Racing Report: Smith wins main event at Laurens County Speedwaylaurens
In the final night of action before Tuesday’s Laurens County Shrine Race, Michael Smith used a good draw to improve from a second-row qualifying lap to the pole position – and once there he didn’t give the position up.
Smith led from start to finish in the main event and took home a victory that will help boost his hopes for a division title. Chris Lyons was second, Mike Huey third, Billy Rushton fourth and Shun Thomas fifth.
Smith turned in a good qualifying time of 15.394 seconds to take third, but Deano Long had the fastest time at 15.044 seconds. Long was then tasked to draw to invert the field, and when he picked No. 3 it essentially flipped the starting positions of the first two drivers on the inside row. Long moved to the inside of Row 2, while Smith moved up and filled Long’s place.
Smith got to the front with his best friend, Billy Rushton, following in second. After a pair of restarts Smith started to open a bit of a gap between himself and Rushton, but again a caution brought the field back together on the third lap.
The race then hit a long stretch of green-flag racing that saw the gap between Smith and Rushton stay tight, but Smith never gave up the lead. Long, who had been in third place, was later knocked out of the race when his car slowed and forced a caution flag with six laps to go.
The bigger turn of events on Lap 15 was Rushton being forced to the pits for a flat tire. That knocked him further down the standings and ended his hopes of winning the main event. That moved Lyons up to second place and Thomas to third. Thomas couldn’t maintain the spot, though, as both Huey and Rushton charged late and got past Thomas with two laps to go.
Despite the activity, though, nobody could mount a serious challenge in the final laps and Smith wound up earning the victory.
602 Crate: Mart Patterson and Chris Patterson took the top two spots in the main event, with Mart finishing ahead of Chris and winning the race. Butch Riddle finished behind Chris Patterson and took third.
Mart Patterson got out to a good jump on the start and got away from Chris Patterson after both drivers started the main event on the front row. Both Patterson cars pulled ahead from the field and made the main event a two-car race – at one point third-place driver Riddle was more than six seconds behind the second-place Chris Patterson.
The race came down to a three-lap battle after a late caution, but that did nothing to change the outcome of the main event as Mart again pulled away and won by more than a half second.
FWD: Mason Mack started the race on the outside of Row 1, and by the end of the race he found himself at the top of the pack by winning the main event. Joel Cabe was second and Andrew Patterson was third.
The race was a stop-and-start affair with six cautions, and eventually ended with a green-white-checkered finish. At the start of the race Travis Jamieson was at the front of the field, but he had to continually fight off Cabe lap after lap. Jamieson continually turned Cabe back until lap five when Cabe barely nosed in front at the line. Jamieson immediately took the lead back on the next lap, but soon after Jamieson’s right rear tire failed him. The tire failure finished Jamieson’s night, and he eventually took ninth.
Mack, who passed Cabe for second between Jamieson’s last pass and his exit from the main event, then assumed the top spot in the field with Cabe following back in second. Cabe tried to make one final challenge and got close to getting the victory, but Mack ended up winning by .091 seconds.
Thunder Bombers: Bo Baker found his way to Victory Lane when he won the main event. Shane Roberts finished second and Justin McJunkin was third.
Baker was the benefactor of a caution on the fourth lap of the main event that took leading cars Casey Lawson and Dylan Chappell out of the top two spots. Baker moved up from third and remained in front after Roberts also moved from fourth to second place following the caution.
Lawson, who won last week after Dan Lawson’s disqualification, finished fourth.
Monster Minis: Phillip Wilson picked up another victory in the Monster Minis Division main event. Wilson held off Larry Teal, who was second, and third-place finisher Brandon Frazier.
Wilson started the main event on the inside of Row 1 and got out with a good start to take the lead. Dusty Eaves followed to take second, but the opening lap was wiped out due to a caution. On the second attempted start Wilson again found his way to first, but this time Teal got himself into second place ahead of Eaves. Teal started to make a charge toward Wilson to take the lead, but he could never get all the way to the front of Wilson. Teal did have one last chance to take the lead toward the later stages of the race, but his best efforts were not enough as Wilson held on.
604 Crate: Colby Cannon was the best driver in the 604 Crate Division, starting the main event on the pole and eventually going wire-to-wire for the victory. Ray Storay was second and Brad Rachels was third.
Cannon, Storay and Rachels each moved into the top three spots from the opening of the race. In the early going Storay closed the gap by a slight margin, Cannon maintained a steady lead that approached one full second with four laps to go, and by the end of the race Cannon won by .959 seconds.