Deal, Curtis and more find victory lane at Tri County
By Travis Dockery
Competitors and fans alike filed through the gates at Tri County Racetrack Friday, April 29 for another night of door-to-door dirt track racing. The night saw a variety of winners, ranging from seasoned veterans to up and coming young guns.
In the main event for the night, the King Ford Limited/Crate Late Models took to the clay oval battling for $1,500. Defending division champion Jason Deal led the field to the green thanks to his time of 12.979 in qualifying. Preston Crisp lined up to Deal's outside and the duo led the 11-car pack into turn one at full speed. Crisp was able to stay in Deal's tire tracks for a couple of laps, but the No.7 began to pull away.
While the top spot wasn't in jeopardy, positions two through sixth were hotly contested. Daniel Wilson, Kip Cochran, Danny Ledford and Randy Dillard took turns battling with Crisp and each other. Around the halfway point of the event, Cochran put his No. 55 in the low line and was able to advance his position. With Cochran's success, other drivers tried the bottom while some in the field took the middle line and a few stayed up high on the cushion.
A caution flag with 5 laps to go put the pack right on Deals rear spoiler for the restart. Deal was able to get a great launch when the green waved, eliminating any threat from behind. Crisp, however, wasn't so lucky. Cochran was able to steal the runner-up position and Ledford then took third before Crisp could fall back into line. The checkered flag waved with Deal, Cochran and Ledford taking the top three spots.
Defending track champion Bobby Elkins earned the pole position for the Interstate Welding 602 Late Model feature with a time of 13.735. The veteran shared the front row with Murphy's Dante Curtis, who has just one season under his belt in the division.
Curtis took advantage of his starting position, using the usually preferred high line to power past Elkins and lead the opening lap. Former feature winner Jacob Hamby found himself in a tough spot and fell from his starting place of third back to the fifth spot before he completed the first circuit.
Mid-pack, Brawley Stillwell and John Howard raced wheel-to-wheel lap after lap, entertaining the fans with their driving equality. Meanwhile, Elkins stayed within striking distance of Curtis, like a snake waiting on its prey to lose focus.
Curtis remained smooth, hitting his marks in the turns and successfully navigating lap traffic. That didn't deter Elkins however and in the closing laps, the No. 44 Longhorn closed in on Curtis's capital. On the final lap, Elkins made one final charge for the lead, but Curtis held his ground to capture his second career win in the division. Elkins had to settle for second and Cooper Twiggs crossed the stripe in third.
The Street Stock feature was highly entertaining as a returning Alex Vance dueled it out with Charles Devine Jr. Vance was the first to see the checkered flag, but a post-race protest resulted in a disqualification for the No.95, meaning Devine was credited with the win.
Other winners for the night included Logan Johnson in the 602 B feature, Marty King topped the Pony class, Michael Barnett celebrated his birthday with an Open Wheel victory and John Fulford made it two in a row with his Front Wheel Drive win.
Tri County will hold a special Thursday night event on May, 5 when the Super Late Model division returns to compete for $2,000.