Andy Loden Grabs 5 th Win of 2006 at Hickory Motor Speedway
By Adrian Sanders ASandersRYRE@carolina.rr.com
After starting from the 5 th position, Andy Loden drove his #29 Monroe Roadways Chevrolet to the front and took the lead from Kevin Leicht to claim his 5 th win of the 2006 season in the Bojangle's Late Model Division.
#32 Kevin Leicht qualified on the pole and led the 15 car field to the green flag with #14 Randy Burnett on the outside. At the drop of the green flag, Andy Loden dives under #74 James Hansen and takes the 3 rd spot. #10 Andy Mercer attempts to grab the 2 nd spot from Randy Burnett as the field completes the first lap, but after 3 laps of side by side racing, Burnett hangs on to the spot. #59 Coleman Pressley takes a look to the inside of Hansen down the backstretch and takes over 5 th . Andy Loden moves to the high line and takes a look outside of #10 Andy Mercer on lap 4. The two run side by side for 2 laps and Loden takes over 3 rd .
Loden is able to keep his momentum going and get on the outside of #14 Randy Burnett one lap later to contend for 2 nd place. As the field comes to the stripe to complete the 9 th lap, Loden moves into 2 nd . Meanwhile upfront, Kevin Leicht has checked out on the field with about a 8 car length lead and it continues to grow.
Things remained fairly quiet until lap 26 when #14 Randy Burnett apparently started to experience handling issues causing him to slide back out of the top 5. #10 Andy Mercer got under Burnett to take 3 rd . On lap 28, Coleman Pressley goes under Burnett on the backstretch to take 4 th and #74 James Hansen follows to take 5 th . By lap 36, Kevin Leicht's lead has shrunk to almost 3 car lengths as Andy Loden is on the prowl to try and contend for the top spot. For the longest it seemed that both cars were about equal as Loden wasn't gaining as much once he closed to within a few car lengths, but by lap 44 Loden was there.
He looked to the outside of Leicht in turn 1 but wasn't able to complete the pass. Loden sets him up again in turn 1 on lap 45 and gets a run to the outside. Leicht and Loden battle side by side for the lead for 1 lap and Loden goes to the point down the backstretch on lap 46. Leicht wasn't quite ready to give up just yet as he looked under Loden on lap 48 coming off turn 4, but he just couldn't make it stick. Loden led to the checkered flag on lap 50 to claim his 5 th win of the 2006 season. Rounding out the top 5 was #32 Kevin Leicht, #10 Andy Mercer, #74 James Hansen and #59 Coleman Pressley.
Andy Loden had this to say in Victory Lane:
“I finally had somebody I could race with up there. The car was pretty good tonight. It was a little loose, but it was better than it was the last couple of weeks. That Alan Johnson horsepower won this race tonight. I'm glad the caution didn't come out because he (Leicht) would have been faster than me once the tires got cooled down. We just got lucky. I want to thank my sponsors Monroe Roadways, RE Suspension, Culp Petroleum and all the guys that help me on the car.”
The Advance Auto Parts Super Trucks were back in action with #69 Trevor Hignutt showing the way and leading flag to flag. However, after post-race technical inspection, NASCAR Dodge Weekly Racing Series Officials disqualified Hignutt for a rules infraction on his truck. This gave the win to #24 Ben Stancill followed by #6 Cole Miktuk, #28 Jason Crouse, #19 Jordan Anderson and #44 Ben Ebeling.
Waylon Flynn led flag to flag in the J&J Roofing and Sandblasting Street Stock Division. Flynn was followed by #03 Kevin Eby, #21 Monty Cox, #64 Marshall Sutton and #32 Gary Ledbetter.
Ricky Crooks Jr. picked up another win in the Pro-4 Division as he also led flag to flag to take the checkered flag. Crooks was followed by #4 Adam Beaver, #1 Jacob Lehn, #86 Wayne Brown and #16 Randy Freeze.
Last year's Hobby Stock Division Points Champion, David Hasson returned to the track in a hobby stock car after starting the year in the Pro-4's. Hasson took his #73 hobby stock to victory lane followed by #3 Tim Reece, #-1 Ronald Dale McNeil, #80 Caleb Roark and #11 Jimmy Whisnant.
The Ford Focus Midgets paid another visit to Hickory Motor Speedway this week with #77 Chase Scott paying visit to victory lane. Scott was followed by #43 Aaron Oakley, #80 Mike Ward, #24 Mike Sboro and #11 Bradley Riethmeyer.
Join us next week, June 17th at Hickory Motor Speedway for Blue Ridge Harley Davidson ight at the Races! Racing action will continue in the Bojangle's Late Models, Limited Late Models, Advance Auto Parts Super Trucks, J&J Roofing and Sandblasting Street Stocks, Hobby Stocks and Legends. See you there!