Smith makes it 2-for-2 at Laurens County Speedwaylaurens
Michael Smith has not wasted any time showing he will be one of the Limited Division favorites this season at the Laurens County Speedway.
Smith won his second straight main event race to open the 2017 season, topping Frankie Coates. Behind Coates, who took second in the main event, was third-place finisher Jimmy Taylor. Mike Kernells was fourth and Billy Rushton was fifth.
Smith started the night as the top driver in qualifying, posting a lap of 15 seconds flat. That edged out Brad Rachels for the pole by .056 seconds, with Rushton following .016 seconds behind Rachels.
After an aborted first start to the race due to a caution on Rachels, the field got going with Smith breaking out to the lead out of the starting zone. Coates held second for a time but had to check up going through a turn and gave up his spot to Rushton, with Rachels moving behind Coates. The three held their spots until past the midway point in the race when Rushton was finally able to get to the inside of Smith and take the lead, and held onto the lead after a debris caution was called that froze the field.
Rushton, after fighting all race to take the lead, now found himself in the role of the chased as Smith pushed the pace, and his perseverance finally paid off on the 17th lap when he took the lead after Rushton’s night ended on the backstretch. From there Smith, now firmly in first, pulled away from Coates and coasted in.
Thunder Bombers: Shane Roberts won the Thunder Bombers main event, with Casey Lawson taking second and Troy Bagwell finishing third.
Darren Fowler had the lead from the start of the race after winning his heat race, and he carried the momentum through most of the race. Roberts and Bagwell were able to stay close in the early laps, but Fowler looked fairly comfortable in the lead and appeared to have victory in hand – that is, until his car went high through the final two turns and hit the wall. That ended his hopes of winning the main event.
When the race resumed on the 10th lap Roberts and Lawson were at the front, and they pulled away from the rest of the field. Lawson stayed right on Roberts’ tail but could never find a way by, allowing Roberts to hold on.
602 Crate: If Mart Patterson is “The Judge,” then Chris Patterson could easily be called “The Executioner.”
Chris Patterson took home the victory in the main event of the 602 Crate Division, with Dustin Sloan second, Brad Abercrombie third and Lucas Motte fourth.
Patterson took off from the start and grabbed the lead with Sloan following in second. Early in the race the cars separated themselves from each other, making passing difficult. Abercrombie, on the third lap, tapped the wall but continued onward, all the while Patterson maintained a sizable lead on Sloan and won with ease.
604 Crate: Dillon Brown pulled away from the rest of the field in the main event and picked up a comfortable victory. Ray Storay was second, Larry Grube third and Goose Calvert fourth.
The main event had a hiccup on the first start as Calvert spun, but he continued without any difficulty. Storay, in second, tried to chase down Brown – and was driving ever-so slightly faster than Brown for a few laps – but Brown’s lead proved too much to overcome as Brown pulled away.
Monster Minis: Jasper Brown took home the victory in the main event. Larry Teal was second and Randy Staton was third.
Brown jumped out to the lead from the start with Michael Simmons following in second and Teal in third. Brown had a bit of a wobble early in the race that gave Simmons hope of making a pass for the lead, but he couldn’t get there on the third lap. That proved to be Simmons’ last hope at the victory as he spun out in an accident on the fourth lap and saw his night end.
Brown stayed at the front of the field as Staton, who did not race in his heat, moved his way through the field and turned in a solid third-place result. Up ahead Brown continued to push the pace with Teal following, and he stayed close enough to give him a chance to make a pass for the lead, but he could never make a move. That allowed Brown to hold on and win wire-to-wire.
FWD: A pair of long-time familiar faces ended up battling it out for the main event, with Travis Jamieson holding off Andrew Patterson for the victory. Spud Ammons was third.
Jamieson, who started on the outside of Row 1 – next to Patterson – jumped to the lead on the opening lap. The two stayed at the front of the field for the remainder of the race with Jamieson keeping his car in front of Patterson despite Patterson’s best efforts.
The wildest moment of the race came on the ninth lap when Shawn Nichols, going through turn 1, lost control and flipped his car to bring out the red flag. Nichols, however, was okay and was able to jog off the track under his own power.