Sweetwater, TN – Cory Hedgecock of Loudon, TN is now 2 for 2 to open the 2016 NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series season after taking his second straight win on Saturday night in a wild 50-lap main event that saw eight lead changes at I-75 Raceway. Hedgecock got a break with a late-race caution to take the lead on the restart and lead the last three laps of the race.
Scott Dedwylder of Vossburg, MS was leading the race in the closing laps with Hedgecock in the second spot. Dedwylder was able to maintain a two car-length advantage over Hedgecock, but on lap 48, three-time and defending NeSmith Late Model National Champion Ronnie Johnson of Chattanooga, TN had tire going down, and slowed off the pace to bring out the caution flag.
When the field went green for the three lap dash to the checkered flag, Hedgecock powered to the inside to take the lead, and then pulled away to take a margin of victory to the checkered flag of 1.818 seconds in the Eagle Racing Engines Rocket.
“On that last restart, Dedwylder went high just like he had in previous laps, so I went low, never cracked the throttle, it stuck, and I pulled alongside him,” Hedgecock said. “We went side-by-side through turn two, down the backstretch, and when we got to turn three, I never cracked the throttle. It stuck, and I drove by him to take the lead.”
Dedwylder, despite the late race caution that may have cost him a win, could still smile with a second-place finish in the Scott’s Body Shop Special.
“When we were coming around for the white flag, I saw the caution flag instead,” Dedwylder said. “I hated to see it, but that’s just one of those things. I got beat on the restart, we’ll settle for second and go on to the next race.”
Chase Edge of LaFayette, AL finished third in the Edge’s Gas Company Special. While Hedgecock leads the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series standings with a perfect 200 points after two races, Edge and Dedwylder are tied for the second spot in the standings with 184 points. Edge left his mark at I-75 Raceway by setting a new track record in Seiler Brothers Lumber Qualifying at 13.124 seconds to earn a $100 bonus.
Anthony White of Clinton, TN took the fourth spot in the Stone Plus Special and Matt Henderson of Loudon, TN drove the Rebel Diesel/Duayne Hommel Tribute Car Rocket to a fifth-place finish. Brandon Williams of Crossville, TN was sixth in the Autozone CVR which gave the third-generation driver the Cruise With The Champions Rookie of the Race Award.
Marcus Minga of Shannon, MS started 19th in the B&M Salvage Rocket, and he finished seventh to earn the Beyea Headers Hard Charger of the Race Award. Adam Gauldin of Talladega, AL finished eighth in the Adam Gauldin Racing Rocket, and Heath Hindman of Signal Mountain, TN took the ninth spot in the Transport One Special. Jason Britton of Alexander City, AL rounded out the Top 10 in the AAA General Contractors Special.
On a track that proved to be faster than the Friday night track that saw nine drivers break the 2015 track record, Hedgecock’s 24-hour-old track record of 13.302 seconds fell five times in Seiler Brothers Lumber Qualifying. The racing surface was diced up overnight, and the drivers described it as having “character” with bumps, ridges and multiple grooves.
The mad dash racing took place early and often on Saturday night at I-75 Raceway. Richie Stephens of Smith Station, AL took the early lead in the K&J Trucking Special from his outside front row starting spot. The Rocketman led the first three laps before Edge grabbed the point on lap four, and showed the way for five laps.
Stephens and John Ownbey of Cleveland, TN in the Sam’s Restaurant Equipment Special stayed close to Edge and made it a three car battle for the lead. The lead changed hands several times between laps eight and 13, but at the start/finish line, Ownbey took the lead on lap nine, Stephens led lap 10, Ownbey led laps 11 and 12, and Stephens reclaimed the top spot on lap 13.
The first of 11 caution flags came out on lap 14 when Riley Hickman of Cleveland, TN stalled in turn four. When the field went back to green flag action, Stephens led for three more laps until Ownbey took over on lap 17. Ownbey held on to the lead through several caution flags.
Stephens dropped out during a lap 29 caution period while running fourth behind Ownbey, Dedwylder, and White. Stephens’ exit moved Hedgecock up to the fourth spot, and Edge settled into the fifth spot. Once the field went back to green flag action, Ownbey set sail and took a commanding lead, getting his car airborne sliding through the ridges and ruts in the turns.
That took its toll on the tires of Ownbey’s machine. During a lap 43 caution period, the air escaped Ownbey’s right-rear tire, and he headed for the pits. Dedwylder took over the lead with seven laps to go followed by Hedgecock, White, Edge, Henderson, Williams, Gauldin, Minga, Hindman, and Britton.
Dedwylder looked like he was on his way to victory, but the caution flag came out on lap 48, and completely changed the complexion of the race. Hedgecock took advantage of the opportunity, and took the lead on lap 48 to capture his second straight victory.
The next two races for the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series will be on NASCAR Weekend at Talladega Short Track in Eastaboga, AL. Round 3 the 2016 season will be a 40-lap $2,000-to-win race on April 29, and Round 4 will be a 50-lap $2,500-to-win race on April 30.
For more information and rules about the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series, visit the series web site at www.nesmithracing.com, or visit the series on Facebook at NeSmith Racing. Becoming a fan of the NeSmith Racing Facebook page will make you eligible for special prizes that will be given away each month. You can follow us on Twitter @NeSmithRacing.
