GENTRY WINS NeSMITH CHEVROLET 40 AT TALLADEGA SHORT TRACK ICE BOWL EASTABOGA, AL - David Gentry of Lewisburg, TN won the NeSmith Chevrolet 40 for the StormPay.com Dirt Late Model Series powered by Crate Racin' USA Sunday ...
GENTRY WINS NeSMITH CHEVROLET 40 AT TALLADEGA SHORT TRACK ICE BOWL
EASTABOGA, AL - David Gentry of Lewisburg, TN won the NeSmith Chevrolet 40 for the StormPay.com Dirt Late Model Series powered by Crate Racin' USA Sunday afternoon as a part of the 16th Annual Ice Bowl at Talladega Short Track. Gentry started on the pole position and led every lap to post the victory in the series' 2006 season opener.
Gentry, driving the Gentry Racing Mastersbilt powered by a $4,800 GM Performance "604" aluminum head crate engine, earned the inside front row starting spot on Saturday afternoon after winning the 10-lap Hoosier Race Tire Quick 6 Dash for the top six qualifiers from the 78-car field.
"I've only driven this car a couple of times, and it was good all weekend," Gentry said. "We didn't do too well with our super late model this weekend, so we concentrated more on the crate engine car. I think this crate engine series is really going to catch on, and I'm planning on running some more of them."
Frankie Beard of Hartwell, GA finished second in the Old 29 Golf Carts Barry Wright 604. Beard got close to Gentry in lapped traffic, but once Gentry had clear race track in front of him, he was able to pull away.
Beard was the fast qualifier among the 78 entrants with a lap around the 1/3-mile clay oval in 14.468 seconds for an average speed of 82.942 miles per hour. Beard's time was only .25 seconds slower than the super late model fast time for only one-tenth of the engine cost. Beard was also the Rookie of the Race.
Jimmy Kay of Taylorsville, GA finished third in the NeSmith Chevrolet GRT 604, and Jeff Fields of Aragon, GA took the fourth spot in the Fields Racing Mastersbilt 604. Shannon Buckingham of Morristown, TN was fifth in the S&S Millwright Barry Wright 604.
Many drivers said it was hard to pass on the sun-baked track, but they forgot to tell Buckingham, who came from the 22nd starting spot, and earned the NeSmith Chevrolet Hard Charger of the Race Award. That performance backed up Buckingham's B-Main run from the 11th starting spot to second in the 12-lap race.
Ronnie Johnson of Chattanooga, TN was another driver who didn't get the "no passing" message, as he drove his Miller Brothers Coal Warrior from the 23rd starting spot to a sixth-place finish. Johnson was also the highest finishing driver using the $2,800 GM Performance "602" steel head crate engine.
Ted Lackey of Munford, AL finished seventh in the Lackey Racing Warrior 602, and Steve Seagraves of Douglasville, GA took the eighth spot in the Seagraves Racing 604. NASCAR driver Kenny Wallace of St. Louis, MO overcame a cut tire to finish ninth in the Son & Sons Trucking Warrior 604.
Pete Cochran of Villa Rica, GA rounded out the top ten in spectacular style, as he was involved in a turn four tangle on the last lap of the race, and finished the event sliding across the finish line backwards in his Sammy Harrell Development Rocket 602.
After three tries to get the start of the race in, StormPay.com officials went with a single file start on the fourth try. Spins on the opening lap warranted the single file line-up, and Gentry led the field down for the green flag. Gentry took the lead in turn one followed by Zach Nichols of Cedartown, GA in the B&B Specialized Hauling GRT 604, Fields, and Beard.
Nichols spun in turn one on lap four, collecting the sixth-place car of defending StormPay.com Dirt Late Model Series National Champion Denny Slayton of Rossville, GA in the Slayton Racing GRT 604. Gentry paced the field down for the restart with Fields, Beard, and Carey Craft of Lavonia, GA in the Craft Racing 602 in tow.
Beard got around Fields for the second spot coming off the fourth turn on lap seven, and Kay moved around Fields for third on lap 10. Gentry began lapping cars on lap 11, while Wallace charged up from his 14th starting spot, and into the sixth position.
With Gentry in heavy lapped traffic, Beard began to close on the leader by the 15th lap. Gentry got some breathing room on lap 18 when the caution came out for a tangle involving Rookie of the Year candidate Travis Pennington of Winston, GA in the T&T Services Warrior 602, and Curtis Cline of Douglasville, GA in the J.L. Brooks Construction Warrior 604.
Caution flags on lap 20, 22, 25, 30, and 37 gave Gentry clear race track in front of him to keep his momentum up over Beard. Buckingham and Johnson were good on the restarts, and able to use them to their advantage.
At the halfway point in the race, Gentry led Beard, Kay, Fields, Don Jenkins of Kingston, GA in the Jenkins Racing Larry Shaw 604, Blake Stewart of Centre, AL in the Buster Goss Body Shop Warrior 604, Wallace, Tim Day of Alpharetta, GA in the Day Racing Barry Wright 604, Carnell Parker of Clarksville, TN in the Parker Racing Mastersbilt 604, and Buckingham.
Stewart spun in turn two on lap 22 while running sixth. During the caution period, Goss pitted from the fifth spot with front end damage, and Wallace went to the infield while running seventh to change a cut tire. That moved Day up to fifth for the restart, while Buckingham moved up to sixth, followed by Parker, Ross Martin of Talladega, AL in the Martin Racing GRT 604, Craft, and Johnson.
The yellow came out on lap 25 when Day spun in turn three battling Buckingham for the fifth spot. Parker pitted under the caution flag, giving up the seventh spot. That moved Lackey and Seagraves into the ninth and tenth spots respectively. While the top five cars settled into their positions for the last 15 laps of the race, the sixth through tenth spots were being ferociously contested.
Johnson advanced to the seventh spot by lap 30, and passed Martin for sixth on lap 36. Martin spun out of the seventh spot on lap 37 to bring out the caution flag. The last three laps of the race were wild and wooly for the eight, ninth, and tenth spots.
When the field took white flag, Gentry had a comfortable lead over Beard, Kay, Fields, Buckingham, Johnson and Lackey. Craft was running eighth followed by Nichols, Seagraves, Cochran, and Wallace. Craft spun coming off the fourth turn for the checkered flag collecting Nichols, and Cochran.
Seagraves snuck through to clam the eighth spot, and Wallace threaded the needle to come from 12th to ninth at the finish. Cochran, sliding backwards, crossed the finish line to take the tenth position.
In preliminary action on Sunday afternoon, Seagraves, Martin, and Timmy Millwood of Cumming, GA in the Millwood Racing Rayburn 604 won 12-lap B-Main races.
The next event for the StormPay.com Dirt Late Model Series will be at Columbus Speedway in Columbus, MS on January 21 with a $2,000-to-win 40-lap main event as a part of the 6th Annual Winter Classic.