FIRST-TIME WINNER MAKES HISTORY AT HMS
Saturday, July 15 th , fans witnessed yet another page of history added to the annals of Hickory Motor Speedway when Jesus Hernandez became the first Hispanic driver to win at the legendary track.
Hernandez began racing with his family in Mexico when he was 15 years old. He won a Track Championship at Madera (CA) Speedway in 1999, and was chosen to be part of the Drive for Diversity program. He raced at Motor Mile Speedway in 2005 for Belnavis Racing. In 2006, he joined MB2 Motorsports and has competed full-time at Hickory Motor Speedway.
Hernandez took the Pole with the fastest lap in Qualifying and went on to win his first Bojangles' Late Model Stocks race at HMS.
Second place went to another Drive for Diversity driver when #92 Marc Davis of Joe Gibbs Racing had a fine run in only his second race in the Late Model Stocks Division. #8 Jay Gerst rounded out the top three, followed by #32 Kevin Leicht in fourth, and #10 Andy Mercer fifth.
All of the Top Three finishers were using crate engines.
Mercer still holds the points lead in the division, but #29 Andy Loden has moved up to second place while Leicht dropped to third. #59 Coleman Pressley kept his fourth place standings, as did Hernandez in fifth.
“We've been working hard at this and thank God, we've finally got here!” said Hernandez in Victory Lane. “We're always trying new stuff and it's a blessing to be here today. That was a fun one!”
Limited Late Models' action saw #92 Marc Davis take his fourth win of the year, ahead of #10 Andy Mercer, with both doing double-duty in the Late Models. #91 John Gottsacker came home third in a photo-finish with #44 Matt DiBenedetto, and #12 Dennis Gallion finished fifth.
DiBenedetto still holds the points lead in the division over Mercer by 10 points. Davis's win brought him closer in third place, followed by #35 Matt Scoggins in fourth, and #43 Jesse LeFevers in fifth.
Pro-4's saw a new face in Victory Lane when Randy Freeze took the wheel of Wayne Brown's #86. Pole winner #21 Todd Harrington finished second, followed by #4 Adam Beaver, #09 Randy Canipe, and #56 Grant Wimbish.
Beaver has only won one race in Pro-4's this season, but still leads the division standings, over #1 Jacob Lehn in second, #55 Walter Hoke third, #86 Wayne Brown fourth, and #98 Rob Lewis fifth.
Gary Ledbetter Jr.'s #32 led the J&J Roofing Street Stocks to the green, but #54 Waylon Flynn led them to the checkers. The win brought Flynn within 2 points of Ledbetter in the division points chase for the lead. #03 Kevin Eby finished third and brought him to third in points, as well. #42 Terrance Tucker finished fourth, followed by #64 Marshall Sutton.
Hobby Stocks fans saw #5 Nikki Long take her third victory of the year over defending division Champion David Hasson driving the #-1. #90 Ronnie Sims finished third, followed by #80 Caleb Roark fourth, and #11 Jimmy Whisnant fifth. #3 Tim Reece still leads the points in their division, but the race results saw his brother, Whisnant, close within 6 points for the points lead.The NDWS divisions return to the chase on Saturday, July 22 nd . Divisions racing include Bojangle's Late Model Stocks, Limited Late Models, Pro-4's, J&J Roofing Street Stocks, and a special appearance by the USAC Ford Focus Midgets.