SENOIA – Jeff Smith of Dalton went flag to flag, capturing the inaugural Chevrolet Performance 525 Super Series race at Senoia Raceway Saturday night. Smith set the second fast qualifying time and started the race from the outside front row. Smith nabbed the lead coming off the second turn on the first lap and went on to lead all 50 laps through the checkered flag. Defending Chevrolet Performance 525 Super Series National Champion Ronnie Johnson of Chattanooga, Tenn. challenged Smith on a couple of restarts, but Smith held off all his challenges.
“I was well aware Ronnie Johnson was there on those restarts, and if there is one thing Ronnie has taught me through the years, it’s that in this type of racing, you had better not try to take it easy because he’s not going to when he’s trying to beat you,” Smith said. “He was definitely trying to beat me on those restarts, and there was no way I was going to take it easy!”
At the drop of the green flag after a 30-minute rain delay, Johnson and Jeff Smith raced side-by-side into turn one, but on the exit of turn two Smith would have the lead followed by Johnson, Florida’s Tyler Crowder, Newnan’s Oliver Gentry and Lavon Sparks of Phenix City, Ala. Hunter Peacock of Dublin also set his charge to the front, joining the top five by lap six.
A couple of cautions slowed the field before a multi-car crash near the flagstand hushed the crowd on lap 28. Senoia’s Clint ‘Cat Daddy’ Smith found a fast groove on the high side of the track to come from his12th place starting position to challenge Lavon Sparks for sixth place. The two came together coming off the fourth turn and the big one was on down the front straightaway. The wreck also collected Florida’s Jarod Frame, Matt Dooley of Brooks and Marietta’s Matt Larson.
The field was racing hard when on lap 33 Oliver Gentry jumped the cushion in turn two and lost two spots falling to sixth place. Peacock and Dawsonville’s Matthew Turner moved up to take over the fourth and fifth spots respectively. Turner then was able to get by Peacock for the fourth spot just before the final caution flag of the race came out on lap 46 when Alabama’s Adam Martin spun in turn three.
During the caution period, Peacock rammed Turner, and Chevy Super Series officials parked Peacock for the rest of the race. The five-lap dash to the finish was clean with Smith besting Johnson, Crowder, Turner and Gentry.
In other action on Saturday night, Conyers Tim Harmon used lapped traffic to gain the lead position in the final turn of the final lap to win the Bomber feature. Harmon chased down Senoia’s Winford Minix who decided to go to the high side of the track to try and get around the slower traffic while Harmon shot down low. Minix was caught up and had to settle for second place behind Harmon who won for the first time at Senoia Raceway.
Brooks’ Curtis Turner led the first half of the Hobby Stock feature before current points leader Ben Wells of Milner made the pass for the lead. Wells moved out to a seven car length lead winning his third of the season and second straight. Turner lost third place to Newnan’s Scott Sherrer on a late race restart and never recovered the position. Locust Grove’s Wilson Boozer and Hiram’s Wesley Scott completed the top five finishers.
Newnan’s Parrish Duncan inherited the lead from Columbus’ Joseph Brown on lap seven when Brown exited to the pit area with mechanical problems. Duncan then cruised to his fifth win of the year ahead of Alabama’s Dylan Knowles and Concord’s Cindy Anderson.
Due to the rain delay, the only other feature completed Saturday night was the first of two mains for the Four Cylinders. Dougasville’s James ‘Showtime’ Stansel dominated winning the $500 to win feature.