Clanton Takes the Super Late Model Victory at Dixie
Swims Honored by Drivers and Friends
Woodstock, GA. Prior to the evening’s first race, drivers took to the track in their race cars to pay tribute to the late Mike Swims. Checkered flags waved from the window of each race car as they lined up three deep around the enitre track led by the pace truck. A ghost pole position was formed and the cars made a lap in honor of the long time Dixie Speedway VP and General Manager. Swims favorite hymn, “Unclouded Day”, was performed by several of his close friends. Pastor Johnny Hunt of First Baptist Church of Woodstock addressed the crowd, speaking not only as Track Chaplin, but also as a friend of Swims.
“After 18 years of close friendship you really know someone. I knew Mike to be a “man of great integrity” and as a result he became of person of great influence,” Pastor Hunt said to the crowd of Swims family, friends, Dixie Speedway drivers and race fans in attendance to pay tribute.
In addition to the tribute, Pastor Hunt and The Race of Life Ministry Team of First Baptist Woodstock were on hand hosting the annual Driver Appreciation Dinner.
In the first Championship race of the season, the Econo-Bomber division took center stage Saturday night at Dixie with 22 cars signed in for the feature. Justin Shipley, of Douglasville jumped to the front at the green flag and led all the way to the checkered. The race went four laps before the first caution of the evening came out when the cars of Daniel Brewer and David Beam got together and spun. The race was back under way in a matter of moments with Shipley again leading followed by Tony Newman, Dusty Diamond, Gooch Spriggs, and Daniel Brewer scrambling for second through 5th positions. The worst incident of the night came on lap 12 when the cars of John Young, Kenneth Burns and Mike Haygood attempted to go three wide down the front stretch with all getting together and heading toward the first turn wall. Burns, of Woodstock took the worst of it when his racer spun around hitting the wall on the driver’s side. Shipley was followed by Daniel Brewer, Gooch Spriggs, Mark Page, and Tony Newman for second through fifth.
In the Super Late Model division, Shane Clanton of Locust Grove took a weekend off the road to race close to home at Dixie Speedway. Clanton would take the fastest qualifying time of the night with a lap of 15.192 but would start in sixth place after spinning six on the Invert wheel.
Jake Knowles started the feature on the pole tonight and took the lead at the drop of the green flag and led the first six laps of the feature until he was overtaken by his cousin Tony Knowles. Tony would hold the lead for the next seventeen laps. While Tony was making his move for the lead, Clanton made the move to third passing Tim Day. By lap 20, Clanton had moved up to second and was putting heavy pressure on Knowles for the lead. After some side by side laps, Clanton grabbed the lead, passing Tony on the outside on lap 22. At the checkered flag, it was Clanton taking home the win followed by Tony Knowles, Gary McPherson, Ricky Williams from a tenth place start, and Jake Knowles for the top five finish.
In the Limited Late Model division, Sam Simmons of Cartersville used an opportunity to drive the #25 car of Dallas, GA’s Craig Seay to take his first victory of the season. Rome, GA’s Jason Smith would follow in second. Third through fifth finishers were John Williams, Richard Yeoman, and Oliver Gentry.
The Sportsman division would see driver Mike McConnell take the victory after a long dry spell from Victory Lane. It would not be easy as he was pressured most of the way by Jasper, GA’s Chuck Padgett who had to settle for second. Third through fifth place finishers were Alan Brewer, Richard Thomas, and Dalton’s Allan Green.
Kenny Taylor continues his dominance of the Super Bomber class taking his third victory in a row. It also marked the second week in a row for a caution free race for this class. Taylor would make his way up from his eighth place start to take the lead on lap six. Taylor was followed by Chris Sizemore, Kirk Atkins, Randy McConnell, and Acworth’s Carmen Vineyard.
The Pony class ran an exciting race with a three car battle for the lead between Dan Bennett, John Atcheson and Randy Brown. At the checkered flag, Bennett would take the hard fought victory. Brown was second followed by Atchison. Fourth place went to Travis Smith, last week’s winner, and Grady Garrett finished fifth.
The Cruiser class would see the team of Joe Trantham & Eddie Beavers take the victory for the second week in a row. The Spectator race was won by Ken Ledford.
The next event at Dixie Speedway is this Saturday night, May 17 at 7:30 PM with a full racing program including all divisions and a Super Bomber Championship. For more information fans can visit www.dixiespeedway.com or call 770.926.5315.
TO VIEW MORE PHOTOS FROM MAY 10, 2008 CLICK HERE