For the second consecutive Carolina Clash Super Late Model Series, a driver graced victory lane for the first time with the series. Colbert, Georgia’s Kenny Collins made his first Carolina Clash start of the season count as he led wire-to-wire for his first-career series win at the Shrine Race at Laurens County Speedway (SC).
After setting fast time in qualifying, Collins jumped out to the early lead in the 35-lap affair. He would lead throughout the race, and at one point led by nearly a straightaway. However, he was challenged late in the race by current ULTIMATE Super Late Model Series points leader Zack Mitchell, who nearly took the lead away from him on the final restart with four laps to go. Collins was able to hold the 23-year-old off at the end for the win.
“We had a great car. Our XR1 was really good there in qualifying, we got into the wall in qualifying but we didn’t get too much damage,” Collins told Speed51.com. “We were able to get the lead there on the start and was really good early, kind of built a lead. I think Zack (Mitchell) got better than us there later in the race. They let me know I had to move down and we were pretty good. It’s a blessing to finally get us a touring win here in the Carolinas, it means the world to me, especially here.”
Mitchell started fifth in the race and used restarts to move his way into the runner-up spot with a chance to win late in the race. The 2017 Carolina Clash champion was able to get to the door of Collins, but would have to settle for a second-place finish.
“We had a fast car in hot laps but we missed it a little bit in qualifying,” Mitchell said. “In the main, the track kind of cleaned off and slicked up a little bit. It always seems like we get better when the racetrack does that and we can roll that middle. I felt like we had something for Kenny but he drove a heck of a race. He never slipped a wheel or never got out of shape. It’s hard to pass somebody when they’re that consistent every single night. All in all, it was a good night.”
Collins’ first-career Carolina Clash win came at a race he has tried winning for several years in multiple classes. Every year, Laurens County Speedway puts on the Shrine Race to benefit the Shriners Hospitals for Children. For his first win to come there, it meant the world to him.
“We’ve been trying to come here and win this deal in Limited Crates, Supers for several years,” he said. “We’ve always come up short or in the trees or something crazy like that’s happened. Just thankful that it could happen tonight. God’s good, I just couldn’t be more blessed.”
Full video highlights from Tuesday’s night’s Carolina Clash race at Laurens County can be viewed now on the Speed51 Network.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51.com National Correspondent
-Photo credit: Speed51.com