Laurens County Speedway action
Race action decides two championships.
With two weeks left in the 2019 auto racing season at Laurens County Speedway the division championship battles are quickly coming to an end.
Two division titles were decided entering the night – with Frank Coates (Limited) and Colt Smith (602 Crate) each entered Saturday night’s racing card with a division title in hand, and by the end of the night two more division crowns had been determined.
Travis Jamieson did his in style, winning the Front-Wheel Drive main event to clinch his division championship. Phillip Wilson, who entered the night leading Scott Nelson by 158 points in the 4-Cylinder Division, finished sixth in his race but gained enough points to secure a division title as well.
In the FWD main event Jamieson took the lead from the start by working around an attempt by Jason Lambert to get to the front. Seth Smith, who was trailing Jamieson by 195 points in the division standings entering the night, moved up to third place with Joel Cabe in second. Smith had to leave the track before a restart on lap 8, which ended his hopes for victory and resulted in a ninth-place finish. That, along with Jamieson’s eventual victory, helped Jamieson eventually clinch the division when he won the main event. Cabe was second and Charles Ouzts finished third.
In the 4-Cylinder main event, Wilson started in fourth place but later had to go into the pits on lap 8, which eventually led him to a sixth-place result. Larry Teal, who started the race on the outside of Row 1, took the lead from the start of the race and led from wire-to-wire with Aaron Summitt following in second. Summitt stayed close enough to try and make one final run at the victory by the end of the race, but Teal proved too tough to stop.
Wilson, by finishing in sixth, clinched the division when Nelson had to retire from the main event before completing a lap.
Thunder Bombers: Josh Hellams won the $1,000 bonus for the Thunder Bomber Shootout, with Ricky Bogan second and Dylan Chappell third.
The race awarded all regular Thunder Bomber Division drivers 50 points just for competing in the race, meaning there was no impact on the standings as each of the top three raced. Lawson remains ahead of Scott Pulley by 70 points with two races to go and defending points champion Chappell is 114 points out.
The main event was a stop-and-stop marathon, with four cautions on the first lap alone as the field of 21 cars that took the green flag continually got collected in cautions and spinouts, especially going through turns 1 and 2. The red flag came up multiple times in the early going, helping to stretch out the scheduled 20-lap race.
Hellams, through all the stoppages, remained in the front of the field and continually held off Bogan’s best efforts. Bogan trailed by less than a half second through nine laps. The lead cars reached the tail end of the lead lap but were able to get through the traffic, but even as they did there were more cautions that came out to eventually force the race to a 15-lap finish. Hellams won the race by .161 seconds over Bogan.
SECA 604 Crate: Dale Timms won the main event with Brad Rachels second and Bryan Mullis third. Danny Howell, who was second in the point standings behind Rachels, finished seventh. As a result Rachels pushed his lead to an estimated 136 points over Howell – not enough to clinch this past Saturday night, but enough that Rachels is in position to clinch the division title this coming week.
Timms grabbed the lead from the start of the race as Timms tried his hardest to get into contention. Mullis did all he could, though, to challenge Timms for second place and keep him from focusing on Timms at the front of the field, and eventually Timms led Rachels by nearly three-quarters of a second with seven laps complete.
Rachels was able to cut into the margin and eventually closed to within .322 seconds with nine laps to go, but his momentum was cut when the race was brought to a halt by a lap-13 caution. Once the race resumed Timms built back his lead to more than 1.5 seconds, then shook off any last-gasp challenge after a final caution came out and forced a green-white-checkered finish.
Limited: Josh Richeson won the main event with Austin Watkins second and Nick Deitz third. Division champion Coates took fifth.
Deitz got into Coates at the start of the race and, while it didn’t knock Coates out of the contest, did cost him a couple of spots in the early standings. Richeson held the lead from the start with Watkins following in second place, and soon after the race started Richeson pulled away from the field – leading by 3.873 seconds through the first 10 laps. The margin eventually grew to 5.155 seconds with four laps to go, and by the time the checkered flag flew it was larger still – Richeson winning by 7.908 seconds.
602 Crate: Colby Cannon won the main event as Larry Timms took second and Mart Patterson was third.
It was a caution-free main event with Cannon leading from start to finish. Timms quickly got himself to second and Patterson got to third with Colt Smith following in the fourth spot. The four drivers soon pulled away from the rest of the field, but the margins were not close enough to allow any chance at a pass to move up the standings by any of the trailing drivers.
Cannon won the race by .367 seconds.