Grissom Sails Away to Victory Lane
By Jill Frischmann, Hickory Motor Speedway
April 12, 2008
(Newton, NC) – The competition was tough and emotions ran high as the Bojangles Late Models, Jewelry Exchange Limited Late Models, Street Stocks, Pro 4’s and the Red Baron Race Parts Hobby Stocks took to the field. The racing during Saturday night’s show explained why Hickory Motor Speedway is the World’s Most Famous Short Track. Fans may have paid for a seat, but they definitely didn’t use it since they were on their feet all night cheering on their favorite drivers.
Incredible, amazing, nail biting are only a few ways to describe what took place during the action filled Bonjangles Late Model 50 lap feature. After the command for drivers to start their engines was given by Leroy Wallace (grandfather to the #5 of Chrissy Wallace) the 17-car field took to the track to get the action started. Pole sitter Andy Mercer (#10) jumped out to a large lead from the moment the green flag waved. His lead was cut short on lap four when the #25 of Sam Watts made contact with the back of Wallace sending both cars into a spin between turns one and two, bringing out the first caution of the event. After the restart, the back of the pack is where the action was at as Wallace and Watts battled to move their way back up to the front of the field. On lap 11, Wallace finally started making her way back to the top.
It was the #31 of Kyle Grissom who made his move for the lead on lap 18, which he was able to hold onto for the remainder of the race. On lap 22 the #16 of Mack Little got together with Mercer coming out of turn four sending Mercer for a spin and Little to the back of the pack for the restart. The third caution of the race was brought out on lap 23 as the #17 of Rob Fuller and the #70 of Brit Anderson made contact going into turn one sending both drivers spinning. The field was realigned for a complete restart and Grissom once again pulled away from the field leaving the #21 of Brian Curry to battle the #89 of David Latour Jr. for second.
The excitement didn’t stop there, as on lap 27 the #33 of James Goff and #43 of Jesse LeFevers connected coming out of turn four, both drivers wobbled but were able to hold on heading to the front stretch. The fourth caution of the feature took place on lap 33, when the #35 of Chris Lewis got under the back end of Anderson coming off of turn four, sending Anderson into a full spin heading onto the front stretch. At the restart the #57 of Grant Wimbish got caught up in the action and scrapped the front stretch wall, calling for another complete restart.
Grissom again got off to a strong lead, running away from the field. Curry put on a show as he took the field three wide on the back stretch during lap 34, causing him to loose momentum and his third place position, which he regained on lap 38. The back of the field was again the place to watch as the feature came to an end. On lap 44, Wallace, the #42 of Todd Goble and Mercer took it three wide. Goble went for a spin bringing out the sixth caution proving things were too tight to maneuver three cars in that close of corridors.
It was a six lap shootout when the green flag waved again. As the #28 of Mark Johnson, Latour Jr., and Curry battled for the second position they started to go three wide heading into turn one. Curry spun to avoid wrecking in the tight conditions bringing out the seventh and final caution of the race, sending him to the back of the pack. With Curry heading to the back, it left Johnson and Latour Jr. to battle it out for second. It was Johnson who would lose the battle when he wobbled coming off of turn one losing momentum allowing Latour Jr. to move into second. Two time Hickory Track Champion Andy Loden (#29) and the #33 of James Goff would round out the top five. Grissom is the third winner of the season in the Bojangles Late Models. “We struggled at the start…the car surprised me, we were a lot better than I expected,” stated Grissom as he accepted his trophy in Victory Lane.
Hey race fans, thanks to the #3 of Dexter Canipe Jr. you can take your ticket stub from Saturday night’s show to Little Caesars on Monday and get a FREE Pepsi with the purchase of a pizza. Canipe Jr. was the man to beat during the Jewelry Exchange Limited Late Model 35 lap feature. When the green flag dropped it looked like it was the #55 of Waylon Flynn’s race to win as he took a big lead from the pole position. On lap eight the #07 of Tyler Church started inching for the lead and was finally able to take it from Flynn on lap 12 using lap car of Michael Buckner (#95) as a pick. Coming off of turn four on lap 15, Flynn got into the back of Church sending him hard into the front stretch wall. The red flag was brought out as the safety crew cleaned up fluids on the track left from Church’s wrecked ride. After the restart, Canipe Jr. took a commanding lead over the field. With eight laps to go the #25 of Nick Proffit and the #17 of Kyle Mansch battled for fifth as they came off of turn three, with Proffit coming out the victor of the battle. The #44 of Chris “Big Honey” Chapman, #01 of J.R. Allen, #29 of Bobby Measmer Jr. finished second thru fourth.
