Newnan’s Olivia Gentry posted her first career victory at Senoia Raceway on Saturday night.
The 19-year-old daughter of veteran short tracker Oliver Gentry picked up the laurels in the Charger feature as she led the field from green flag to checkered flag.
Gentry is no stranger to winning races as she has won the Great Race (road rally) twice including last year’s 2,300 mile trek in the expert division. But, this was her first win in a dirt car that is similar to a racecar her father has been wheeling for so many years.
Gentry was one of four first time winners at the 3/8ths mile clay oval in Senoia. The track continues to operate without fans in the grandstand, but viewers from across the nation were tuned in on a pay-per-view telecast.
“We will keep racing without fans until the state sets the guidelines and allows us to open the grandstand,” said promoter Mayes Massey. “I know it is tough for the fans of the track. I hear from them daily asking about the talks with the state. They are anxious to get back out here.”
Also celebrating their first career trip to Senoia Raceway’s victory lane were TJ Joiner of Lithia Springs in the Hobby, Payton Stevenson of Locust Grove in another Charger main and Alabama’s Kirby Smith getting the best of the Hot Shot field.
Joiner has been working on a new car this past spring and winter finally being able to get it on the track. He battled with former Hobby track champion Ben Wells of Milner for a few laps before getting past him with a strong run to the inside out of turn four.
Joiner never looked back, earning his way to the winner’s circle.
Payton Stevenson’s run to the checkers was a bit more exciting as the teenager used a small opening between two drivers to shoot past into the number one spot.
Coming out of the second turn, Stevenson saw the middle lane open up as Canton’s Carson Nicholson and Stockbridge’s Conner Younginer battled on the top and bottom of the race track. Stevenson’s three wide decision was the difference maker as he held off the challengers the rest of the way.
In the Hot Shots, Kirby Smith struggled in qualifying and then found his groove when feature time came around. Smith used the highline around the track to his advantage moving past competitors that found the bottom groove to their liking.
It took the eventual winner thirteen laps to catch then leader Chris Elliott, but he shot past just before the final lap and then pulled away nearly scraping the outside concrete over the final circuit.
Whitesburg’s Austin Horton dominated the Limited Late Model show Saturday night. Horton ran flag to flag for the victory. Newnan’s Marty Lunsford ran a near perfect race charging up over the final few laps to snag a second place finish passing Rucker Orr, also from Newnan, with a highside speed move on lap 18.
Macon’s Wiley McDaniel also found the most speed in the high line. McDaniel worked past Fayetteville’s Bailey Williams early on and then held on through a number of cautions to win the Late Model Sportsman race.
Senoia’s Dustin Smith waged war with Whitesburg’s William Blair and Gray’s Chas Haksins in the Bomber feature. The three swapped positions and lane choice throughout the first half of the race before Blair’s tires heated up causing him to fade back. Smith then pulled away from the previous Saturday night winner Haskins to post the win.
Alabama’s Dylan Knowles won for the second straight week in the Crate Late Model division and Newnan’s Tommy Faulkner won the Mini Stock race. Both drivers led their respective races flag to flag.
Senoia Raceway will return to racing action this Saturday, May 30th with racing scheduled in the Limited Late Model, Crate Late Model, Late Model Sportsman, Charger, Hobby, Mini, Bomber and Hot Shots. All classes will qualify and run features beginning at 6pm. The pits will open early and it is yet to be determined if fans will be allowed to attend. Track officials continue to work with state and county leaders on a re-opening plan that includes the opening of the grandstand for race fans.
“We will continue to discuss the grandstand reopening with proper officials,” said Massey. “The state order for live entertainment venues expires the week of our next race. Hopefully the current openings will show a trend of safer environments and we will be allowed to open for the fans.”
To keep track of the latest developments for racers, crew members and fans, the track recommends continually checking their website at www.senoiaraceway.com and following their Facebook page, Twitter feed and Instagram shares. You can also call the speedway at 770.599.6161.
