Rucker Orr has been shut out of victory lane at Senoia Raceway since 2014. That six-year drought came to an end Saturday night as the Newnan racer qualified on the pole and then led flag to flag, winning the Limited Late Model feature. Orr had to hold off a couple of charges by fellow Newnan resident Oliver Gentry, but he was not to be denied breaking the winless streak.
The first night of the season where fans were allowed to attend saw a packed house of anxious race fans eager to see their short track racing heroes live and in person. The drivers did not disappoint as close finishes, three- and four-wide racing coincided with a couple of wild wrecks.
“It was great to see the fans back with us,” said promoter Mayes Massey. “The fans are the reason we put these shows on. It is such a good feeling to see the smiles and watch them cheer for their favorites. And tonight, they saw a show.”
Other winners included Winston’s Michael Page in the Crate Late Models, Byron’s Wiley McDaniel in the Late Model Sportsman, Rick Ricks of Marietta in the Hot Shots, David Brackett of Temple in the Mini, while Bomber winner Dustin Smith of Senoia, Hobby victor T.J. Joiner of Lithia Springs and Charger Payton Stevenson of Locust Grove repeated trips to the winner’s circle.
Rucker Orr had a couple of top five finishes so far this season and was working to get a better setup on the unique gumbo clay at Senoia Raceway. The slick surface has frustrated the veteran driver for years. That frustration turned to elation early in the evening when Orr qualified fastest with an average lap speed in excess of 93 miles per hour. Orr used his pole position to jump out to the feature’s lead at the drop of the green. Oliver Gentry chased him down with Winston’s Landon Bagby holding the third place position.
As the leaders worked through traffic on lap 16, Bagby ran to the outside of Moultrie’s Chance Seary coming out of the fourth turn. Seary, not knowing that Bagby was there, moved up the track, pinching Bagby against the concrete wall and causing him to lose control and then collecting several cars running among the top five. Ball Ground’s Tate McCullom crashed into the slowing cars along with Dallas’ Chris Fennell and then Newnan’s Marty Lunsford. McCullom and Lunsford were running fourth and fifth at the time of the accident.
Orr cruised the rest of the way to win while Gentry ran second. Fayetteville’s Glenn Morris’ strong charge over the final nine circuits landed him in third, with Dallas’ Curtin Cline fourth and Norman Park’s John Baker fifth.
A classic battle for the lead spot unfolded in the Crate Late Model main event. Michael Page shot out to an early lead only to see it dissolve at the hands of Gray’s Jordy Nipper. Page led the race until lap 19 when Nipper slid under him entering turn one. The two provided some excitement bumping and banging a little trying to each upset the other before a caution flew with only two laps remaining.
The two lap shoot-out was everything the fans wanted since being shut-out of their Saturday night showplace. The two raced hard coming to the white flag. Page ran low in turn one sliding up to take the lead over Nipper in turn two. Nipper crossed over to the low side entering the third turn retaking the lead as Page ran close to the outside wall. The two were neck and neck coming out of the final turn with Page inching in front at the finish line to claim the victory.
Senoia Raceway will return to racing action this Saturday, May 30, with racing scheduled in the Limited Late Model, Crate Late Model, Late Model Sportsman, Charger,
“That was one of the closest finishes this season,” said Mayes Massey. “Everyone was on their feet as they came to the finish line.”
A scary crash in the Charger feature hushed the crowd. Locust Grove teenager, Conner Younginer, led the first lap before breaking a right front spindle exiting turn two. His racecar made a hard right hand turn that slammed him into the outside wall where he launched into the air before being hit by the second place car, driven by Jimmy Baxter Jr. of Newnan. That collision caused Younginer’s mount to flip wildly down the backstretch. Both drivers were ok.
Payton Stevenson steered clear of the melee and went on to record his second straight Charger win. Just like her father, Olivia Gentry would finish in second with Newnan’s Johnny Stinchcomb third.
Also doubling up the wins was Wiley McDaniel, as he won for the second straight race in the Late Model Sportsman division. McDaniel battled early with his younger brother, Brandon, before he tangled with the front stretch wall ending his night. The elder McDaniel held off all challenges from Winder hot shoe Chris McKeehan for the victory. Carrollton’s Dalton Benefield was the hard charger of the race, coming from near the back of the pack to garner a top three finish.
Senoia Raceway stock cars will take off the weekend of June 6 to allow the go-kart racers to compete on the recently opened Lil Bull Ring. The track opened a one-sixth mile go-kart track during the off season and will host the first event of the summer next Friday, June 5t.
The “South’s Baddest Bull Ring” will fire back up the following weekend on Saturday, June 13, with the Five Star Chrysler Dodge Jeep of Warner Robins “Gumbo” Series opener taking place. The special series will offer drivers in all divisions a point fund bonus and awards. Drivers in the Limited Late Models, Crate Late Models, Late Model Sportsman, Charger, Hobby, Bomber, Mini and Hot Shots will compete for the points and prize money while drivers in the Crate Late Models and Late Model Sportsman will also have an opportunity to compete in $1,000 to win feature races.
“The Crate Late Models and the Late Model Sportsman will each have a race paying $1,000 to win thanks to Five Star,” explained Mayes Massey. “Five Star has also posted cash awards for the top drivers in the series points in all of the classes. The series will have several nights for drivers to gain points and then win the money. It’s a really cool deal for the drivers.”
To learn more about the series, the track schedule and more, visit the track website at www.senoiaraceway.com . Information is also available on the track’s Facebook page, their Twitter feed and Instagram shares. You can also call the speedway at 770-599-6161.
