LUCAMA, N.C. — Entering Sunday’s Championship Night at Southern National Motorsports Park, Jonathan Kornegay was winless at the 4/10-mile oval in its Chargers division on the season. Kornegay erased that blemish emphatically, sweeping twin-30 lap features to win the class’ 2017 track championship.
Kornegay won both races to edge out Brian Obiedzenski by five points in the final tally, outdueling Obiedzenski in the second race of the evening to secure the title.
“That was fun right there,” Kornegay said in victory lane. “I wish we could have run like that at the beginning of the year, but, hey, we’ll take it any way we can get it.”
Kornegay dominated the first feature, then charged through the field in the nightcap after an invert. Kornegay took the lead on lap 20 from Obiedzenski, putting the final touch on the title.
“I want to congratulate Obie,” said Kornegay. “He’s a hell of a guy.”
Obiedzenski’s title hopes suffered a major setback on the first lap of the day. Following contact with Justin Mitchell, Obiedzenski slammed into the outside wall on the front-stretch, suffering heavy damage to the front of his car. Obiedzenski finished sixth in that race before rebounding with the runner-up finish in race two.
“It was a very long day,” Obiedzenski said. “If you take anything away from today, please take away that you never give up. I had people put this thing back together. It was twisted sideways. We never gave up, we gave it our all. Congratulations to Jonathan, but this team never quit.”
Findley, Pulliam Split Late Model Stock Twinbill
Lee Pulliam took another step towards his NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National Championship, while Jonathan Findley closed out the 2017 Late Model Stock season at Southern National with a victory.
Pulliam, seeking his fourth NWAAS National Championship, scored the victory in the first of two 40-lap events for the Late Model Stock division.
“The car was on rails,” Pulliam said in victory lane. “It definitely got through the corners really, really good today.”
While it appeared Pulliam was on cruise control, the victory was not without an interesting moment in the closing laps.
“The last ten laps, the throttle started sticking,” Pulliam said. “I was having to pull it up off the floor with my foot. That was kind of interesting. Once we got through that, I had a good lead and I was able to take it easy from there.”
Meanwhile, Findley scored the win in the second feature, holding off Andrew Grady for his fourth win of the season.
Findley made a bold decision in the closing laps of the feature, electing to restart on the outside line with ten laps to go. The gamble paid off, as Findley held off Grady for the win.
“I figured he’d help me out, knowing that I had the faster car,” Findley said of allowing Grady to pull to his inside on the restart. “He did, thankfully. It gave us a chance to race for the win. We had to make some adjustments from the first race, and they paid off.”
With a pair of top-six finishes, Mason Diaz secured the Late Model Stock track championship. Diaz won five races at Southern National during his title run, joining the likes of Scott Riggs, Denny Hamlin, Jamey Caudill, and Deac McCaskill as SNMP Late Model track champions.
“I’ve got a great group of guys,” Diaz said while accepting the track championship. “Mike Darne Racing has given me good cars all year, I can’t thank them enough. Everybody here at the track has raced me smoothly all season.”
A.J. Sanders once again put his excellence on display in a Mini Stock field, sweeping a pair of 20-lap features against one of the largest fields the class as seen at Southern National this season.
“I’m out here chasing a dream,” Sanders said. “I’ve got to thank the good Lord above for giving us a safe race.”
Sanders hopes the pair of wins will assist him in chasing a larger prize. He entered the weekend in third place in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Division IV national championship picture, looking to gain ground on the top two contenders.
“The car drove good,” Sanders said. “We’re chasing the national points, I’d like to win that.”
Ronnie “Buckshot” Jones claimed the Southern National Mini Stock championship, a large smile across his face as he celebrated in victory lane following the second race.
“First off, I want to thank my wife,” Jones said. “She lets me do this, or I wouldn’t be here. Everybody who works on this car is the best crew in the world.”
Ethan Johnson collected his sixth win in eight Bandolero races at Southern National in 2017 to secure the track championship in the division. However, this one was not without a surprise.
Johnson had battled fiercely with Emily Day and Parker Frazier – the two other winners in the division this season – throughout the 15-lap feature. With Johnson running third on the final lap of the race, Day and Frazier made contact while battling for the lead.
Day spun into the inside wall, ending her race and bringing out the caution flag. Frazier was penalized for his involvement in the incident, allowing Johnson to lead the field to a green-white-checkered restart. Johnson held off a hungry Cameron Murray on the restart to bring home the victory.
“I don’t really know what happened to [Day and Frazier],” Johnson said after the victory. “I was pretty much just riding in line, in case something happened. Something did, and we were able to take the win.”
Chris Floars’ job was simple in theory entering the 25-lap Legends division feature. If Floars finished ahead of Chris Stancil, trailing him by one point in the standings, he would claim the track championship. Floars finished ahead of Stancil and seven other competitors to take the victory and the title.
“This has been an amazing car,” Floars said in victory lane. “Throughout the year, I’ve been trying to perfect my line around here. It’s been a long time coming for today.”
While the regular season is over at Southern National, there is still plenty of racing on the schedule for the speedway to finish 2017. Southern National’s next event is the Spooktacular on October 7th. The annual October event will feature a 100-lap Limited Late Model race, as well as twin-75 lappers for the Pro Late Model division, as well as races for the Chargers, Legends, and Bandoleros.
Late Model Stock Race #1
1. Lee Pulliam
2. Jonathan Findley
3. Andrew Grady
4. Rusty Daniels
5. Paul Williamson
6. Mason Diaz
7. Thomas Chappell
8. Stephen Ford
9. Thomas Scott
10. Garrett Bunch
Late Model Stock Race #2
1. Jonathan Findley
2. Andrew Grady
3. Lee Pulliam
4. Rusty Daniels
5. Mason Diaz
6. Stephen Ford
7. Thomas Chappell
8. Thomas Scott
9. Paul Williamson
10. Garrett Bunch
Chargers Race #1
1. Jonathan Kornegay
2. Ronald Renfrow
3. Justin Mitchell
4. Michael O’Brien
5. Wayne Goss
6. Brian Obiedzenski
7. Nicholas Fulgham
8. Jeremy Bohne
Chargers Race #2
1. Jonathan Kornegy
2. Brian Obiedzenski
3. Michael O’Brien
4. Justin Mitchell
5. Jeremy Bohne
6. Robert Arch
7. Nicholas Fulgham
8. Wayne Goss
1. Chris Floars
2. Todd McCollum
3. Caleb Day
4. Ryan DeMartini
5. Chris Stancil
6. Kade Lambert
7. Zack Lightfoot
8. Zack Brown
9. Eric Courtney
1. Ethan Johnson
2. Cameron Murray
3. Josh Speas
4. Sloan Dixon
5. Jacob O’Neal
6. Parker Frazier
7. Emily Day
8. Camryn Rice
-Southern National Motorsports Park Press Release
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com