The sun beat down on the parking lot of County Line Raceway as we opened the gates for the annual car show & first points race. There were some nice hot rods out there and I’m sure the judges had a hard time deciding! Good luck to all of those that participated!!
After rounds of qualifying & heat races, we were ready for our first points race of the season. The Super Stock 4’s, Pure Stock 4’s, ARCO Restoration Thunder & Lightning, PL Woodard Pure Stock V8 & the ever popular Late Models would make their way onto the track.
Up first, the Super Stock 4 division, which during qualifying would see a new track record set twice by 3 people! That’s right folks, in one group Austin Holcombe & defending champion John Proctor would break the record set by Mark Boykin back in November with a time of 17.325, both on the 2nd lap. Then, the next group would see Bill Winstead break the previous record with a time of 17.321! Wow. Just wow.
Long time announcer Steve Vail, with the help of flagman Wesley Cogdell, called a ‘final lap’ for Rayford just before the Super Stock 4 field took to the track. High emotions for all of us as Rayford took his final lap around County Line Raceway. The drivers then lined up in the missing man formation in honor of their fallen friend, Rayford Chamblee. Rayford was a huge presence at County Line Raceway for many years, racing & winning many races, as well as helping with different drivers in different classes, most recently Matthew Bissette & Ray Tucker. He was a huge help to us all for the Victor May Memorial races the last couple of years, and then a big part of the 4 Cylinder Nationals the first weekend of November. Rayford never met a stranger, always wrapped you with a big hug instead of a handshake & loved racing like no one you’ve ever seen. His favorite phrase can be seen on several cars this year, along with his old car #34. He will be greatly missed by all of us at County Line Raceway. Honey Hush.
At the drop of the green, theses guys went to work. Bill Winstead held onto the lead followed by Austin Holcombe, John Proctor, John Carroll & James Bailey. Proctor would challenge Holcombe for 2nd spot, finally getting around him to challenge Winstead for the lead. Caution out on lap 5 for Austin Larrison as he slowed on the front stretch. Back green with Winstead leading a very hard-charging John Proctor, and just as Proctor got around Winstead for the lead, the caution came out for a spin in turn 4 by the C8 of John Carroll. Damien Bryant would stand on the brakes to stop only to make contact with the car of Carroll. Jesse Duke made a daring dash down the hot pit at full speed, but luckily was able to jump off the cushion and back onto the track. Back green with Winstead leading Proctor, Holcombe, Bailey & Jesse Duke. Proctor dived down into turn one gaining momentum as they came out of turn 2 but couldn’t get up beside Winstead to make the pass. Austin Holcombe was about a car length behind Proctor holding tight to that 3rd spot at the half-way mark. Coming out of turn 4 John Proctor got along-side of Winstead on lap 13 taking the lead out of turn 1. Winstead wasn’t giving up, as he stayed tight to Proctor’s bumper. With 3 to go, Jesse Duke who was running in the 5th, slowed drastically on the backstretch but did not have enough momentum to continue around the track. With his car slowed in turn 4, the caution flag came out setting us up for a green-white-checkers. John Proctor brought the field to the green with Winstead as close to his bumper as he could be, Austin Holcombe held onto 3rd spot, James Bailey in the 4th position & Tyler Hobgood in 5th. The checkered flag fell over the 90 of reigning track champion John Proctor. Bill Winstead was 2nd, Austin Holcombe in 3rd, James Bailey in the 4th position & Tyler Hobgood in 5th.
Our 2nd feature event of the night, the PL Woodard Pure Stock V8 division, would see Roy Hall leading the field to the green with Gary Whitley on the outside pole. Gary Whitley would take the lead quickly bringing Wade Ferrell with him. Roy Hall dropped back to 3rd spot as Willie Schwann stayed in 4th and Amanda Liles in 5th. Ashley Hall, daughter of pole sitter Roy Hall, was put a lap down by the leader and as her dad went to go around her, she clipped him in the right rear spinning him around over in turn 4. We’re all hoping that the dinner table Sunday is pleasant for all involved! Gary Whitley was trying to hold off a hard charging Wade Ferrell as we went back to green flag racing. Coming out of turn 4, the leader would have an issue that would cause him to slow drastically and be passed by the field. Wade Ferrell would take over the top spot followed by Amanda Liles, Roy Hall and Willie Schwann. Amanda Liles would lose her motor in a massive way with 2 to go. Oil was spread on the track from the flag-stand to the middle of turn 1. Back green with 2 to go, Wade Ferrell leading Roy Hall & Willie Schwann. Coming to the checkers, Wade Ferrell would bring home the win followed by Roy Hall & Willie Schwann.
