Hale collects Father's Day Shootout payday at Senoia
The third time was a charm for Dennis Hale, who after two immediate restarts at the green flag held off a large pack of 15 cars to claim last Saturday's Country Financial Father's Day Late Model Summer Shoot-out at Senoia Raceway.
The LaGrange driver's first trip back to the 3.8-mile clay track after early season engine problems turned out to be a $1,550 payday after cruising wire-to-wire following two early restarts with drivers raring to go at the start.
A busy night of racing included winning efforts from Greenville's Thomas Mewborn in the B Cadet, Hampton's Marc Leath in the Mini Stock and Carrollton's Aubrey Merrit in the Mod Mini. Alabama's Paul Walters won the Bomber feature while Franklin's Ben Steele was awarded the victory for the Hobby Stock following a post-race disqualification.
Late model drivers may have been overly anxious to get the Father's Day Shootout rolling with the largest purse ever posted by fifth-year promoter Tim Moses at stake. Polesitter Joe Armistead, Jr. of Senoia jumped the gun on the first attempt at green and the second ended in a huge pileup in Turn 2 that sent Armistead to the pits along with Hamilton's Thomas Lewis and renowned Senoia driver Clint 'Cat Daddy' Smith on a trip back to his home track.
When the race did finally stay green, Hale took the lead position with Fayetteville's Glenn Morris holding down second. Thomaston's Shane Fulcher ran third with Lagrange's Dusty Jones badgering him in every corner.
Hale, however, wasn't about to be challenged while taking the checkered flag ahead of Morris, Fulcher, Jones and Roopville's Clifton 'Hog Head' Moran Waverly Hill's Dewayne Johnson was sixth followed by a solid run from Dana Eiland of Phenix City, Ala. after roaring from back of the field.
Newnan's Corey Payton, Jayce Southwell of Brooks and Hamilton's Brand Lewis completed the top 10.
Recapping Saturday's feature races:
NEWNAN BONDING B CADET: Former champion Thomas Mewborn shot out to the lead at the drop of the green flag for his feature and never looked back in his first win of the year ahead of Alabama's John Capps III and Jonesboro's Jason Miller.
SEE SENOIA, page 7A
LaGrange driver Dennis Hale claimed a $1,550 purse for winning last weekend's Father's Day Shootout among a field of 16 cars at Senoia Raceway.
PHOTO BY FRANCIS HAUKE
Article Continued Below See SENOIA on Page A07
Continued from page 6A
The division is preparing for it's special event on Saturday, July 5th where the posted winner's purse is $1,000.
SUMMIT RACING EQUIPMENT HOBBY STOCK: A horrific-looking crash marred a great race when Houston 'Hoot Daddy' Hatchett's car rolled up the track and into the path of Sam 'Bam' Carter, with the crash tearing up both cars. Hatchett had been racing hard for third with Griffin's Chad Foster.
Up front, Franklin's Chris Steele went on to win what looked like his third race of the season, but was disqualified when his car weighed in two pounds light. Steele was running aluminum brake calipers which pushes a weight penalty at Senoia. The added laps under caution may have caused Steele to use more fuel and his weight came up just short of the needed limit with the calipers.
'That is always a tough situation,' Moses said. 'I hate it for a guy that is such a strong competitor.'
The second place car of Ben Wells was also found to be illegal in post-race tech which pushed Ben Steele to the winner's circle for the second time this season. The adjusted finishing order also saw Foster and Mike Jenkins move into the top three.
MINI STOCK: An early race skirmish between Marc Leath and Barnesville's Gary Parker ended up with Leath getting the final nod after locking horns early. Both drivers showed their tempers during a brief caution to realign the field for a restart. But when the dust settled and the checkers flew, Leath had won his second of the season with Parker in second. Newnan's Brandon Libri was third.
A 1 H Y DR AU L IC S BOMBER: Paul Walters held off everything that Senoia's Dusty Smith could throw at him as the veteran claimed the victory. Smith was second ahead of Griffin's top Bomber rookie Alex Rudolph heading into this Saturday's annual summer championship race for the division.
Despite struggling with car counts this season, Aubrey Merritt was the class of a field of a half-dozen cars. Merritt won by nearly a straightaway over Sharpsburg's Robbie Scadron and Carrollton's Dusty Smith.
Racing cranks up again Saturday with all six of the track's weekly divisions will be racing.
Pit gates will open at 5 p.m., and grandstands at 6. Drivers will take the track for hot laps beginning at 7:30, with the first race set for 8.