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Nascar Phenom Chase Elliott makes Senoia Debut

By Riley Hicks —

It’s not very often that you get a famous Nascar driver to come and run at your local track, but that was the case this past Saturday night. Since Nascar had made its way to Atlanta Motor Speedway this past weekend, the Pollard’s decided to invite Chase Elliott to come down and drive one of their Crate Late Models. Fortunate for Senoia Raceway, Elliott decided to make an appearance, which helped pack out the pit area and the grandstands to witness this one-time event. The crazy thing was that Elliott brought the fans, but Landon Bagby stole the show.

In the Crate race, Elliott started fifth but quickly fell to the back as he adjusted to rough Senoia gumbo. On the other hand, Bagby started midpack and just took every opportunity to get to the front and battle for the lead, even if it meant beating up his car to do so. Once battling for the lead with Kyler Haygood, Bagby finally gained leverage and took the lead all the way to the checkered flag.

Elliott managed to battle back and salvage a second-place finish, but between Elliott and Bagby, they had fans standing in ovation at the end. For other feature races, Austin Horton dominated in the Limited Late Models cruising to an easy win and leading every lap.

Quite a few cars would fall out early due to mechanical issues since the track was so rough from all the rain the past few days. Coming home in second, which is by far his best finish, was Jason Turner, who battled for the lead at times but just didn’t have anything for Horton. In the Late Model Sportsman, the race was once again dominated by one driver, but the battles behind him were hard-fought the entire race. Chaz Haskins blistered the field and barely had any troubles the whole race to the checkered flag.

For those behind Haskins, it was a different story. Morgan Alexander had a great run gaining ten spots and coming home second. Dylan Knowles and Brandon McDaniel traded blows through the entire event, but McDaniel gained the upper hand and took home third, while Knowles wound up in the fourth position. Probably, one of the biggest battles for the lead on the night came in the Mini Stocks huge $,2097 to win the race.

JJ Garrett looked to have everything under control the entire feature as he held firmly in the top spot. It wasn’t until the closing laps on a late caution that Cody Keith changed things up. Keith drove hard in on Garrett and took the lead following a caution.

This late pass allowed Keith to hold on to the victory and steal it away from Garrett. A few other drivers entering victory lane were Allen Jones in Hot Shots and Darrin Ray in the Chargers. Both of these drivers drove outstanding races and held off some stiff competition. On this particular night, finding themselves as the winners came down to driving the right lines all race, and Jones and Ray did that in their feature races.

The last feature winner of the night went to Curtis Turner in the Bombers. Surprisingly, the class only had five entries making it one of the lowest car counts this division has seen. Turner and Craig Boozer still put on an excellent race for the fans, and Turner was able to gain his first victory of the season. It’s wonderful that Nascar drivers like Chase Elliott still support these local tracks like Senoia Raceway.

What Elliott did, helped put Senoia Raceway more on the map and let people know to make the trip to this track. The Pollard’s put on a great show Saturday night and did the best with the surface after some heavy rain days before. Some drivers went home with some beat-up racecars, but that’s bound to happen when it comes to dirt racing. Senoia raceway will be back in action this Saturday night with the Modified Special and its other weekly divisions. The Hobbies will also be making their first appearance of the season as well.

By Michael Cuneo

Michael Cuneo is a news and sports reporter for the Fayette County News. Michael graduated from Georgia State University with a degree in Journalism in 2020. In his off time, Michael enjoys torturing himself as an Atlanta Falcons fan. Follow Michael on twitter @michaelcune