COCHRAN, GA – Riley Hickman of Cleveland, TN drove the Hickman Manufacturing CVR to a clean sweep Sunday night in the RockAuto.com Winter Shootout Finale for the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series at Cochran Motor Speedway. Hickman set Fast Time to earn the pole position for the main event, and then led all 50 laps to take his four career win with the series.
Hickman set a fast pace early in the race, holding at one point a full straightaway lead over Jimmy Thomas of Phenix City, AL. The second half of the race saw Thomas close to within a couple of car lengths in lapped traffic, but Hickman had the dominant race car.
Thomas finished second in the Five Star Hyundai Special and Chase Edge of LaFayette, AL finished third in the Edge’s Gas Company Special to earn the 2016 RockAuto.com Winter Shootout Championship. In seven races, Edge has 612 points with one win, four top five finishes and six top ten finishes in seven races.
Robbie Metts of Albany, GA finished fourth in the J&H Transmission Special, and Chesley Dixon of Swainsboro, GA drove the Central Fence Company Special to a fifth-place finish. Jody Nipper of Gray, GA took the sixth spot in the Scotty’s Muffler Special, and Terrance Nowell of Phenix City, AL was seventh in the Harrod Logging Special.
Will Herrington of Cochran, GA finished in the eighth spot in the Herrington Auto Warrior, and Larry Harrod of Plains, GA was ninth in the Harrod Logging Special. The 2015 Sunoco Young Guns Challenge Series Champion, 14-year-old Cruz Skinner of Oxford, AL rounded out the top ten in the Skinner’s Body Shop CVR.
Damian Bidwell of Eldred, PA started 24th and finished 17th in the Andrews Auto Salvage Rocket to earn the Beyea Headers Hard Charger of the Race Award. Ahnna Parkhurst, a 15-year-old driver from Evans, GA, took her second Sunoco Young Gun of the Race Award for the second straight night with a 16th-place finish in the K&N Filters Warrior.
In preliminary action, Hickman out-timed the 28-car field with a lap around the 3/8-mile clay oval in 15.020 seconds to set fast time honors. The two ten-lap B-Main Races were won by Herrington and Skinner.
When the field took the green flag to start the main event, Hickman took the lead in the first turn followed by Thomas, Montana Dudley of Phenix City, AL in the Zaxby’s Rocket, Edge and Dixon. Metts drove around Dixon to take over the fifth spot on lap two, while Hickman set a fast pace to hold a half-straightaway lead by lap four.
Hickman caught the cars on the tail end of the lead lap by lap six. Thomas, Dudley and Edge used this opportunity to close in on the leader, but by lap 15, Hickman had put a couple of lapped cars between himself and Thomas to pull away to a full straightaway lead.
Just when it looked like Hickman was going to pack his bags, turn in the key and check out on the field, the pace was slowed by the first of just three cautions flags on lap 22 when Steven Bloodworth of McIntyre, GA stalled the Bloodworth Pallet Company Special in turn one. The top ten for the restart had Hickman in the lead followed by Thomas, Dudley, Edge, Metts, Dixon, Nowell, Nipper, Herrington and Harrod.
The second caution flag came out on lap 26 when Marcus Minga of Shannon, MS stalled the B&M Salvage Rocket in turn four, and the third and final caution flag came out for a driveline misfortune for Dudley, who had to give up the third spot on lap 31. When the field went back to green, Hickman, who was trying to manage his tire wear, could only open up a five car-length advantage on Thomas with ten laps to go.
Hickman reached lapped traffic on lap 44, and he was able to use the lapped cars to his advantage in the last six laps of the race to keep Thomas and Edge behind him. Hickman took the checkered flag with a .654 second margin of victory.
Next up for the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series will be the opening of the 2016 National Tour with a pair of races on April 8 and 9 at I-75 Raceway in Sweetwater, TN. The Friday night, April 8 race will be 40 laps and $2,000-to-win, and the April 9 event will be 50 laps and $2,500-to-win.
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 8 OF THE ROCKAUTO.COM WINTER SHOOTOUT FOR THE NeSMITH CHEVROLET DIRT LATE MODEL SERIES AT COCHRAN MOTOR SPEEDWAY IN COCHRAN, GA ON 2/28/16:
POS STRT CAR # DRIVER HOMETOWN LAPS $ WON
1. 1 R1 Riley Hickman Cleveland, TN 50 $2,500
2. 3 22 Jimmy Thomas Phenix City, AL 50 $1,250
3. 7 18 Chase Edge LaFayette, AL 50 $850
4. 5 06 Robbie Metts Albany, GA 50 $700
5. 4 3 Chesley Dixon Swainsboro, GA 50 $650
6. 8 1n Jordy Nipper Gray, GA 50 $550
7. 6 27T Terrance Nowell Phenix City, AL 50 $500
8. 9 14 Will Herrington Cochran, GA 50 $450
9. 11 27H Larry Harrod Plains, GA 50 $400
10. 10 11 Cruz Skinner Oxford, AL 50 $375
11. 17 27 Ben Faircloth Swainsboro, GA 50 $350
12. 14 12 Eric Register Guyton, GA 50 $300
13. 15 121 P.L. Williams Dublin, GA 50 $280
14. 18 21 Cale Conley Vienna, WV 50 $260
15. 19 4 Joe Mike Mayfield, KY 50 $250
16. 20 23 Ahnna Parkhurst (Y) Evans, GA 50 $240
17. 24 7t Damien Bidwell Eldred, PA 48 $220
18. 22 15 Jason Britton Alexander City, AL 48 $200
19. 2 55 Montana Dudley Phenix City, AL 30 $200
20. 13 66 Jody Knowles Tyrone, GA 29 $200
21. 16 19 Marcus Minga Shannon, MS 25 $200
22. 12 24 Steven Bloodworth McIntyre, GA 20 $200
23. 21 52 Ryan Carter (Y) Blackshear, GA 20 $200
24. 23 J1 Joshua Bishop Statesboro, GA 5 $200
-NeSmith Racing Press Release & Photo