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Cook captures Carolina Clash ‘Spring Thaw’ victory at Volunteer Speedway

By Volunteer Speedway | 19 April 2015 | 2015 | | 0 Comments   

Cook captures Carolina Clash $6,000 ‘Spring Thaw’ victory at Volunteer Speedway

BULLS GAP, Tenn. (April 18, 2015) — With NASCAR racing at nearby Bristol Motor Speedway twice yearly, Volunteer Speedway always holds special events during BMS weekend. A big crowd gathered Saturday night at “The Gap” for running of the 14th annual Spring Thaw – Late Model Mania, which featured three classes of Late Model racing that saw a total of 75 Late Models in attendance.

Ray Cook of Brasstown, N.C., wrote his name in the record book by capturing the $6,000 Carolina Clash Super Late Model Series victory.

With the top 10 cars from qualifying locked into the 50-lap main event, Donald McIntosh was fastest at 12.772 seconds to grab the pole position. Cook tripped the clock second quickest at 12.810 to earn the right to start alongside McIntosh.

Riley Hickman and Doug Sanders each won heat races, which determined the remainder of the starting lineup.

At the drop of the green flag, McIntosh and Cook raced side-by-side down the front straightaway into the first turn. But Cook grabbed the lead racing off (turn) two down the backstretch with McIntosh, Chad Ogle, Stacy Boles and Billy Ogle Jr. giving chase. The event’s first caution flag waved on lap 4, when Mack McCarter slowed to a stop high in turn four.

Cook powered back out ahead off the restart, while Chad Ogle got around McIntosh for second and set out after leader Cook, with teammates Boles and Billy Ogle battling for position. The racing action was fast and furious just outside the top five involving Chris Ferguson, Mark Douglas, Vic Hill, Dennis Franklin, Dale McDowell, Tim Allen, David Payne, Hickman and Aaron Ridley.

Cook was setting a blistering pace out front, quickly catching the back of the field by lap 12. Chad Ogle closed right upon Cook’s rear bumper. While negotiating lapped traffic between turns one and two on lap 15, Chad Ogle momentarily eased ahead of Cook. But Cook battled back to move back in front of Chad Ogle on the opposite end of the track between turns three and four.

Payne slowed to a stop in the fourth turn on lap 19 to bring out the caution.

Back under green and with Cook showing the way out front, Chad Ogle, who recorded the Carolina Clash Super Late Model Series “Border Wars at The Gap” victory in the track’s season-opener, suddenly slowed on lap 26 and coasted into the pits, moving McIntosh into third, followed by Billy Ogle, Franklin and Hill. Franklin saw his race end when he dropped out on lap 33 and pulled into the infield.

With 10 laps remaining, the top three of leader Cook, McIntosh and Billy Ogle were running nose-to-tail. Racing off the fourth turn on lap 42, Billy Ogle passed McIntosh for the runner-up spot and looked to challenge Cook out front. While Billy Ogle was able to get up underneath Cook on both ends of the track in the corners for two circuits, he could never completely pull the pass for position off.

Cook would not be denied a visit to victory lane and $6,000 winner’s check, driving the A+ Moving & Storage Co./Tommy Pope Construction/Performance Rod & Custom/VP Racing Fuels/Schaeffer’s Racing Oil/Old Man’s Garage/American Racer South/Integra Racing Shocks/K&N Performance Filters/No. 53 Capital Race Cars to the win over Billy Ogle, McIntosh, Hill and Boles.

Completing the top 10 finishers were McDowell (who started 18th), Sanders, Ferguson, Douglas and Ridley.

Jason Manley of Loudon earned the pole position for the $2,000-to-win 40 lap Steel-Head Late Model feature, with young Trevor Sise of Knoxville second quickest to nail down the outside front row starting berth.

Manley grabbed the lead on the opening lap over Sise, while Cory Hedgecock and Jason Trammell battled for the third spot before Hedgecock wrestled the position away on the second lap. The event’s first caution waved just five laps in when Jensen Ford slowed high on the track between turns one and two with mechanical issues.

Off the restart Manley once again powered back out to the lead over Sise, Hedgecock, Trammell and Greg Martin. But Hedgecock wasn’t content to ride in third and began applying pressure on Sise. Racing off the fourth turn on lap 9, Hedgecock made the pass for position and immediately set his sights ahead on leader Manley.

Behind Manley, Hedgecock, Sise and Trammell, hard racing involving Greg Martin, Barrett Lowe, Riley Hickman, Stanley Donahoo, Bobby Mays, John Tweed and Greg Estes had fans’ attention.

Hickman, from Cleveland, was really up-on-the-wheel hustling his mount around the high banks, as he passed Lowe, Martin, Trammell and Sise between laps 17 and 22 to move into third in the running order. Manley, the 2014 Steel-Head Late Model track champion, saw his hopes of winning end on lap 26 when he tangled with a car he was attempting to lap and slowly pulled his ride into the pits with damage while the caution waved.

Hedgecock, who won two races at the track last season, found himself riding out front on the restart, with Hickman and Trammell lined up behind in second and third. Back under green, contact with Hedgecock as Hickman tried to get under the leader, got Hedgecock momentarily out of shape and allowed Hickman to take over the lead.

Once out front it was clear sailing to the finish for Hickman, driving the Hickman Manufacturing/American Billet/Austin Trucking/Tucker Mobile Home Service/Competition Racing Equipment/JRI Shocks/All-Star Graphix/CVR Race Cars/Vic Hill Race Engines/No. R1 Chevrolet Corvette, as he captured the victory over Hedgecock, Trammell, Donahoo and Sise.

Completing the top 10 finishers were Lowe, Martin, Mays, Tweed and former NASCAR K&N Pro Series racer Ryan Gifford.

