Bobbie Tumbleston III set fast time over a field of 57 Street Stocks for Sunday’s New Year’s Bash at Dillon Motor Speedway late Saturday afternoon. The Summerville, SC driver was the only driver to break into the 17 second bracket, turning a lap of 17.931 to pace the field over Jimmy Renfrew and Austin Somero.
It was a result Tumbleston was excited for, after spending all of practice on top of the board. He now turns his attention to Sunday’s 111-lap main event and dethroning the New Year’s Bash dominator over the previous 10 years.
“I’ve been trying to do this for the last five years, catch that (Gary) Ledbetter guy and I was finally able to catch him earlier this year,” Tumbleston told Speed51. “Without everybody, this wouldn’t have been possible.”
Tumbleston was able to beat Ledbetter in last year’s MASS Street Stock finale at Dillon, becoming the only driver to do so in six series races in 2020. He now tries to repeat that showing in one of the biggest Street Stock races in the country.
“It would mean a lot because it feels like as much as he’s won, I’ve finished second to him just about as many times. I’m tired of finishing second.”
Renfrew turned in the second-fastest time in qualifying with an 18.026 for his second appearance at the New Year’s Bash. The 2020 Lee USA Speedway (NH) Street Stock champion was excited to lock himself into the field after a road trip from New Hampshire to South Carolina during the week.
“It feels really good, this is my first attempt trying to make it into the Bash,” Renfrew said. “We drove more than 15 hours to get here, to come down here and race with these guys is a real confidence boost.”
He made a previous appearance at Dillon with the MASS Street Stocks back in November, finishing seventh in the race that was won by Tumbleston. With that experience under his belt, combined with the speed his team has shown to this point in the weekend, Renfrew is looking forward to what Sunday brings.
“We’ve got a good starting spot, we just have to try and save our stuff and be there at the end, not get involved in any wrecks or anything like that. It’s going to be a game of who can ride the best and save the most stuff and be there at the end. That’s what we’re going to try to do.”
Another South Carolina/New Hampshire pair will line up behind Tumbleston and Renfrew in the second row Sunday afternoon, with Austin Somero and Alby Ovitt claiming the third and fourth quickest times in qualifying.
Other key names include five-time New Year’s Bash winner Gary Ledbetter in eighth and former Salem Speedway track champion and Halloween 200 winner Frankie Kimmel in ninth. Ricky Locklair was the final driver to lock himself into tomorrow’s race with his 20th-place qualifying effort.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51 National Correspondent – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo Credit: Speed51 Photo