LODEN AND ALLEN CLAIM HEADLINE FEATURES ON ADVANCE AUTO PARTS NIGHT AT THE RACES
by GARLAND COLEY
Saturday night was ADVANCE AUTO PARTS NIGHT AT THE RACES at Hickory Motor Speedway, and the action was furious before the opening green flag fell. Several of the “hot rods” from the Kustoms of America, Southern Leadsled Nats car show came by to do a few “parade laps.” This display evolved into a burnout fest with one ‘56 Chevrolet performing perfect doughnuts on every inch of asphalt on the historic .363 mile facility. That set the tone, as the races that followed were packed with action, controversy and, heated emotions.
In the BOJANGLES LATE MODEL STOCKS feature event, the action began on the opening pace lap as #02 machine piloted by Joey Coulter spun out warming his tires in turn 4. The green flag was unfurled and outside pole sitter #31 Kyle Grissom ran through the gearbox quickly jumping out to the lead over polesitter #29 Andy Loden in 2 nd . Loden retook the lead with his customary high line pass of Grissom in turn 2 on lap 8. Then Chrissy Wallace in the #07 machine pounced on Grissom on lap 18 with a bump and run and moved into 2 nd place. She then set her sights on overtaking Loden, who had built up a one second lead.
On lap 25, Wallace moved to Loden's inside and the two battled side by side, often making contact for the next 11 laps. On lap 36 in turn 2, Wallace nearly lost control of her machine but performed an incredible save as her car fishtailed 4 times down the backstretch. With that, Loden pulled out to a one second lead again. Now Wallace had to hold off a charging Kyle Grissom.
Grissom applied pressure to Wallace for the final 14 laps of the 50-lap feature, and on lap 48 applied his own bump and run maneuver to Wallace to take 2 nd place. Meanwhile, Loden pulled off to win the race by half a straightway. The action was not over.
Wallace made hard contact with Grissom's car on the backstretch on what should have been the cool down lap. This produced a pit road with a visibly upset Chrissy Wallace, a winner's circle with a happy Andy Loden, and a 2 nd place podium visit by a clearly unimpressed and unapologetic Kyle Grissom.
“I've been using the high line for two years,” a jubilant Loden proclaimed in victory lane. “I guess I'll keep on doing it.”
“I don't know if she's brainless or fearless.” Grissom said from the 2 nd place podium referring to Wallace's nickname “The Fearless One.” Wallace was unavailable for comment.
Grissom followed Loden to the checkered flag in 2 nd , #35 Chris Lewis came home with a career-best 3 rd , 4 th went to Wallace and, #19 Kyle Moon rounded out the top 5.
The win allowed Loden to increase his points lead to 644-600 over Grissom in 2 nd , and Moon is in 3 rd 106 markers behind.
In the special 50 lap ADVANCE AUTO PARTS SUPER TRUCKS feature, #01 J.R. Allen claimed his first win of the 2007 season by starting 5 th and methodically working his way to the front, passing pole winner #3 Dexter Canipe Jr. on lap 31 then holding off #97 Keith Bumgarner. 3rd went to #10 Andy Mercer who was making a return visit to the speedway after an absence of several months. Canipe held on for 4 th and, #09 Scott Whittaker battled into the top 5.
ADVANCE AUTO PARTS SUPER TRUCKS points now finds Bumgarner with a minuscule 342-338 points lead over Canipe in 2 nd , and with his win, Allen moved closer to trail by only 44 points.
In another great feature, the 35 lap Limited Late Models saw #99 Andrew Carlsen win the pole but #55 Waylon Flynn quickly took the lead on lap 2. By lap 6, Carlsen had moved back to Flynn's inside and the two battled door to door until the caution flag waved on lap 15 due to a four car melee in turn 2 involving #13 Jon Vivo, #4 David Currier Jr., #84 Donnie Harmon and #14 Brandon Cox. Flynn maintained the lead.
On the restart, Carlsen again moved to Flynn's inside, and for the next nine laps the two competed in a hotly contested battle with Carlsen prevailing on lap 24. Flynn held on to 2 nd , while 3 rd went to #22 Alli Owens in her best run at the speedway to date. 4th was #94 Josh Wright and #25 Nick Profitt had his best run of the season rounding out the top 5.
Limited Late Models' points now finds Carlsen's lead increased to 26 points over Flynn in 2 nd , and #44 Jarit Johnson 42 points behind in 3 rd .
One other Limited Late Model note, Jessie Johnson, who was involved in the horrific crash in turn one last week, is reported to be in good shape with an understandable amount of soreness. It is also reported he'll be returning to action in the near future.
In Pro 4's action, #21 Todd Harrington grabbed the lead from his outside front row starting spot and never looked back, as he claimed the 25 lap feature over polesitter #16 Randy Freeze, who came home in 2 nd . #57 Grant Wimbish was 3 rd , 4 th went to #55 Walter Hoke and, #7 Chris Allison rounded out the top 5.
With his win, Harrington cut into Wimbish's point lead, and now trails by only 4 points, 562-558. Hoke is 3 rd , 46 markers behind.
In Hobby Stocks action, #90 Ronnie Sims grabbed the lead from pole sitter #07 Denver Jones on lap 5 and held on to win the 20 lap feature. 2 nd went to #98 Wesley Sain, while 3 rd was claimed by #11 Jimmy Whisnant. 4 th went to Jones and #83 David Hasson rounded out the top 5.
Hobby Stock points now finds Jones with 420 points, 24 ahead of Sain in 2 nd , and 3 rd is # -1 Ronald Dale McNeil 58 points behind.All of us here at Hickory Motor Speedway would like to thank you, the greatest race fans in the world, for coming out and making ADVANCE AUTO PARTS NIGHT AT THE RACES a success, and we invite you back this coming Saturday, August 4 th , for the “AARON'S 250 PRESENTED BY INGLES” USAR Hooters Pro Cup event. Tickets are on sale now and going fast, so call the speedway at (828) 464-3655 to get your advance tickets. Then, join us again the following Saturday, August 11 th , for SIG'S TIRECENTERS NIGHT AT THE RACES with a 100 lap BOJANGLES LATE MODEL STOCKS feature as the headliner.