Second-round action in the Five Star Chrysler Dodge Jeep of Warner Robins ‘Gumbo Series’ at Senoia Raceway welcomed a pair of new victors which also helped them move up the series rankings with only one round remaining.
Locust Grove’s Morgan Alexander finally broke through to win his first career race at the ‘South’s Baddest Bull Ring’ while Mansfield’s Tim Harmon won for the first time this season. Both drivers are now positioned to possibly win the series titles when the ‘Gumbo Series’ culminates in late August.
“We started this series to provide drivers with an opportunity to win a series within a series,” explained promoter Mayes Massey. “Thanks to Mike and Linda Heard at Five Star of Warner Robins, drivers can plan on a series of events that does not mandate they be here every week of the season to win a title. It’s really cool and the fans seem to enjoy the extra competition on these event nights.”
Austin Horton of Whitesburg also won in the Limited Late Models while Alabama’s Dylan Knowles won in the Crate Late Models. Franklin’s Mike Weed topped the Charger competition, McDonough’s Joshua Till the Mini Stocks and Douglasville’s Ernie Turner the Hot Shots. Dustin Smith was handed the Bomber victory after Gray’s Lark Haskins was disqualified in post race tech for an illegal carburetor.
Morgan Alexander has been fast most of the abbreviated season at Senoia Raceway, but the youngster had not broken the seal on victory lane. He had qualified the fastest a couple of times and finished in the runner-up spot twice while also nabbing an additional top five finish in May.
Saturday night, Alexander again qualified faster than the field of twenty-three Late Model Sportsman cars with an average speed of 90 miles per hour. Alexander started on the pole and was quickly pursued by Wiley McDaniel of Byron.
McDaniel looked a three wide run entering turn one, but decided to tune down allowing the stage to be set for a fierce battle between the two over the first half of the race. McDaniel dove low several times on the leader, but each time Alexander would close the door and maintain the lead.
A lap fifteen caution was caused by Newnan’s Brandon Bright when he lost control of his mount in turn one, slammed the outside wall and then was collected by LaGrange’s Jake Traylor. While under caution, McDaniel’s car appeared to have a broken shock on the right rear and had to drop from the race.
With Alexander’s stiffest competition in the pit area, he cruised to his first career win at the track and pocketed the $1000 top prize as part of the ‘Gumbo Series’ offerings.
Fellow Locust Grove racer Jamie Nicholson, Jr. completed his late race charge to finish as the runner-up followed by first time Senoia Raceway visitor Mario Gresham of Rome in third place.
Fayetteville’s Bailey Williams ran his best race of the season finishing in fourth and Florida’s Shane Smith completed the top five.
On the strength of his second place finish, Jamie Nicholson, Jr. has moved into the ‘Gumbo Series’ points lead for the Late Model Sportsman. Alexnader and McDaniel are his closest competitors with only the championship round remaining which is scheduled for Saturday, August 22nd.
Tim Harmon also used his win on Saturday night in the Hobby to take over the ‘Gumbo Series’ points lead. Harmon passed fast qualifier TJ Joiner of Lithia Springs with an outside power move on lap three of their main event and then cruised to the victory over Joiner and Barnesville’s Landon DeGraff.
The Hobby class saw a few new drivers checking out the track on Saturday night. Alabama’s Danny Whitten and JoJo Morgan were in attendance preparing for the biggest race for the Hobby division in track history.
Senoia Raceway will host the Southern Outlaw Hobby Series on Saturday, July 25th and the track is expecting a large field of cars competing in the Stock Car Shoot-Out honoring Zach Jones. The track is offering over $8000 in prize money including a record $3000 winner’s share.
“Zach Jones was a great young man,” said Mayes Massey. “He was always laughing and cutting up and his smile was memorable. His passing at the end of June shocked our racing community. His friends, racers and a bunch of sponsors put together this race to honor him and his love for the lower budgeted racing divisions. This will be their chance to be in the spotlight.”
Mike Weed was another driver that had been close to winning his first career race at Senoia Raceway, but had fallen just short twice this season finishing in second place. That changed on Saturday night as Weed ran flag to flag to win the Charger feature. Weed, who recently lost his grandmother and biggest fan, dedicated the win to her memory.
Hazelhurst driver Chuck Hargrove was involved in scary first lap crash in the Charger feature. Hargrove was racing hard out of the second turn when his car got too close to the back stretch and climbed up the concrete. The result was a scary flip with the car coming to rest on it’s roof at the entrance to turn three. Hargrove was not injured in the accident.
Senoia Raceway will host a special Thursday Night Race this week as the Schaeffer’s Oil Southern Nationals visit’s the tough 3/8ths mile gumbo clay track. The annual tour will bring some of the best Super Late Model drivers in for the event including this weekend’s winners Chris ‘Smokey’ Madden of Gary’s Court, SC and Brandon Overton of Evans. Also, competing with the Thursday night show will be the Crate Late Models, Late Model Sportsman and Charger division.
Tickets for Thursday, July 16 are $20 with kids ages twelve and under admitted to the grandstand for free. Pit passes and trackside parking passes are $40; kids 6-12 are $20 and five and under free. The pits will open at 3pm and grandstands at 5pm. Hot laps and qualifying begin at 7pm with racing at 8pm.
Saturday night racing will return on Saturday, July 25th with the Southern Outlaw Hobby Series coming in for their special race.
For more information on these race events 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.
ALL PHOTOS BY CHRIS MARTIN PHOTORGAPHY
Joshua Till, winner of the mini stock feature, signs an autograph for a fan.
