Elm City, NC – After 126 days of waiting for the 2015 racing season to begin at County Line Raceway in Elm City, NC, this all ended Saturday night as fans and drivers poured into the 3/8ths mile clay oval to kickoff the track’s 27th consecutive season of racing action.
The night began with qualifying for the two featured divisions. Ultimate Super Late Models would take to the track first seeing the 101 of Casey Roberts, who won last year’s season finale Race for the Kids, set the fast time turning the track in only 14.176 seconds. Dennis Franklin would lock up second setting up the front row the night’s 40 lap feature.
Upon completion of Super Late Model qualifying, the Open Wheel Modified division took to the track for two timed laps of group qualifying. Fifteen cars logged qualifying times resulting in the 99W of Chris Arnold setting the fastest time with a time of 15.476, followed by Ryan Toole, Matt Quade, Eric Bentley and Russell Erwin. This set the stage for the evening’s 25 lap Modified feature event.
The Ultimate Super Late Model Series returned to the newly shaped racing surface for an eight lap B-Main to set positions 11 through 21 for their main event. It would be 8 green flag laps with side by side racing seeing Dustin Mitchell take the win followed by Damon Kotke, Roger Lucas, Christian Thomas, and Casey Barrow rounding out the top five.
After a brief intermission, the time had come to kick off the first feature event of the night. Fifteen of the area’s best Open Wheel Modified drivers assembled on the backstretch. Chris Arnold and 2014 points champion, Ryan Toole led the field to green. The reshaped track showed early as the field went through turns 1 & 2 two and three wide on the opening lap. A quick caution waved on lap 4 for the 20 of Carlos Jaramillo who appeared to have motor issues as the car went up in smoke and left fluid all the way around the speedway. After a brief cleanup period, the field went back green led by Chris Arnold. On lap 5 another caution would come out for the 82 of Gary Dillon, in his first Open Wheel Modified start, with transmission issues forcing him to the pits for the remainder of the event. A spin on lap 6 would require the 89 of Matt Canady to be towed to the pits. A long green flag run made it to lap 15 when the 5 of Mack Coxe stalled coming out of turn 4. Coxe would regain power and be able to rejoin the field for the restart. Unfortunately, bad luck would strike again on lap 21 when the 312 of Concord’s Greg Brown would cut a tire, retiring him from the event setting up a 4 lap dash to the checkered and $1,000 pay day. Chris Arnold of Matoaca, Va would bring home the win, his first of the season. In victory lane, he thanked his family, sponsors, and new fiancé for their support. Matt Quade, Russell Erwin, Ryan Toole and Chris Parker would round out the top five.
The main event of the night was a $4,000 to win event for the Ultimate Super Late Model Series, making the first of two appearances at the track this season. The field assembled on the front stretch behind the Ultimate Super Late Model Series pace track and began their pace laps which included their customary 4 wide salute to the fans. After breaking the salute and resuming double file formation, the field would take the green flag behind pole sitter Casey Roberts. A quick caution would slow the field on lap 4 as the 20G of John Eller slowed in turn 2. Back to green, the 1C of Kenny Collins spun in the middle of the field in turn 2 avoiding contact with other drivers and everyone was able to continue. That would have been the ‘big one.’ Back green there was side by side racing throughout the field. Another quick caution would slow the field on lap 12 when the 00 of Jeff Smith spun in turn 3. Smith was able to continue and quickly regained the tail of the field and we were back racing. Two other single car cautions would slow the pace but no one was going to stop Casey Roberts. Roberts would go on to win his third Ultimate Super Late Model event at County Line. 2015 points champion, Dennis ‘Rambo’ Franklin brought home second, followed by Dustin Mitchell of Pine Level, NC, Walker Arthur of Forest, VA, and Christian Joyner of Nashville, NC rounding out the top five.
County Line Raceway will take a week off from racing this week, but we will host one final Open Practice session this Saturday night before the kick off to the 2015 regular season begins. Pit gates will open at 5:00 with practice running from 7:30 until 10:00. The track returns to weekly racing action Saturday, April 4 with its annual car show and first points events of the season. The car show will be held in the track’s parking lot from noon until 4:00. Drivers will be on hand to meet the fans and show off their hard work over the winter. For the first time in the track’s 27 year history, the fans will have a vote in who wins the Best Appearing Car from the car show. So get there early to receive your fan vote ballot from 1:00 until 3:00. Following the car show, the attention returns to the track as the weekly racing series, presented by Lee Motor Group – “Doing Business the Right Way Since 1953” – takes to the track featuring five divisions of high octane action in Late Model, Limited Sportsman, Super Stock Four Cylinder, Pure Stock V-8, and Pure Stock Four Cylinder. Pit gates will open at 4:00, grandstands at 5:00 and cars hit the track at 7:00.
For more information on County Line Raceway, visit the track’s website at www.countylineracewaync.com or call the track phone at 252-985-1949.