Official Results – Saturday, May 30, 2020
Limited Late Models (Feature): 1-Rucker Orr, Newnan 2-Oliver Gentry, Newnan 3-Glenn Morris, Fayetteville 4-Curtis Kline, Dallas 5-John Baker, Norman Park 6-Thomas Mewborn, Greenville 7-Justin Shipley, Douglasville 8-Andy Morris, Canton 9-Jonah Bozeman, Moultrie 10-Randall Powell, Oxford 11-Chance Seary, Moultrie 12-Tom Watson, Kennesaw 13-Jamie Carr, LaGrange 14-Landon Bagby, Winston 15-Tate McCullom, Douglasville 16-Marty Lunsford, Newnan 17-Chris Fennell, Dallas 18-Jimmy Price, Oxford DNS: Jacques Daniel, Cartersville Fast Qualifier: Orr (14.412 seconds / 93.7 mph)
Crate Late Models (Feature): 1-Michael Page, Douglasville 2-Jordy Nipper, Gray 3-Will Roland, Jasper 4-Tanner Collins, Franklin 5-Colby Darda, LaGrange 6-Jake Rainey, Powder Springs 7-Blant Duke, Whitesburg 8-Dustin Elliott, Pine Mountain 9-Jimmy Thomas, Phenix City, AL 10-Jake Traylor, LaGrange 11-Josh Copeland, McDonough 12-Logan Palmer, Acworth 13-Wayne Harbin, Sharpsburg 14-McKenna Nelms, Newnan 15-Kyler Haygood, Douglasville 16-Lavon Sparks, Phenix City, AL 17-Marty Massey, Winston 18-Travis Price, Conyers 19-Danny Richardson, Marietta 20-Tim Clark, Kennesaw 21-Jason Faircloth, Gray 22-Tina Johnson, Senoia 23-Cody Haskins, Marietta DNS: Chris Justus, McDonough Fast Qualifier: Page (15.008 seconds / 89.9 mph)
Late Model Sportsman (Feature): 1-Wiley McDaniel, Byron 2-Chris McKeehan, Winder 3-Dalton Benefield, Carrollton 4-Taylor Cole, Cartersville 5-Craig Scott, Moreland 6-Jamie Nicholson Jr., Locust Grove 7-Shane Payton, Newnan 8-Rob Johnson, Kennesaw 9-Josh Turner, McDonough 10-Morgan Alexander, Locust Grove 11-John Land, Cartersville 12-Ricky Payton, Newnan 13-Stevie Brannon, Cumming 14-Steven Bryant, Moultrie 15-Braxton Barber, Valley, AL 16-Bailey Williams, Fayetteville 17-Caden Walston, Chatsworth 18-Brandon McDaniel, Macon 19-Jack Mills, Griffin 20-Jeff Norrell, Macon 21-Todd Brewster, Villa Rica 22-Ridge McCoy, Sandersville 23-John Strickland, Jackson DNS: Billy Stevenson, Locust Grove; Jamie Maurice, Forsyth; Bobby Arnold, Newnan; Parrish Duncan, Newnan Fast Qualifier: Wiley McDaniel (14.987 seconds / 90.1 mph)
Chargers (Feature): 1-Payton Stevenson, Locust Grove 2-Olivia Gentry, Newnan 3-Johnny Stinchcomb, Newnan 4-Nathan Farrow, LaGrange 5-Kyle Gilbert, Jasper 6-Lucas Pittman, Grantville 7-Cody Lively, Locust Grove 8-Jamie Godbee, Carrollton 9-Kelly Donnell, Carrollton 10-Kenneth Graves, Covington 11-Jonathan Flourney, Moreland 12-Landon Frix, Newnan 13-Conner Younginer, Locust Grove 14-Jimmy Baxter Jr., Newnan 15-Brant Hardin, McDonough DNS: Jack Smith, McDonough Fast Qualifier: Younginer **New Track Record** (14.206 seconds / 95.1 mph)
Hobby (Feature): 1-T.J. Joiner, Lithia Springs 2-Keith West Powder Springs 3-Michael Thomas, Whitesburg 4-H B Duke, Whitesburg 5-Chris Steele, Franklin 6-James Swanger, Whitesburg DNS: Cory Potts, Newnan; Michael Couch, Senoia Fast Qualifier: Joiner (15.706 / 85.9 mph)
Bomber (Feature): 1-Dustin Smith, Senoia 2-William Blair, Whitesburg 3-Derrick Matthews, Whitesburg 4-Jim Jackson, Zebulon 5-Joey Ward, Newnan 6-David Jackson, Whitesburg 7-Craig Boozer, Jenkinsburg Fast Qualifier: Boozer (18.074 seconds / 74.7 mph)
Mini Stock (Feature): 1-David Brackett, Temple 2-Lonnie Patterson, Sharpsburg 3-Jamie Pritchett, Canton 4-Tommy Faulkner, Newnan 5-Brian Shoemaker, Roopville 6-Justin Brackett, Temple 7-Mikey Hardy, Newnan DNS: Stephen Chunn, Orchard Hill; John Hayes, Jackson; Travis Harris, Palmetto Fast Qualifier: David Brackett (17.162 seconds / 78.7 mph)
Hot Shots (Feature): 1-Rick Ricks, Marietta 2-Jason Young, Jasper 3-James Drummond, Resard 4-Cory Wilson, Locust Grove 5-Ernie Turner, Douglasville 6-Tommy Smith, Forsyth 7-Brandon Henderson, Senoia 8-Paul Heitsenrether, Dallas 9-Spencer Huth, Silver Creek 10-Jacob Gibson, Senoia 11-Shannon Stephens, Franklin 12-Johnathan Nelson, Marietta DNS: Jonathan Sanford, Rockmart; Shawn Harper, White Fast Qualifier: Ricks **New Track Record** (18.591 seconds / 72.6 mph)