All photos courtesy of Chris Martin
Official Results – Saturday, May 16, 2020
Limited Late Models (Feature): 1-Austin Horton, Whitesburg 2-Marty Lunsford, Newnan 3-Rucker Orr, Newnan 4-Landon Bagby, Winston 5-Tate McCullom, Douglasville 6-Jordy Nipper, Gray 7-Tristan Sealey, Moultrie 8-Glenn Morris, Fayetteville 9-Phillip Deal, Tyrone 10-Jacques Daniel, Cartersville 11-Jamie Carr, LaGrange 12-Oliver Gentry, Newnan 13-Jeff Anderson 14-Maddie Crane, Meansville 15-Richard Mills, Rockmart 16-Shane Fulcher, Thomaston 17-John Anderson, Monroe 18-Jonah Bozeman, Moultrie 19-Joel Anderson DNS: Dana Eiland, Salem, AL Fast Qualifier: Horton (15.568 seconds / 86.7 mph)
Crate Late Models (Feature): 1-Dylan Knowles, Lanett, AL 2-Colby Darda, LaGrange 3-Cruz Skinner, Oxford, AL 4-Cody Haskins, Marietta 5-Bubba Pollard, Senoia 6-Ahnna Parkhurst, Evans 7-Tanner Collins, Franklin 8-Jimmy Thomas, Phenix City, AL 9-Lamar Haygood, Douglasville 10-Dustin Elliott, Pine Mountain 11-Corey Dunn, Milidgeville 12-Ty Ellis, Covington 13-Sylvan Schutte, Blairsville 14-Marty Massey, Winston 15-McKenna Nelms, Newnan 16-Scott Hall, Rome 17-Jimmy Price, Oxford 18-Tina Johnson, Senoia 19-Lance Finn, Flowery Branch 20-Danny Herrington, LaGrange Fast Qualifier: Knowles (15.423 seconds / 87.5 mph)
Late Model Sportsman (Feature): 1-Wiley McDaniel, Byron 2-Jason Turner, McDonough 3-Chris McKeehan, Winder 4-Morgan Alexander, Jackson 5-Matthew Knight, Villa Rica 6-Jamie Nicholson, Jr, Locust Grove 7-Shane Payton, Newnan 8-Jack Mills, Griffin 9-Braxtin Barber, Valley, AL 10-Logan Stinchcomb, Winder 11-Daniel Brewer, Powder Springs 12-Jamie Maurice, Locust Grove 13-Benjamin Crawford, Jefferson 14-Griffin Alexander, Locust Grove 15-Bailey Williams, Fayetteville 16-Chad Kimbral, Canton 17-Matthew Thompson, Powder Springs 18-Jonathan Montgomery, Monroe 19-Tyler Peavey, Douglasville 20-Dennis Lykins, Jr., Sharspburg 21-Craig Scott, Newnan 22-Rob Johnson 23-Bobby Arnold, Newnan 24-Wesley Scott (B-Main) 1-Barber 2-Crawford 3-Arnold 4-W Scott 5-Peavey 6-Thompson 7-John Strickland, Jackson 8-Josh Lewis 9-Mike Abercrombie, Jackson DNS-Dalton Benefield, Carrollton Fast Qualifier: Turner (16.009 seconds / 84.3 mph)
Chargers (Feature #1): 1-Payton Stevenson, Locust Grove 2-Carson Nicholson, Canton 3-Mike Weed, Franklin 4-Conner Younginer, Stockbridge 5-James Barber, Greenville 6-Joshua Anderson 7- Nathan Pierson, Sharpsburg 8-Jim Droskinis, Newnan 9-Landon Frix, Newnan 10-Jonathan Flournoy, Moreland 11-Heather Lowe, Warrior, AL (Feature #2) ): 1-Olivia Gentry, Newnan 2-Dawson Martin, Oxford 3-Johnny Stinchcomb, Newnan 4-Nathan Farrow, LaGrange 5-Michael Couch, Senoia 6-TJ Boetz, Midland 7-Jimmy Baxter, Jr., Newnan 8-Jake Rains 9-Jack Smith, Marietta 10-Jesse Pitt, Stockbridge Fast Qualifier: Younginer (15.202 seconds / 88.8 mph)
Hobby (Feature): 1-TJ Joiner, Lithia Springs 2-Landon DeGraff, Barnesville 3-Keith West Powder Springs 4-Blant Duke, Whitesburg 5-Ben Wells, Milner 6-Tim Bosley, Smith’s Station, AL 7-Sam Carter, Covington 8-Stacey Duren, Conyers 9-Cory Hillman, Villa Rica 10-Josh Allen, LaGrange Fast Qualifier: Wells (16.490 / 81.8 mph)
Bomber (Feature): 1-Dustin Smith, Senoia 2-Chaz Haskins, Gray 3-William Blair, Whitesburg 4-Wilson Boozer, Jenkinsburg 5-Timmy Bosley, Smith’s Station, AL 6-Ricky Neill, Whitesburg 7-Jim Jackson, Zebulon 8-Brandon McDaniel, Macon 9-Larry Pierce, Griffin 10-Derrick Matthews, Whitesburg Fast Qualifier: Smith (16.729 seconds / 80.7 mph)
Mini Stock (Feature): 1-Tommy Faulkner, Newnan 2-Cody Lively, Locust Grove 3-David Griffith, Sylacauga, AL 4-David Brackett, Temple 5-Mikey Hardy 6-Stephen Chunn, Orchard Hill 7-Bryan Wright, Newnan 8-Travis Harris, Palmetto Fast Qualifier: Faulkner (18.514 seconds / 72.9 mph)
Hot Shots (Feature): 1-Kirby Smith 2-Curtis Elliott, Liveville, AL 3-Jonathan Nelson, Marietta 4-Brian Nicholas, Clanton, AL 5-Ernie Turner, Douglasville 6-Brandon Henderson, Senoia 7-Tommy Smith, Forsyth 8-Paul Heitsenrether, Dallas 9-Cory Wilson, Locust Grove 10-Michael Mernaugh, Locust Grove 11-Rick Ricks, Marietta 12-Steve Clinton DNS-Terry Merritt Fas Qualifier: Ricks (19.362 seconds / 69.7 mph)