Loden Completes the Three-peat!
By: Jill Frischmann, Hickory Motor Speedway
Photos by: Legacy Video & Photography
(Newton, NC) It was Championship Night for the 2008 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series at “The World's Most Famous Short Track”, Hickory Motor Speedway. Presented by Gaston Rentals, the 20 th round of NASCAR action featured appearances by the Bojangles Late Models, the Jewelry Exchange Limited Late Models, the Advance Auto Parts Super Trucks, the Hickory Pro 4's, the Hickory Street Stocks, and the Red Baron Race Parts Hobby Stocks. Champions were crowned in all divisions, and history was made as the #29 of Andy Loden won his third Track Championship in a row in the Late Model division.
The first few laps of the Bojangles Late Models 50 lapper seemed as though the dominance of the #10 of Andy Mercer was back as he jumped to the lead from his WynnCom Pole Position. The first and only caution of the event flew early in the race on lap three when the #95 of Michael Buckner and the #52 of Julia Dawson connected heading into turn four, sending Dawson for a spin, collecting the #99 of Sean Ballantine along the way. From the restart Mercer maintained his position in the lead, but the #29 of Andy Loden stayed closely behind.
At the mid point of the feature a tight battle for the first and third place positions was in progress. Loden continued to try Mercer for the lead, while the #43 of Jesse LeFevers looked to move back into the third place position, capturing it from the #89 of David Latour Jr. On lap 31, Loden dove under Mercer to take over the lead. The two raced door to door for several laps, Loden gained momentum in the turns but Mercer would regain ground on the straight-aways. Loden eventually settled back into the second place position and waited for his chance to overtake Mercer using his famous high line.
With five laps to go, Mercer and Loden raced side by side. As the two entered turn four Loden ducked to the low line and sailed past Mercer for the lead. Mercer remained close behind Loden until the very end, looking for any chance to move back into the top position. Loden grabbed the win and the title of “Late Model Track Champion”, leaving Mercer to finish with a solid second place run. “That was one heck of a race! That was fun, Andy ran me clean…,” Loden exclaimed from Victory Lane. LeFevers, Latour Jr., and the #00 of Lucas Ransone completed the top five.
The Jewelry Exchange Limited Late Models showed some intense competition during their 35 lap event. The #05 of Jordan McGregor battled WynnCom Pole Sitter, the #17 of Kyle Mansch early on in the event. The two raced door to door for the first few laps until Mansch pulled away from the field. On lap 14 the first caution of the event flew as the #66 of Travis Byrd spun heading into turn two. On lap 25, Byrd found himself in the spin cycle for a second time as he headed out of turn four, bringing out the second caution of the event. During the restart the bad luck of Byrd continued, when he made contact with the #86 of Mike Eplee and the #32 of Jeremy Harrell as they headed into turn two, bringing out the third and final caution.
At the restart McGregor tried to get a nose under Mansch as he gunned for the lead. Mansch powered ahead, pulling away from the field leaving McGregor, the #94 of Josh Wright, the #25 of Nick Proffitt and the #4 of Chris Chapman to round out the top five. “I won about a month ago and I had to make sure it wasn't a fluke,” Mansch stated during his post race interview. Jewelry Exchange Limited Late Model Champion, the #3 of Dexter Canipe Jr., pulled off a solid sixth place finish, clinching his champion status.
Drivers participating in the Advance Auto Parts Super Trucks put it all on the line as they competed during the 35 lap race. WynnCom Pole Sitter, the #59 of Rock Harris pulled away from the field early in the race, leaving the #94 of Ben Ebeling, the #97 of Keith Bumgarner, and the #69 of Trevor Hignutt to battle for second. The second place battle was tight, as the trucks went three wide several times around the track. On lap five the #78 of Chris Birdsall experienced troubles on the back stretch, bringing out the first caution of the race. On the restart, Birdsall experienced more issues as he went spinning into the outside wall coming out of turn four, bringing caution number two.
Harris regained a comfortable lead over his competition the moment the field went back to green flag racing. Bumgarner was able to break away from Ebeling and Hignutt, getting a solid hold on the second place position. A third caution flew on lap 27 when the #7 of Joseph Boyer went for a spin heading out of turn three, collecting the #17 of Tyler Taft. On lap 31 the fourth caution flew as Birdsall spun around between turns three and four. The fifth and final caution was called due to a bad restart and the field was re-aligned to try again. On the restart Harris pulled back out to the lead with Division Champion Bumgarner, Hignutt and the #6 of Dexter Canipe Jr. in tow. Two laps remained when the #44 of Ron Hall made a move on Ebeling, sliding under him on the back stretch and allowing him to walk away with a top five finish.