Tim Byrd jumped out to the lead over Forrest Trent, David Smith, Josh Driskill and Scott Boyd at start of the 25-lap Sportsman Late Model feature. Byrd, who won two week’s ago in the season-opener, got trapped in behind slower cars as he and Trent began working lap traffic.

Trent capitalized and seized the moment to get around Byrd for the lead on the ninth circuit. With a stellar 24-car lineup taking the green flag, intense two- and three-wide racing action was taking place back throughout the field. Just outside of top five in the running order, Warren McMahan, Chase King, Rex Coffey, Rusty Ballenger, Stephen Martin, Aaron Guinn, Bryson Dennis and Tim Maupin were battling for real estate around the high banks.

The caution waved on lap 20 for a wreck between turns three and four that collected Driskill, Ballenger, Maupin and Dennis. Ballenger and Maupin were able to continue, while the race ended prematurely for Dennis and Driskill.

Back under green for a five-lap sprint to the checkers Trent, from Talbott and driving the Trent Logging/Service 101 Recovery & Property Management/Van Lester Trucking/Cowtown Farms/VP Racing Fuels/Hoosier Racing Tire/Rocket Chassis/Eagle Racing Engines/No. 101 Chevrolet Camaro, would not be denied his second career victory at “The Gap” as he won over Byrd, Boyd, Smith and McMahan.

Completing the top 10 finishers were Scott Covington, Maupin, Ballenger, Adam Mitchell and Guinn.


Showing Finish Position, Starting Position In Parentheses, Driver Name, Car Number, Hometown, Laps Completed In Parentheses

1. (2) Ray Cook #53-Brasstown, NC (50)
2. (5) Billy Ogle Jr. #201-Knoxville, TN (50)
3. (1) Donald McIntosh #7-Dawsonville, GA (50)
4. (9) Vic Hill #1-Morristown, TN (50)
5. (3) Stacy Boles #11B-Clinton, TN (50)
6. (18) Dale McDowell #17m-Chickamauga, GA (50)
7. (12) Doug Sanders #42-Springwood, NC (50)
8. (6) Chris Ferguson #22-Mt. Holly, NC (50)
9. (7) Mark Douglas #52D-Knoxville, TN (50)
10. (20) Aaron Ridley #81-Chatsworth, GA (50)
11. (15) Ben Watkins #16-Rock Hill, SC (50)
12. (10) Tim Allen #17-Kannapolis, NC (49)
13. (19) Ryan King #30-Seymour, TN (49)
14. (22) Kenny Collins #1c-Colbert, GA (48)
15. (24) Kevin Wilson #618-Stoneville, NC (48)
16. (21) Steve Smith #3-Powell, TN (34)
17. (23) Anthony Sanders #421-Spartanburg, SC (33)
18. (14) Dennis Franklin #2-Gaffney, SC (33)
19. (4) Chad Ogle #10-Sevierville, TN (26)
20. (13) David Payne #8-Murphy, NC (19)
21. (25) Bobby Mays #25-Jonesborough, TN (19)
22. (11) Riley Hickman #r1-Cleveland, TN (17)
23. (8) Mack McCarter #51-Gatlinburg, TN (4)
24. (17) Mark Vineyard #4-Powell, TN (3)
25. (16) Kyle Pierce #281-Statesville, NC (2)

DID NOT MAKE FIELD: Roger Best #007-Louisville, TN; Travis Greer #11g-Marion, VA; Forrest Trent #101-Talbott, TN; Kayne Hickman #H3-Soddy Daisy, TN

HEAT RACE #1: 1) Riley Hickman #r1, 2) David Payne #8, 3) Ben Watkins #16, 4) Mark Vineyard #4, 5) Ryan King #30, 6) Steve Smith #3, 7) Bobby Mays #25, 8) Travis Greer #11g – Did Not Start: Forrest Trent #101, Kayne Hickman #H3

HEAT RACE #2: 1) Doug Sanders #42, 2) Dennis Franklin #2, 3) Kyle Pierce #281, 4) Dale McDowell #17m, 5) Aaron Ridley #81, 6) Kenny Collins #1c, 7) Roger Best #007, 8) Anthony Sanders #421, 9) Kevin Wilson #618

STEEL-HEAD LATE MODEL (40 laps … $2,000-to-win)

1. Riley Hickman #r1
2. Cory Hedgecock #23
3. Jason Trammell #90j
4. Stanley Donahoo #00
5. Trevor Sise #73
6. Barrett Lowe #72
7. Greg Martin #24
8. Bobby Mays #25
9. John Tweed #5
10. Ryan Gifford #2
11. Greg Estes #31
12. Billy Lambert #9
13. Ruben Mayfield #00
14. Shannon Smith #4
15. Josh Evans #119
16. Jason Manley #32
17. Aaron Ridley #81
18. Brent Hensley #70
19. Jensen Ford #83

Did Not Start: Jason Cardwell #07

SPORTSMAN LATE MODEL (25 laps … $800-to-win)

1. Forrest Trent #101
2. Tim Byrd #24
3. Scott Boyd #D2
4. David Smith #11
5. Warren McMahan #33
6. Scott Covington #27
7. Tim Maupin #2
8. Rusty Ballenger #29
9. Adam Mitchell #50
10. Aaron Guinn #97
11. Stephen Martin #46
12. Greg Burchett #5
13. Richard Adkins #73
14. Mike Kelley #X
15. Bryson Dennis #15
16. Josh Driskill #25
17. Adam Tolliver #28
18. Rex Coffey #3
19. Cody Brake #58
20. Austin Atkins #14
21. Chase King #44
22. Eric Weber #25
23. Taran Hurst #22
24. Ricky Moore #75

Did Not Start: Jerry Broyles #72, Michael Boyd #3