Loden's back in Victory Lane!
By: Jill Frischmann, Hickory Motor Speedway
Photos by: Legacy Video & Photography
(Newton, NC) The excitement continues at the “Birthplace of the NASCAR Stars”, Hickory Motor Speedway! Drivers took to the track for the 19 th round of the 2008 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series presented by AT&T – The Real Yellow Pages. The night featured appearances by the Bojangles Late Models, the Jewelry Exchange Limited Late Models, the Hickory Street Stocks, the Hickory Pro 4's and the Red Baron Race Parts Hobby Stocks. The night saw familiar faces in Victory Lane and some that were well over due for their moment in the spot light.
The competition was fierce during the 50 lap Bojangles Late Model feature. The #00 of Lucas Ransone jumped to the lead at the start moving ahead of WynnCom Pole Sitter, #10 of Andy Mercer. Ransone, Mercer, and the #29 of Andy Loden ran nose to tail, just inches apart, the first eight laps of the feature, but Ransone got loose and collected Mercer in a wreck as they were midway down the backstretch bringing out the first and only caution of the feature. Ransone spun up the track, forcing Loden against the wall as he maneuvered around the incident. Mercer got the worst end of the deal, with extensive front end damage, but was able to rejoin the fray at the back of the pack. Loden had the lead at the restart, but the #89 of David Latour Jr. was on his bumper. Loden continued to increase his lead over the field as Ransone and Mercer worked their way through the field from the back of the pack. Five laps remained when Loden reached lap traffic, allowing Latour Jr. to gain on Loden. Loden weaved in and out of lap cars as Latour Jr. continued to gain on him, but once Loden was back out into clean air it was smooth sailing to the finish line. “Man, the car was good, it was the best car we've ever had here!” Loden exclaimed from Victory Lane. The #33 of James Goff, the #42 of Todd Goble and the #57 of Grant Wimbish rounded out the top five.
The Jewelry Exchange Limited Late Models put on a great show for the fans during their caution free 35 lap event. The #05 of Jordan McGregor pulled off the track on lap 3 to fix his damaged ride, after another competitor missed a gear at the start of the race. On lap five the #17 of Kyle Mansch managed to grab the lead from the #4 of WynnCom Pole Sitter, Chris “Cheeseburger” Chapman. Chapman sat back until the end of the race, waiting to make his move on Masnsch and regain the lead. With ten laps to go Chapman began to close in on Mansch. On lap 28 Chapman finally made his move and sailed under Mansch as the two headed out of turn four. “He's awesome and he's great to run with. He runs ya clean and that makes it fun,” Mansch said about Chapman during a post race interview. The #51 of Josh Wimbish, the #75 of Eric Evans and the #25 of Nick Proffitt rounded out the top five.
When the Hickory Street Stocks headed onto the track, fans knew the excitement would continue during their 30 lap event. From the start the #71 of Robert DiVanna fought hard to grab the lead from WynnCom Pole Sitter, the #1 of Taylor Stricklin. Stricklin was able to hold strong until DiVanna pulled in on lap 3 after experiencing mechanical issues. Lap three was a rough one, as the #5 of Mike Newton blew an engine heading into turn one, bringing out the first and only caution. At the restart the #03 of Kevin Eby had worked his way from the back of the pack into the fourth place position.
After the restart the #64 of Marshall Sutton dove under Stricklin on the back stretch, taking over the lead. Stricklin fought back and regained the first place position on lap seven. By lap ten Eby was on the bumper of Sutton, looking for his chance to move in and steal the second place spot. Eby made the move coming out of turn four, sliding into second place on lap 18. Eby and Sutton spent the next few laps trading positions back and forth, until lap 23 when the two made contact coming out of turn four. Eby wobbled from the contact and lost momentum allowing Sutton to power by him. Sutton then began to work on Stricklin again, hoping to move into the lead and take the checkers. Stricklin had his eyes set on Victory Lane as he powered on, leaving Sutton to settle for second. “I could get used to this,” Stricklin stated from Victory Lane. Sutton, Eby, #83 of Jeff Janson and the #98 of Rob Schulser made up the top five.
The Hickory Pro 4's took to the track in classic fashion with clean and exciting racing action. The #16 of Randy Freeze jumped to an early lead in the 25 lap race grabbing the spot from WynnCom Pole Sitter, the #4 of Adam Beaver. By lap 4 the #57 of Josh Wimbish had gained a solid lead over the eight car field. The first and only caution of the race fell on lap 11 when Freeze went for a spin heading out of turn two. From the restart the #9 of Randy Canipe was on the bumper of Beaver trying for second. Beaver refused to allow Canipe past, forcing Canipe to settle for third, as Beaver continued to power on hoping to gain back into the first place position from Wimbish, without success. On the final lap Freeze dove to the inside line trying to slide by Canipe but Canipe held strong, finishing out the top three. Freeze and the #66 of Scott Wallace completed the top five.
The Red Baron Race Parts Hobby Stocks kept the excitement going during their 20 lap race. The #88 of Andy Towery jumped to the lead from at the start, bringing the #84 of Steve Teague along for the ride. Just as Teague was moving into second place, he found himself going for a spin in turn four bringing out the fist caution of the race. The #03 of Wayne Harrington continued to work his way through the field after starting in the back of the pack, taking second from Teague on lap four. Harrington continued his run as he took the lead by mid point of the race. The second portion of the race contained a great battle between the #90 of Ronnie Sims and Wyatt for fourth. The two battled hard until they made contact heading into turn three on lap 16, sending Sims spinning up the track and bringing out the second and final caution. Harrington was able to hold onto the lead from the restart leaving the #85 of Jeff Weisner, the #82 of Jeremy Whitman, Wyatt, and Sims to round out the top five.
Join us next Saturday Night as Gaston Rentals presents Championship Night and the final round NASCAR Whelen All-American Series of the 2008 racing season. The night will include final 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. Grandstands open at 5 PM with qualifying immediately following. An On Track Autograph Session featuring the Bojangles Late Models will take place at 6 PM, with feature racing action beginning at 7 PM. Tickets for the event are only $10 for adults, $8 for teens and seniors, $5 for kids 7-12 and kids 6 and under are free. 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.
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 www.hickorymotorspeedway.com.
Bojangles Late Model 50
Jewelry Exchange Limited Late Models 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
Jewelry Exchange Limited Late Model:
(4) Chris Chapman
Hickory Street Stocks:
(1) Kevin Eby
Hickory Pro 4's:
(4) Adam Beaver