New faces visit victory lane at Senoia RacewayFrom STAFF REPORTS
Shane Fulcher revisted the Senoia Raceway winner’s circle for the first time since 2010 on Saturday night. The Thomaston driver held off a late race challenge by Newnan’s Craig “Zero Hero”Scott to post his first win in 20 months in the Jodeco Auto Sales Late Model division.
Lithia Springs’ TJ Joiner notched his first career win at the 3/8ths mile clay oval by besting the field in the Newnan Bonding B Cadets. Douglasville’s Matt Thompson also won his first race with a victory in the Mini Stock main while David Johnson of Griffin picked up the checkered flag in the Bombers.
Fulcher used the top side of the raceway to get into the lead in the Jodeco Auto Sales Late Model feature. The crowd was raised to it’s feet for the second straight week as the powerful late models went three wide during the opening laps.
Craig Scott shot down low in Turn 2 leaving pole-sitter Tod Darda of LaGrange stuck in the middle with Fulcher up against the concrete wall. Fulcher stayed in place while Scott stepped back not wanting to slide up into Darda coming out of the fourth turn.
The move proved to be the game winner as Fulcher set the pace the remainder of the race. Craig Scott came up over the final eight laps to work Fulcher hard. Scott snuck down low looking to create a run on the inside, but Fulcher slammed the door shut on each attempt.
In the end, Fulcher had his first win since 2010 and Scott settled for second. Fast qualifier, Racin Jason Williams of Locust Grove ended up third ahead of Shane Fulcher’s father, Laddie, in fourth and Locust Grove’s Randy Brown, Jr. in fifth.
Recapping Saturday’s other series races:
Newnan Bonding B Cadet
A third-year driver, Joiner used his pole position starting spot to his advantage, but did not have an easy time notching his first career feature win.
Greenville’s Thomas Mewborn tormented him throughout the 20-lap race as Lake Spivey’s Dow Kirkland and Newnan driver Marcus Caswell jostled for the third-place position. The battling duos kept the fans scanning the track as the separation between the lead pairs was nearly a straightaway at times.
During a late race restart, Caswell shot up to the outside of Kirkland and Mewborn trying to gain advantage. Kirkland slid up the banking in Turn 2, pinching off the opening night victor along the outside retaining wall. Caswell took offense to the move and chased down the former track champion in Turn 4, where he clipped Kirkland’s left-side quarterpanel causing him to lose control for a second. But it was enough to keep him from regaining the position again.
Up front, Joiner held off all challenges by Mewborn and moved out to a three car length victory. Caswell ended up third ahead of last year’s point champion Jeff Carter of Stockbridge and Kirkland.
“It’s been three years trying to get here,” said an ecstatic Joiner during the trackside victory lane interview. “It feels great to finally win one. The competition is so good here (at Senoia Raceway) that is truly an accomplishment to win a feature. You’ve really done something if you win here at Senoia.”
Summit Racing Equipment Hobby Stock
Despite an early challenge, Carrollton’s Moran once again continued his dominance in the Hobby Stock class. The defending series champion added his second consecutive win to open the 2012 season while using a three-wide move to pull up to third place while battling the “Grantville Grenade”, Austin Horton, and Whitesburg driver William Blair.
Moran shot down to the low side of Loganville’s Bill Brown and Whitesburg’s Blant Duke while making his move and then battled with Duke over the final half of the race.
The driver known as “Hog Head” added his 20th win over the last two seasons while Rookie of the Year candidate Dusty Jones completed another strong performance. Horton and Kerry Carden rounded out the first five.
Douglasville’s Matt Thompson was another driver to complete his first trip to victory lane on Saturday night. Thompson survived a charge by 14-year-old rookie Brandon Libri of Newnan, making his first career start.
Libri was racing Thompson for the lead when they came up on lapped traffic. Thompson moved up the track allowing Libri room to move past as well, but the local driver lost control of his Ford Mustang and crashed into the front-stretch concrete.
Thompson went on for the victory ahead of fellow Douglasville driver Rocky Johnson. Senoia’s Robert Caldwell completed a solid run in third place.
“I gave him plenty of room on the bottom,” explained Thompson. “I don’t know what happened after we got past the lapped car. But, it is a win and we needed the win.”
Griffin’s David Johnson won the Bomber feature with a dominating run. Newnan’s Taylor Cozad and Griffin’s Bubba Harris were the only other competitors in the short field on Saturday night.
Senoia Raceway cranks back up this Saturday, as the season points championship opens. All divisions of racing will open their points chases including the Jodeco Auto Sales Late Models, Summit Racing Equipment Hobby Stock, B Cadet, Mini Stock and Bombers.
Defending champions Jeff Carter (Newnan Bonding B Cadets), Clifton Moran (Summit Racing Equipment Hobby Stocks) and Gary Parker (Mini Stocks) will be back to try and secure a second straight title. Defending Jodeco Auto Sales Late Model champion Lavon Sparks is not expected to make a full season run.
Drivers will accumulate points through the end of the season in September to determine divisional champions. The top ten in each division will be honored at the end of the season along with the top rookie competitors in each class.
Pit gates will open at 5 p.m., and grandstand gates at 6. Action begins with hot laps are at 7 p.m., followed by the first green flag around 8 p.m. Ticket prices are $12 for adult grandstand admission, $5 for children 6-12 and free for those five and under.
For additional information on Senoia Raceway, visit the speedway website at www.senoiaraceway.com , join their Facebook page or call the speedway at 770-599-6161.