Fuller Celebrates in Victory Lane
Story By: Jill Frischmann
(Newton, NC) What better way to celebrate 58 years of stock car racing than with amazing fans, high speed racing action, and a fireworks extravaganza! It was a birthday celebration for the World's Most Famous Short Track, Hickory Motor Speedway, which included victory lane celebrations for drivers in the Bojangles Late Models, Jewelry Exchange Limited Late Models, Hickory Street Stocks, Hickory Pro 4's and the Red Baron Race Parts Hobby Stocks. Presented by Pepsi, the birthday celebration was all for the fans as they enjoyed a night of cake, prizes, and fireworks both on and off the track.
It looked as though it was going to be a game of follow the leader during the 50 lap Bojangles Late Model feature presented by Pepsi. The #10 of Andy Mercer jumped to the point from his second place starting position and began to lead the pack around track, until lap 18 when the #17 of Rob Fuller made a slick move heading for the front. Fuller made his move on the #89 of David Latour Jr. by getting under him and sliding him up the track coming out of four. It took a lap for Fuller to complete his pass on Latour and capture the position, but once he did he was on the run with his sights set on Mercer and the lead. On lap 32 the #57 of Grant Wimbish found himself in a spin coming out of turn four, bringing out the first and only caution of the feature. The caution was just what Fuller needed to close in on Mercer to go for the lead.
The night was no celebration for last season's track champion Andy Loden (29), as he remained mid pack the majority of the race. With ten to go Loden began to pick up momentum battling his way into fifth from his seventh place starting position. The battle for the lead was also heating up as Fuller managed to work his way under Mercer and capture the lead on lap 41. The #42 of Todd Goble, #31 of Kyle Grissom, and Loden rounded out the top five.
The Jewelry Exchange Limited Late Models certainly gave the fans a show to remember, as the #10 Sutton Stock Car Machine piloted by Las Vegas native and Wynncom Pole Award winner, Bear Rzesnowiecki, jumped to lead the moment the green flag waved. On lap five the #25 of Nick Proffitt found himself going for a spin on the back stretch bringing out the first caution of the 35 lap feature. Rzesnowiecky was back to the lead at the restart and it didn't take him and the #3 of Dexter Canipe Jr. long to pull away from the field, leaving the #94 of Josh Wright and #07 of Tyler Church to battle for third.
A caution on lap 20, brought out when the #77 of Mark Goin went for a spin on the back stretch, was just what Wright and Church needed if they were going to make a run for the lead. From the restart Rzesnowiecky and Canipe Jr. wasted no time pulling away from the field, but that restart was just what Church needed to grab third from Wright. Canipe Jr. made several moves on Rzesnowiecky, but the Hickory veteran didn't have enough to overtake the newcomer, as Rzesnowiecky took the checkered flags. The #27 of Brandon Mundy finished out the top five. However, following post-race inspection, Rzesnowiecky's car was found to not fully meet tech rules, and HMS Officials were forced to DQ the car, with Canipe Jr. inheriting the win and all other cars moving up a position.
The #03 of Kevin Eby had every reason to celebrate during the Hickory Street Stock 30, as he battled his way to the front of the pack from an eighth place starting position. It didn't take Eby long to make his move as he found himself in the fifth position by lap five. On lap ten Eby made a move on the #5 of Mike Newton, taking the outside line heading into two and allowing him to grab the third place position. On lap 16, Eby used a low line coming out of four to take second from the #71 of Robert Divanna. With ten to go Eby had the #64 of Marshall Sutton in his sights looking to capture the lead, five laps remained when Eby made his move. With three to go the battle between the two continued as they came upon lapped traffic, coming off of turn four Eby made a run on the high side and took the lead from Sutton gaining a two car lead by the time the checkers dropped. Newton, Divanna and the #39 of Dan Crate finished second thru fifth, respectively.
