Racing Report: Rushton wins two divisions at Laurens County Speedwaylaurens
Billy Rushton has been among the top drivers at Laurens County Speedway for years. Saturday night’s racing card provided another chance for him to show just how great he is.
Rushton won both the main events he took part in at the speedway, winning the 602 Crate Division and Limited Division races, and took both races with relative ease. In the 602 Crate he topped Colt Smith and Jeff Crowder, who were second and third, respectively, while in the Limited main he finished ahead of second-place Tony Quarles and third-place Michael Smith.
In the 602 Crate Main, Rushton started on the pole after winning the first heat. At the start he and Smith, who was on the outside of Row 1, jumped out to the front of the field and maintained their spots through an early caution on Lap 3. When the race resumed Rushton was able to build a comfortable lead over Smith, who needed to get some help to get back into the race after it appeared Rushton was going to win in a rout.
Smith got his help when another caution came out on Lap 7, forcing the field back together, but the chance didn’t turn into the challenge Smith hoped for as Rushton again pulled away with a good restart and was not threatened the rest of the way.
In the Limited Division, Rushton won the pole with a time of 14.998 seconds. He then maintained the pole position when he drew a “1” in the inversion draw. That left him on the pole and Quarles on the outside of Row 1. Rushton held a slim lead through the start of the main event, but as the laps passed by the gap continued to grow. Rushton continued to lap driver after driver through the main event, and by the time a caution came out on Lap 23 of the 25-lap main event it appeared Rushton was on the verge of lapping Frankie Coates, who eventually ended fourth and was the final car on the lead lap.
Coates never went down a lap, but it didn’t matter as Rushton cruised through the final three laps of the main event and won with ease.
604 Crate: Larry Timms set a record in qualifying for the main event, then went out and won the main event over Taylor Puckett, who was second. Brad Rachels finished in third.
Timms set the record for the 604 Crate Division at LCS with a qualifying time of 15.216 seconds. Timms, like Rushton in the Limited Division, then held onto the pole position with a “1” inversion draw that left the qualifying order as it was.
Timms eventually held the lead on the second attempted start to the main event, and quickly took Puckett and turned the race into a two-car duel. Puckett was down by .343 seconds through six laps of the 20-lap main, but as the laps went by the gap modestly grew. The problem for Puckett, though, is they never shrank enough – and early enough – to allow him time to get back into the race. Because of that, even though Puckett eventually cut the margin to .490 seconds, even that wasn’t good enough.
FWD: Travis Jamieson took home the main event, and a $1,000 bonus, by stopping Shawn Nichols for the checkered flag. Andrew Patterson finished third.
After the second attempted start to the main event, Jamieson and Nichols started their battle for the top spot as Jamieson tried all he could to break away but could never put him away. That challenge got harder for Jamieson, though, as the two got side-by-side on the fourth lap. The two drivers made incidental contact at the end of the fourth lap, and when they did it allowed Jamieson the chance to break away from the pack.
Jamieson was eventually able to open a lead before a pair of final cautions brought the field back together, but nothing was enough to prevent the victory for Jamieson.
Thunder Bombers: Dan Lawson won the main event in the Thunder Bombers Division. Josh Hellams was second and Dusty Eaves took third.
Lawson led from the start after opening on the pole, and shook off a restart on the fifth lap to maintain the lead. Before the caution Lawson’s lead hovered around a half second. The lead looked more secure as the laps went on, but a yellow flag came out on the 10th lap in the 12-lap main to help pull the field back together and give the rest of the drivers a chance. All that did was delay the inevitable, though, as Lawson helped bring an end to Eaves’ seven-match winning streak dating back to last year.
Monster Minis: Rod Tucker was the top driver in the division, stopping Travis Sharpe and Larry Teal to win the main event. Sharpe was second and Teal was third.
Tucker got off to a good start to the main event, but in the early going Sharpe was right with the leader. The two drivers pulled away from the field in the early going, putting a nearly two-second gap between them and third place through four laps.
The race was forced into a restart on the sixth lap, which is where Tucker managed to keep a hold of a slim lead – but was never passed.
Enduro: Bruce Barnett topped the field in the Enduro Division, with Eric Caughorn second and Robbie Hartman third.
The race got off to a herky-jerky start as it took three starts of the main event to get a lap in. Barnett took the lead on a single-file restart to the main event, and as the laps went by Barnett opened a hefty lead that nobody could close to the point of creating a serious challenge.