New Senoia Raceway: Armistead, Kirkland race to victoriesFrom Staff Reports
A week after welcoming a large crowd for “Kids Rides in the Race Cars” last week, Senoia Raceway has another racing “fiesta” planned for fans this Saturday.
The track located off Highway 16 will crank back up this week with a special “Cinco de Mayo” night at the races that will include the Modified Mini Stocks joining all five weekly divisions. Last Saturday’s action became a war of attrition in front of a packed house that ended with Senoia driver Joe Armistead Jr. picking up a win in the Jodeco Auto Sales Late Models division.
Hundreds of young race fans were on hand last week night to experience one of the track’s most popular kid’s activities. The “Kids Rides in the Race Cars” allowed them to hop on board with their favorite driver and cruise the track for a couple of laps.
This week’s off-track festivities will include a chance to pound on racing pinatas for candy while adults can compete in the “Taco Eating Contest” and win tickets to upcoming events. Pit gates open at 5 p.m., and grandstands at 6 p.m. Hot laps are set to begin at 7 p.m. and the first green flag expected around 8 p.m. Tickets are $12 for adults and $5 for children 6-12. Kids 5-and-under are free.
Kirkland, who won track titles back in the late 80s when the track was originally dirt, credited his new fans for helping him get back into victory lane in the B Cadet feature.
“I want to thank the kids that rode with me tonight during the kids rides,” he said during his victory lane interview. “They are the ones that helped get this win.”
Kirkland used his early heat race victory to land the pole position and then he won the drag race with Greenville’s Thomas Mewborn to snare the race’s lead spot. Mewborn slid into second while Newnan’s Corey Payton, Columbus’ Nick Marsolf, Box Springs Sam ‘Bam’ Moore and Newnan’s Marcus Caswell fought for position behind.
On a final green-white-checkered charge to the finish line, Kirkland held off the field.
Moore, who was later disqualified for being 15 pounds light, and Mewborn followed him across while rookie of the year contenders Bill Pitt of Stockbridge and Mike Johnson of Jonesboro completed the field.
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After capturing the season-opening Spring Fling 40, Armistead returned following a week of engine problems and again bested a field of 16 cars during qualifying.
When the green flag dropped, Armistead shot out to the lead. But points leader Craig ‘Zero Hero’ Scott of Newnan chased him down on several occasions only to have the polesitter slam the door.
The dry track conditions created a tire management scenario with only two laps remaining. Scott popped a right rear tire just as the field was given the go.
That was all that Armistead needed as he then cruised to the victory over LaGrange’s Tod Darda and Locust Grove’s ‘Racin’ Jason Williams.
Darda and Williams are now tied for the points lead while Thomaston’s Shane Fulcher is tied with Eiland for second place. Glenn Morris is only one point behind the second place knot going into this Saturday night’s racing action.
Newnan High 15-year-old Marty ‘The Wild Child’ Lunsford qualified sixth last week, his best effort since a move to the late model division. He finished 12th after losing the handling on his race car early in the main event.
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Moran was able to keep his win streak intact last Saturday, but not before getting a major challenge from ‘Grantville Grenade’ Austin Horton, who took the pole and stayed up front most of the way before taking the checkered flag during a wild race that included a wreck and further jostling on Lap 6.
The ending, however, saw the 16-year-old Horton cross the scales three pounds light, with Moran claiming the win after it looked as if his win streak had been snapped.
On the pole, Horton shot into the early lead with Newnan’s Scott “Shotgun” Sherrer, who was returning to Senoia after winning 12 features two years ago. But a pack emerged following the wreck and while the field was pacing, Sherrer and Moran began jostling each other with Sherrer getting the worst of the deal when track promoter Tim Moses parked him.
Moran eventually used a sling-shot move to pass both Griffin’s Mike Parker and Whitesburg’s Blant Duke at the bottom of Turn 4 to challenge Horton. Parker and Duke later wound up touching, forcing Duke to spin out.
Dorough Bright and son, Brandon, took turns dominating the field before car trouble on Lap 12 by Dorough allowed Brandon to pull ahead and win for the first time at Senoia in two years among a field of 14 four-cylinder cars.
“It feels good to be back here at Senoia,” said Brandon Bright. “And to race Pops like that. Lots of fun.”
Griffin’s David Johnson became the only driver to repeat as a feature winner in the Bomber division this season. Johnson held off challenges from Newnan’s Casey Bruce and Taylor Cozad to capture his second win of the season. Carrollton’s Robbie Hogeland was second ahead of Cozad, Newnan’s Jesse Wilson and Lee Owenby. The victory also moves Johnson to the division point’s lead over Owenby and Cozad.
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.