Deal and Cochran win special events at Tri County Racetrack
Following a four day postponement, the Labor Day Championship event finally took place Friday, Sept.9 at Tri County Racetrack in Brasstown. The main event for the evening was the C.T. Barnett Memorial Super Late Model race. Another special event on the schedule was the Southeastern Limited Late Model Sportsman Series. Those two races generated a lot of buzz, but racing was great in all divisions.
It looked like the C.T. Barnett Memorial race was set for a storybook ending as C.T.'s grandson, Jamie Oliver, turned in the quickest qualifying lap to earn the pole for the event. Oliver shared the front row with Jason Deal who was in a new car for the race. When the green flag dropped, so did Deal, He fell to fourth before the pack made it to turn 1. Oliver however, was on a mission. "The Murphy Bulldog" quickly started pulling away from all challengers, caught the tail of the field and started working his way by slower cars.
On lap 16, the caution flag flew for the No.17 of Robbie Chancellor. During the caution, Oliver pulled his No.38 to a stop and to the attention of track officials. After an inspection, Oliver made the hard right hand turn into the pits, ending his night. With Oliver out, Tri County Racetrack newbie Adam Ahl assumed the lead.
Ahl was challenged from Randy Dillard, but Deal soon made it a three-car battle. Deal, using the low line, worked by Dillard and set his sights on the leader. Ahl's No. 7 wasn't as dominant up top and Deal worked his way into the top spot. Deal would go on to win the $3,437.38 prize. Ahl was barely able to hold of Dillard at the line for the runner-up spot.
The Southeastern Limited Late Model Sportsman race turned into a last man standing event.
Warne's Danny Ledford earned the pole position in qualifying with Deal, doing double duty, starting on the outside. Deal grabbed the lead but a pile up in the back of the field brought out the caution. As the field started to slow Deal got into the turn four wall, damaging his No. 7. Series officials called for a total restart, bringing Ledford back to the inside of Deal. The second try looked a lot like the first with Deal jumping out to a lead. Ledford was able to stay within striking distance and when Deal slowed, Ledford used quick thinking to avoid the leader and claim the top spot.
Ledford looked to be destined for the win, but he too had trouble in turn four, getting over the cushion and barely avoiding major contact with the wall. The temporary slowdown allowed Kip Cochran to pull even with Ledford down the front stretch. In turns one and two, Cochran used low-line grip to clear Ledford and lead the field. Ledford's car never was the same and he was forced to pull in seven laps short of the checkered. Cars started falling like flies. Cochran's No.55 held together to claim the win, Daniel Wilson crossed the line in second and Jonathan Cope finished third.
The Interstate Welding 602 Late Model feature brought fans to their feet. The familiar duo of Dante Curtis and Bobby Elkins leading the field to green. Curtis was able to get enough of a launch to execute a slide job on the exit of turn two. Elkins' nose was as far under Curtis as it could be without causing a wreck. Curtis was able to settle in and started logging laps.
Further back in the field, Dylan Beaver started making moves on the low side of the track. The young gun started seventh, but started picking off cars one-by-one and soon found himself passing Elkins for second and targeting Curtis. With the white flag in the air, Beaver made his move, cleared the No. 03 of Curtis for the lead. Beaver, great nephew of C.T. Barnett parked his No. 117 in victory lane.
In other action, grandson of C.T. Barnett, Michael Barnett got the Open Wheel Modified feature and Charles Devine Jr, another member of the C.T. Barnett family, won his 10th Street Stock feature in a row. Josh Wooten won the 602 non-qualifier race and John Fulford used a backup car to get another Front Wheel Drive feature. Jeffrey Wood took the win in the visiting Boyd's Speedway B-Hobby class. Chris Rumfelt took his second straight win in the annual Faster Pastor race.
Next on the schedule for Tri County is the Russell Thomas Memorial race set for Thursday, Sept. 22.