EASLEY, S.C. — official track release — Haley Wilbanks Photo —
Colby Howard, 14, of Simpsonville, South Carolina parked his Eubanks Oil Chevrolet in victory lane for the third time in three race weeks at Greenville-Pickens Speedway in Easley, South Carolina as he outran a determined R.J. West in a thrilling 50-lap limited late model feature event.
Steve Guthrie, Tim Sams, Buck Simmons and Chad Redding also scored top honors on a seasonable spring night.
West nosed Howard out in qualifying to start on the pole for the feature, and he also got the early lead as Howard settled in to second after a lap or so. Luke Sorrow and Taylor Sorrow were third and fourth while the No. 1 of Phillip Peters held fifth as lap five went up on the scoreboard.
Howard held tight behind West, and began looking for a way by him just past lap ten. He finally found some room on lap 14 and dove underneath to lead the 14th circuit. The rest of the the top five remained the same.
West stayed within striking distance as both No. 16 cars appeared evenly matched on this seasonable spring evening. The race was slowed on lap 28 by a yellow flag when fifth place Peters broke loose trying to squeeze his Advanced Prosthetics No. 1 underneath the No. 92 of Taylor Sorrow. Peters clipped the inside wall and suffered some damage, but was able to restart at the tail of the field.
On the restart, West battled Howard hard from the outside and refused to give up, finally reclaimed the lead on lap 30. He held the lead for four laps until Don Morgan looped his machine in turn three and we were back under yellow.
Now it was the 14-year-old Howard who would restart on the outside. Could he regain the lead?
When the green flag waved again West and Howard locked horns and went right back at it for the lead, neither giving an inch. As the pair rounded turn one on lap 35, they made contact and West lost control and spun out, slowing the race to caution pace for the fourth time.
This dramatic turn of events led to Howard regaining the lead but he would now have a familiar foe restarting outside him in the form of fellow 14-year-old Luke Sorrow. Sorrow’s No. 9 had been a little bit off in the handling department the past couple of weeks but fans wondered if he had something for Howard, whose luck had gone from bad to two straight wins coming into the evening.
“The Young One” gave it his best shot, but Howard was too strong. West shot through the field like a bullet train, taking second with just one lap left. Howard didn’t budge en-route to his third win in three weeks of racing and another trophy to put on the mantel. West surely earned the runner-up finish. Luke Sorrow, Taylor Sorrow and Phillip Peters completed the top five.
Chad Redding got his second win of the season in the 15-lap Four-Cylinder feature event, leading start to finish with his “Silver Bullet” No. 1. Redding maintained a safe distance throughout most of the race over second place finisher Dannon Esco to claim top honors. Michael Webster got the best of Tommy Davis and Michael Cross as the trio finished third through fifth, respectively, after battling hard throughout.
Buck Simmons went flag to flag in the 12-lap pure stock feature to bag his fourth victory of the year at the historic half-mile. Chris Meinders battled hard with Charlie Meinders for second and finally got the best of him at the end. Spencer Morgan finished fourth while Darrell Meinders crossed the line in fifth. Only two yellow flags were needed in this race, the first for Zach Meinders on lap three as he caught the outside wall in turn four and the second for a multi-car melee in turn one.
Simmons stayed out ahead of the incidents and won the race comfortably.
The 20-lap Renegade feature was hotly contested from start to finish. Spenser Darnell grabbed off the early lead, but his time in the front lasted just over a minute as “Downtown” Billy Brown took control on lap three. Bobby Emory was also in the thick of the battle, passing Darnell for second then hounding Brown until he found room underneath the No. 22 with six laps left.
Emory was looking to return to victory lane but the No. 9 of Steve Guthrie had other ideas. Charging from his sixth spot, Guthrie methodically worked his way through the field, taking over second with less than five laps left. He quickly closed ground on Emory and drove by him on lap 18 en-route to his first win of the year!
At the stripe it was Guthrie earning the win with Emory second. Alexx Breazele passed Brown on the last lap to finish third. Brown held on to fourth and Terry Thurston crossed the line in fifth.
The Super Stocks provided the 20-lap nightcap, and Tim Sams had a roller coaster ride that ended in victory lane. The personable racer lost control of his No. 71 in turn one on lap one and the ensuing multi-car pileup heavily damaged the cars of Ken Guthrie, Mike Mote and Don Satterfield and involved others. Thankfully, nobody was injured, but several teams will be busy searching out parts to repair their cars for their next race on September 21st.
Sams escaped without damage and was able to restart at the rear of the field. He wouldn’t remain there very long.
Almost as fast as the race restarted again, Ricky Stephens brought out another yellow flag as his machine went up in smoke and he dove for pit road. Robin Darnell got by Josh Sams on lap three and tried to open up some ground. Sams was busy fending off the challenges of Travis Cox, who was perking very well in third. Dale Stancil and Ted Somero followed from a several car-length distance.
Cox brought out the third yellow of the race on lap ten when he spun on the back straightaway. This gave Tim Sams the break he needed. Tim was already back into the top five and he surgically sliced through the field until he caught leader Darnell as they were coming to the white flag and passed him, bringing son Josh along with him.
It was a father-son top two when Cary Hardin waved the checkered flag and Tim Sams had completed the last-to-first run to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Josh Sams finished second followed by Darnell, Cox (who drove from the back to fourth in ten laps) and Stancil.
Next Saturday night, the Southeast Limited Late Model Series will be joined by the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Models in a program that will total four main events and over 250 laps of late model-style action plus the Pure Stocks and Renegades. This is a show not to be missed!
Gates will open at 4pm with the first racing green flag scheduled for 7pm.
For all the latest updates from Greenville-Pickens Speedway, including start times and admission prices, visit the track website at www.greenvillepickens.com, ‘Like’ them on Facebook by searching Greenville-Pickens Speedway or follow them on Twitter @GP_Speedway.
STAT ZONE – FEATURE FINISHES
LIMITED LATE MODELS: Colby Howard, R.J. West, Luke Sorrow, Taylor Sorrow, Phillip Peters, Austin Northcutt, Ron Hall, Don Morgan and Tasha Kummer
RENEGADES: Steve Guthrie, Bobby Emory, Alexx Breazele, Billy Brown, Terry Thurston, Spenser Darnell, Ricky Burnett, Shane Hill, Michael Thompson, Larry Nabors, Parker Jameson, David Jameson, Brandon Ellison and Joe Allen.
PURE STOCKS:Buck Simmons, Chris Meinders, Charlie Meinders, Spencer Morgan, Darrell Meinders, Ashley Granata, Dannon Esco, Travis Shelton, Travis Barbere, A.J. Davis, Freddy Hale, Zack Meinders and Hank Hutto.
FOUR CYLINDER: Chad Redding, Dannon Esco, Michael Webster, Tommy Davis, Michael Cross, Hunter Evans, Chad Tavernia, Don Tavernia, Neil Meeks, Ray Mullinax, Brian Messer, Randy Hipp, Manual Molleda, Barry Gonsalves, Jack Hooper and Sandra Tavernia.
SUPER STOCK: Tim Sams, Josh Sams, Robin Darnell, Travis Cox, Dale Stancil, Ted Somero, Stanley Pressley, Joe Satterfield, Ricky Stephens, Danny Gilbert, Mike Mote and Ken Guthrie.
CREDIT: Greenville-Pickens Track PR