KYLE GRISSOM SCORES FIRST HICKORY VICTORY
by Sherry Clifton
Newton, NC…..Kyle Grissom wrote yet another page in the Hickory Motor Speedway history books Saturday night, when he notched his first NWAAS win at the legendary track.
Points leader #29 Andy Loden started from the Pole Position on a stunningly beautiful night, followed by #43 Jesse LeFevers outside, #59 Coleman Pressley third, and Grissom's #31 in fourth.
LeFevers quickly took the lead on Lap One, and Grissom moved up to third. By lap 3, Grissom moved up to second place, with an obviously strong car and an equally strong desire to notch his first win, and by lap 14 had taken the lead.
By lap 19, #07 Chrissy Wallace started making headway in her charge for the front, taking the 4 th place spot from Loden, and 4 laps later made her way to third position.
From lap 32 on, it was a breathtaking three-way battle for the lead, between Grissom, Pressley, and Wallace, with neither giving an inch. Wallace was able to make a gallant last-lap pass around Pressley for second, but Grissom held his low-line and scored the win.
Loden was forced to settle for fourth, with #20 Branden Bonnet taking fifth.
A very happy Grissom said in Victory Lane: “Everything went our way. We were able to stay in front of the faster cars and come away with the win!” Grissom also acknowledged his father, Steve Grissom, for his excellent advice from the Spotter's Stand.
Gina Pressley, Coleman's mother, was thrilled by seeing the second- (and third-) generation drivers finishing first, second, and third. “These three kids grew up together and have been racing together since they were six years old. It's great to see them as Top Three in the Feature Division at this great track!”
The win gained points for Grissom in the season long points chase, who is currently 42 markers back from Loden. #19 Kyle Moon remains third in points, after a Top-Ten finish, and Wallace moved up on spot to fourth place. A disappointing finish for LeFevers, after a wreck late in the event, dropped him back to fifth.
Limited Late Models started the evening out with a full field of 21 cars and an action-packed event….with one incredibly scary moment.
#44 Jarit Johnson led the field to the green, under heavy pressure from #41 Chris Chapman, #99 Andrew Carlsen, and #55 Waylon Flynn.
On lap 15, #15 Jessie Johnson got loose in a tight pack of cars and went into a spin entering Turn One. Hitting the wall at just the wrong angle and at a high rate of speed, his car became airborne and was pretty much demolished. Quick response by the HMS Emergency Services Personnel got Johnson out of his car and on the way to the local hospital, after he complained of neck and back pain. Johnson underwent testing to rule out any serious injuries and was released the same night.
His personal safety features did their job, and the track-installed “softer wall” barriers probably saved him from much more serious injuries. The wreck knocked two of the barriers completely off the wall and also knocked the Turn One Whelen caution light completely off it's mounting. The barriers were quickly reattached and the Whelen caution light was still working after being hit by a racecar!
After the short delay to get Johnson to medical care and reattach the Track equipment, the Limiteds took the green again, with Chapman taking the lead from Jarit Johnson. On lap 19, Flynn makes his way to second, with #94 Josh Wright soon taking third place.
Chapman was able to hold off all comers in a very exciting race, taking the win. Flynn finished second, followed by Wright third, Carlsen fourth, and #28 Jason Crouse fifth.
The finish moved Flynn to the top of the points standings, with Jarit Johnson dropping to second, Carlsen dropping to third, #39 Lee Queen fourth, and #05 Danny Chafin fifth.
In Pro-4's, #57 Grant Wimbish, #16 Randy Freeze, and #21 Todd Harrington put on their own three-way battle for the win, and crossed the line first, second, & third.
Wimbish maintained his points lead, followed by Harrington in second place, #55 Walter Hoke third, #17 Curtis Pardue fourth, and Freeze moving up two positions to fifth place.
Street Stocks' Gary Ledbetter Jr. took yet another win after starting last in the 13-car field. Another scary moment occurred when the #39 driven by Dan Crate, took his turn hitting the Turn One wall…again dislodging the safety barriers. The barriers again served their purpose, with Crate uninjured. #03 Kevin Eby was second, followed by #64 Marshall Sutton third, #32 Jeremy Harrell fourth, and #42 Terrence Tucker fifth.
Eby keeps his points lead in the division, followed by Ledbetter moving into second spot, #7 Jeff Sparks dropping back to third, Tucker fourth, and #66 Scott Wallace fifth.
Hobby Stocks put on an outstanding show for the fans, with #07 Denver Jones and #90 Ronnie Sims in a tightly contested race. Jones took the win, with Sims second, #98 Wesley Sain third, #83 David Hasson finishing fourth, and #11 Jimmy Whisnant fifth.
Jones has the points lead, followed by Sain second, #-1 Ronald Dale McNeil moving up to third, Whisnant fourth, and #5 Nikki Long fifth.