After what most of the ‘County Line Crazies’ would call the longest four months of the year, the off season finally ended Saturday night when cars returned to the 3/8th mile clay oval in Elm City to begin the track’s Silver Anniversary Season. The Cabin Fever 80 featured the stars of the DRU Inc Modifieds, Barnes Equipment Company Late Models and ARCO Restoration Thunder & Lightning divisions.
After a quick round of practice for all divisions, Thunder & Lightning would be the first division to hit the track for qualifying. Brad Hamm would capture the pole position for the evenings feature event with a time of 16.905. This was Hamm’s first attempt in the Thunder & Lightning division as he is moving up from the Super Stock Four Cylinder division. Buddy Isles Jr would claim the outside starting position with a time of 17.052. Isles would jump out to a quick lead. Caution on lap 4 would send the 01 of Luke Owens and 44 of Jeff Parsons to the rear of the field for the restart. Two more cautions would slow the pace, but in the end it was Bailey’s Skeeter Liles picking up the first feature victory of 2013. Luke Owens would rebound from the lap 4 caution to finish 2nd, followed by Buddy Isles Jr, newcomer Matthew Bissette, and Wade Ferrell rounding out your top five.
The drivers of the Barnes Equipment Late Model division were eager to take to the track but attrition became a huge issue for some. Russell Erwin blew a motor in a Friday night practice session and would not be able to participate. Charles Hanson, Travis Hair and JP Cascell all had issues during Saturday practice sessions and would not be able to make the field. Qualifying was a clear indication that the track was going to be fast. ‘The Professor’ Christian Joyner set fast time with a lap of 14.977. Russell Jones had the second fastest lap with a time of 15.265, but his time was disqualified after coming in underweight after his lap. That would move the 79 of Roger Lucas to the outside pole for the start of the feature. Several quick cautions would slow the field and Christian Joyner picked up his first career Late Model victory. Roger Lucas would finish second followed by Daniel Tucker, Justin Pinno and Russell Jones.
Once the Late Model checkerd flag, all attention turned to the opening in turn four as the DRU Inc Open Wheel Modified division where a stout field of cars from all over the east coast were lined up and set to roll to see who could bring home the $2,000 payday. Qualifying would set the first two rows of the feature and the lineups for the two heat races. Taylor Cook would set fast time with a 15.612. Nick Hoffman would clock in taking the outside pole. In heat number one, Chris Parker would take the win with Russell Erwin finishing second after starting 8th, due to a weight issue after his qualifying attempt. Heat two would see Rich Michaels take the checkerd followed by Tony Quade in car 28.
With 22 cars registered, only 19 would make it to the green flag. A spin in turn 2 would force a second attempt at a double file restart. Several more cautions for single car spins and debris would slow the field but nothing could stop Nick Hoffman. Hoffman took the checkerd, the points lead and was able to do his signature backflip on the front straightaway after his win. Taylor Cook came home second followed by ‘The High Side Tickler’ Kyle Strickler, ‘The Commonwealth Bandit’ Russell Erwin, and ‘The X Factor’ Chris Parker.
County Line Raceway will be closed next week but return with another double header March 22 & 23. Friday night March 22, the track will be open for practice for all divisions. March 23 brings one of the most anticipated shows ever, the Roger Matthews Memorial. The Barnes Equipment Late Model division will be going Topless for 49 laps with $2,500 going to the winner. Also on the card are the DRU Inc Open Wheel Modifieds and the ARCO Restoration Thunder & Lightning.
For more information on County Line Raceway, you may call the track 252-985-1949, find us on the web at www.countylineracewaync.com/, ‘Like’ us on Facebook, or ‘Follow’ us on Twitter (@countylinenc). We’ll see you at ‘THE LINE.’