Elm City, NC – After a week full of wicked weather in the area, the sky finally cleared and greeted race fans and drivers with a nice Spring afternoon Saturday at County Line Raceway. Spectators were in for a treat as the Renegades of Dirt South , an Open Wheel Modified touring series, made their first of two visits for the 2015 season to the 3/8th mile clay oval in Elm City. They were accompanied by the 1st Round of the I-95 Late Model Challenge, a 9 race series between County Line Raceway, Fayetteville Motor Speedway, and Clary’s Speedway in Brinkleyville. Local divisions included the Super Stock Four Cylinder, Pure Stock V-8, and DRU Auto Sales and Service Pure Stock Four Cylinder.
The night kicked off with the Super Stock Four Cylinder division. Two five lap heat races were run to set the starting field. Heat one would see Austin Holcombe shake the misfortunes of last weekend and take the win, giving him the pole position for the feature. Bailey’s Bill Winstead would take heat two and start on the outside pole for the feature. With the starting grid set and the drop of the green flag, Holcombe would jump out to the lead and Winstead would slip back quickly. A quick caution came out on lap 3 for Youngsville’s Eric Hill. Hill would regain power and join the rear of the field for the restart. The race would go green flag the rest of the way seeing Austin Holcombe take his first win of the season followed by John Proctor, Hunter Bailey, Damien Bryant, and last week’s winner, James Manning rounding out the top five.
Next to hit the track would be the Pure Stock V-8 division. Two heat races would once again set the starting order for the evening’s main event. Josh Bryant would pilot his number 24 to the win in heat one along with Kevin Beard taking heat two. At the drop of the green flag, Bryant would quickly jump out to the lead but it wouldn’t last long as the caution came out on the initial lap for a spin by the 99H, this week driven by Skeeter Liles. Liles would retire to the pit. No lap was completed setting up another double file restart. The green fell again and once again we were under caution as three cars were involved in a hard crash into the turn 1 wall. Mechanical issues caused Paul Peele to send Jamie Sills into the turn 1 wall, collecting Willie Schwann, as he had no where to go. All 3 drivers were OK after the crash, but their cars were retired to the pits. Per the rulebook, the third attempt at the green would go single file. This time no caution and Bryant jumped out to a sizable lead and was looking for his first win of the season. Caution would slow the field on lap 9 when the L4 of Amanda Liles spun, but we were quickly back to green flag racing. Bryant continued to lead the field until two laps to go, when his car began to overheat, he lost power and Phillip Lamm would inherit the lead and not look back taking the checkers. Kevin Beard would come home second, Jerry Williams third, Jody Jones would cross fourth with Amanda Liles fifth. Both Jones and Liles would not meet the minimum weight postrace and be disqualified moving Austin Ferrell into fourth and Josh Bryant to fifth.
One of the two special events of the evening would come up next as the Renegades of Dirt South made their first appearance of 2015. Nineteen powerful Open Wheel Modifieds representing 6 states signed in for action. First up for the Modifieds would be qualifying. Mooresville, NC’s Kyle Strickler would take the QA1 Fast Time. Per the Renegades of Dirt rulebook, no cars were locked into the field via qualifying and all went into one of three 8 lap heat races. Kyle Strickler took heat 1, Derrick Ramey in heat 2, and Patrick Lyon would win heat 3. Following a pill draw for heat races winners, Ramey would start on the pole of the 30 lap A-Main alongside Strickler. Two cautions would slow the rapid pace of the ‘Beasts of the East,’ but there was no stopping Strickler would led flag to flag. The real battle was for second between Ramey and Lyon who raced side by side for 8 laps. Ramey would claim second, Lyon third, Hard Charger, Rich Michael Jr would come home fourth with Ryan Ayers rounding out the top five.
Seventeen DRU Auto Sales & Service Pure Stock Four Cylinder drivers registered for action for the evenings 15 lap feature. Last week’s feature winner, Michael Webb would take the first heat race win and start alongside Nashville’s JP Brantley who took the checkers in heat two. At the drop of the green flag, the race looked much where we ended last week as Michael Webb was leading the pack. A caution would slow Webb and the rest of the field on lap 2 when the caution waved for debris on lap two. Another caution would slow the pace on lap 6 when the 99 of Wade Ferrell spun in turn two forcing him to the pits. Michael Webb would once again take a commanding lead and take the win for his second straight to kick off the 2015 season. JP Brantley came home second followed by Cody Keith, Lee Hardie, and Brent Atkinson rounding out the top five.
The Late Models would be the final division to take to the track. Qualifying would set the starting order for two six lap heat races. Derek Francis set the fast time of 14.927, the only driver to turn a lap below 15 seconds. In the first heat race, Francis would not be able to hold on to the lead as Dean Bowen piloted his number 32 across the line first, winning himself the pole position for the night’s main event. Jeff Smith would win heat two giving him the outside pole for the 30 lap A-Main. A caution would wave on lap 7 for a spin by the 22 of Dykes Maynard. Maynard was able to continue and we were quickly back to green. Another caution would slow the field on lap 10 for the C9 of Christian Joyner. Joyner would head to the hot pits, with a flat tire, but was able to rejoin the field as they came to the green flag. Once again, caution would slow the pace on lap 27 when the C9 of Joyner appeared to lose power forcing him to retire from the event. Still on lap 27, another caution waved for the 21 of 2014 Late Model Champion, Michael Batten, sending him pit-side as well. The restart set up for a three lap dash. Dean Bowen would get out to a lead and not look back taking the first race of the I-95 Challenge and the points lead heading into the April 25 event at Clary’s Speedway. Jeff Smith crossed the line second followed by Robbie Emory, William Carroll, and Bobby Bottoms rounding out the top five.
County Line Raceway resumes its weekly racing series presented by Lee Motor Group – Doing Business the Right Way Since 1953, this Saturday night for the Spring Fever 100. Late Models, ARCO Restoration Limited Sportsman, Super Stock Four Cylinder, Pure Stock V-8, and DRU Auto Sales & Service Pure Stock Four Cylinder divisions will all be in action for 100 laps of feature racing. Pit gates open at 4:00, grandstands at 5:00 and cars hit the track at 7:00. Grandstand admission is $15 for adults, $5 for kids 11-15 and Free for children 10 & under. Pit admission is $25. For more information on County Line Raceway, visit the track’s website at www.countylineracewaync.com, ‘Like’ them on Facebook, or call the track office at 252-985-1949. Bring your family and friends out this Saturday night to see what the “Noise is All About” and the Little Tracing Making BIG Noise, County Line Raceway!