by Riley Hicks
Last Saturday night, the skies cleared after a long week of rain and set up a great night of racing at Senoia Raceway. After multiple tracks canceled for the night, the pits were full of competitive drivers looking for their chance to capture a checkered flag at the bullring. Adding to the already stacked field of cars, the Southern All-Stars made their 2018 Senoia debut with some of the best drivers in the south looking to claim the $4000 grand prize.
Before the Southern All-Stars took to the track for the main event, the tracks regular divisions kicked off a packed schedule of racing. The first winner of the night went to Ted Willingham in the Hobby class. For majority of the race, Keith West led the way and held off Willingham, but with just a few laps remaining Willingham made the pass for the win. In second place was West and third place was Ben Wells.
In the Bomber division, Dorough Bright put on a dominating performance holding off a charging field to lead flag-to-flag for the victory. Bright’s only competition seemed to be Scott Amoson, who finished second. However, every time he pulled alongside Bright for the pass, he was unable to maneuver to the front for the lead. Rounding out the podium was Shannon Stephens in third-place.
Senoia’s third checkered flag was given to William Blair in the Late Model Sportsman class, which has featured the most cars each week compared to the rest of the divisions. Most of the wins this season have been by Dylan Knowles, but with Knowles absent for the field the fans were instore for a new victor. Blair started the night by putting himself on the pole with the fastest qualifying time, and when the green dropped Blair would lead flag-to-flag for his first win at Senoia. The win would not be easy as multiple cautions, like the one where a car drove up onto the wall and almost into the stands, caused the drivers to pull right back up to Blair. Ryan King, who finished second, almost made the pass for the win, but lost his chance when another caution came out. Finishing behind King was Cory Compton, who worked through the field to claim third.
In the Crate Late Models, Kenny Collins held the lead for majority of the race, but in the closing laps Cruz Skinner made the sliding pass for the lead and drove to the win. Collins was hoping to capture his first win at Senoia following multiple trips to the track, but with every following lap Skinner drew closer to Collins. Eventually, he made the pass allowing him to pull away from Collins. Logan Palmer would finish third in the Crates to round out the podium.
For the four-cylinder Hotshots, the banged-up car drove by Nathan Farrow claimed the victory. In the early laps of the race, a wreck in front of Farrow caused him to hit the wall and have front hood damage, but he was able to continue the race and capture the victory. Farrow seemingly dominated the rest of the Hotshots, but finishing behind him was Lucas Pittman and Stacy Henderson.
Another first time winner at Senoia went to Jamie Nicholson Jr. in the Charger feature. Ever since the track started this division for the inexperienced late model drivers, it has welcomed many different drivers to victory lane. That streak would continue when Nicholson captured his first ever checkered flag, after he defended off a charging Tanner Collins, who ended up finishing second. The driver in third was Johnny Stinchcomb, who claimed his best finish of the season.
In the Mini Stocks, Tommy Faulkner captured his second victory in a row after leading flag-to-flag. Faulkner started the race on the pole and would not have any problems holding that lead throughout the entire 15 laps. The drivers to round out the podium in the Mini Stocks were Joshua Till and Jamie Nicholson Sr.
When it came down to the two biggest races of the night, Michael Page would claim both victories and continue his dominance at Senoia. First in the Limited Late Models, Page started the race on the pole after posting the fastest time in qualifying. That would be all that Page needed to do, because at the drop of the green flag he drove away from the rest of the pack and led flag-to-flag finishing over seven seconds ahead of the second place car. The driver to start alongside Page was Dennis Hale, who was unable to keep the pace with Page but still managed to bring it home in second. Dalton Polston would be the driver to finish third, and after a long absence from the track, Thomas Mewborn drove one of his best races of the season to finish fifth, as he hopes to begin his way towards a first ever victory at Senoia.
Finally, when it was time for the main event with the Southern All-Stars, it was once again a dominating performance by Michael Page to claim his second victory of the night. In qualifying, Page posted the second fastest time just mere seconds behind Shane Clanton, which meant these two drivers would start the race on the front row. Through the first ten laps of the race, Clanton and Page battled each other for the top spot but eventually Page would pull away and maintain the lead throughout the entire 40 laps. During the multiple cautions throughout the first part of the race, Clanton would pull up just behind Page but was still unable to make any sort of pass for the lead. After working his way through quite a bit of lapped traffic, Page managed to lead flag-to-flag and claim his first Southern All-Star win of the season at the track he calls home. Finishing in second was Shane Clanton and the driver to finish third was Aaron Ridley.
Senoia Raceway will now take the weekend off for Memorial Day, and they will be back in action in two weeks with drivers looking to continue their way towards a championship. Also, the Late Model Sportsman will have a $1500 to win race that evening as well. For those who missed the Southern All-Stars, they will be back at Senoia on June 23 for the Michael Head Jr. Memorial Race. For more information on upcoming events go to www.senoiaracway.com.