The #57 of Josh Wimbish was in the mood to celebrate as he joined his fellow racers during the Hickory Pro 4's 25 lap feature presented by Pepsi. Wimbish was on the move the moment the green flag waved, just two laps into the feature Wimbish had already moved into the second place position capturing it from the #16 of Randy Freeze. It only took Wimbish nine laps to snag the lead from WinnCom Pole Sitter of Todd Harrington (#21) as they headed out of turn four.
It looked as though this was going to be a caution free event until lap 23 when the #17 of Curtis Pardue made contact with the #66 of Scott Wallace coming out of turn four. The green flag waved with two to go and Harrington tried to make one more run on Wimbish to take over the lead. Harrington made his move on the back stretch, but wiggled and lost momentum, he just didn't have enough to steal the lead from Wimbish. We were on rails, we just had to keep it on rails! exclaimed the race winner in victory lane. Freeze, the #09 of Randy Canipe, and Pardue made up the top five.
The celebrations continued as the Red Baron Race Parts Hobby Stocks took to the track for a 20 lap feature. The field was full and the action wasn't lacking as the drivers battled it out for the checkers. The #46 of David Hasson powered by the #85 of Jeff Weisner on the inside heading into four during the first lap, taking over the third place position. The #90 of WinnCom Pole Sitter Ronnie Sims was starting to increase his lead over the field when the #98 of Wesley Sain lost a tire heading into four and bringing out the first caution of the feature. Hasson used the restart to make a move on Sims for the lead, only to watch Sims pull further and further away from the field.
Lap 11 brought out the second caution of the feature, when the #00 of Dwight Wyatt and the #3 of Mickey Canipe got together coming out of three, sending Canipe for a spin into the outside wall. Caution number three followed on the restart when Weisner made a move on Hasson tying to steal the second place position, the two made contact heading into three sending Hasson for a spin. The fourth and final caution came on the restart again when the #88 of Andy Towery and #-1 of Ronald Dale McNeil got hung up heading into turn one, sending both for a spin.
The third restart was the charm as the field made their way to the checkered flags. Hasson worked his way into the second place position from the back of the pack and battled Sims for lead, but Hasson just didn't have enough to take over Sims. Weisner, the #01 of Paul Wyatt, and the #00 of Dwight Wyatt made up the top five.
Be sure to join us next Saturday, June 7, for Craftsman Night at the Races featuring the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. The night will include appearances by the Bojangles Late Models, the Jewelry Exchange Limiteds, the Hickory Pro 4's, Advance Auto Parts Super Trucks, and the Red Baron Race Parts Hobby Stocks. There will also be a special appearance by the American Red Cross, who will be displaying disaster relief vehicles.
Grandstands open at 5 PM with qualifying immediately following and feature racing action beginning at 7 PM. Fans don't miss your chance to meet your favorite drivers of the Red Baron Race Parts Hobby Stocks during the On Track Autograph session beginning at 6 PM. Tickets are only $10 for adults, $8 for teens and seniors, $5 for kids 7-12, and kids 6 and under are free. Be sure to bring out the whole family for a night of family fun with exciting high speed racing action, family packs for this special event are only $25 and on sale NOW! For more information please visit our website at www.hickorymotorspeedway.com or by phone at 828-464-3655. We can't wait to see you at the races!
Hickory Motor Speedway is a .363 mile asphalt track. The track held its first event in June of 1951 posting Gwyn Staley as the event winner. Hickory Motor Speedway has supported series such as the now Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series. Currently the Speedway is sanctioned by NASCAR featuring the NASCAR Whelen All American Series. The Speedway also hosts a wide variety of touring series that travel throughout the country.
WinnCom Pole Award
Bojangles Late Models: ( 89) David Latour Jr. 15.244 seconds
Jewelry Exchange Limiteds: (10) Bear Rzesnowiecky 15.837 seconds
Hickory Pro 4's: (21) Todd Harrington 16.122 seconds
Hickory Street Stocks: (03) Kevin Eby 17.262 seconds
Bojangles Late Model 50
Jewelry Exchange Limited 35
The #10 of Bear Rzesnowiecky was disqualified due to failure to pass post race inspection.
Hickory Street Stock 30
Hickory Pro 4's 25
Red Baron Race Parts Hobby Stock 20