Ernie Turner, winner of the Hot Shots feature, celebrates after his win.
Crew members work on the car of 17-year-old McKenna Nelms from Newnan
Dylan Knowles and crew celebrate following his Crate Late Models feature race.
Official Results – Saturday, July 11, 2020
Limited Late Models (Feature): 1-Austin Horton, Whitesburg 2-Chaz Haskins, Gray 3-Dennis Hale, LaGrange 4-Glenn Morris, Fayetteville 5-Rucker Orr, Newnan 6-Chad Duncan, Newnan 7-Curtis Cline, Dallas 8-Aubrey Merritt, Whitesburg 9-Jamie Carr, LaGrange 10-Dow Kirkland, Lake Spivey 11-Parrish Duncan, Newnan DNS: Larry Pierce, Griffin Fast Qualifier: Horton (14.488 seconds / 93.2 mph)
Crate Late Models (Feature): 1-Dylan Knowles, Lannett, AL 2-Marty Massey, Winston 3-Wayne Harbin, Sharpsburg 4-Jimmy Thomas, Phenix City, AL 5-Mason Massey, Mooresville, NC 6-Rodney Martin, Cartersville 7-Jody Knowles, Tyrone 8-Shane Smith, Dade City, FL 9-Jamie Maurice, Forsyth 10-Kyler Haygood, Douglasville 11-McKenna Nelms, Newnan 12-Tina Johnson, Senoia 13-Dennis Williams, Zephyr Hills, FL 14-Colby Darda, LaGrange 15-Lance Finn, Flowery Branch 16-Tom Fiebelkorn, Lehigh Acres, FL Fast Qualifier: Marty Massey (14.603 seconds / 92.5 mph)
Late Model Sportsman (Feature): 1-Morgan Alexander, Locust Grove 2-Jamie Nicholson, Jr., Locust Grove 3-Mario Gresham, Rome 4-Bailey Williams, Fayetteville 5-Brendan Smith, Dade City, FL 6-Jack Mills, Griffin 7-Daniel Doster, Bogart 8-Jason Turner, McDonough 9-Cory Compton, Gray 10-Shane Payton, Newnan 11-Brock Love, Wellington, AL 12-Granger Perra, Labell, FL 13-John Strickland, Jackson 14-Wiley McDaniel, Byron 15-Chris McKeehan, Winder 16-Brandon Bright, Newnan 17-Jake Traylor, LaGrange 18-Ryan Knight, Villa Rica 19-Cole Compton, Macon 20-Brent Herndon, Scott 21-Michael Mims, Rome 22-Mike Abercrombie, Jackson DNS: Tyler Peavey, Douglasville Fast Qualifier: Alexander (14.985 seconds / 90.1 mph)
Chargers (Feature): 1-Mike Weed, Franklin 2-Conner Younginer, Locust Grove 3-Jamie Godbee, Carrollton 4-Will McConnell, Dallas 5-Payton Stevenson, Locust Grove 6-Jimmy Baxter, Jr., Newnan 7-Johnny Stinchcomb, Newnan 8-Kayla Boswell, Winston 9-Jonathan Flourney, Moreland 10-Kelly Donnell, Carrolton 11-Jack Smith, McDonough 12-Josh Scott, Jackson 13-Darrin Ray, Locust Grove 14-Brant Hardin, McDonough 15-Chuck Hargrove, Hazelhurst DNS: Ted Willingham, McDonough Fast Qualifier: Godbee (15.684 seconds / 86.1 mph)
Hobby (Feature): 1-Tim Harmon, Mansfield 2-TJ Joiner, Lithia Springs 3-Landon DeGraff, Barnesville 4-Danny Whitten, Gadsden, AL 5-James Swanger, Whitesburg 6-Ben Wells, Milner 7-JoJo Morgan, Altalla, AL 8-Blake Harmon, Mansfield 9-Michael Thomas, Whitesburg 10-Bron Rutledge, Rome 11-Cory Potts, Newnan 12-Lee McElwaney, Newnan DNS: Ben Steele, Franklin; Chris Steele, Franklin; Keith West, Powder Springs; Brent Herndon, Scott Fast Qualifier: Joiner (16.759 / 80.5 mph)
Bomber (Feature): 1-Dustin Smith, Senoia 2-Scott Amoson, Newnan 3-Curtis Turner, Brooks 4-Vern Miller, Newnan 5-Craig Boozer, Jenkinsburg 6-William Blair, Whitesburg 7-Tim Anderson, Carrollton 8-Shannon Stephens, Franklin 9-Jim Jackson, Zebulon 10-Johnny Benton, Fairburn DQ: Lark Haskins, Gray (illegal carburetor) Fast Qualifier: Smith (18.220 seconds / 74.1 mph)
Mini Stock (Feature): 1-Joshua Till, McDonough 2-Tommy Faulkner, Newnan 3-David Brackett, Temple 4-Jamie Pritchett, Canton 5-Justin Brackett, Temple 6-Devin Benton, Fairburn 7-Cale Burford, Milner 8-Bobby Faulkner, Newnan 9-Stephen Chunn, Orchard Hill DNS: Travis Harris, Palmetto Fast Qualifier: David Brackett (17.608 seconds / 76.7 mph)
Hot Shots (Feature): 1-Ernie Turner, Douglasville 2-Cory Greene, Griffin 3-Tommy Smith, Forsyth 4-Cory Wilson, Locust Grove 5-Alton Henry, Marietta 6-Stacey Henderson, Senoia 7-PB Henry, Doerun Fast Qualifier: Turner (19.603 seconds / 68.9 mph)