A beautiful, sunny day paved the way to a perfect night of racing at County Line Raceway for the season opener $2000 to win DRU Inc. Open Wheel Modified special. Also on tap for tonight the Rapid Red Racing Thunder & Lightning and the Barnes Equipment Inc Late Model division. As the sun slowly slid down behind turn 1, the fans streamed in to see some hot racing action on the 3/8ths oval.
After a round of practice and a qualifying session, the Rapid Red Racing Supply Thunder & Lightning division lined up for their 20 lap feature with Michael Batten on the pole and returning driver Luke Owens on the outside. As new flagman Eddy Pollard dropped the green flag, Michael Batten was on the point followed closely by “Cool Hand” Luke Owens. Caution would come out quickly, on lap 2 as a matter of fact, when Kevin Abbott spun in turn 2. Back green with Batten bringing the field to the green. Unfortunately the field would not complete the lap as the 05 of David Upchurch spun in turn 2 leaving the 84 of Mark McDaniels with no where to go. After a brief caution period, Eddy Pollard again waved the green flag over the field. Luke Owens was definitely giving the leader a run for his money, staying close on his tail as the rest of the field jockeyed for position. The yellow would fly as the hood flew off of the 88 of Melvin Edmondson. The County Line Clean Up crew quickly removed the debris from the track and we were back green. Michael Batten still held a short lead over Owens followed by Kevin Abbott, Wade Ferrell and David Upchurch. By the half way mark, Batten seemed to be stretching his lead over Owens, when the 2nd place Owens had problems down the back stretch bringing out the caution. Back green with 5 to go and Batten is still out front. A late race caution for debris that flew off of someones car would halt the field with 2 to go. Nothing would deter Batten though as he brought home his first win in the Rapid Red Racing Supply Thunder & Lightning division. He was followed by Kevin Abbott, Ethan Wilson, David Upchurch & Jonathan Lane.
On the track next, for their 30 lap feature, the Barnes Equipment Inc Late Models with rookie driver Daniel Tucker on the pole and the Professor Christian Joyner on the outside. Nice clean racing between these late model drivers as the first 7 laps were in the books quickly. Daniel Tucker held his ground against veteran driver Roger Lucas in second, followed by his dad Ray Tucker, Steve Mendenhall and Skeeter Liles. The caution would come out on lap 9 when Christian Joyner would loop around collecting Cody Shaw. Damon Kotke would spin to avoid, tagging the front of the C9 but would continue with little damage. Back green with Daniel still out front followed by Lucas, Ray Tucker, Steve Mendenhall. Lucas would lose 2nd spot to Ray Tucker, putting him directly behind his son. These two would put on a great show of hard racing for several laps, father and son racing against each other and the respect was evident. Further through the field Damon Kotke would put the move on Skeeter Liles for 5th with less than 8 to go moving him up into the top 5. Daniel stretched his lead over his dad Ray by about 5 car lengths as the laps wound down. Coming to the white flag, Kotke would move up into 4th relegating Mendenhall to 5th. As the first Barnes Equipment Inc Late Model checkered flag fell, it would fall over the 0 car being driven by Daniel Tucker. This would be Daniel’s first late model race win at County Line Raceway.
Our final feature of the night, the DRU Inc. Open Wheel Modified division lined up for their 30 lap $2000 to win event. Andy Floyd would lead the field to the green from the pole position with Chris Arnold on the outside. After a lengthy caution for a mishap on the backstretch involving Nick Hoffman, we were back green. Another caution would come out for Jeffery Tyndall and Steve Dietrich in turn 4 on lap 4, and then as they took the green, Shaun Harrell and Travis Hair would get together in between turn 1 & 2. Back green and Russell Erwin was out front. Nick Hoffman would pick off cars quickly moving back up into the top 5, finally getting up into the 2nd place spot. He would trail behind Russell Erwin by about 5 car lengths, but a caution would tighten the field. Nick would attempt to get past Erwin on the start but couldn’t complete the pass. Moving back up into the top 5, Chris Parker was on a mission to get to the front too. Andy Floyd held tight to the 3rd spot while Dan Davies maintained the 4th spot. Out front it was all Erwin, as he continued to put space between him and Hoffman. With 5 to go, Erwin would run up on lap traffic, but would move through them with ease. Russell Erwin would bring home the win & $2000 paycheck followed by Nick Hoffman, Andy Floyd, Dan Davies & Chris Parker. The DRU Inc Open Wheel Modifieds didn’t disappoint tonight and I’m sure that there will be more great races out of this division throughout the season.
Be sure to listen on Monday to 98.5 the Big DAWG as Steve Summerlin & Steve Vail review the events from tonight as well as preview next week’s event. Also, join us at Buffalo Wild Wings when we feature Britches & Skeeter Liles and their L2 & L3 rides. Join us next week when we will have the Rapid Red Racing Thunder & Lightning Special (25 laps – $1000 to win) the Wall’s Roofing UCar Clash, DRU Inc. Modified division and the Barnes Equipment Inc. Late Model division. Have a great week & we’ll see you at The Line!