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

 

ENTRIES:  22
FAST QUALIFIER:  Edge, 13.124 Seconds (New Track Record)
PROVISIONALS:  None
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
CAUTIONS:  11
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:

 

  1. 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

2-Under for Hedgecock After Opening Two Rounds of Tour