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Pressley Takes the Checkers from the Back of the Pack
Posted:4/28/2008
Pressley Takes the Checkers from the Back of the Pack

By: Jill Frischmann, Hickory Motor Speedway
April 26, 2008

Rain may have delayed 321 Lawnmower Night at the Races, but the fans who witnessed the racing action were certainly not disappointed. Things didn’t stay idle at the “Birthplace of the NASCAR Stars!” as everyone waited to see if Mother Nature would let drivers take to the track. Fans were able to take part in trivia contests and witness the “Hickory Rain Delay 150” as the track safety vehicles ran lap after lap to dry the track. Once the track was ready, it was racing at its finest and another night of history in the making as the drivers of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series took to the track to put on a spectacular show for fans that waited out the weather.

Any race fan will tell you the Bojangles Late Model feature was worth the two and a half hour rain delay, as the #59 of Coleman Pressley raced his way to the checkers from a last place starting position. It was that very rain delay that allowed Pressley the extra time to make it to the track for the 50 lap feature as he had originally planned to compete at Greenville-Pickens, which was rained out earlier in the day.

The field was tight with all cars qualifying within three tenths of one another. The moment the green flag dropped, the #43 of Jesse LeFevers jumped to the point, but that didn’t last long as the #61 of Chase Austin found himself in the spin cycle when he bobbled coming off of turn three, bringing out the first caution. After the restart LeFevers was back to the point until lap four when pole sitter Andy Loden (#29) got under LeFevers and moved back into the lead. Pressley was the man to watch as he picked off cars one by one, after starting in the rear, and making his way into the top ten by lap ten.

On lap 14 the #33 of James Goff was trying to make a move on LeFevers to take third. Goff and LeFevers were beating and banging against one another as they came down the front stretch. By lap 17 the #10 of Andy Mercer was making progress on Loden to take the lead. Loden, known for running the high side, held true to form, unfortunately his signature line didn’t play out as planned and Mercer captured the lead by lap 19 and set sail on the field. By lap 33, Goff had made his way past Loden to take second place and set his sights on catching Mercer.

At the mid point of the feature, a second caution was brought out as Austin spun to avoid the stopped car of #70 Brit Andersen, who spun out coming out of turn two. The restart put Pressley in prime position to crack the top five, which the hot shoe made happen by lap 28.

By lap 35, Loden founding himself losing momentum on the high side and fell into the third place position, “We were extremely loose tonight,” he later stated in a post race interview. On lap 44, it was a tight battle for third between Loden, Pressley, and the #87 of 2004 HMS Track Champ Matt McCall. Pressley tried to take it three wide on the back stretch to take over the position when the #89 of David Latour Jr. and Andersen made contact coming out of turn four, bringing out the third caution. Pressley didn’t waste any time and again began to battle Loden for third at the restart.

With only six to go, the fourth and final caution of the event was brought out on lap 46, when Mercer and Goff made contact heading into turn two, sending both into a spin and both to back of the pack. The caution put Pressley in prime position to take over the lead. With one lap to go all fans were on their feet as Pressley made his move over McCall. It was a dramatic finish for the checkers, and as they came out of turn four Pressley and McCall were in full contact. The cars were banging against one another as they came across the finish line, with Pressley beating McCall by only inches. “This is AWESOME!” Pressley exclaimed in victory lane. “From 15th to first, this is AWESOME! I didn’t think I would even make the race.” Loden was able to hold onto third, with LeFevers and Sam Watts (#25) finishing out the top five respectively.

During the 35 lap feature for the Jewelry Exchange Limited Models, it was the #94 of Josh Wright who proved that anything can happen at the “World’s Most Famous Short Track”. It looked as though the pole sitter wasn’t even going to be able to start the race when he experienced difficulties firing up his car from the grid, but with a little push from the track wrecker he was off and running. A four car collision on the back stretch during the first lap of the race between #27 Brandon Mundy, #28 Jason Crouse, #44 Chris “Big Honey” Chapman, and #17 Kyle Mansch sent Mundy hard into the wall and caused minor damage to the others. Cars were realigned for the restart but it didn’t take long for caution number two to come out as the #77 of Joe Chafin and “Big Honey” got loose and spun out coming off of turn three. A quick reaction from Mansch allowed him to stop in time to avoid making contact with the two race cars that were stopped on the track.
Cars were set up for another restart putting the #55 of Waylon Flynn and the #3 of Dexter Canipe Jr. in perfect position, allowing them to gain a three car lead on the field. On lap eight, #01 J.R. Allen put a nose to the back bumper of the #07 of Tyler Church as they battled for sixth. The move caused both cars to loose momentum which took them three wide on the back stretch with Crouse. Crouse was able to use the momentum to propel his way into the sixth place position. By lap 20 it was a strong battle for fifth between Crouse, #75 Eric Evans and #05 Jordan McGregor. Crouse dove under McGregor to take the position and make a move on the top four.
It was an exciting race to the finish, with two laps to go pole sitter Wright worked his way up from the back of the pack to make a move on Flynn for the lead and the win. Wright bobbled coming off of turn two, causing him to lose speed and his run on Flynn and allowing Canipe Jr. to regain second place. In post-race inspection, Wright was DQ’d for using non-approved fuel, moving Canipe to second, Chapman to third, Allen fourth, and Evans fifth.

