Bumgarner Paves His Way to 2005 Late Model Championship at Hickory Motor Speedway

By Adrian Sanders toadtraxracing@yahoo.com

It may have been a full moon night at Hickory Motor Speedway Saturday Night, but apparently Keith Bumgarner never saw it. Bumgarner took the lead on the first lap of the 50 lap feature and took his Alex Little Motorsports #95 Country Chair Ford to Victory Lane sealing the deal on the 2005 Late Model Championship.

Kevin Leicht led the field to the green in his #2 Super 8 Motel Ford after grabbing his first pole ever at Hickory. Keith Bumgarner made it an all Ford front row as he started on the outside pole. As the green flag flew, Bumgarner lit the fuse on his rocket and immediately jumped to the early lead. On lap 2, #21 Brian Connor looked to the inside of #14 Randy Burnett to try and take the 4 th place spot.

The two battle side by side, until Connor clears him to assume the spot on lap 4. By lap 8, Connor wants to try and take 3 rd from #58 Carl Cormier, who is having one of his best runs of the 2005 season. Connor bumps Cormier in turn 4 but it wasn't enough to get him loose enough to grab the spot. Coleman Pressley moves into the top 5 on lap 18 after a 3 lap battle with #14 Randy Burnett. The first caution of the night comes out on lap 23 for debris on the front stretch.

Bumgarner leads the field back to the green flag with #32 Leicht still in tow. Everyone stays in line for the most part until lap 26 when caution is displayed again for the spun #96 car of Jeremy Thompson. The field is restarted but the caution flag is displayed again immediately after 2 nd place running #2 Kevin Leicht has stopped at the bottom of the track in turn 2. Leicht is pushed back around to his pits where he parks after experiencing some sort of ignition failure, bringing his best run of the 2005 season to a halt.

On the restart, #21 Connor looks to make a pass on #58 Cormier but yet again it just wasn't enough as Cormier hangs on to a strong 2 nd place spot. On lap 30, Coleman Pressley looks to move his Kmart #59 car into 3 rd as he takes a look under #21 Connor. He isn't able to do it now, but on lap 33, he gets another run to the inside. The two battle side by side until lap 35 when Pressley is able to clear Connor and take the 3 rd place spot.

Pressley is eager to get even closer to the front as he closes in on #58 Carl Cormier by lap 45. After unsuccessfully trying to go to the inside of Cormier, he tries the outside in turn 1 on lap 47. This didn't work either for Pressley as he wiggles on the high side and loses several car lengths to Cormier. Upfront, the story was Keith Bumgarner as he takes the checkered flag on lap 50 to claim another flawless victory and seal the deal on the 2005 Late Model Championship. Bumgarner was followed by #58 Carl Cormier, #59 Coleman Pressley, #21 Brian Connor and #14 Randy Burnett.

Bumgarner had this to say in Victory Lane:

I can't thank these guys enough, they work hard on this car. We came up here and tested to try and get this car a little better, and I think we hit on something. We are going to try to come back and keep winning races and finishing up front so we can keep working toward the regional points.

This is just awesome. We may have struggled a little the first part of the year but these guys never give up.

In the Limited Late Model Division, #10 Andy Mercer once again proved that he has his program back on track as he took another checkered flag. Mercer was followed by #44 Chris Chapman, #00 Lucas Ransone, #38 Chris Taylor and #21 Bill Cassavaugh.

Ben Ebeling took his #44 Chevrolet Silverado to Victory Lane in the Super Truck Division to claim his first ever win at Hickory Motor Speedway. Ebeling had to hold off a hard charging #97 Kevin Bumgarner who had blasted through the pack to 2 nd place after an early race incident with #12 Robin Harris while taking the lead. Rounding out the top 5 were #69 Trevor Hignutt, #91 Jonathan Doster and #12 Robin Harris.

Jesse LeFevers picked up the victory in the Street Stock Division followed by #16 Jonathan Smith, #64 Marshall Sutton, #1 David Manis and #40 David Smith.

In the Pro-4 Division, Matt DiBenedetto picked up another victory in what he said to be his final pro-4 race. DiBenedetto plans to move into the Limited Late Model Division for the rest of the season. DiBenedetto was followed by #21 Todd Harrington, #16 Randy Freeze, #37 David Buchanan and #55 Rick Hale.

David Hasson added to his many feature wins in the Hobby Stock Division after starting shotgun on the field. Hasson was followed by #12 Tim Reece, #98 Stephen Clippard, #53 (No Driver Name) and #10 Wayne Reece.

The Allison Legacy Series made another stop at Hickory Motor Speedway with #68 Michael Cooper picking up the victory over #1 Jake Crum and #48 Scott Lail.

Hickory Motor Speedway will be taking the week of August 27 th off, but join us back on Labor Day September 5 th for the 29 th running of the Bobby Isaac Memorial 200. Late Model drivers and teams from all over the southeast are expected to try and qualify for this historic event which will award the winner a $4,000 prize plus a beautiful crystal trophy. See you there!