Jones Wins Two in Season Opener
The rain fell Saturday afternoon, but it wasn’t enough to stop the racing program at Sumter Speedway. The promoters and officials opened the gates at 5 pm and by race time there were 70 cars and drivers ready to race. The night featured nine divisions of racing with some heated battles, flaring tempers, and hard racing in every division.
The night got started with the bomber four division. Jay Kyle jumped into the lead on the first lap followed by Jason Hallman, Ryan Lambert, and Allen Jones. A few laps later, Hallman shoved Kyle high in the entrance to turn one and took over the top spot. Allen Jones attempted to pass Kyle for second, but the two touched and Kyle spun up the track to bring out the caution. On the restart, Lambert went down to the apron of the track and made it three wide going into turn number one. As a result, two cars spun and Jones ran off the track. On the next restart, John Ledwell battled Hallman for the lead going into one. Ledwell got loose on the exit of turn two and fell all the way back to third. James Stevens, who came all the way from a last place starting spot, moved into second. Allen Jones then put a move on Ledwell and moved into the third place spot, sending Ledwell back to fourth. Ledwell got spun around on the back stretch and brought out the caution with just a few laps to go. On the restart, Hallman took the lead going into one but quickly gave it up to Jones. Jones then started to pull away from the rest of the pack and went on to pick up his first win of the night. James Stevens held on for second, Travis Browder fought his way up to third, Jay Kyle bounced back to fourth, and Corey Becker finished fifth.
The bomber six division got started next. Adam Hill took the early lead going into turn one with Marty Horne and Grant Hill in hot pursuit. Horne dove under Adam Hill going into turn one and took the lead. Grant Hill pulled into second and Adam Hill fell back to third. The top three then began to distance themselves from the rest of the pack. Grant Hill put a move on Marty Horne to take the lead away. Horne fell back to second and Adam Hill remained in third. Further back in the pack, Buddy Stevens got into Pat Davis and brought out a caution. On the restart, Grant Hill resumed the lead followed by Horne. Adam Hill momentarily fell back to fourth but quickly regained his third place status. Another caution flag flew for an accident in turns three and four. On the restart, something went wrong with Grant Hill’s car and he fell way back in the pack. Marty Horne took over the lead followed by Pat Davis, Adam Hill, and Kirk Way. Horne lost an engine going down the back stretch to bring out a caution and he would be done for the night. On the final restart, Adam Hill shot out front a put some distance between himself and second place Davis. Hill went on to pick up the win with Pat Davis second, Kirk Way third, Justin Hill fourth, and L.E. Mooneyham rounded out the top five.
The street stock division got under way next. Mark Bartlette jumped into the lead followed by Adam Hill, who just won the bomber six race, and George Holland. Bartlette and Hill began to pull away from the rest of the pack. Several laps passed and Cody Truett moved into the fourth place spot and began to chase down third place runner George Holland. Truett got into the back of Holland going into three and Holland spun to bring out the caution. On the restart, Bartlette resumed the lead and Matt Holland jumped into second place. Hill pushed Matt Holland for several laps before he finally got a nose under him and made the pass. Truett followed Hill and moved into third, sending Holland back to fourth. Holland slammed into Truett going down the front stretch and nearly put Truett in the wall. Another caution would be displayed. On the final restart, Bartlette once again resumed the lead and Truett shot up to second. Bartlette held on for the win followed by Cody Truett, Adam Hill, Matt Holland and George Holland.
The stock four division took off next. Cody McAllister took the lead on the first lap and Sissy Duke pulled into second. A car spun in turn three and brought out the first caution. On the restart, McAllister resumed the lead and Larry Powell moved up to second. Two laps later, three cars tangled on the back stretch and brought out another caution. On the next restart, McAllister once again resumed the lead with Powell right on his tail. Yet another caution would fly in this caution filled event. McAllister once again resumed the lead on the restart, but this time he pulled away from second place Powell. It appeared that McAllister was going to get the win, but with just three laps to go another caution would fly and bunch everyone back up again. On the final restart, Powell took over the lead and knocked McAllister back to second. Duke and Lynch battled for the third spot and Lynch won the battle and took over the third spot. McAllister slipped way high in turn number one on the last lap and gave up second to Lynch. Powell would go on to win with Lynch finishing second, McAllister third, and Duke fourth.
Next, the youngsters got their chance to shine. The green flag flew and Kiri Way jumped into the lead. Allen Jones fell into second with Gage Stevens third and Donnie Johnson fourth. Way slipped high in turns three and four and gave up the lead to Allen Jones. Way fell back to second and Johnson passed Stevens to move into third. DJ Welch battled with Stevens for the fourth spot and DJ Carraway and Heather Welch fought over the sixth spot. Further ahead in the pack, Donnie Johnson moved around Kiri Way for the second place spot. Way battled back but Johnson would win the battle. Johnson slid way high coming out of four and slapped the wall to bring out the caution. With extensive damage to the front of his car, Johnson would be done for the night. On the restart, Way jumped into the lead and knocked Jones back to second. Way’s car misfired and lost power coming out of four and gave the lead up to Allen Jones. Jones went on to win for the second time that night. Way held on for second, Stevens third, DJ Welch fourth, Carraway fifth, and Heater Welch was sixth.
Next the ladies got their chance to prove themselves to the men. The race consisted of two divisions that were both racing at the same time. Dana Hill and Karen Hill took off from the rest of the pack as they raced side by side down the back stretch. Dana took the lead coming out of four and Karen fell into second. Karen Hill got into the back of Dana going through turns one and two and Dana spun around to bring out the caution. On the restart, Karen Hill took the lead followed by Lisa Sisson, Melinda Horne, Dana Hill, and Sarah Duke. Two cars got tangled up going through turns three and four and brought out another caution. On the restart, Sisson took the lead followed by Karen Hill, Dana Hill, and Melinda Horne. On the final lap, Dana Hill and Karen Hill touched going through three and four and Karen spun around. Since there were two divisions racing at once, Lisa Sisson took first place in the four cylinder division and Dana Hill took home the trophy in the six cylinder division.
Next the ridge runners got there season started. Brian Welch started on the pole but it was Terrell Holloway who would lead the first lap. Welch would fall to second followed by Brian Squires, James Yost, and Jody Truett. Squires lost control coming out of four and spun around to bring out the caution. On the restart, Holloway resumed the lead and Welch stayed in second. Squires battled back and passed James Yost for third place. Truett followed Squires and moved up to fourth. Yost battled back and Truett, who was fighting and extremely loose race car, had to give the spot up. Joey Ayers also passed Truett and moved into fifth place. Holloway dominated the remainder of the race and went on to take the checkered flag, but was found light at the scales and disqualified. This gave the win to Brian Welch. Brian Squires was second, James Yost third, Joey Ayers fourth, and Jody Truett rounded out the top five.
The super stock four division got started next. The division only had four cars competing this week but is expected to pick up in the weeks to come. Banjo Duke took the lead on the first lap and was never contested for the remainder of the race. He distanced himself from the rest of the pack and went on to pick up the win. Jonathan was second, Cody McAllister third, and Bubba Kolb finished fourth.
The Crates closed out the night. There were also only four drivers competing in this division, but like the super stock four division, it is expected to pick up in the weeks to come. Terry Caples grabbed the lead on the first lap and was never challenged for the remainder of the race. Bubba Livingston held on for a second place finish and Randy Hill was third. Jim Cunningham had car trouble and did not finish the event.
Racing action continues this Saturday night, April 19 at Sumter Speedway. Gates open at 5pm and racing starts at 7:30pm. Come and support your favorite driver at the toughest little dirt track in the south.