randall Powell and Sharpsburg’s Wayne Harbin. Dennis Lykins, Jr. of Sharpsburg was late to the track and had to start scratch on the field, but he passed the most cars finishing among the top five.
Cautions and wrecks marred the action in the Late Model Sportsman as Dylan Knowles outlasted Newnan’s Craig Scott and Bobby Arnold. Knowles led every lap as he snapped the two race win streak of Scott. Bobby Arnold also snuck past Scott to finish in second. Points champion Keith Fields of Griffin ran fourth ahead of McDonough’s Levi Campbell, who enjoyed his best finish of the year in fifth.
Shane Tidwell won Hobby feature on opening night in March, but had been held out of the winner’s circle the remainder of the season. That changed on Saturday night as Tidwell held off five-time feature winner Ted Willingham of McDnough. Tidwell’s car began to push in the latter stages of the race, but Willingham could not change the outcome settling for second. Douglasville’s Cory Hillman finished third after starting at the back of the pack. Woodbury’s Brandon Henderson and Jeremy Butler of Lithia Springs nabbed their first top five finishes of the season finishing in fourth and fifth.
Mark Newton overtook the lead from Griffin’s Marc Leath on lap three of the Mini Stock race and then cruised to his tenth win of the year ahead of Good Hope’s fourteen-year-old Grant Roberts and Locust Grove’s Jamie Nicholson, Sr. Leath was the fastest qualifier early in the evening lost power just as the white flag flew as he fell all the way to seventh in the final tally.
William Blair went flag to flag for the Bomber feature race victory while Nathan Farrow celebrated the win in the Hot Shots. It was Blair’s first Senoia Raceway win in over three years and Farrow’s first since April.
The track will now take a couple of weeks off before resuming racing action on Saturday, October 7th. The ‘warm-up race’ for the Showdown at Senoia will feature a full night of racing in the Super Late Models, Limited Late Models, Crate Late Models, Late Model Sportsman, Hobby Stock, Bombers, Mini Stocks and Hot Shots. A full schedule of events slated for the month of October is available at www.senoiaraceway.com.
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, September 16, 2017
Super Late Models (Feature): 1-Ashton Winger, Senoia 2-Clint Smith, Senoia 3-Austin Horton, Whitesburg 4-Bubba Pollard, Senoia 5-Shane Fulcher, Thomaston 6-Dalton Cook, Columbus 7-Kenny Collins, Colbert 8-Ricky Williams, Fayetteville 9-Eric Granger, Douglasville 10-Laddie Fulcher, Thomaston 11-Matt Bishop, Dallas 12-Scott Hall, Rome 13-Roger Cassell, Franklin 14-Zach Leonhardi, Cartersville 15-Lamar Haygood, Douglasville 16-Dana Eiland, Salem, AL 17-Corey Payton, Newnan DNS: Cody King, McDonough Fast Qualifier: Horton (14.641 – 92,2 mph)
Limited Late Models: 1-Tod Darda, LaGrange 2-Joey Armistead, Senoia 3-Dustin Elliott, Pine Mountain 4-Thomas Mewborn, Greenville 5-Dennis Hale, LaGrange 6-Bailey Williams, Fayetteville 7-Justin Hammett, Zebulon 8-Glenn Morris, Fayetteville 9-Jimmy Price, Oxford 10-Matt Dooley, Brooks Fast Qualifier: Hale (14.902 – 90.6 mph)
Crate Late Models: 1-Marty Lunsford, Newnan 2-Jamie Maurice, McDonough 3-Randall Powell, Oxford 4-Wayne Harbin, Sharpsburg 5-Dennis Lykins, Jr., Sharpsburg 6-Matthew Wyatt, Eastonollee 7-Billy Stevenson, Locust Grove 8-Tina Johnson, Senoia 9-Blake Griffin, Grantville 10-Mike Abercrombie, Jackson DNS: Richie Stephens, Phenix City, AL Fast Qualifier: Lunsford (14.781 – 91.3)
Late Model Sportsman: 1-Dylan Knowles, Lannett, AL 2-Bobby Arnold, Newnan 3-Craig Scott, Newnan 4-Keith Fields, Griffin 5-Levi Campbell, McDonough 6-Paul Holloway, Hampton 7-Jamie Nicholson, Jr., Locust Grove 8-Monte Vaughn, Lizella 9-Dewayne Aldridge, Bremen 10-Clyde Alexander, Locust Grove 11-Ronnie McCullough, Franklin 12-Chris Steele, Franklin 13-Jamie Simmons, Tyrone 14-Lee Fuller, Newnan 15-Travis Price, Conyers 16-Rod Roberts, Jeffersonville 17-Johnny Stinchcomb, Newnan Fast Qualifier: Knowles (15.368 – 87.8 mph)
Hobby Stock (Feature): 1-Shane Tidwell, Whitesburg 2-Ted Willingham, McDonough 3-Cory Hillman, Douglasville 4-Brandon Henderson, Woodbury 5-Jeremy Butler, Lithia Springs 6-Larry Bednar, Locust Grove 7-Kayla Boswell, Winston 8-Tim McCoy, Manchester 9-Tanner Collins, Franklin 10-Griffin Alexander, Locust Grove 11-Jamie Garner, Mableton DNS: Joe Hillamn, Villa Rica Fast Qualifier: Willingham (16.327 – 82.7 mph)
Bomber (Feature): 1-William Blair, Whitesburg 2-Dorough Bright, Newnan 3-McKenna Nelms, Newnan 4-Charlie Garrett, West Point 5-Scott Amoson, Newnan 6-Bruce Tidwell, Douglasville 7-Randy Cornwell, Fayetteville 8-TJ Joiner, Lithia Springs 9-Larry Pierce, Griffin 10-Shannon Stephens, Newnan 11-Mike Lilly, Lithia Springs DNS: George Purgason, Hogasnville Fast Qualifier: Blair (17.555 – 76.9 mph)
Mini Stock (Feature): 1-Mark Newton, Hampton 2-Grant Roberts, Good Hope 3-Jamie Nicholson, Sr., Locust Grove 4-Mike Younginer, Stockbridge 5-Joshua Till, Atlanta 6-Scott Morris, Stockbridge 7-Marc Leath, Griffin 8-Tommy Faulkner, Newnan DNS: Keith West, Mableton Fast Qualifier: Leath (18.295 – 73.8 mph)
Hot Shots (Feature): 1-Nathan Farrow, LaGrange 2-Lucas Pittman, Grantville 3-Mark Meyer, Ellijay 4-Dustin Barton 5-William Powell, Greenville, SC DQ: Chris Langford DNS: Dave McWilliams, Fayetteville