The Newnan Times-Herald

Sports

Good night for local drivers at Senoia Raceway


  • By The Newnan Times-Herald
  • |
  • Jul. 12, 2017 - 6:03 AM

A pair of stock car drivers didn’t have to travel too far from home to take the checkered flag Saturday night at Senoia Raceway.

Dennis Lykins Jr. of Sharpsburg and Senoia’s Clint "Cat Daddy" Smith, piloted their cars to victories.
Billy Stevenson and Alabama’s Dean Williams also swept the double features for their respective divisions.
Smith won a pair of features with victories in the Super Late Models and Limited Late Models. 
The track entertained fans with a full night of racing and several make-up features from the week prior. A total of 12 feature races took place.
Acworth’s Cass Fowler finally conquered the unique gumbo clay surface to notch his first career win at the ⅜-mile track. Fowler bested the field of Limited Late Models in the second feature. McDonough’s Ted Willingham won the Hobby Stock feature while Hampton’s Mark "Mad Dog" Newton won his sixth straight Mini Stock main event. Alabama’s Dunie Dillard won the Bomber Bash and pocketed the $1,000 winner’s share for that division’s special event.
Fresh off his Southern All-Stars Super Late Model victory on July 1, Clint Smith battled with Acworth’s TJ Reid for the lead position during the opening laps of their feature. Reid slid his mount in front of Smith on the first lap only to have Smith return the favor with a near perfect slide job in the second turn of the second lap. The two continued to swap the lead and slide jobs for the next four turns before Smith finally gained enough momentum to scoot away from Reid. Smith would never be challenged again, posting his fourth Super Late Model win of the season at Senoia Raceway.
Recent Georgia Racing Hall of Fame inductee Ricky Williams of Fayetteville had his best run of the season finishing in third while 16-year-old Ashton Winger of Senoia was fourth and Newnan’s Craig Scott fifth.
Columbus’ Joseph Brown tried to hold back Smith in the first of two feature races for the Limited Late Models. Brown could only keep the feisty veteran at bay for two circuits before Smith moved ahead and then cruised to the victory. Brown would settle for second ahead of Locust Grove’s "Racin’" Jason Williams. Acworth’s Cass Fowler came from near the back of the pack to finish in fourth just ahead of Limited Late Model point leader "Magic" Matt Dooley of Brooks.
The second go around for the Limited Late Models was a war between several drivers. Joseph Brown, Oliver Gentry of Newnan, Fowler, Dooley and Tod Darda of LaGrange put on a show for the fans. The drivers swapped the top positions several times during the 20-lap, action-packed race while racing three wide at times.
Just past the halfway mark, Gentry had squeezed into the lead position with Brown up against the wall, exiting the fourth turn. Fowler came up and touched Gentry, which sent him into Brown. Then Fowler ran up on Brown after the two slowed slightly. All three drivers kept their cars going forward and racing for the lead position. Two laps later, Gentry secured the lead from Brown only to lose it to Fowler the next time around.
Fowler then pulled away to snag his first trip to Bull Ring’s victory lane. Brown was second with Tod Darda narrowly beating Gentry to the finish line for third. Dooley came home fifth with Jason Williams in sixth. Dooley maintained his spot at the top of the standings with a pair of top fives.
Lykins padded his point lead in the Crate Late Models with a pair of flag-to-flag victories. Lykins Jr. kept all challengers at bay with strategic restarts that left everyone guessing as to when the green flag would return the field to racing. 
Temple’s Zach Shelton had the best night of his career at Senoia Raceway, charging through the field in both races to finish second and then third. The 21-year-old ran hard with Tyrone’s Jody Knowles in the first race before having a similar race with Matt Black in the second run. The young guns of Senoia Raceway were a big part of both races as teenage drivers Cruz Skinner of Alabama and Marty Lunsford of Newnan rounded out the first five in feature one. Skinner finished fourth again in the night cap while Lunsford nabbed a sixth place effort.
Billy Stevenson led all but three laps of the two features for the Late Model Sportsman division. Stevenson inherited the lead in first feature after then leader Bobby "Wild Child" Arnold broke on the third lap. Stevenson would lead the rest of the way in the first race and then go flag to flag in the second race to clean sweep the action. Brooks’ Curtis Turner was second in the first one while Cartersville’s Taylor Cole was third. Cole finished second to Stevenson in the second feature while Turner was fourth behind McDonough’s Ted Minnix.
A scary moment in the second race saw Byron’s Brandon McDaniel lose control exiting the fourth turn while in a fierce race for position. McDaniel’s car slammed into the inside retaining wall nearly going over the top and into the busy pit area.
Alabama’s Dunie Dillard won for the fourth time in a month topping the Bomber special event. Dillard jumped to the lead early and then held off Newnan’s Dorough Bright and Whitesburg’s Derrick Matthews. Bomber Division point leader, Charlie Garrett of West Point, was involved in a mid-race crash that resulted in a poor finish. That unfortunate accident has created a three-way tussle for the season championship chase. Garrett, Bright and Matthews will enter this weekend’s racing action separated by only 18 points.
Mark "Mad Dog" Newton survived the bounty placed on his head by track promoter Mayes Massey. A few out-of-town drivers came in to the Bull Ring to try and knock off the hottest driver of the first half of the season. Newton had won five straight entering the night and would make it six straight winning over Auburn’s JJ Garrett. Locust Grove’s Mike "Bam Bam" Younginer was third. Newton may have his hands full this Saturday as the Kajun Mini Stock Association comes in for a $1,000 to win special featuring some of the best four-cylinder drivers in the Southeast.
Ted Willingham redeemed himself after last week’s disqualification. Willingham started on the pole and never missed a beat, winning again- and this time keeping the victory. Villa Rica’s "Smokin’" Joe Hillman was second ahead of last week’s eventual victor John Holcomb of Griffin.
Dean Williams swept the action in the newly created, but sparse fields of Hot Shots.
Racing will continue Saturday, July 15, with a full lineup of action. The Kajun Mini Stock Association will headline a show that will also include the Super Late Models, Limited Late Models, Crate Late Models, Late Model Sportsman, Hobby, Bomber and Hot Shots.
The pit gates open at 4 p.m., with the grandstand gates opening at 5 p.m. Hot laps will begin at 6:30 p.m. and racing will follow immediately.
Grandstand tickets for Saturday, July 15 are $12; kids 5-12 are $5; age 4 and under are free. Pit passes and trackside parking passes are $30; kids 5-12 are $20; age 4 and under are free.
Senoia Raceway is located five miles west of Senoia on Georgia Highway 16.
For additional information, visit the track website at www.senoiaraceway.com or call the speedway at 770-599-6161.