2 Weeks on the dirt track
Racing is back after a week off at Laurens County Speedway
After a week’s hiatus, the drivers and crews at Laurens County Speedway returned to the track July 28, to start what amounts to a two-month sprint to the end of the season – all in the hope of winning a season championship.
The Front-Wheel Drive may have been one of the wildest divisions on the night, with a main event that stopped and started more times than anyone would care to count. But by the time the race was finally over, it was Alex Woodard who got himself to the front of the field to claim the checkered flag. Jason Bishop was second, with Chuck Bellor third, Blaine Quarles fourth, and Jason Lambert fifth.
Woodard had to run in the 90 car in the main event instead of his 98, but that didn’t stop him from challenging for second immediately as Andrew Patterson held the spot, one position behind leader Joel Cabe. A yellow flag came out on lap 2 for Mason Mack, who left the track for a time before coming back three restarts later.
The race had six caution flags in the first three laps, with one taking both Cabe and Patterson off the track on lap 3 with flat tires. Both drivers did come back, but Cabe’s night – as well as Mack’s night – both ended early when both were disqualified for accidents under caution on lap 3.
When the race finally found some steady footing, Woodard steadily held firm to what ultimately was a 2.3-second lead and had no trouble getting to the finish line.
Limited: Larry Timms was the top driver in the Limited Division, taking home the victory in the main event. Michael Smith was second and Tony Quarles was third.
Timms was the top qualifier, posting a 14.793-second lap. He was the only qualifier to break 15 seconds, and he was able to stay in the top spot after the inversion draw did not move him out of first place. Quarles was second in qualifying, with Smith third and Frank Coates fourth.
The race got off to a good start as Timms and Smith jumped into the top two spots on the first lap. Coates followed in third and, for a time, the top three had pulled away from the rest of the field. Smith started to close the gap with four laps gone and made a push for the lead, but Timms was able to keep Smith at bay. Quarles battled for third with Coates, but for awhile Coates was able to hold firm to that position as well.
Past the halfway point Smith and Timms found themselves separated by less than a second for the top spot, and the two remained in a good duel through a restart on lap 19 of the 25-lap main event. Timms tried to pull away again on the restart but Smith again fought his way back and was within a second again with four laps to go. Timms, though, had just enough to thwart Smith’s best efforts and eventually win the race by .698 seconds.
SECA 604 Crate: “Cheeseburger” was in paradise again as Bryan Mullis took home the top spot in the SECA 604 Crate Division main event. Brad Rachels took second and Taylor Puckett was third.
Puckett had been the top car in qualifying, posting a time of 15.373 seconds, with Rachels, Mullis and Gray Parton following. But the inversion draw altered the top four spots, with Rachels staying put on the outside of Row 1, Mullis moving from inside Row 2 to the pole, and Parton going to the inside of row 2. Puckett moved to the outside of Row 2. When the main event started up, Mullis quickly got to the front of the field with Rachels getting through a cluster of cars to take second place. Mullis got off to a very fine start and found himself rolling through the field as the laps went by. Rachels, meanwhile, had to fight tooth-and-nail to get past Puckett for second place. Each time Puckett challenged, though, Rachels managed to do enough to stay in his spot.
But while Rachels and Puckett dueled for the second spot, Mullis had no issue holding onto the top spot and was able to pull away for the victory.
602 Crate: Dustin Morris went wire-to-wire in front of the field to get the victory in the main event. Matt Dean finished in second and Chris Patterson was third.
The race got off to a wild start when all the cars in the field – except for Dustin Morris, who got out to the front of the field – had to check up after Matt Dean’s car spun, forcing all the cars to check up. When they did it forced Steve Bowie’s car onto its right side before it settled at a 45-degree angle, resting on top of Lucas Motte’s car. The race was immediately red-flagged as the cars were untangled, and Bowie was able to get out of his car safely. Bowie was uninjured in the incident – and was even able to resume racing.
When the race resumed Morris was able to again establish his hold of the top spot, while Rushton got into a bunch of cars battling for second. He ended up hitting the back of Chris Patterson’s car, but was able to keep going. On lap 2, though, Rushton had to check up again, and when he did Colt Smith was in no man’s land as he checked up and was hit by Bowie, sending Smith into the wall. Both Bowie and Smith eventually were knocked out of the main event.
After the final restart Morris again held firm at the front of the field, eventually pulling away from Dean, who ended up fighting off Patterson for second place.
Thunder Bombers: Dan Lawson won the main event in the Thunder Bombers Division, with Dylan Chappell second and Dusty Eaves third.
After a rough start to the race that saw the cars of David Cannon and Brandon Satterfield make contact to bring out the yellow flag, Lawson used a strong second green flag push to take the lead for keeps. Chappell and Hiott dueled for second for a time before Chappell ended up winning that spot, and Chappell was able to stay within striking distance of Lawson for most the race – but could never get all the way up to make a run at the lead.
The only hurdle left for Lawson came with two laps to go as he caught up to the tail end of the lead lap in Grant Burton, but Burton did not prove to be a hindrance for Lawson as he, and the leaders, put Burton a lap down without incident. After getting by Burton, Lawson was in the clear.
4-Cyinders: Larry Teal took another step toward potential back-to-back season championships in the 4-Cylinder Division, winning the main event. Wayne Summers was second and Scott Nelson was third.
The race was a caution-free affair, with Teal never falling out of first place. Summer did what he could early on to stay within striking distance, but eventually Teal started to put distance between the two of them. When that happened Teal was well on his way and Summers was left to settle for second.