During the Street Stock 30 lap event, pole sitter Robert Divanna (#71) took an early lead, leaving the #7 of Jeff Sparks and the #5 of Mike Newton to battle for second. It was Newton who managed to pull away and hold onto to his second place position after Sparks wobbled coming off of turn two, causing him to lose momentum and the position. On lap 13 Newton was finally able to reel in Divanna to try and take over the lead. As Newton worked to take the lead, the first caution of the event was brought out by #3 Bruce Kirkendall who spun out in front of the leaders heading into turn two. After the restart Newton made the move into second and on lap 19 he moved into first taking with him the #03 of Kevin Eby. It didn’t take long for Eby to move into the first place position, using lap traffic as a pick to make it around Newton. “I’ve got to thank Mike for running me clean, he gave me the room to get by!” exclaimed the winner of the 30 lap event. With only a few laps remaining the #81 of Marshall Sutton, Sparks and the #39 of Dan Crate took it three wide as they battled for third thru fifth.
The action didn’t stop there as the pole sitter Randy Freeze (#16) ran off with a commanding lead from the moment the green flag dropped during the 25 lap Pro 4 event. The real action was in the battle for third as the #57 of Josh Wimbish and the #99 Matt Elledge raced each other hard for precious track position. The battle was tight until lap eight when Wimbish managed a two car lead on Elledge. On lap 11, #09 Randy Canipe was starting to catch Elledge and reel him in when the #66 of Scott Wallace hit hard coming out of turn two and scrapped his way down the back stretch wall, bringing out the first and only caution of the event. Freeze managed to hold onto his lead for the entire 25 lap event bringing with him #4 Adam Beaver, Wimbish, Canipe and #07 Matt Laws to round out the top five.
The Hickory Motor Speedway staff decided to change things up and make things even more interesting during the Red Baron Race Parts Hobby Stocks 20 lap feature. Instead of the traditional side by side line up, the cars were lined up three wide at a dead stop to start the event. The #83 of David Hasson and the #98 of Wesley Sain battled for first from the start/finish line. In the early stages of the event Hasson was able to pull ahead of Sain to build a substantial lead over the field. On lap 10 the #-1 of Ronald McNeil brushed the wall on the backstretch, but kept his ride under control to finish the race in the third position. The #88 of Andy Towery and #3 Tim Reese made up top five.
Be sure to join us at the “World’s Most Famous Short Track”, Hickory Motor Speedway next week as we present the NASCAR Whelen All American Series, featuring the Bojangles Late Models in their first 100 lap feature of the year, Jewelry Exchange Limited Late Models with a special 50 lap event, Advance Auto Parts Super Trucks and Pro 4’s, on “Whelen Night at the Races!” It’s sure to be another great night of high speed racing action. Grandstands open at 5 PM for qualifying and racing action beginning at 7 PM. Fans don’t miss your chance to meet your favorite drivers of the Bojangle’s Late Model Stocks Division during the On Track Autograph session beginning at 6 PM. Tickets for the event are only $10 for adults, $8 for teens and seniors, $5 for kids 7-12 and kids 6 and under are free. Be sure to bring out the whole family for a night of family fun with exciting high speed racing action, family packs are only $25 and on sale NOW! For more information please visit our website at www.hickorymotorspeedway.com or by phone at 828-464-3655. We can’t wait to see you at the races!
Hickory Motor Speedway is a .363 mile asphalt track. The track held its first event in June of 1951 posting Gwyn Staley as the event winner. Hickory Motor Speedway has supported series such as the now Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series. Currently the Speedway is sanctioned by NASCAR featuring the NASCAR Whelen All American Series. The Speedway also hosts a wide variety of touring series that travel throughout the country.
Hickory Motor Speedway runs Saturday nights, mid-March through October. Grandstands open at 5 PM with racing beginning at 7 PM.
For more information visit www.hickorymotorspeedway.com.
Bonjangles Late Model 50
Jewelry Exchange Limited Late Model 35
Hickory Street Stock 30
Hickory Pro 4 25
Red Baron Race Parts Hobby Stock 20
WinnCom Pole Award
Bojangles Late Models:
(10) Andy Mercer – 15.215 seconds
Jewelry Exchange Limited Late Models:
(55) Waylon Flynn – 15.869 seconds
Hickory Street Stocks:
(71) Robert Divanna – 17.252 seconds
Hickory Pro 4’s:
(16) Randy Freeze – 15.987