‘Friggin Fast’: Hedgecock holds on for Steel Head win on fast night at ‘The Gap’
BULLS GAP, TN (5-17-14) — Polesitter Cory Hedgecock was one of only two drivers to qualify in the 12-second range for Saturday’s 40-lap $2,000 Steel Head Late Model feature, and that track position would prove to be crucial to his victory.
Hedgecock admitted he wasn’t fastest in race, but there was only one fast groove which made passing treacherous, especially for the lead.
Second place finisher Travis Sise said after the race tha the track was, “Friggin Fast” Saturday night.
Hedgecock and Bobby Mays started on the front row as the only two drivers two dip into the 12-second range in qualifying with times of 12.861 and 12.875 respectively.
Jason Welshan, who has also known to venture his Steel Head Late Model into the 12-second range at The Gap, had mechanical problems in qualifying, and had to start in the back of the 19-car field. Fresh off a win in the earlier Crate Late model division, Welshan was hoping to put on a show by racing from back to front for a daily double, but it was not to be. Tire problems sidelined Welshan in the early laps, and attempts to make repairs were not successful.
It was going to be a tough task, however, because the frontrunners were extremely fast, especially Hedgecock, who could jump out to a quick lead on every restart.
The fast groove was right in the middle of the turns and was distinguishable from the rest of the track by the cushion that was worn into the surface.
Other drivers caught Hedgecock, but it was dangerous to move down out of the fast groove and attempt a pass.
Brad Lowe found that out successfully taken second place from Mays when slipped up too high in turn two.
A few laps later Lowe was sniffing for the lead, but Hedgecock held his line.
Three times Lowe got beside Hedgecock to the inside. On the third try they touched tires, sending Lowe down nearly onto the backstretch apron has he tried to save the car.
Having lost his momentum, Lowe relinquished second place to Trevor Sise.
Sise had one good shot at the lead with two to go as a lapped car cost Hedgecock some of his momentum. But Sise was only able to touch Hedgecock’s back bumper.
Sise had his hands full holding off Lowe heading to the finish line.
Hedgecock, Sise and Lowe finished first through third, with Mays fourth and John Manley rounding out the top-5.
“We really didn’t have that good of a car,” Hedgecock said from victory lane. “It was almost a one lane race track. I got lucky. I think I came down and hit Brad Lowe. Trevor seemed to run really good. I had a real good night. We struggled last time we came up here and changed a couple of things, got our act back going right, and finally got another one.”
Hedgecock added, “Lapped traffic just wouldn’t get out of the way. I’m lucky just to win another one. I’m sure Trevor was fast. I guarantee we were holding him up. We were not good.”
“I wish we would have qualified a lot better,” said Sise who started 6th. “That hurt us starting that far back. This place is awesome. It was friggin fast today.”
Welshan started on the pole for the 30-lap Crate Late Model feature and drove away from rest of the field.
Welshan admitted he tried to slow down a bit after building up a big lead.
“I try to slow the race pace down so you don’t get in lapped traffic,” Welshan said. “They’ll kind of take you out.”
Ricky Moore, who qualified second, also finished second ahead of Matt Henderson, Forrest Trent, and Bryson Dennis in fifth.
When the races at Gary Blanken’s home track in Maryville were cancelled, he hot-footed it to Bulls Gap, and then hot footed his way to victory lane in the 25-lap Hobby Modified feature.
Qualifying on the outside of the front row, Blanken took the lead from polesitter Dale Reed at the drop of the green, and never had a big problem with the cars behind him. It was the cars in front of him that cause problems.
He often found himself weaving in and out of lapped traffic, and in one case, ramming the rear bumper of a slow car.
Jamie Whitt started third, and got past Reed in the early laps for second place.
Whitt was able to make it interesting heading into the first corner on restarts, getting up to Blanken’s left rear quarter panel. Beyond that point, however, Blanken pulled away.
Reed finished third ahead of Jon Cook and Dennis Metcalf in fifth.
Volunteer Speedway is back in action Saturday, May 24 with the $4,000 to win “Carolina Clash” Super Late Model touring series coming to town, as well as all of the regular weekly racing divisions.
Check the website and Facebook later in the week for more details.
Official Results 5-17-14
Crate Late Model 30 Laps:
(Pole, Jason Welshan 13.478)
1. #29 Jason Welshan
2. #75 Ricky Moore
3. #17 Matt Henderson
4. #101 Forrest Trent
5. #15 Bryson Dennis
6. #18G Gary Crittenden
7. #24 Tim Byrd
8. #33 Warren McMahan
9. #X Travis Fultz
10. #19T Joey Tweed
11. #2T Tim Maupin
12. #586 Cody Brake
Steel Head Late Model 40 Laps:
(Pole, Cory Hedgecock 12.861)
1. #23 Cory Heddecock
2. #73 Trevor Sise
3. #16L Brad Lowe
4. #25 Bobby Mays
5. #32J Jason Manley
6. #07 Jason Cardwell
7. #5T John Tweed
8. #0 Ross White
9. #88C Chris Chandler
10. #00 Ruben Mayfield
11. #2X Anthony White
12. #329 Rex Coffey
13. #5M Scott Shelton
14. #75L Chris Long
15. #29 Jason Welshan
16. #83 Jensen Ford
17. #2C Donnie Cameron
18. #00D Stanley Donahoo
19. #14 Austin Atkins
Hobby Modified 25 Laps:
(Pole, Dale Reed 15.068)
1. #5B Gary Blanken
2. #1 Jamie Whitt
3. #52R Dale Reed
4. #0Z Jon Cook
5. #55 Dennis Metcalf
6. #5 Sammy Ferguson
7. #3B Brett Banks
8. #66 Daniel Reese
9. #1W Clynis Phillips
10. #18L Travis Light
11. #17 Jeremy Fisher
12. #18 Landon Steele
13. #M2 Shannon Emory
14. #10 Dave Smith
15. #27 Charles Bates
16. #20 David Bullington
17. #96 Chuck Killian
18. #111 Ivis Early
19. #3 Kaleb Trent