Clean and mean was the name of the game during the Hickory Street Stock race. The caution free event had intense battles as drivers raced for the checkers during the 25 lap event. WynnCom Pole Sitter, the #83 of Jeff Janson, fought a hard fight the first 12 laps of the event until he got loose heading into turn two allowing the #55 of Waylon Flynn and the #03 of Kevin Eby to move past him. Flynn and Eby ran door to door, until Eby slid under Flynn, taking over the lead on lap 18. The #64 of Marshall Sutton was soon to follow, moving into second place with ten laps to go.
On lap 23 Sutton was able to move under Eby as the two headed into turn three. Eby got loose coming out of the turn allowing Sutton to complete the pass and move into the lead. Eby fought back until the final lap, staying on Sutton's bumper until the bitter end. Sutton was too much to take on, giving him the checkers and Eby an impressive second place finish and a Divisional Championship. “I've got to thank my sponsors and family, without them this championship wouldn't be possible,” Eby stated during his post race interview. Flynn, the #88 of Josh Burchette, and the #10 of Kevin Townsend rounded out the top five respectively.
The Hickory Pro 4's put on a great show as they took to the track for their 25 lap race. WynnCom Pole Sitter, the #21 of Todd Harrington, jumped out front the moment the green flag was displayed. The #57 of Josh Wimbish was on his tail looking for a chance to move into the lead and walk away with another win and the divisional championship. On lap fou,r Wimbish made his move on Harrington as the two came out of turn four. Wimbish slid under Harrington and completed the pass on the front stretch. By lap five the #9 of Randy Canipe had wheeled his way into the top three, from his fifth place starting position. With five laps to go, Wimbish had a full straight-away lead over the field, allowing him to grab the checkers and the divisional championship. “That was awesome! I put it all on the table,” Wimbish exclaimed from Victory Lane. Harrington, Canipe, the #66 of Scott Wallace, and the #07 of Matt Laws rounded out the top five.
The Red Baron Race Parts Hobby Stocks impressed fans during their 20 lap event. The #90 of Ronnie Sims was quick to move into the lead, grabbing the position from WynnCom Pole Sitter, the #88 of Andy Towery. The #85 of Jeff Weisner was quick to follow suit with Sims as he moved into the second place position by lap two after staring fourth. The #83 of David Hasson showed a strong run as well, taking over third by lap three. It looked as though Weisner was gaining ground on Sims' lead, when Towery lost control coming out of turn four bringing out the first and only caution of the event. From the restart, Sims was back out to his commanding lead, leaving Weisner no time to make a move for the first place position. Hasson's strong run left him finishing in the third place, but gaining the title of “Division Champion”. The #98 of Wesley Sain and the #01 of Paul Wyatt made up the top five.
Be sure to join us on Saturday, September 20 th when the ASA “RC & Moonpie” Southeast Asphalt Touring Series comes to Hickory Motor Speedway.
On Saturday, September 27 th the PASS Super Late Models & Allison Legacy Series returns to the World's Most Famous Short Track for the “Over the Mountain 150”.
You won't want to miss the last event of 2008 on Saturday, October 11 th and Sunday, October 12 th for “Pepsi presents The Fall Brawl”. Saturday will feature the Carolina Indoor Racing POLE DAY!
For more information please visit our website at 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.
Hickory Motor Speedway runs Saturday nights, mid-March through October. Grandstands open at 5 PM with racing beginning at 7 PM. For more information visit hickorymotorspeedway.com.
Bojangles Late Model 50
Jewelry Exchange Limited Late Models 35
Advance Auto Parts Super Trucks 35
Hickory Street Stock 30
Hickory Pro 4's 25
Red Baron Race Parts Hobby Stocks 20
WynnCom Pole Award
Bojangles Late Models:
(10) Andy Mercer – 15.146 seconds
Jewelry Exchange Limited Late Model:
(17) Kyle Mansch – 15.796 seconds
Advance Auto Parts Super Trucks:
(59) Rock Harris – 15.889 seconds
Hickory Street Stocks:
(83) Jeff Janson – 17.044 seconds
Hickory Pro 4's:
(21) Todd Harrington – 16.179 seconds