Enduro: Robbie Hartman jumped to the front of the Enduro field and proved too fast to be caught, winning the main event. Eric Caughorn was second and Josh Jackson took third.
Hartman had a good start from the pole position and jumped out to the early lead, with Jackson following briefly, but he ultimately lost that spot to Caughorn. Hartman, meanwhile, had no trouble at the front of the field and won comfortably.
Hudson wins in Thunder Bomber Division
James Hudson took the victory in the main event of the Thunder Bomber Division at Laurens County Speedway Saturday night (Aug. 4), but it was a last-lap crash that stole the show.
Daniel Overstreet, driving in the No. 28D car, went through turn 4 on the final lap and appeared to cut off the No. 09 car of Terry Creasman, leaving Creasman to cut off the No. 12 car of Troy Bagwell coming out of turn 4. Overstreet was able to drive on by without any difficulty, but the other two cars weren’t so fortunate. Creasman went into the outside wall coming out of turn 4 and then slid down to the inside wall, while Bagwell eventually saw his car end up on the outside wall coming out of turn 4 – spitting dirt out from its tires while still on the wall.
The red flag immediately went out to stop all activity on the track and allow emergency personnel on the track, but both Bagwell and Creasman appeared to be okay.
The crash brought an end to what was a stop-and-start main event, one that had five caution flags come out. Brandon Satterfield started on the pole for the main event, but he was knocked out contention after a caution on lap 8. Hudson, who started on the outside of Row 1, moved into first place on lap 9 and held the position the rest of the way, turning back defending track champion Casey Lawson to pick up the eventual victory. Dan Lawson was third, finishing behind Casey Lawson, Don Hiott was fourth, and Dylan Chappell was fifth.
Limited: Michael Smith powered through the field to win the main event in the Limited Division. Tony Quarles was second and Dustin Sloan took third.
Tim Tollison started the race on the pole after the inversion draw flipped the entire order of the top four qualifiers – Quarles going from first to fourth, Smith from second to third, Sloan from third to second and Tollison from fourth to first. When the green flag flew Smith made a quick charge and got to the front, with Quarles eventually taking second place. Smith stayed in first place from there to the finish, getting through a pair of cautions. The first, on lap 8, allowed Quarles to get within a second after the restart before Smith pulled away. The second, six laps later, saw Smith quickly pull away and win by 3.838 seconds as he picked up a key victory to help boost his hopes of a track championship.
SECA 604 Crate: Dale Timms won the main event by nearly 3.5 seconds over Terry Bullard, who took second place. Colby Cannon was third.
The race had a pair of first-lap accidents that forced double-file restarts, but eventually the drivers were able to get through the rough start as Bullard moved to first and Brad Rachels took second. A few laps later Rachels was able to move ahead of Bullard for first place, but the race was brought to a halt when Rachels slammed the outside wall in turn 2 on the fourth lap of the race. The race was stopped, and EMS personnel came onto the track for Rachels, who initially complained of neck and back pain following a crash that broke his driver’s seat on impact. The injuries appeared to not be serious as Rachels later walked back onto the track and toward the pits.
When the race finally resumed Bullard held the lead, but Timms took the lead after going high in turn 3 and 4 at the end of the eighth lap, and when Bullard started to fall off the pace set by Timms the race was essentially over.
602 Crate: Dustin Morris took the lead from the start of the main event and claimed a wire-to-wire victory. Colt Smith finished second and Lee Cooper was third.
Morris started the race on the pole, with Smith on the outside of Row 1, and the two quickly moved to first and second on the green flag. Morris quickly proved too fast for Smith, who started to lose some ground before a caution came out on lap 5 to bunch the field back together.
Morris was able to get out to a good restart after the caution and did so again on lap 8 when the field was again bunched due to a yellow flag, and after the last caution Morris was able to ease his way to the finish.
4-Cylinder: Rod Tucker has been the dominant driver at LCS this season, and that trend continued as Tucker won his 14th race at LCS this season. Tucker beat Larry Teal, the defending point champion and current leader in the standings, by 4.875 seconds in the main event, with Scott Nelson finishing behind Teal in third place.
The race was a caution-free affair, with Tucker shooting out to the lead that quickly grew as the laps went by. As Tucker was cruising through the race, Summers and Teal were in an early battle for second that saw Teal eventually pull into the spot that he would not give up.
FWD: Travis Jamieson knocked off Carson Crowder to win the main event, while Joel Cabe finished in third place.
Jamieson started on the outside of Row 1 and got by on the outside in turn 2 to take the lead on the second attempted start to the race. The lead held for Jamieson and eventually grew as the laps went on, pulling out to a 2.667-second lead through the first four laps.
The field had its chance after a pair of late cautions bunched everyone back together, but it was a small hurdle for Jamieson to clear as he eventually won by nearly 1.5 seconds.
Enduro: Bruce Barnett grabbed the victory in the main event, with Clay Crowder finishing second and Eric Caughorn ending in third.
The last race of the night was littered with four cautions in the first four laps – three of them coming on lap 4. Barnett took the lead from the outside of Row 1 at the start of the race with Caughorn following in second after starting on the inside of Row 2. The start-and-stop lap 4 finally saw Caughorn, who took the lead after Barnett and Crowder involved in an accident, try to hold off Crowder for the lead. Barnett later got into the mix, getting the nose of his car into second place after passing Crowder. Barnett then took the lead after contacting Caughorn and, after a late caution flag, pulled away as Caughorn appeared to have a right front flat tire that forced him to take third after Crowder got by for the position.