Watts, Wallace continue Penton dominance

After nearly a month away from the track, Penton Raceway once again opened their gates for another Friday night of high-speed excitement on the 3/8-mile clay oval with racing in four divisions. Strong fields made for an entertaining night of racing, and there were a number of familiar faces in victory lane.

Penton’s last races came back in early July, when the track hosted the NeSmith Dirt Late Model Series Salute To America Nationals events, which featured dozens of drivers from across the southeast. There weren’t as many cars on the track on Friday, but the intensity was still there. And four drivers made repeat trips to victory lane on Friday.

In the Late Model main event, Chad Wallace continues his red-hot streak at the track. He beat out two of the top Penton racers to earn his third win of the season at the track. Multi-race winner Chase Edge drove his No. 18 car home second while Dana Eiland finished in the third spot.

Local racer Cord Dodgen was fourth and N. B. Freeman was fifth. Tim Peters, Taylor Mitchum and Joseph Darda rounded out the field.

David Dark picked up his second win of the year at Penton in the Hobby class on Friday. Dark beat out the No. 16 of Austin Horton to get the win. David Martin was third, followed by Tony Hill, Tanner Smith and Jake Traylor.

In the Sportsman division, Dusty Jones made his second trip to Penton’s victory lane though it was his first time there in a Sportsman racecar. Jones won a Hobby race earlier this year, but showed his versatility on Friday night, outrunning Jeff Garner to get the win.

The area’s hottest driver continues to be Casey Watts, who continued his domination with yet another big win in the Bandit division. It was the fifth win of the season for Watts as his No. 4 vehicle was once again a bullet on track. Luke Tidwell finished in the runner-up spot, while Woody Woods was third and Patrick Taylor was fourth.

Penton is scheduled to host races for the rest of the month, starting next Friday, August 10 with another full night of racing action in all four divisions.

Track officials have also announced a special promotion on Friday, whereby the winner of the class with the most entries will receive an additional $200 and a lucky fan will receive $50.

 

August 8, 2012 | Posted in: Racing, Sports | Comments Closed

Maxxis Shootout Series brings action to Penton

Tristin Dodd (right) tries to hold off Chris Chase during qualifying on Saturday at the Maxxis Twin State Shootout Series event in Penton.

More than 100 go-karts roared around the dirt in the scorching heat on Saturday afternoon, as the Penton go-kart track played host to round four of the Maxxis Twin State Shootout Series sponsored by Maxxis Tires. The Shootout Series consists of six races, one each month, held at tracks across Mississippi and Alabama.

Track official Mike Edge noted the day was a big success. “Lots of people put a lot of hard work into this and everything was just wonderful,” he said.

Racers get ready to qualify at the Maxxis Twin State Shootout in Penton.

Saturday’s events featured 18 classes of karts and 137 entries, both young and old, from across the Southeast. The races counted toward the overall Maxxis Twin State title points standings. No points counted toward Penton’s regular weekly go-kart series standings.

Karts hit the track at 10 am on Saturday morning for qualifying, running three at a time in each class until the fields were set. Feature races started later in the afternoon, each running 15 laps or 15 minutes.

Big winners on the day were Drew Hammonds, Josh Cox and Jeffrey West, as each picked up three feature wins on Saturday. Andrew Bailey was the only other driver with multiple wins, totaling two.

The top three finishers in each class are listed here:

-SR Clone Super Heavy: 1) Eddie Davis 2) Cale Seamon 3) Ned Fuller

-JR Clone Red Plate: 1) Taylor Mitchell 2) Charley Cawart 3) Marley Wyn Eldridge

Spencer Hughes tries to free his kart after spinning out in qualifying. Hughes still managed a solid qualifying time and finished second in the feature, just 0.719 seconds behind winner Ryan Worsham in the JR Clone II Blue Plate class.

