EASLEY, S.C. — Under a warm mix of sun and clouds on Saturday, the Greenville-Pickens Speedway opened their gates for round two of NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action on Saturday night, and when it was all over, a first-time winner sat in “Double Aught Bryan Ramey Victory Lane” as the headlining limited late model 75-lap feature was won in dominating fashion by one fast female, Tasha Kummer.
Other winners on the five division card included Billy Brown in the Renegades, Buck Simmons with his second straight win in the Pure Stocks, Dannon Esco in the 4-Cylinders and Tim Sams in the super stock division.
The limited late model division is running regularly at the historic short track for the first time in 2016. Colby Howard qualified fastest for the second straight week, so he began the race from the front row alongside the No. 35 of Tasha Kummer.
Last week’s winner Luke Sorrow started third next to his sister-in-law Taylor Sorrow.
Howard took the lead at the outset but Kummer drove by him early in the race as he fell all the way back to seventh in the first seven laps.
Green flag conditions stayed until lap 22 when the No. 44 of Brian Burns got crossed up and spun between the first and second turns. By this time, Howard had moved back up to ride in the fifth spot behind last week’s winner Luke Sorrow. Over the next fifty laps Kummer pulled out to a full second advantage as she had her No. 35 perking on this night.
Root stayed in second being hounded by Taylor Sorrow until the no. 92 finally passed Root on lap 54. Luke Sorrow also slipped by Root into third and then passed his sister-in-law with just nine circuits left to take over the runner up spot and set sail after leader Kummer.
It didn’t appear Luke had the car to close the gap but on lap 71 everything changed when Burns spun into the wall hard, bringing out the race’s third yellow.
This set up a five-lap shootout at the Greenville-Pickens corral as Luke Sorrow would now restart on the outside of Kummer and have a chance at the lead and a second straight win.
It was not to be.
Kummer shot back out front on the restart and was never challenged again as she scored her first career victory in a flawless performance. Luke Sorrow finished second, Taylor Sorrow third, Andrew Cordell finished fourth and Bob Root kept his ’16 top five streak alive with a fifth place finish.
In the 15-lap 4-Cylinder Front Wheel Drive main, Dannon Esco and Travis Shelton set the pace from row one. Once the green flag flew, the race never again went yellow as Esco took the lead and was never really challenged, going on to pick up a solid victory.
Chad Redding finished in second, Shelton crossed the line third followed by Don Tavernia and Hunter Evans in that order.
Billy Brown and Anthony Cordell made up the first row in the 20-lap feature event for the Renegade division as last week’s winner Bobby Emory started fifth. Brown took the early lead and sped off, building several car lengths over the rest of the field.
Cordell ran second with Eddie Ray third for the first several laps. Parker Jameson and Terry Thurston swapped fourth and fifth as the halfway flags were displayed in a fast-paced race event.
The only caution of the race took place on lap 16 as the No. 07 of Daniel Jameson slowed and eventually headed for the pits and out of the race. In the final four laps it was Brown and Cordell settling into their top two positions once again with Cordell doing everything he could to keep the leader’s pace.
He came up just short.
At the checkered it was Brown, Cordell, Parker Jameson, Eddie Ray and Emory finishing first through fifth.
The track’s Pure Stock class lined up for their 12-lap go with Freddie Hale and Charlie Meinders setting the pace.
Hale jumped out front and last week’s winner Buck Simmons made a quick early move from fifth to second. The first yellow waved on lap 2 when the No. 33 of Spencer Morgan looped it in turn one. Simmons and Charlie Meinders battled for the lead the next few laps until caution two for a spinning car settled them down with Meinders still setting the pace on lap five.
As the field took the halfway flags from starter Cary Hardin, it was actually the No. 57 of Chris Meinders who had come out of a three-wide restart with the lead as Simmons now held second.
Buck got alongside Chris on lap 7 and passed him in turn two, and then Chris made contact with the back end of the Simmons No. 71 and put himself in the wall in turn three, bringing out the third yellow flag of the event.
Simmons kept going. Chris Meinders went off on the tow truck.
For the restart, which officially occurred on lap 6, Hale was back out front with Hank Hutto now second followed by Simmons, Morgan and Ashley Granata. Simmons went to the bottom and took the lead for good on lap 8, collecting his second win in a row to start the season. Hale, Hutto, Granata and Morgan rounded out the top five.
In the nightcap, the Super Stocks ran their 25-lap affair and Tim Sams started on the pole alongside Ricky Stephens. It took a couple of starts to get things going but Stephens finally got the jump and led the first four circuits until the No. 71 of Sams found his way by to take control.
Travis Cox raced in third with Ken Guthrie and Mike Mote putting on a fun battle for fourth. Guthrie won that battle until the No. 11 of Cox spun between turns one and two on lap 13 and caution fell over the speedway.
It was then that the race took a very strange turn, literally.
On the restart, Sams powered by Stephens to maintain the lead down the back straightaway. Guthrie, seeing an opportunity, powered under Stephens going into turn three but got sideways, doing a slow spin and then…his car jumped backwards over the inside wall and came to rest against the pole on the grass hill inside of the race track!
Guthrie was uninjured, but the race had to be red flagged for several minutes while track officials formulated a plan to put the “green machine” of Guthrie back onto the track without damage. They managed to do that with some clever and careful handiwork, and after a short pit stop to make sure the car was still in good shape, Guthrie returned to the race!
Sams had no trouble leading the rest of the way and sailing under the checkered flag for his first win of the year. Stanley Pressley put on a late race charge to finish second, with Ricky Stephens, Travis Cox and Mike Mote rounding out the top five.
Guthrie, after working his way back up to sixth place, had to pull out of the event a few laps shy of the finish and wound up seventh.
The Late Model Stocks return to action at Greenville-Pickens next Saturday, March 19th for a Twin 75-lap program. The Super Stocks, Pure Stocks and Renegades will also race that night, and there will be a “foot race” for the kids as well. Chase Purdy won both ends of the opening night “Twins”. We’ll find out if he can repeat that feat next Saturday!
In two weeks, on Saturday, March 26th, The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East makes its first of two appearances in 2016 at Greenville-Pickens. A strong field of cars is expected to include former NASCAR great Jeff Burton’s son Harrison, Carolina brothers Ronnie and Dillon Bassett, Justin Haley, Reid Wilson and many more.
-Greenvile-Pickens Speedway Press Release
-Photo Credit: Greenville-Pickens Speedway