LODEN WINS EXPLOSIVE OPENING RACE
The 57 th consecutive season of racing at the historic Hickory Motor Speedway started off with a bang, not only from the post-race fireworks show, but with an explosive night of racing. PEPSI along with Hickory Motor Speedway staged “PEPSI PRESENTS OPENING NIGHT 2007” and, the show that followed was one that fans in attendance will be reliving for years to come. The night's “BOJANGLES LATE MODEL STOCKS” feature produced two major stories.
First, Andy Loden demonstrated that he would be providing a strong defense of his 2006 “BOJANGLES LATE MODEL STOCKS” title as he took home the trophy for winning the 50-lap feature from Miss Hickory Motor Speedway Randi Summerlin after taking the lead from pole winner #53 Duncan Molesworth on lap 15. Loden then weathered several challenges for the lead and 5 caution flags to capture the opening race of the 2007 season. The winning pass was a typical high side pass that has earned Loden the nickname, “High Line Loden”.
Behind Loden was #23 Chrissy Wallace in 2 nd and #43 Jessie Lefevers in 3 rd .
“ I didn't know last year if it was the car that couldn't run on the bottom or me, but I definitely figured out it was me.” Loden said of the win in his brand new machine. He also dedicated the win to long time track parts supplier Wayne Moose who died unexpectedly days ago.
The other major story line was Chrissy Wallace who served notice that she will be a tough contender in the “BOJANGLES LATE MODEL STOCKS” division this season. Wallace started 11 th and clawed her way into an impressive 2 nd place finish surviving tight traffic and contact with several competitors, however it was her move on the last lap that brought the crowd to their feet.
Coming down to the checkered flag, the 2nd and 3 rd place machines of Duncan Molesworth and Jessie Lefevers made hard contact exiting turn 4. Wallace, who was behind them, was forced to cut her machine hard left almost getting her left side tires on the track apron to pass and secure 2 nd place.
“I thought we were going to finish fourth and saw the two cars in front of me beating off of each other”, Wallace said of her move, “so they got loose and I went underneath them and got a 2 nd place finish.”
In Limited Late Model action Jarit Johnson grabbed the lead from the outside pole and claimed the win in convincing fashion. Waylon Flynn piloted his ride home 2 nd and Brandon Cox slid across the finish line backward trying to overtake Flynn to finish 3 rd .
16 year old Cole Miktuk took his #6 Super Truck to Victory Lane for his first win, after holding off 2005 HMS Track Champion #97 Keith Bumgarner and 2004 Limited Late Models Division Champion Dexter Canipe Jr. Miktuk battled Bumgarner for the opening 7 laps of the race, then went on to win the “ADVANCE AUTO PARTS SUPER TRUCKS” feature. Bumgarner finished 2 nd while Canipe Jr. came home 3 rd .
After setting a new track record with a time of 15.962 seconds and, an average speed of 81.200 mph, #16 Randy Freeze went on to win the Pro 4 feature holding off #09 Randy Canipe in 2 nd and #21 Todd Harrington finished 3 rd .
In Street Stocks action #82 Gary Ledbetter dominated the race with #03 Kevin Eby in 2 nd and #7 Rob Sparkes scoring 3 rd .
The staff and management of Hickory Motor Speedway would like to thank all the fans who came out to “PEPSI PRESENTS OPENING NIGHT 2007” and invite you back this Saturday, March 31 st , for “ACTION RENTAL NIGHT AT THE RACES”. It will also be “Fan Appreciation Night” with all tickets $5, as we show our profound appreciation for you, the greatest racing fans on earth.
We'll see you Saturday.