-JR Clone I Green Plate: 1) Jeffrey West 2) Brysen Duncan 3) Ethan Endicott

-Stock Animal Medium: 1) Drew Hammonds 2) Tuffy Casey 3) Alex Boin

-SR Clone Lite: 1) Josh Cox 2) Zach Foley 3) Bron Rutledge

-JR Purple Flathead: 1) Jeffery West 2) Ethan Endicott 3) Brysen Duncan

-SR Clone Heavy: 1) Josh Cox 2) Ben Snider 3) Heath Carr

-JR Champs Blue Plate: 1) Jeffrey West 2) Ethan Endicott 3) Luke Ferguson

-JR Clone III: 1) Andrew Bailey 2) Ethan Keheley 3) Britney Teel

-Stock Medium Fathead: 1) Travis Cleckler 2) Spencer Hill 3) Justin Dopson

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August 2, 2012 | Posted in: Racing, Sports | Comments Closed

Penton go kart track hosting big event July 28

The Penton go-kart track is getting set to host one of the biggest karting events to come to the area in years. Over 250 drivers are expected to come to town in what is one of six events throughout Alabama and Mississippi that make up the Maxxis Twin State Shootout Series sponsored by Maxxis Tires.

The event will take place throughout the day on Saturday, July 28 with 20 classes of karts racing for trophies. Starting at 10 am CST, the different classes will hit the ¼-mile clay oval for qualifying followed by a feature race. Penton is equipped with lights and officials are prepared to go into the evening if necessary.

The Maxxis Twin State Shootout Series consists of six races, one each month, held at tracks across Mississippi and Alabama including Causeyville Raceway in Meridian, MS Talladega Kart Track and Beaver Creek Raceway in Toney, AL.

Next week’s Penton race will be the fourth in the season which ends on September 22 in Talladega. It’s a non-points race for Penton, but will count toward the overall Maxxis Twin State title.

Organizers are expecting a heavy turnout of local racers in addition to the many others from across Alabama and Mississippi.

Gates will open at 7 am and racing will begin at 10 am. Admission is $20 with children five and under getting in free. The track is located at 5153 County Road 114 in Penton. For more information call the track at 864-0967, visit the track website at www.pentonraceway.com or find them on Facebook. Also visit the Twin State Shootout website at www.twinstateshootout.com

Penton hosts two big nights of racing

LaFayette’s Chase Edge (18) and Thomas Lewis (5) race across the start/finish line on Friday night at Penton. (photos: Jonathan Elliott)

Fans and drivers flocked to Penton Raceways this past week for two special nights of racing featuring some of the best dirt-track racers in the Southeast. It was all part of a special Independence Day race week for the NeSmith Dirt Late Model Series.

Penton was part of a four-race, three-track event that featured a possible $10,000 purse for a driver as part of the NeSmith Dirt Late Model Series Touring Division’s Salute to America Nationals that took place from Wednesday to Saturday.

Penton, East Alabama Motor Speedway and Albany Motor Speedway in Georgia were the three participating tracks, with Penton hosting two of the four races.

The Salute to America Nationals began on Wednesday, July 4, with a 50-lap, $2,500-to-win event at East Alabama Motor Speedway in Phenix City.

William Thomas (22) was involved in an accident both nights at Penton, but he still managed to win on Thursday and finish second on Friday.

From there, the action came to Penton, which presented the next two nights of racing with a pair of 40-lap $2,000-to-win events on Thursday night and Friday night.

Albany Motor Speedway in Albany, GA hosted the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series Salute To America Nationals finale on Saturday night with a 50-lap $2,500-to-win race.  If a driver could win all four races, that driver would receive a $1,000 bonus to pocket a total of $10,000 for the four nights of racing. That didn’t quite happen, but one racer sure gave it a run.

In addition to the Late Model features at Penton this past week, the track also held special events in other divisions on Thursday and Friday. On Thursday, they hosted a  $500-to-win race in the Limited Sportsman division and a $400-to-win race in the Bandit division.

On Friday the track was scheduled to hold the Second Annual Larry Scott Memorial Hobby Race, a $600-to-win race, but Mother Nature forced the event to be cancelled.

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Penton hosting 2 NeSmith DLMS events this week

Penton Raceway is getting ready for their biggest racing week of the season, as they will welcome drivers from all across the southeast for two big nights of racing at the 3/8-mile clay oval. Penton will be part of a four-race, three-track event that features a possible $10,000 purse for a driver as part of the NeSmith Dirt Late Model Series Touring Division’s Salute to America Nationals that will take place from Wednesday through Saturday.

