Bailes wins his fourth Shrine Race
It may be a different year, but the results for Ross Bailes during Tuesday night’s Laurens County Shrine Race activities were the same as they have been in three separate instances – victorious.
Bailes was dominant from start to finish during Tuesday night’s Carolina Clash Super Late Model Division main event at Laurens County Speedway, rolling to victory over Rambo Franklin, who finished second, and third-place finisher Joey Coulter. Brett Hamm ended up fourth and Dustin Mitchell was fifth.
The victory was the fourth at the Shrine Race for Bailes, who last won in 2016, earning him a payday of $4,000.
On a cool and mostly overcast night, Bailes got off to a hot start in qualifying, posting a time of 14.517 seconds to earn the pole position. Coulter had just finished .022 seconds behind in qualifying, while Hamm was third at 14.587 – completing a trio of drivers who were the only ones to break 14.6 seconds in qualifying. Because he won the poll position, Bailes decided to start on the outside of Row 1 instead of the inside for the main event, and the decision immediately proved fortuitous when he used a strong start to get past Coulter, who was on the inside of Row 1, and took the lead. Franklin immediately followed in third, with Hamm and Mitchell taking the next two spots. Coulter had a challenge early from Franklin for second place, but in the first few laps Coulter was able to keep the veteran at bay, all while the top five drivers started to pull away from the rest of the field.
Bailes even closed in on lapping the tail end of the field, made up by Mike Kernells, but the lapping would have to wait after a spinout in turn 2 forced Kernells to avoid a serious crash. Kernells did make contact with David Yandle’s car, but it was nowhere near serious enough to keep him from racing on after the restart on lap 6.
When the race did resume Bailes used the outside line again to get back to the front of the field, but Franklin had the better of Coulter and getting second place by the end of the seventh lap. Bailes, meanwhile, started to pull away from the rest of the field in the 35-lap main event, opening a lead of 1.5 seconds on Franklin through 11 laps.
As lap after lap went by Bailes continued to hold a safe lead, even after continually catching up to the end of the field, and Franklin never got close enough to put together a serious challenge, eventually losing to Bailes by 3.682 seconds.
Final running order: 1. Ross Bailes; 2. Rambo Franklin; 3. Joey Coulter; 4. Brett Hamm; 5. Dustin Mitchell; 6. Doug Sanders; 7. Adam Yarborough; 8. Larry Grube; 9. David Yandle; 10. Mike Kernells; 11. Dustin Sloan.
604 Crate: Trent Ivey had to wait for the final race of the night for a chance to put his name at the top of the leaderboard at the Laurens County Shrine Race. When he got his chance, though, Ivey didn’t disappoint.
Ivey won the pole in qualifying and used the starting position to his advantage, posting a wire-to-wire victory in the 604 Crate main event. Larry Timms and Dale Timms, who finished second and third respectively, followed Ivey. Taylor Puckett followed in fourth place, while Bryan Mullins was fifth.
Ivey set the standard in qualifying with a time of 15.314 seconds, bettering Larry Timms by .087 seconds for the top spot. Dale Timms followed close behind at 15.429 seconds to start on the inside of Row 2, and Puckett was on the outside of Row 2 in the 11-car field, qualifying in 15.476 seconds.
The race got off to an inauspicious start when, just two laps in, Brad Abercrombie spun in turn 1 to bring out the caution flag. The caution had negated what appeared to be a good battle between Dale Timms and Puckett for third. Once the race resumed, Ivey and Larry Timms continued to hold the top spots, all while Dale Timms continued to fight off a closing Puckett for third. Dale Timms eventually opened up a gap between himself and Puckett, but another caution brought the field together on lap 8.
Ivey didn’t let the restart impact him again, dropping the proverbial hammer after entering the restart zone to re-establish his lead. Larry Timms briefly had a battle with Dale for second place, but Dale was unable to get close enough to make a pass. That allowed Larry Timms to stay in second, but he fell behind by 1.177 seconds past the halfway mark in the 20-lap main event. The lead briefly was erased after a final caution flag on lap 17, but when the race resumed Ivey again used his starting position as an advantage and pulled away.