OFFICIAL RESULTS OF ROUND 2 AT I-75 RACEWAY IN SWEETWATER, TN ON 4/9/16:
POS STRT CAR # DRIVER HOMETOWN LAPS $ WON
1. 5 23 Cory Hedgecock Loudon, TN 50 $2,625
2. 3 33 Scott Dedwylder Vossburg, MS 50 $1,375
3. 1 18 Chase Edge LaFayette, AL 50 $1,075
4. 6 2x Anthony White Clinton, TN 50 $700
5. 12 H2 Matt Henderson Loudon, TN 50 $775
6. 8 95 Brandon Williams (R) Crossville, TN 50 $675
7. 19 19 Marcus Minga Shannon, MS 50 $625
8. 16 17 Adam Gauldin (R) Talladega, AL 50 $450
9. 17 9 Heath Hindman Signal Mountain, TN 50 $400
10. 18 15 Jason Britton (R) Alexander City, AL 48 $500
11. 4 J0 John Ownbey Cleveland, TN 43 $475
12. 15 121 Michael Blount Sumrall, MS 43 $300
13. 11 5 Ronnie Johnson Chattanooga, TN 42 $280
14. 13 30 Ryan King Seymour, TN 36 $260
15. 10 24 Barry Goodman Spring City, TN 35 $250
16. 2 00 Richie Stephens (R) Smith Station, AL 28 $365
17. 14 00m Ruben Mayfield Lenoir City, TN 27 $220
18. 21 32 Jason Manley Loudon, TN 21 $200
19. 20 44 Kip Sawyer Knoxville, TN 19 $200
20. 9 25 Justin McRee Woodstock, AL 14 $200
21. 7 R1 Riley Hickman Cleveland, TN 13 $325
22. 22 32h Greg Huskey Knoxville, TN 0 $0/DNS
FAST QUALIFIER: Edge, 13.124 Seconds (New Track Record)
LEAD CHANGES: 8
LAP LEADERS: Stephens, 1-3; Edge, 4-8; Ownbey, 9; Stephens, 10; Ownbey, 11-12; Stephens, 13-16; Ownbey, 17-43; Dedwylder, 44-47; Hedgecock, 48-50.
LAPS LED: Ownbey, 30; Stephens, 8; Edge, 5; Dedwylder, 4; Hedgecock, 3
BEYEA HEADERS HARD CHARGER OF THE RACE: Minga (started 19th and finished 7th)
CRUISE WITH THE CHAMPIONS ROOKIE OF THE RACE: Williams
MARGIN OF VICTORY: 1.818 Seconds
TIME OF THE RACE: 54 Minutes and 15.654 Seconds
NEXT RACE: April 29, Talladega Short Track, Eastaboga, AL, 40-laps $2,000-to-win
SEILER BROTHERS LUMBER QUALIFYING:
|POS||CAR #||DRIVER||HOMETOWN||CHASSIS||1ST LAP||2ND LAP||TIME|
|1||18||Chase Edge||LaFayette, AL||Mastersbilt||13.591||13.124||13.124|
|2||00||Richie Stephens – R||Smith Station, AL||Scorpion||13.351||13.134||13.134|
|3||33||Scott Dedwylder||Vossburg, MS||Capital||13.382||13.166||13.166|
|4||J0||John Ownbey||Cleveland, TN||Longhorn||13.433||13.181||13.181|
|5||23||Cory Hedgecock||Loudon, TN||Rocket||13.514||13.255||13.255|
|6||2x||Anthony White||Clinton, TN||Longhorn||13.594||13.330||13.330|
|7||R1||Riley Hickman||Cleveland, TN||CVR||13.810||13.424||13.424|
|8||95||Brandon Williams – R||Crossville, TN||CVR||13.620||13.508||13.508|
|9||25||Justin McRee||Woodstock, AL||HRRC||13.683||13.540||13.540|
|10||24||Barry Goodman||Spring City, TN||Rocket||14.075||13.573||13.573|
|11||5||Ronnie Johnson||Chattanooga, TN||Trak-Star||13.798||13.594||13.594|
|12||H2||Matt Henderson||Loudon, TN||Rocket||13.608||13.873||13.608|
|13||30||Ryan King||Seymour, TN||Stinger||13.656||13.611||13.611|
|14||00m||Rubin Mayfield||Lenoir City, TN||CVR||14.007||13.646||13.646|
|15||121||Michael Blount||Sumrall, MS||HRRC||13.994||13.670||13.670|
|16||17||Adam Gauldin – R||Talladega, AL||Rocket||13.673||13.768||13.673|
|17||9||Heath Hindman||Signal Mountain, TN||Mastersbilt||14.180||13.814||13.814|
|18||15||Jason Britton – R||Alexander City, AL||Pierce||14.000||13.881||13.881|
|19||19||Marcus Minga||Shannon, MS||Rocket||14.169||13.925||13.925|
|20||44||Kip Sawyer||Knoxville, TN||Stinger||14.560||13.926||13.926|
|21||32||Jason Manley||Loudon, TN||CVR||14.497||14.229||14.229|
|22||32h||Greg Huskey||Knoxville, TN||Pierce||NT||NT||NT|
NeSMITH CHEVROLET DIRT LATE MODEL SERIES POINT STANDINGS THROUGH 4/9/16:
- 23 Cory Hedgecock – 200
2. 18 Chase Edge – 184
2. 33 Scott Dedwylder – 184
4. J0 John Ownbey – 172
4. 95 Brandon Williams (R) – 172
6. H2 Matt Henderson – 168
7. 00 Richie Stephens (R) – 160
8. 19 Marcus Minga – 158
9. R1 Riley Hickman – 154
10. 15 Jason Britton (R) – 150
11. 32 Jason Manley – 144
11. 2x Anthony White – 144
13. Adam Gauldin (R) – 142
13. Michael Blount – 142
15. 5 Ronnie Johnson – 138
16. 25 Justin McRee – 136
17. 00m Ruben Mayfield – 134
17. 30 Ryan King – 134
19. 9 Heath Hindman – 112
20. 24 Barry Goodman – 100
R – Denotes Cruise With The Champions Rookie of the Year Candidate
Story by: NeSmith PR
Photo Credit: NeSmith LM / Bruce Carroll