LODEN WINS FRANTIC FEATURE ON “SOUTH MOUNTAIN CHILDRENS HOME NIGHT AT THE RACES”.
BY GARLAND COLEY
Andy Loden survived a frantic 50 lap BOJANGLES LATE MODEL STOCKS feature to claim his 4 th win in row at Hickory Motor Speedway Saturday night. Unlike his previous wins during the streak, Loden had to work his #29 Monroe Roadways Chevy hard for the race win on “SOUTH MOUNTAIN CHILDRENS HOME NIGHT AT THE RACES”.
#31 Kyle Grissom vaulted to the initial lead on the green flag from his outside pole starting spot over pole winner #7 Ashley Huffman, who was making his first appearance at the track this season. Loden then drove to his trademark high side and passed Huffman and began stalking Grissom. Loden tried unsuccessfully for several laps to pass Grissom using the high line, then on lap 24 he cut hard left to get position under Grissom in between turns 3 and 4. After 2 laps of clean side by side racing, he emerged as the leader but his work was far from over.
Loden had to survive 11 caution flags, including 6 from laps 27-30, 2 red flags situations and then there was Ashley Huffman.
Huffman, who had fallen back to 3 rd after setting a scorching qualifying time of 15.175 seconds around the .363 asphalt oval, took 2 nd position from Grissom and with a car that got quicker as the race wore on applied savage pressure to Loden for the final 20 laps. Loden, who was loose off turn 4 for the final 10 laps, survived the charge to win by a car length to take his 5 th win at Hickory Motor Speedway this season.
Behind Loden and Huffman was Kyle Grissom in 3 rd . #07 Chrissy Wallace battled from 12 th starting spot to claim 4 th and #21 Lucas Ransone rebounded from a spin on lap 29 to round out the top 5.
The win gave Loden 296 points in the 2007 BOJANGLES LATE MODEL STOCKS point standings. He leads Grissom by 48 points and 3 rd is #19 Kyle Moon, who trails by 72 points.
“I had to move up high,” Loden stated in victory lane, “There wasn't a whole lot of grip on the bottom.”
In a heartwarming story, the Hobby Stocks feature was claimed by #07 Denver Jones. Jones, an Iraqi War veteran who suffered injuries that leave him confined to a wheelchair, led all 15 laps driving his machine with hand controls to win over hard charging #5 Nikki Long in 2 nd . The win was a popular one among fans, competitors and the press assembled.
“I just want to thank God for allowing me to do this,” a tearful Jones stated in Victory Lane. His tears were not the only ones at the track after the race.
Hobby Stocks points find Nikki Long with 144 points leading Nick Mauer by 6 points, and Denver Jones moved up to 3 rd trailing by 8 points.
In ADVANCED AUTO PARTS SUPER TRUCKS action, #97 Keith Bumgarner passed pole winner #3 Dexter Canipe Jr. on lap 7 and pulled away to a dominating win in the 35 lap feature.
Chasing Bumgarner and Canipe across the line was #01 J.R. Allen in 3 rd , 4 th was #69 Trevor Hignutt, and #45 Kenneth Pardue survived two spins to round out the top 5.
Bumgarner's win allowed him to break out of a tie with Canipe, who he now leads in ADVANCED AUTO PARTS SUPER TRUCKS points by a 146-144 margin. Pardue is 3 rd in points 26 behind.
In Limited Late Model action, #44 Jarrit Johnson claimed the pole and dominated the feature leading all 35 laps en route to the win.
2 nd place was #99 Andrew Carlsen who held off a furious challenge from #41 Chris Chapman, who came home 3 rd . 4 th went to # 75 Eric Evans and #21 Chad Eades rounded out the top 5.
Carlsen now leads Limited Late model standings with 234 points. 2nd is Johnson who trails by 18 points and #55 Waylon Flynn finds himself 30 points back in 3 rd .
In Street Stocks action, #82 Gary Ledbetter led all 25 laps from the pole to claim the feature win. Jeff Sparks #7 finished 2 nd , 3 rd was #03 Kevin Eby, 4 th was #42 Terrence Tucker and #32 Jeremy Harrell rounded out the top 5.
Street Stock points now finds Eby with 190 points leading Ledbetter by 8 points and 3 rd is Sparks trailing by 16.
Pro 4's action saw #16 Randy Freeze set his second track record of the season then dominate the 20 lap feature. #57 Grant Wimbish came home 2 nd , #21 Todd Harrington was 3 rd , 4 th was Randy Canipe in his #09 machine and, #55 Walter Hoke rounded out the top 5.
In Pro 4's points, Wimbish holds a narrow 228-226 point advantage over both Canipe and Harrington.
The staff at Hickory Motor Speedway would like to thank all of you great fans for making SOUTH MOUNTAIN CHILDRENS HOME NIGHT AT THE RACES a success. The silent auction raised almost $1,000 for the kids who enjoyed themselves in the VIP booth watching the exciting racing action. We will not be racing next Saturday but, on track action will occur next Sunday as the ASA SOUTHERN MODIFIED TOUR will invade the track with exciting open wheeled Modified action. Gates open at 1pm with racing at 3:30pm.