SENOIA - The ‘Bull Ring’ Senoia Raceway proved to be tough again this past Saturday night, but not tough enough to see three competitors win their first race at the 3/8th’s mile dirt track. A trio of drivers that had never won a feature race at the track found their way into the winner’s circle including sixteen-year-old Brandon Brock from Hampton. Brock topped the four cylinder Mini Stocks by leading flag to flag for the win.
“It’s great. We have been working for this for two years now,” said the well-spoken young gun after the race. “They kept telling me I had a pretty good lead, but I just kept working.”
Joining Brock in victory lane for the first time were Alabama’s Jay Elliott in the Newnan Bonding B Cadets and Franklin’s Ben Steele in the Summit Racing Equipment Hobby Stocks. Another Alabama driver, Dana Eiland, notched his first win of the season in the Jodeco Auto Sales Late Model while Senoia’s Winford Minix won for the second time in 2014 besting the field of A1 Hydraulics Bombers.
Brock led the Senoia Drug Company Mini Stock feature from the drop of the green flag moving to the top spot from the outside front row. Brock built a lead of nearly a straightaway over another sixteen-year-old competitor, Brandon ‘Goose’ Libri from Newnan. The closest race in this feature was for third between Griffin’s Harold Leath and Barnesville’s Gary Parker. The duo swapped the position several times with two finishing side by side inches away from each other as the checkered flag fell over them.
The best race of the night came in the Summit Racing Equipment Hobby Stock division. Ben Steele moved the number one spot early in the race holding off challenges from Tyrone’s Jamie Simmons. Current points leader, Houston Hatchett of Williamson, was busy working his way through the field when Simmons spun his mount leaving the runner-up spot open for the taking.
Steele and Hatchett raced side by side for a good portion of the race and then swapped the lead back and forth in a classic ‘Bull Ring’ duel. Hatchett would slide in front out of turn four with Steele charging down low to snag it back out of turn two. To the delight of the crowd, the pair battled for several laps only being slowed by a caution late in the race.
With three laps remaining, Hatchett shot into turn one, slipped just a bit and Steele took advantage bolting out to a three car length lead. Hatchett never got closer as Steele won his first career feature at Senoia Raceway. Hatchett was second ahead of Columbus’ Herbie ‘Hitman’ Donath, Jamie Simmons and LaGrange’s Jake Traylor.
“That was a race,”said race fan Tim Jancey of Sharpsburg. “That is why my wife and I come to this track. The racing is always close and competitive.”
Close and competitive was evident in the Newnan Bonding B Cadet. The closeness created carnage for many of the ten competitors as several were eliminated from competition after altercations on the track.
Jay Elliott was making his first appearance at the ‘Bull Ring’ and kept all the traffic snarls behind him. Elliott was never pressured going flag to flag for the win. Alabama’s Trevor McMullan finished in second after an intense battle with LaGrange’s David Osbahr and then Jason Miller of Jonesboro. Miller finished in third ahead of West Point’s Thomas Phillips and McDonough rookie Bennie Croy.
“I like this track,” said the first time visitor, first time winner Elliott. “I will be back if they want me back.”
Excitement was in the air for the beginning of the Jodeco Auto Sales Late Model feature. Another teenager, Joey Armistead of Senoia, had qualified fastest and was starting on the pole. It looked like it could be a banner night for the young drivers, but veteran Dana ‘Top Dog’ Eiland washed away those thoughts quickly. Eiland jumped on the gas and powered out front from the outside pole position leaving the third generation driver Armistead in second. Eiland cruised to his first win of the year, Armistead finished in second while defending champion and current points leader Glenn Morris of Fayetteville won a great race for third place. Newnan’s Marcus Caswell and Roopville’s rookie of the year candidate Clifton ‘Hog Head’ Moran rounded out the first five.
“Could be a warm up for the Late Model Father’s Day Summer Shoot-Out,” said promoter Tim Moses. “We are putting up our largest purse ever in the Late Model class on Father’s Day weekend. $1500 to win. $100 to start. I hope Dana and the rest of these guys support the effort and come out to put on a show for the fans.”
In the A1 Hydraulics Bomber feature, the racing was a hard as it has been all season. Winford Minix busted out early with Whitesburg’s Derrick Matthews giving chase. Senoia’s Dustin Smith was running third and close enough to bump Matthews several times, but not enough to overtake the position. That changed when Matthews spun in the middle of three and four on lap six.
Minix held off Smith until points leader John Holcomb could work his way to the top three. Holcomb had come from near the back of the pack in a methodical climb to the top of the leader board. Holcomb and Smith battled tooth and nail for the final laps of the feature. As the checkers fell, Minix had his second win of the season ahead of Smith and Holcomb. Matthews charged back to finish fourth while Hogansville’s Pappy Powell was fifth.
For the second time in a month, the Modified Mini class did not field enough cars to have a race. Newnan’s Dorough Bright was the only competitor signed in for the night.
The ‘Bull Ring’ at Senoia Raceway action resumes this Saturday, June 7, as the track presents Lucky Ladies Night. All ladies will be admitted into the grandstand seating area for half price. All weekly divisions will be competing along with the motorcycle engine powered Legends Cars and the rescheduled Mattress Race.
The pit gates will open at 5 p.m. this Saturday. Grandstand gates open at 6 p.m. The drivers will take the track for hot laps beginning at 7:30 p.m. The first race of the night is at 8pm.
Ticket prices for grandstand admission is $12. Children ages 6-12 are $5. Kids five and under are admitted for free. Pit passes are $25 with children ages 3-12 $12. Kids two and under are admitted into the pit area for free.
Trackside parking is available on first come, first serve basis and includes access to the pit area.
Senoia Raceway is located just five miles west of Senoia, GA on Georgia Highway 16. Easy access from both Interstate 85 or Interstate 75.
For more information, visit the Senoia Raceway website at www.senoiaraceway.com or call the speedway at 404.796.1435.