A beautiful, sunny day greeted fans, drivers & crews to County Line Raceway for the CLR Nationals. Welcoming FASTRAK Racing Series & the Renegades of Dirt to the raceway for the first time, everyone was ready for the opening night of the 2014 racing season. With $10,000 to win in the Renegades Of Dirt Open Wheel Modifieds, & $3,000 to win for the FASTRAK Crate Late Models, 90 laps & 75 cars checked in, the fans were definitely in for a treat!
Night one would see Chris Parker & Tyler Nicely bring home wins in the Twin 25’s, and everyone wanted to see if they could repeat it tonight for the big money. After 5 heat races & 2 consi’s, the field was set for the Renegades of Dirt with Nick Hoffman on the front row alongside of Kyle Strickler. Who would bring home the big $10,000 check?
Our first feature of the night, the FASTRAK crate late models with Dale Timms & Walker Arthur leading the field to the green. Timms would charge into turn 1 hard, trying to maintain the lead followed close by Walker Arthur , but Arthur would dive into turn 2 and quickly take the lead. A piece of debris in the racing groove would bring out the caution. The FASTRAK series enforces a double file restart, so as the field lined up 2 by 2, we were back green with Arthur out front. A 2 car spin would bring out the caution out of turn 2 that included GR Smith & Joe Cox. Back to a double file restart and the flagman, Wes Cogdell, waved the green. Walker Arthur quickly took charge, putting several car lengths between him and second place Dale Timms. Caution again for 3 cars over in turn 4 involving Rick Gilcrest, Teddy Tate & GR Smith. Fortunately, all 3 cars were able to continue. All through the field these guys were running side by side jockeying for position, sometimes running 2-3 wide! Caution again on lap 8 for GR Smith as he got into the wall out of turn 2. GR Smith retired to the pits, as the remainder of the field lined up for their 6th double file restart. Colby Cannon got around over in turn 2 bringing out the caution again but it was a very quick one. Back green, with Walker Arthur jumping out in front of the field. Corey Gordon would bring out the caution when he went around in turn 4, but we were back green within minutes. A massive caution over in turn involving 3 cars would see the 168 of Rick Gilcrest go around and slam into the outside retaining wall. Also involved were Teddy Tate and Christian Joyner. Gilcrest & Joyner retired to the pits right before we lined them up for another double file restart. With 25 laps in the books, Walker Arthur continued to dominate this feature event. He was followed by Dale Timms, Daniel Baggerly, David Smith & Corey Gordon. Walker Arthur would bring home the win & the $3,000 pay day! He was followed by Dale Timms, Daniel Baggerly, David Smith & Corey Gordon.
The first part of our Renegades of Dirt would see a 25 lap Race of States. Leading the field to the green flag was Greg Brown with Scott Stiffler alongside of him. With the option of taking home $750 or transferring to the main, everyone was trying to get to the front. Ryan Toole, starting from the 4th spot would slip a little at the beginning losing one spot, but was able to get his Shaw By Erwin Battenbilt powered machine back together to reclaim the 4th spot. Chris Meadows would lead each lap of this event, and chose to transfer to the A Main instead of taking the $750 prize.
Our final feature even of the night, the $10,000 to win County Line Nationals. Nick Hoffman, Kyle Strickler and 19 other cars were ready to battle it out for 40 laps. Coming to the green, Hoffman tried to take it out of turn 1 but Strickler was having none of it! Side by side through the tricky turn 2, cars going 3 and 4 wide, only to have one get out of shape and go around. Tyler Nicely, last night’s winner of Twin #1, would go around, but was able to continue. Back green with a complete restart since no laps were complete. Hoffman & Strickler brought them to the green but it was Strickler would take the point. Nick Hoffman followed by a car length in 2nd spot, Ryan Ayers, Russell Erwin & Chis Arnold rounded out the top 5. Back through the field, it was a real battle as these guys were still side by side, at times 3 wide battling for position. Strickler was closing in on the tail of the field as Russell Erwin mounted a challenge on Ryan Ayers, finally able to get around him out of turn 2. With 12 in the books, Strickler was starting to make his way through the lap traffic as Nick Hoffman closed the gap he’d put between them. Lap 13 would see the first caution of the night as Billy Workman, Jr. slowed in turn 4. Green flag, with Kyle Strickler leading Nick Hoffman, Russell Erwin, Ryan Erwin & Chris Arnold. Lap 24 would see another caution when Chris Parker slowed in turn 4. Green flag, with Hoffman trying to get around Strickler. Back through the field 2 & 3 wide through all 4 turns folks! With 13 to go, Tyler Nicely would bring out the caution in turn 2 with a spin. Green flag with 10 to go, Kyle Strickler still leading Nick Hoffman, Russell Erwin, Ryan Ayers and Chris Arnold. Chris Arnold would go around, Hank Edwards was also involved bringing out another caution over in turn 2. Back green, Kyle Strickler leading Nick Hoffman and a hard charging Russell Erwin. Hoffman was holding onto his 2nd place spot as Russell Erwin was giving him everything he had. The real man on the move was David Stremme! He started in the 20th spot and as they crossed the line with 3 to go, he was up to 9th! Caution! One car slow on the backstretch couldn’t make it to the pits in time to clear the track, so the caution flag came out giving us a 3 lap shootout. Could Kyle Strickler hold off Hoffman? Could Hoffman hold off Erwin? With $10,000 on the line, it was anyone’s game at this point! Green flag, Strickler shot down into turn 1, putting a car length between him and Hoffman. White flag and still there was distance between the leader & 2nd place. Checkered flag, and your winner of the $10,00 is Kyle Strickler! Rounding out the top 5 was Nick Hoffman, Russell Erwin, Ryan Ayers & Rich Michael Jr. Bringing home the hard charger award was 15 yr old Tyler Evans. Watch this kid folks, as he will be going places in racing!!
We hope each of you enjoyed this very special night of racing! Thanks to all of those involved, those that traveled so very far & to all of the fans, crews & drivers. Special thanks to all of the staff, Steve Summerlin for his countless hours of work on this, Brenda Holcombe & James Upchurch, as well as the owners, Carolyn & Edward Upchurch for giving us such a great place to come.
Be sure to come out April 5th for our annual car show & first points event. We will see our ARCO Restoration Thunder & Lightning, Super Stock 4’s, PL Woodard Pure Stock V8, Pure Stock 4’s & of course, our Late Models. As always, if you have any questions, please call the track at 252-985-1949.
Thanks again, and we’ll see you in 2 weeks at The Line.