Annual Pine Tree 100 at Swainsboro Raceway
By: Candy Carroll
Swainsboro Raceway brought roaring, sheet-metal rubbing excitement Saturday night for the Annual Pine Tree 100. With over 80 cars on site and packed grandstands, the Pine Tree 100 brought more racing excitement than ever in a 100 lap battle for $5000 to win in the Zaxby’s Crate Late Model division. Twenty-four drivers from across the South-East lined up for qualifying with Ben Faircloth grabbing the fastest time over Joshua Bishop. Rolling out for the feature event, the field was led by the Swainsboro Raceway Pace Truck with special guest “The DreadKnots” off the show “Axmen” riding on the back, the Daniels Chevrolet sponsored 2014 Chevy Camaro Pacecar, and the Southeastern Technical College Mascot. Fans were on their feet for the beautiful four-wide salute before starting 100 laps of thundering racing action. Lap 1, Ben Faircloth takes the lead with Joshua Bishop and Cla Knight falling into second and third. Ches Chester and Nascar Craftsman Truck Driver Joey Coulter battled for the fourth position. Lap two, Chester took over the fourth position. The first caution waived on lap 5 for Brandon Carpenter running in the eleventh position. On the double-file restart, coming off turn four, Joey Coulter got loose in the fourth position causing an entire field of cars to pile up on the front stretch. Eight cars were forced to pit due to the caution on lap five. After a caution on lap 7, Cla Knight and Ches Chester took advantage of the restart moving into second and third position as Joshua Bishop fell back on the outside. Lap 14, caution waived for debris as Ben Faircloth still held the lead, Cla Knight second, Ches Chester third, Jeremy Faircloth fourth, and Cecil Eunice fifth. A quarter way into the race, lap 26, Faircloth began making his way through lapped traffic. Lap 28, on the restart after a caution Ches Chester took over second on the outside. Lap 31, previously in the second position, Joshua Bishop was forced to pit. After a restart, Ches Chester spun off turn two giving up the second position to Cla Knight. Starting tenth Robert Diekemper moved into the fourth position and starting seventeenth Jason Fitzgerald moved into fifth. As tires began to play a factor in the 100 lap event, lap 32, Cecil Eunice gave up the sixth position for right rear flat. Leading the field back to green was brothers Ben and Jeremy Faircloth in first and second. After making his way to third in a super-fast machine, Robert Diekemper lost the third position on lap 36 with a flat and Jeremy Faircloth in the fourth position pitted for the night. Cecil Eunice made his way back to sixth after an earlier flat but would have to pit again this time with left rear flat. Lap 39, Steven Roberts moved into the fourth position. Maneuvering his way through the field once again Robert Diekemper moved inside Henry Carter off turn two for the fifth position on lap forty-five. Lap 61, leading the way, Ben Faircloth began to feel the heat as lap traffic played a factor and Jason Fitzgerald began knocking on his door battling for the lead. Lap 63, Robert Diekemper moved into the fourth position. High off adrenaline but physically exhausted, Ben Faircloth jumped on top of his car to celebrate leading the entire 100 lap event and taking the checkered in the Zaxby’s Crate Late Model division. Jason Fitzgerald starting seventeenth avoided all the cautions and earned second place. Cla Knight starting fifth took home the third position. Coming from the rear after a tire change on lap 36, Robert Diekemper drove hard to pick up the fourth position. Rounding out the top five after starting eleventh was Steven Roberts.
In the Sunoco Super Street division, Jimmy Sharpe Jr and Tommy Clinard picked up heat race wins to lead the field to green in the $2000 event. Sharpe jumped out front with Clinard second and Jimmy Maness third. Tyler Brown moved by Jamey Donaldson for the fourth position. Lap 5, Willis McKenzie moved inside Donaldson off turn four for the fifth position. Jimmy Sharpe, Jr dominated taking the checkered, Tommy Clinard held of Maness for the second position, Jimmy Maness fighting Clinard hard held onto third, Tyler Brown fourth, and Willis McKenzie rounded out the top five.
Starting front row for the $1000 feature event in the Daniels Chevrolet Pure Stock division was Johnson County’s Jottie Burgamy and Thomas Tanner. Three wide in turn one for the lead with Burgamy, Dustin Watkins, and Tanner on the outside. Jottie Burgamy took the lead with Dustin Watkins in second. Lap two, Thomas Tanner driving hard in the third position spun off turn four causing several cars to be involved in the caution. Luke Scott and Joe McKenzie both were forced to pit for the night. On the restart, Brent Herndon moved inside Alan Wilkerson to battle for third and made the pass on lap three. Three laps to go, coming from the rear, Thomas Tanner moved into the fourth position. After running fourth, Alan Wilkerson brought out the caution on lap fourteen. Jottie Burgamy took the checkered holding off Dustin Watkins in second, Brent Herndon third, Thomas Tanner fourth, and Alan Wilkerson fifth.
In the Kwik Shop Mini Stock division, Joey Schoen took an early lead. Lap one, outside pole sitter and points leader Tim Wilkerson was forced to pit and rejoin the field in the rear. By lap three, Tim Wilkerson moved into the fifth position. Lap eleven, Roger McKenzie passed Chris Wilkerson for third on the back stretch. Three laps to go, Brad McKenzie broke off turn four losing the second position. Two laps left, Chris Wilkerson takes over the second position from Roger McKenzie. Joey Schoen took the checkered, Chris Wilkerson second, Tim Wilkerson third, Roger McKenzie fourth, and Ricky Rule fifth.
Up next, Jason Kight tried to pick up his third win of the season in the Adam Construction Road Warrior division but unfortunately for Kight his night ended early with a blown motor. Tyler Holt took the checkered adding another win to his record, Derrick Screws held on to pick up second, Corey Howell third, Ricky Strange fourth, and Steven Stapleton fifth.
Ending the night in the Scare House of the South 440 division, Tommy Davis took the lead. John Hooks made his way around Rod Morris for the second position. Hooks got underneath Davis to take over the lead. After a caution, Tommy Davis was sent to the rear allowing Rod Morris to move into the second position and Paul “Donut” Carroll third. With four laps remaining, Tommy Davis took to the outside to take over the third position. After several laps of battling, Clay Collins moved to the inside for the fourth position. John Hooks took the checkered, Rod Morris second, Tommy Davis third, Clay Collins fourth, and Paul “Donut” Carroll fifth.
Results for the Zaxby’s Crate Late Model, Sunoco Super Street, Daniels Chevrolet Pure Stock, and Adam Construction Road Warrior divisions are pending results of tire sampling. Check www.swainsbororaceway.com or find us on Facebook after Thursday 5-8-2014 for confirmed results.
Swainsboro Raceway would like to Thank everyone for helping make the Annual Pine Tree 100 an exciting night of racing action. Thank you to all the businesses of Emanuel County that participated in welcoming our race fans to the area and allowed local drivers to display their cars during the Pine Tree Festival. Thank You to all the drivers that took time to display their racecars at one of our local businesses.