Lined up outside of turn 4, the Late Models were ready to put on a 30 lap show with Russell Erwin on the pole and 2013 Late Model champion Christian Joyner on the outside. Green flag and Russell Erwin gets out front out of turn 2. Christian Joyner, Michael Batten, Daniel Tucker and Spencer Liggon rounded out the top 5. Liggon would get around Tucker going into turn 1 on lap 3, as Russell Erwin put about 8 car lengths between him and 2nd place Joyner. Lap 4 would see the caution come out for Brad Hamm, who spun over in turn 4. Dykes Maynard would slow to a stop to avoid contact with Hamm. Both cars were able to continue, but right before we went back green, 3rd place Michael Batten would realize he had a right front going down. Batten made his way to the hot pit area to get some attention from his pit crew, falling to the tail of the field right before we went back green. Erwin leads Joyner, Liggon, Tucker and Bobby Bottoms as we were poised to complete lap 7. Russell Erwin began catching the tail of the field, lapping Dykes Maynard and William Carroll as they took the half way flags. Brad Hamm goes a lap down as Erwin just dominates this 30 lap feature. Michael Batten & JP Cascell were battling for 6th spot going into turn 1 and 2, all down the backstretch, and going into turn 3, Michael would go in a little hot, JP wasn’t giving in. Batten on the inside of Cascell, he gets hard on the brakes, spins, goes up the track & the leader, Russell Erwin has no where to go. Erwin hits Batten, ending his night and his awesome run. Back green with Christian Joyner in the lead followed by Spencer Liggon, Daniel Tucker, Bobby Bottoms & Michael Batten. Tucker would make the move on Liggon for 2nd, taking it away from him on the backstretch with 7 to go. Christian Joyner went on to lead the remaining laps, bringing in the 2014 season the way he ended the 2013 season, with a win. Daniel Tucker brought his ride home in 2nd, Spencer Liggon in 3rd, Bobby Bottoms 4th & Michael Batten rounded out the top 5. **Due to a disqualification by being light at the scales, Spencer Liggon would be placed 2nd, Bobby Bottoms 3rd, Michael Batten 4th & JP Cascell 5th**
The ARCO Restoration Thunder & Lightning division lined up with Matthew Bissette & Skeeter Liles on the front row. A lap one spin would line us back up for a double file start, and as the green flag fell again Skeeter Liles jumped out in front of Matthew Bissette to take the lead. Cy Nelms, Jr., Mark Boykin and Lane Proctor rounded out the top 5. Quick yellow flag for a spin over in turn 2 and a flat tire on the 01 of Coolhand Luke Owens. After a tire change, Owens joined the tail of the field and we were back green with Liles leading Bissette, Nelms, Jr., Boykin & Proctor. Lane Proctor would get around Mark Boykin to take over 4th spot as we took the half way flags. Matthew Bissette was trying to get around Liles for the lead allowing Nelms, Jr. to close the gap . The top 3 were running within a 1/2 car length of each other as the laps wound down. With 2 to go, Liles was lapping the tail of the field as Nelms, Jr. tried to get around Bissette. White flag, Liles, Bissette & Nelms, Jr. your top 3. The would cross the finish line in that order followed by Lane Proctor in 4th and Mark Boykin in 5th.
Our final event of the night, the Pure Stock 4 division would be lead to the green by Gary Dillon and Michael Webb. Green flag and Gary Dillon jumps out front hard into turn 1, just to lose it going into turn 2 and spinning in front of the field. Robby Causby and Cooper Edwards would spin to avoid, Jamie Sills got a little damage getting through and the rest of the field slowed as the caution came out. Since no laps were complete, Jeremy Benson moved up to the pole position with Michael Webb to the outside. Webb would take the lead from Benson coming out of turn 2 bringing the field across the line to complete lap 1. Cooper Edwards would spin in turn 4 bringing out the caution again. Back green with Webb leading Benson, Lee Hardie, Robby Causby and Chris Collins. Caution for Courtney Ray on the backstretch on lap 2 would red flag the field. Courtney was up against the backstretch wall facing oncoming cars, and due to track vehicles, it was decided that we red flag to ensure all track staff were safe during the clean up process. Back green with Webb leading Benson, Hardie, Causby & Collins. Another caution would come out for the 16 of Edwards and after we went back green, we would see another caution for David Haggins and Austin Bottoms. Haggins lost a tire going into turn 1 and Austin was trying to avoid him but made contact. Both retired to the pits. Back green with Webb leading Benson, Hardie, Causby and Gary Dillon. Lap 6 would see Gary Dillon spin again over in turn 1 bringing out the caution yet again. Back green with Webb leading Benson, Hardie, Causby and Cody Keith. Benson would get loose, Hardie would spin and bring out the caution in turn 4. Back green with Webb leading Robby Causby, JP Brantley, Cody Keith & Lee Hardie. They would cross the checkers in that order rounding out the first night of racing at County Line Raceway.
Congratulations to all the winners!
Be sure to join us next Saturday, April 12th, for the Spring Fever 100! On the schedule, we’ll see stars and cars of the Late Model division, ARCO Restoration Thunder & Lightning, Super Stock Four Cylinders, PL Woodard Pure Stock V-8’s & Pure Stock Four Cylinders. The pit gates will open at 4:00, along with driver registration. At 5:00, our grandstand gate opens and we’ve got cars scheduled to be on the track at 6:15. Pit gate admission is $25 for adults, $10 for kids 10 and under. Prices for the grandstands are $15 adults, $5 for kids 11-15 and kids under 11 are free. Come out and join us for some good racing & a great time!! If you have any questions, please contact the track at 252-985-1949.