Penton, East Alabama Motor Speedway and Albany Motor Speedway in Georgia will be the three participating tracks, with Penton hosting two of the four races.

The Salute to America Nationals begins on Wednesday, July 4, with a 50-lap, $2,500-to-win event at East Alabama Motor Speedway in Phenix City.

From there, the action then comes to Penton. The track will present the next two nights of racing with a pair of 40-lap $2,000-to-win events on Thursday night and Friday night.

Albany Motor Speedway in Albany, GA will host the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series Salute To America Nationals finale on Saturday night with a 50-lap $2,500-to-win race.  If a driver can win all four races, that driver will receive a $1,000 bonus to pocket a total of $10,000 for the four nights of racing.

In addition to the Late Model features at Penton this week, the track will also be holding special events in other divisions on Thursday and Friday. On Thursday, they will host a  $500-to-win race in the Limited Sportsman division. The race features an 8-lap heat race, followed by a 25-lap feature race.

Penton will hold a $400-to-win race in the Bandit division as well on Thursday. That race includes an 8-lap heat followed by a 20-lap feature.

On Friday, July 6, the track will have a $600-to-win race in the Hobby division. That race will include an 8-lap heat and 40-lap feature.

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July 3, 2012 | Posted in: Racing, Sports | Comments Closed

Wallace, Watts win again at Penton

Solid fields in each division highlighted action Friday night at Penton Raceway. Racing for the second time this month, the 3/8-mile clay oval featured four main events across different divisions, with exciting racing in each one.

It was the start of a three-week stretch that will bring a lot of action to the racetrack. Penton will host another fast-paced Friday night this week, and then will host two big nights of racing the week of the Fourth of July as part of NeSmith Dirt Late Model Touring Series Salute to America Nationals.

This past Friday, Chad Wallace put on a show in the Late Model division, winning his second race of the season, while Casey Watts continues his domination of the Bandit class, winning for the fourth time this year. Andrew Barber and Dusty Jones both got their first wins of the season at Penton in the Sportsman and Hobby division, respectively.

In the Late Model main event, Wallace held off a charge from Bret Homes to get the win. Series points leader Taylor Mitcham drove his racecar home third, followed by Cord Dodgen in fourth and Craig Skinner in fifth. Mitcham now has a five-point lead in the standings over Wallace.

Watts continued his tear in the Bandit division, cruising to his fourth win of the season. And just like the last time the cars were on the track, Randee Gamble drove to a second place finish. Series points leader Patrick Taylor was third, and Jerry Wright rounded out the field in fourth. Watts chipped a few points off Taylor’s points lead, and is now just 12 back.

Jones earned the win by besting the most recent winner in the Hobby division in Jake Traylor. Jones outran Traylor and Shane Scott on Friday to get his first win of the year. John Micheals finished in the fourth spot and Jonathan Walker was fifth. Series points leader David Martin was sixth followed by Billy Goss.

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Edge, Watts win again at Penton

After a few weeks away from the track, the racing returned to Penton Raceway on Friday night with a full schedule of races. All four divisions were in action in what was the fifth night of racing this season at the 3/8-mile dirt oval.

There were repeat winners in the Late Model and Bandit divisions, but a few new faces found their way to victory lane in the Sportsman and Hobby classes.

Jake Traylor finally found his way to victory lane in the Hobby division, after coming up just short twice earlier in the year. He edged lee Traylor to earn the win and series points leader David Martin came home third. The win moved Traylor into second place in the points standings behind Martin, who has a 22 point advantage.

Hunter Worley finished fourth on Friday and Jonathan Walker was fifth.

In the Bandit division, Casey Watts was the class of the field all night and his No. 4 racecar sailed to his third win of the season.

Randee Gamble finished behind Watts in second and Trey Wood was third. Patrick Taylor maintained his series points lead with a fourth place finish, but now has just a 15 point edge over Watts.

Nick Marsolf earned his first Sportsman win of the year on Friday night, besting Terry Braswell for the win. Austin Horton finished in the third spot and Thomas Phillips was fourth.

Marsolf’s win was also enough to catapault him into a tie for the series points lead with Matt Woodson. Woodson, who did not race on Friday, and Marsolf both have 71 points this year.

