Turkey Tune Up at Swainsboro Raceway!
By: Candy Carroll
After several weeks off, drivers and fans were anxious for some dirt track racing Dixie Style at Swainsboro Raceway Saturday night. Drivers from several states rolled in for the annual Turkey Tune Up preparing for the biggest upcoming race of the year paying $20,000 to win in the Zaxby’s Crate Late Model division. Saturday night racing action got underway with 31 drivers battling for $4400 in the Scare House of the South 440 division from as far North as Pennsylvania. After qualifying, previous winner Georgia boy Andrew Smith sat front row with Florida boy John Windham outside. Two cautions sent the field to a single file restart with Smith out front. Forced to pit, third and fourth place drivers Walker Windham and Justin Stephens rejoined field in last position. Lap 2, Reid Christensen battled to hold off local John Hooks for the fifth position. Lap 3, from fifth to third, Pennsylvania driver Eric Boozel tries the outside groove for second. Lap7, restart give Windham chance to take the lead from Smith, but a caution waives and Windham pits losing the lead. Lap 14, driving for Smith, Boozel moves in on the leader making a challenge for first. Lap 16, Justin Stephen coming through the field took over the fourth position. Boozel begins to experience mechanical issues. Time winding down, Rod Morris hits the nitrous moving into second taking Stephens with him in the third position. All making a run for the win in the top ten, with only a few laps remaining, John Windham, Reid Christensen, Justin Stephens, Tyler Davis, and Eric Boozel all pits. Andrew Smith takes the white flag, pressure is on, as Rod Morris makes a move side by side off turn four within inches at the flag stand, Rod Morris takes the checkered. Andrew Smith picks up second, John Hooks third, John Whisnant fourth, and Lee Hutchinson fifth.
In the Roger Wheeler Construction Road Warrior division, Tyler Sanders rolling triple duty takes the early lead over 2018 points champion Jaime Foskey. Foskey tries the outside groove, but Sanders pulls away. Lap 4, Jason Kight gains on John Lariscey for the third position. Tyler Sanders checked out to pick up the checkered flag, Jaime Foskey second, John Lariscey third, Jason Kight fourth, and Dougie McCullough fifth.
Returning to the racing side after karting for a few weeks, Daniel Roland picks up the heat race win to lead the Sunoco Super Street field to green with Tommy Clinard outside. On the start, Roland takes the lead and 2018 points champion Monk Gulledge moves into third off turn four. Jamie Whitaker quickly retakes third to try Clinard for second. Nearly halfway, Whitaker trying for second brings out caution sending him to the rear. Clinard charges hard at Roland for the lead but unable to make the pass. Daniel Roland picked up his first win of the year at Swainsboro Raceway, Tommy Clinard earned second, Brent Herndon third, Jamie Whitaker moves back to fourth, and Monk Gulledge fifth.
Up next, Jamey Donaldson takes the lead in the Daniels Chevrolet Pure stock division with a three-wide battle for second between Kip Poole, Jamie Whitaker, and Tyler Sanders. Lap 3, Alex Sturkie took advantage moving into second putting the heat on Donaldson for the lead. Kip Poole is forced to pit with a flat. Lap 5, Sturkie tries the inside of Donaldson but fails. Four to go, George Williamson works on Sanders for the third position. Two to go, Williamson takes over third. Sturkie sticks down low several times trying to get inside Donaldson for the lead. Jamey Donaldson earns the checkered, Alex Sturkie takes home second, George Williamson third, Tyler Sanders fourth, and Dustin Watkins fifth.
Battling for $3000 to win in the Zaxby’s Crate Late Model division and a guaranteed starting position at the $20,000 Turkey 100, Ches Chester hooked up dropping a time in 14 seconds to lead the field to 30 lap green flag event with Alabama Jimmy Thomas outside. Chester quickly pulls to the lead as Chesley Dixon pull into third over Ben Faircloth. Lap 2, from fifth, Joshua Bishop takes third. Lap 5, Chester pulls away and Faircloth pits after falling to 8th. Halfway, starting tenth, Jordy Nipper found a rail moving into the fourth position. Ches Chester led flawlessly taking the checkered nearly two seconds over Jimmy Thomas in second, Joshua Bishop third, Jordy Nipper fourth, and Chesley Dixon fifth.
First appearance in a different car, Swainsboro native Cool Hand Luke Scott earned top qualifying time in the Southland Insurance 602 Late Model division with Triple Threat Tyler Sanders sitting outside. Scott takes the lead on the green but like a bolt of lightning, Pearson Lee Williams takes over off turn four. Lap 4, Tyler Sanders takes second off 3. Lap 6, Shannon Graham brings out the caution off two in the fifth position. Sneaking through the field, starting fifth, the Hammer Austin Scarboro moved into the second position on lap six. Lap 7, battling to hold Scarboro off, in the lead, Pearson Lee Williams folds a right rear tire off turn four sending him to the pits. Scarboro takes over the lead with Sanders second. Williams rejoins the field on a mission and quickly starts picking the field off one by one working his way back to the front. Austin Scarboro parks it in Victory Lane, Tyler Sanders second, Terry Lumley third, Shannon Graham fourth, and Pearson Lee Williams fifth.
At Swainsboro Kart Track, Red Plate 1. Tyler McCumbers, 2. Joe Brett Sullivan, 3. Hayden Lamb. Predator 330 1. Dusty Godbee, 2. Brandon Pollette, 3. Brandon Green. Predator 375 1. Chad Murray, 2.Brandon Pollette, 3. Todd Godbee. Clone T350 1. Ryan Adams, 2. Joe Diekemper, 3. Cody Gilder. Clone T375 1. Joe Diekemper, 2. Ryan Adams, 3. Robert Diekemper