Most people hope to avoid Hangovers on New Year’s Day. However, Dirt Late Model driver Donald McIntosh seems to enjoy them. For the second consecutive year, the Dawsonville, GA pilot kicked off his racing season with a win in the Hangover 40 at the 411 Motor Speedway in Seymour, Tenn.
After setting the overall fast time in qualifying with a lap of 13.821 seconds around the third-mile clay oval, McIntosh shared the front row at the start of the feature with veteran racer and promoter Ray Cook of Brasstown, NC. Riley Hickman of Cleveland, Tenn. and Cory Hedgecock of Loudon, Tenn. locked down second row starting spots during time-trials.
In all, 41 Super Late Models made attempts to qualify for the season’s first feature event. A total of 208 cars, spread among seven classes, were on hand to do battle in front of the largest crowd in the track’s history.
McIntosh surged to the lead at the start of the 40-lap main event leaving Cook, Hickman, Hedgecock and Jason Hiett of Oxford, Ala. to battle for the remaining spots within the top-5. It would be Hickman and Hiett who looked to move forward in the early going as each advanced a position prior to the race’s only caution, on the sixth circuit, for a multi-car spin in turn one.
On the ensuing restart, Cook reassumed the runner-up position with a bold outside move around Hickman. Shortly afterward, the top-4 of McIntosh, Cook, Hickman and Hiett broke away from a battle between Hedgecock and Joe Leavell for fifth. In the meantime, 21st starting Tommy Bailey was on the move as he surged into the top-10 and continued picking off competitors storming forward as the race continued under green flag conditions.
Hedgecock, Dustin Linville and Leavell were left to battle for positions in the back half of the top-10 as the lead car quickly closed in to lap all the way up to the sixth spot.
Hiett moved by Hickman to take third at the halfway mark while McIntosh sliced through slower traffic and extended his advantage over his pursuers. Hiett would eventually pass by Cook for second on lap 26 but would never seriously threaten the race leader.
Over the closing laps, McIntosh maintained a relatively comfortable working margin as he sailed on to victory and the $4,000 first prize that came with it. This was the 22-year-old Blount Motorsports driver’s fourth career win in as many starts at 411 Motor Speedway.
Feature Finish: 1. Donald McIntosh, 2. Jason Hiett, 3. Ray Cook, 4. Riley Hickman, 5. Tommy Bailey, 6. Dustin Linville, 7. Joe Leavell, 8. Cory Hedgecock, 9. Stacy Boles, 10. Jason Manley, 11. Ryan King, 12. Stephen Breeding, 13. Dakotah Knuckles, 14. Matt Ivey, 15. Chad Ogle, 16. Bobby Mays, 17. Jadon Frame, 18. Tom Maddox, 19. Ross White, 20. Jason Welshan, 21. Benji Cole, 22. Mack McCarter
– Richard Allen – Writer/Editor InsideDirtRacing.com. Photo Credit: Richard Allen