By Ronald L. Jerger, Jr.
Saturday night Florence Speedway continued its 2015 season point championships with a 15 lap $300 to win Hornet special. Promoters Jerry, Mona & Josh King welcomed 87 entries to compete on “The South’s Fastest ½ mile High-Banked Dirt Oval” and home of the “North/South 100” and “National Dirt Late Model Hall of Fame”.
Night #7 of our season long point’s battle, had little of everything from, Three 1st time winners, as four of our five divisions saw their championship point standings tighten up considerably by the end of the night.
The Hornet division headlined the event card as the competition was fast and furious in all of their highly contested races. The 15 lap main event had Brandon Gibson, Jr. and Billy Gibson bringing the field to the green with Brandon, Jr. leading Billy after lap (1) with Matthew Morris, Jerry Gibson, III and Hunter Scherder running in the top five. Lap (4) Michael Hensley gets by Scherder for 5th. Lap (7) would provide the move of the race as Billy Gibson shot by Brandon Gibson, Jr. for the lead and Jerry Gibson, III would get by Morris for 3rd. Two laps later the first caution of the race flew for #23 of Carson Freeman and #8 Tylor Risnor after the two had tangled, both entries would retire from the event. As the race resumed Billy Gibson would continue to show the way with Gibson, Jr, Gibson, III, Morris and Michael Hensley in tow. Lap (9) both #111 Tony Reed and #33s of Rob Simpson would drop to the infield without a caution. Billy Gibson held off Brandon Gibson, Jr. over the next (3) laps until Gibson, Jr, would bobble and give up 2nd & 3rd place to Gibson, III and Hensley also Drew Theil would pass Morris for 5th. The final caution of the race would fly for Scherder staging a one lap scramble to the finish. Gibson, Jr. would get by Hensley for 3rd, but it was Billy Gibson’s night as he captured his 1st ever Hornet “A” feature here at Florence Speedway.
The 44 year old Billy Gibson of Crittenden, KY, was making only his 2nd visit to the speedway in 2015 payoff as he piloted his own Pontiac/Sunfire and sponsored by Bill’s Auto Service and Just Right Heating and Cooling.
Finishing 2nd was Gibson III, 3rd Gibson Jr, 4th Hensley and 5th Theil.
The “Hard Charger” of the race was the #329 of Michael Hensley of Crittenden, KY who started 12th and fought his way to 4th.
In the Late Model 30 lap feature “Young Gun” Josh Rice notched his 1st ever career Late Model feature win here at is home track. The younger of the racing Rice brothers did his best Matrix imitation as he was able to elude a potential race ending multi car accident in turns one and two that collected race leader and 2nd place brother James.
Robby Hensley and Tripp Gerald paced the field to the green with Hensley out gunning Gerald for the point. As lap (1) was scored it was Hensley, James Rice, 6th starting Scott James, Gerald and Josh Rice who had started from the 5th row outside and forged his way into the five. Lap (2) “The Silver Shark” Scott James wasted no time as he devoured both James Rice and Hensley to take command of the race, meanwhile Josh Rice took 4th from Gerald. Lap (3) both James and Josh overtakes Hensley for 2nd and 3rd. The top five battled lap after lap until the fateful twelfth lap was scored as the aforementioned multi car incident collected race leader Scott James and 2nd running James Rice, both would continue but restart from the tail. The lap (11) race reset now had Josh Rice out front with Hensley and Gerald in row two and Steve Landrum and Chad Smith in row three. On the restart Gerald would get the better of Hensley this time and start his chase of the new race leader Josh Rice. The final caution of the race flew on lap (14) for the stopped #46 of Rick Moore. Josh Rice would again lead the Delaware double file restart back to the flag stand with Gerald, Hensley, Landrum and Ted Nobbe chasing. Lap (15) Nobbe would get by Landrum for 4th. Josh Rice was able to get away from the field and build up nearly a half track lead over 2nd place Gerald. The only question for Rice would be negotiating a couple of back markers and his nerves over the final laps. Josh didn’t disappoint anyone in the house as he was flawless over the final (19) circuits to once again make momma proud while dad had his camera phone in hand recording the joyous victory lane celebration.