No big suprises in the Late Model division, where Chase Edge once again made his way to victory lane thanks to a dominating performance by the young driver. It was the third trip to victory lane at Penton this year. The previous race winner, Chad Wallace, came home second and Mitch Thorton was third. Taylor Mitcham finished in the fourth spot and it was just enough to hold on to his trim series points lead.

Edge and Wallace both made up ground on Mitcham, who sits at the top with a 102-point total. Edge is in second, four points back and Wallace is third, eight points behind.
Penton has announced that they will not be racing this Friday, after initially including it on the schedule, but they will be back in action on Friday June 22. Track officials are alos getting ready for the big NeSmith National event coming to town on July 6.

 

June 13, 2012 | Posted in: Racing, Sports | Comments Closed

Keselowski wins hot one at Talladega

Pack racing is back at Talladega and it was evident in Sunday's Aaron's 499.

TALLADEGA – The thing about Talladega these days is that it’s never the same. It seems like each time that NASCAR comes to the circuit’s biggest track, the first thing to do is to try to figure out the changes the governing body has made.

For years, after NASCAR mandated restrictor plates, racing at Talladega was predictable, with huge packs of cars running nose-to-tail, side-by-side and three-wide at 200 mph. But somewhere along the line changes started to happen, there was the new “car-of-tomorrow” that changed the way drivers raced on superspeedways with the creation of the bump draft. There were outside forces that took place, like the repaving of Talladega and Daytona that made the two huge tracks smoother creating less emphasis on the handling of the car.

Brad Keselowski celebrates after his second win of the season at Talladega.

In turn, drivers found new ways to race the superspeedways; first it was by staying in a single file line for the majority of the race, then it was by forming two car drafts to race.

Changes were made, but new problems arose, and those problems created new problems. It’s the evolution of racing on superspeedways and the bottom line is that someone is going to leave unhappy.

On this Aaron’s Dream Weekend, it was a handful of drivers that left Alabama with a sour taste in their mouth and a less than positive attitude about the sports’ governing body.

Setting the stage for the Aarons’ 499 requires one to know that the rules package NASCAR had in place for the weekend was one that was intended to bring back the pack and eliminate the two car tandem draft. Grille openings on the front of the car were heavily restricted, just 50 square inches, causing a car to overheat when they pushed another for too long, which would cause more than a few engine problems. It also created problems for several teams due to rising water temperatures.

Another issue arose on Sunday that was somewhat unexpected was fuel mileage, explanations ranged from incorrect calculations to not getting the tank full to inability to determined fuel mileage due to the draft conditions. Either way several driver felt the effects of ill timed fuel shortages and it was the cause of the day’s first “big one.”

In all there were three “big ones” and it left a lot of drivers steamed when the checkered flag fell, of course that happens when only 24 of 43 drivers complete a race.
What can’t be left out when discussing the Aarons’ 499 is that one of the sports up-and-coming drivers continues to prove he is the real deal. Brad Keselowski got car owner and racing icon Roger Penske his first Sprint Cup win at Talladega and the first for Dodge at the track since 1976. It was also the second win at the 2.66-mile track for Keselowski; whose first career win came here in 2009 in dramatic fashion.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s crew works on his car on one of the last pit stops of the day.

It was also the second win of the season for the driver in 12th place in the standings, which should basically lock him into the Chase with at least a wild-card spot. His legendary boss is certainly happy he chose to lure the driver away from the Hendrick Motorsports umbrella and to put him in his premier ride, the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge, in place of Kurt Busch. “He’s been a tremendous asset to the team,” Penske said. “He came to me, before he went to work for us, and said, ‘I’d like to come to Penske Racing and help build a winning Cup team.

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May 11, 2012 | Posted in: Racing, Sports | Comments Closed

Edge sails to first NeSmith DLMS win at Clayhill

ATWOOD, TN – Saturday didn’t start off too well for local racer Chase Edge but it ended in great fashion.  The 18-year-old driver took his first career NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series Touring Division win on Saturday night at Clayhill Motorsports in Atwood, Tennessee by blistering the field in the 50-lap main event driving the Edge’s Gas Company Special.