Thunder Bombers: Dusty Eaves picked up his third overall victory of the season at LCS, winning the main event in the Thunder Bombers Division. Casey Lawson was second, followed by Troy Bagwell, Dylan Chappell and Dan Lawson, who rounded out the top five.
Scott Pulley was slated to race in the main event, but he suffered heavy contact in his heat race and was knocked out of the main after winning the race just three nights earlier.
Eaves, who started on the outside of Row 1 for the main event, quickly got around Lawson for the lead in the opening turns. Dan Lawson followed in third place, but his fortune quickly ran out when he fell off the pace entering the backstretch on lap 2, ending his night.
Eaves brought the field together leading up to the restart on lap 2 before firing his engine to get the race back underway. Eaves did not pull away to a safe lead, though, with Casey Lawson still close behind. Behind them both Bagwell and Chappell fought it out for third place, with Bagwell continually holding onto the spot.
Eaves kept his lead on Casey Lawson, with the margin yo-yoing between slightly comfortable and too close for comfort. Lawson eventually got as close as the numbers on Eaves’ driver side with four laps to go, but could not get all the way by for the lead, and eventually fell out of contention on the last lap when he lost ground going through turn 2.
4-Cylinder: Rod Tucker rolled past the field to take the main event, topping Larry Teal by 4.8 seconds. Behind Teal was Stacy Brock in third, Scott Nelson in fourth, and Phillip Wilson in fifth.
Tucker used a good start from the pole position to jump to the lead, but as he took first place Teal quickly followed from the inside of Row 2 to take second overall. The cars quickly got into a single-file line, with Tucker remaining in front, but the field was brought together by a caution that knocked Dan Creamer out of the race.
When the race resumed Tucker continued to lead, building a margin of 1.5 seconds through the first third of the race. The lead continued to grow as each lap went by, and Tucker ended up winning with ease.
The only true drama that came from the remainder of the race arrived on the last lap as a fire started underneath Wilson’s car. He was able to just get into the pits off turn 4 and get out of his car before the fire was extinguished.
602 Crate: Dustin Morris, who finished 10th in the 604 Crate Division main event, had far better luck in the 602 Crate by taking the checkered flag. Chris Patterson was second, followed by Jeff Robinson, Billy Rushton and Matt Dean.
Morris started on the pole and held off Colt Smith, who settled into second place on the opening lap. Rushton tried to put up a challenge for third place against Patterson, getting side-by-side for a moment, before getting by for the spot. Patterson held onto fourth place in the early going as Morris, at the front, continued to maintain his lead.
After a caution on lap 6 brought out the first caution of the night, Morris found himself in front of Rushton on the restart before another caution came up one lap later. The trio of Morris, Rushton and Patterson, who had moved to third before the first caution, continued at the front of the field before Rushton smacked the wall with five laps to go and Patterson eventually made it by for second, with Robinson following for third. Robinson made a good challenge for second after getting past Rushton, but could not get by.
Front-Wheel Drive: Mason Mack took home the victory in the main event. Michael Bruner was second, with Travis Jamieson taking third, Spud Ammons finishing fourth, and Scott Hendricks rounding out the top five.
After a second-lap caution brought the race to an early halt for debris it was Mack, who started on the inside of Row 1 for the main, claiming the lead. Jamieson followed in second place after challenging for the lead on the opening lap, but Mack eventually opened a lead of more than a second through the first five laps. Jamieson did start to close the gap slightly, getting back within one second at the halfway mark, but a caution flag helped erase the rest of the deficit on lap 10 of the 15-lap race.
Jamieson closed within .319 seconds with five laps to go, but Jamieson tapped the wall with three laps to go and brought out the caution himself. That allowed Bruner to get to second place, but he also tapped the wall with two laps to go, essentially ending his hopes for victory as Mack held on.