The 16 year old Rice piloted the John Kuzman owned Club 29/Dickens/Camaro, and sponsored by Kuzman Racing, Alexander Safety Solutions, Valor Motorsports, Decal Designs, Heating Equipment and Technologies, Extreme Sportswear, Parker Lawn Care and Bennett Excavating.
Finishing 2nd was Gerald, 3rd Hensley, 4th Ted Nobbe and 5th Landrum.
The “Hard Charger” of the race was the #11 Josh Rice of Walton, KY who started 10th and Won.
In the Time Auto Sales Modified 20 lap feature another “Young Gun” Colin Green (son of former LM track champion Brandon Green) also notched his 1st career Modified feature win at Florence Speedway.
Ryan Morton and Billy Vaughan brought the field to the green and it appeared the race would be settled between the two, but Jeff Stith and Colin Green both threw their helmets into the ring. Stith would hold down the 3rd spot until the relentless charge of Green who had started 7th on the grid moved into 6th on lap (1), 5th on lap (2), 4th on lap (5), and passed Stith on lap (3). Lap (7) Green would dispose of Morton for 2nd and completed his abomination of the field as he passed early race leader Vaughan. The race was slowed two times over the final (10) laps but it didn’t faze Green as he held off Morton, Vaughan and a late race charge from 9th starting Broc Burton and Pete Holt to capture the flag.
The 19 year old Green of Walton, KY piloted the Green Motorsports owned Hoffman chassis powered with a Naive racing engine, and sponsored by Complete Auto Care and G & G Express.
Finishing 2nd was Morton, 3rd Vaughan, 4th Burton and 5th Holt.
The “Hard Charger” of the race was the #1Hjr John Holt, Jr. of Florence, KY who started 20th and battled his way to 13th.
The Crate Late Model 15 lap feature event Jeff “The Bluegrass Bricker” once again found his way to Florence Speedway’s victory lane. Alsip started from the inside second row with 2014 season champion Trevor Landrum and a familiar name making his Crate Late model debut at Florence Speedway in Scott James subbing for Shawn Snelling. Alsip would grab the lead on lap (1) with James, Jordon Hedger, Landrum and Conner Meade in tow. Lap (5), Grant Garrison passed Meade and Landrum for 4th. Lap (6) Garrison takes 3rd from Hedger. Alsip proved to be too strong as he held off James and Garrison over the final (10) circuits to seal his second career feature win here at Florence.
Alsip was driving the John Webber owned Club 29/Dodge Charger, sponsored by Zimmer Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep, Devin Powell & Jonathan Gadd, Heat Technologies, Jennifer Vorhis Reality, Diamond Cut Lawn care, Woodard Defensive Solutions and Bock’s Place.
Finishing 2nd was James, 3rd Garrison, 4th Hedger and 5th Conner Meade.
The “Hard Charger” of the race was the #1 of Grant Garrison of Walton, KY who started 11th and moved up to 3rd.
In the Pure Stock 15 lap feature Tim Brearton and Roy Beach, Jr. led the field to the green. And before lap one would be scored Brandon Gibson of Dry Ridge, KY after starting 9th, spun to bring out the first caution of the event and had to restart from the tail of the 15 car field. The restart had Brearton up front with Beach, Greg Bauer, Randall Dooley and Joel Andrews chasing. Lap (3) Dooley takes 3rd from Bauer. But as dependable as MacGyver in a tight spot, Gibson slowly picked his way to the front as he moved into 6th on lap (3), 4th on lap (4), 3rd on lap (5), 2nd on lap (8), and with the laps counting down looked like he might come up short. But as MacGyver always comes through in the end Gibson played the part as he passed race long leader Brearton on lap (12) and cruised to a 4.122 second victory. Gibson garnered his fifth feature win in 2015 and extended his marginal point lead over Beach, Jr.
The 33 year old driver piloted the Busse Racing owned Chevy Monte Carlo with a House Racing Engine under the hood and sponsored by Florence Winnelson, Burch Sheet Metal, Kims Pilot Car Service, D & Z Plumbing, Brewer Autobody, Webb’s Excavating, Bill’s Auto Service and Pine’s Mobile Home Park .
Finishing 2nd was Beach. Jr, 3rd Randall Lee Dooley, 4th Donnie Maxwell, and 5th Joel Andrews.
The “Hard Charger” of the race was #37 of Gibson who started 11th and captured the win.