Edge and his race team barely made it from Malden, Missouri to Atwood after the axle on his hauler broke.  While the hauler was ailing, the racecar inside it was untouchable in the main event.  After starting seventh, Edge dusted off the outside groove of the 3/8-mile clay oval and charged to the front of the pack.

The lead changed hands twice on a lap 24 restart, and Edge took the lead with a vicious slide job pass on two-time NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series Champion David Earl Gentry of Murfreesboro, TN to take the lead coming off the fourth turn.  Once in the lead, Edge checked out on the field.

In just a few laps, Edge opened up a full straightaway lead on Gentry and Chase Washington of Houlka, MS who were battling the second spot.  Edge had over a two-second lead at the checkered flag and had lapped all but eight cars in the field.

“This is great, it’s unbelievable, and I just don’t know what to say,” Edge said in trying to describe what taking his first win felt like.  “We’ve been trying to get this first win for almost two years, and I owe it to my Mon and Dad, Debbie and Bill Edge, my sister Ali, and Bodie and Cord, who help work on the car.  This was a team effort, and I had a great car tonight.”

Seventh place finisher Matthew Turner of Dawsonville, Georgia remains the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series point leader with 596 points and a 20-point advantage over Gentry, who has 576 points.  Edge and Chris Cantrell are tied for the third spot with 550 points.

Edge tests ARCA Car at Talladega

Local racer Chase Edge tested an ARCA car at Talladega Superspeedway last week for owner Andy Hillenberg, and is hoping to secure sponsorship to race in the series.

TALLADEGA – Having the chance to drive at Talladega Superspeedway is a thrill for any competitor in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards. For Chase Edge, a dirt track late model driver from Penton, it was an entirely new experience altogether.

Edge, an 18-year-old first-year student at Southern Union State Community College in Wadley, participated in last week’s ARCA Racing Series open test at the famous 2.66-mile oval. After six years of competing on dirt tracks, Edge made his first laps on asphalt with his eyes on one day becoming a stock car star.

“I think it went pretty well, for my first time being on asphalt and driving anything,” said Edge, who tested for Fast Track Racing. “I didn’t wreck, so I thought it went pretty good.”

Fast Track Racing is owned and operated by Andy Hillenburg, the 1995 ARCA champion who also made 29 starts in the three NASCAR national series and competed in the 2000 Indianapolis 500. Today, Hillenburg also operates Rockingham Speedway, which recently hosted a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race – its first NASCAR action since 2004.

The chance to drive for Hillenburg came after Edge experienced one of the harsh realities of major stock car racing – that a driver’s aspirations and marketing plans don’t always work together.

“We’ve been through a lot of stuff with a marketing company that didn’t work out, so we got in touch with Fast Track,” Edge said. “Thankfully, they let me drive their car for them.”

Edge finished his best lap in 55.007 seconds, at a speed of 174.087 mph. That effort ranked him 26th in last Wednesday’s session, but Edge admitted he was at the track to learn more than anything else.

Though just barely old enough to drive on a superspeedway – ARCA requires competitors to be 18 years old – Edge has the beginnings of a résumé that could one day have him competing live on SPEED, the television home to the ARCA Racing Series. In 2010, he won a late model championship at East Alabama Motor Speedway. He has also competed in the NeSmith Dirt Late Model Series, and continues to compete locally today. Penton Raceway, located outside LaFayette, is his home track.

With Talladega Superspeedway just an 80-mile drive from Edge’s home, competing at the track has undoubtedly been in his mind throughout his growing racing career. The sheer size of the superspeedway definitely grabbed Edge’s attention. He said he was used to short track races and quick distances, rather than having to build speed over the longest circuit in ARCA competition.

Now, his hopes for ARCA hinge on finding sponsorship. Pairing with the business-minded Hillenburg, Edge thinks, can give him an advantage.

“I’m hoping I can get to find a sponsor and race with Andy, you know, maybe get a ride or something like that,” he said. “I’ve got to go to the Fast Track Racing School. We’re going to try to do that in the next month or two, so hopefully after that we’ll be ready to go.”

April 25, 2012 | Posted in: Racing, Sports | Comments Closed

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