The Street Stocks kept fans on the edge of their seats during their 30 lap feature. Once again it didn’t take long for the first caution of the race to come out as the #75 of Jeff Sparks lost a wheel coming across the start/finish line during the first lap of the event. #3 Bruce Kirkendall spun to avoid the commotion in front of him, making contact with #39 Dan Crate. Sparks was helped off the track and into the pits to replace the missing wheel and was back on track by lap five. It wasn’t Spark’s night….as he came to the start/finish line on lap eight, he found that his car crossed the line before his hood, bringing out the second caution of the event. The restart put #03 Kevin Eby in the perfect position to take the lead. From there on out it was a game of “Follow the Leader” with Eby in charge. Eby brought with him the #64 of Marshall Sutton, #51 Mike Newton, #71 of pole sitter Robert Divanna, and #32 Jeff Byers to round out the top five.

The Pro 4’s put on another spectacular show for the race fans. When the green flag dropped, #16 Randy Freeze jumped out to the lead, but got loose when he went to the high side. The move caused Freeze to lose momentum which left room for the #21 of pole sitter Todd Harrington to regain the lead. By lap eight, #4 Adam Beaver and #57 Josh Wimbish were able to catch up to Harrington. On lap nine, Beaver, Wimbish and Freeze were three wide coming out of turn three, with Beaver coming out the victor of the battle moving into first, leaving Harrington in second and Wimbish in third. Freeze and the #99 of Matt Elledge completed the top five.

The Red Baron Race Parts Hobby Stocks put on one heck of show and acted as track dryers when they took to the track first for their 20 lap feature. It didn’t take long for the first caution to come out during their feature as the #98 of Wesley Sain got loose coming out of turn two, causing him to spin almost making contact with #90 Ronnie Sims. On lap two, #-1 Ronald Dale McNeill pulled in with what seemed to be mechanical troubles, bringing it down to an 8 car field. It was a battle for first at the restart as the #82 of Jeremy Whitman chased down #83 David Hasson, by lap four it was Whitman who was in the lead. On lap 10, Sims was able to move into second behind Whitman. It was smooth sailing for Whitman from there on out, with a few laps remaining Sims made a move for the lead but was unsuccessful and had to settle for second. Hasson, #1 James Flynn, and #85 Jeff Weisner made up the top five.

Be sure to join us next Saturday, May 3, 2008, for the “Rick Bowman Memorial Presented by Dale Jarrett Inc. and The Jewelry Exchange” at the “Birthplace of the NASCAR Stars” featuring the NASCAR Whelen All American Series. The show will include appearances by the Jewelry Exchange Limited Late Models, Hickory Street Stocks, Red Baron Race Parts Hobby Stocks, and Hickory Pro 4’s with a special bonus of twin 50 lap features for the Bojangles Late Models. It’s sure to be another great night of high speed racing action. Grandstands open at 5 PM for qualifying, and feature racing action beginning at 7 PM. Fans don’t miss your chance to meet your favorite drivers of the Bojangles Late Models during the On Track Autograph session beginning at 6 PM. The On Track Autograph Session will also feature special guests Ned and Dale Jarrett, Tommy Houston and Dennis Setzer.

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, 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.

Rick Bowman, known as “Biscuit” to his many friends in the racing business, worked as Crew Chief for Dale Jarrett, Tommy Houston, and Morgan Shepherd, among others, and was the General Manager for Dale Jarrett Inc., until his untimely passing last November. Rick was a long time supporter and fan of short track racing, racers and Hickory Motor Speedway.

Official Results:

Bojangles Late Model 50
1. (#59) Coleman Pressley
2. (#87) Matt McCall
3. (#29) Andy Loden
4. (#43) Jesse LeFevers
5. (#25) Sam Watts
6. (#16) Mack Little III
7. (#61) Chase Austin
8. (#57) Grant Wimbish
9. (#42) Todd Goble
10. (#70) Brit Anderson
11. (#10) Andy Mercer
12. (#89) David Latour Jr.
13. (#28) Mark Johnson
14. (#33) James Goff
15. (#31) Kyle Grissom

Jewelry Exchange Limited Late Model 35
1. (#55) Waylon Flynn
2. (#3) Dexter Canipe Jr.
3. (#44) Chris Chapman
4. (#01) JR Allen
5. (#75) Eric Evans
6. (#28) Jason Crouse
7. (#07) Tyler Church
8. (#05) Jordan McGregor
9. (#25) Nick Proffitt
10. (#17) Kyle Mansch
11. (#77) Joe Chafin
12. (#27) Brandon Mundy
13. (#95) Michael Buckner
14. (#94) Josh Wright - DQ


Hickory Street Stock 30
1. (#03) Kevin Eby
2. (#64) Marshall Sutton
3. (#5) Mike Newton
4. (#71) Robert DiVanna
5. (#32) Jeff Byers
6. (#3) Bruce Kirkendall
7. (#89) Jennifer Crossman
8. (#43) Heather Bell
9. (#75) Jeff Sparks
10. (#39) Dan Crate

Hickory Pro 4’s 25
1. (#4) Adam Beaver
2. (#57) Josh Wimbish
3. (#21) Todd Harrington
4. (#16) Randy Freeze
5. (#99) Matt Elledge
6. (#09) Randy Canipe
7. (#17) Curtis Pardue
8. (#66) Scott Wallace

Red Baron Race Parts Hobby Stocks 20
1. (#82) Jeremy Whitman
2. (#90) Ronnie Sims
3. (#83) David Hasson
4. (#1) James Flynn
5. (#85) Jeff Weisner
6. (#88) Andy Towery
7. (#01) Paul Wyatt
8. (#98) Wesley Sain
9. (#–1) Ronald Dale McNeil


WinnCom Pole Award
Bojangles Late Models:
(29) Andy Loden – 15.174 seconds
Jewelry Exchange Limited Late Models:
(94) Josh Wright – 15.762 seconds
Hickory Street Stocks:
(71) Robert Divanna – 17.246 seconds
Hickory Pro 4’s:
(21) Todd Harrington – 15.960 seconds
 
   

 

 

 

 

 

 


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