By Ronald L. Jerger, Jr. & Michael Despain
Saturday night Florence Speedway highlighted our Time Auto Sales modified division by welcoming the Summit Racing Equipment American Modified Series (AMS) for their 7th ever sanctioned event paying $1500 to the victor. Forty five of the top modifieds in the country packed the pits for what would be a fantastic night of racing for the open wheeled warriors. Also on the event card was our Late Models who once again supplied the usual outstanding competition with (20) entries putting on a show that everyone will be talking about for weeks to come. Our Pure Stock and Hornet division rounded out the night’s racing action. Promoters Jerry, Mona & Josh King welcomed everyone to “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.
The Summit Racing Equipment American Modified Series returned to action on Saturday evening at Florence Speedway in Union, KY and current series point leader Clayton Miller of Elkton, KY would take the checkered flag first and score the $1,500 victory aboard the Lexington Landscape/Powell’s Transmission/Joe’s Small Engine/C. Blackwell Construction/Dane Elliott Industrial/Wilson’s Printworks/Mark Bush Racing sponsored #15 Bandit Race Car sporting a Tucker’s Performance Race Engine.
Josh Rice would take the lead at the start of the event and would survive a pair of early cautions to keep the race lead before surrendering the top spot to Victor Lee. Lee would lead for a short time before Clayton Miller would drive past him and eventually see the checkered flag wave first. Lee would trail Miller at the finish to take runner-up honors, with Brandon Green earning third place honors. Rice would settle for fourth after leading early in the event, while Richie Lex would complete the top five.
The remainder of the top ten at the completion of the Florence Speedway A-Main would be Shon Flanary, Ryan Thomas, Ryan Morton, Kyle Schornick, and Dennis Roberson.
The 30 lap, $1,500 to win event would be slowed by three caution flags.
In preliminary action, Josh Rice was the Quick Car Racing Product top qualifier among 45 entries at 17.119 seconds.
Summit Racing Equipment heat one went to Josh Rice, while Brandon Green scored the win in Wiles Driveshafts heat two. Hypercoils heat three went to Keith Smith, with Clayton Miller winning Frankland Racing Equipment heat four.
The Out-Pace Racing Products B-Mains went to Shon Flanary and Kyle Schornick, while Larry Pickelheimer, Jr. and Colin Green were series fast time provisional starters, while Billy Vaughn earned the track provisional.
In the Late Model 35 lap $2000 to win feature “Young Gun” Josh Rice notched his 2nd career late model “A” main victory while also making it two in a row here at the speedway. The racing Rice boys placed 1st and 5th as older brother James who started 12th brought home a top five finish.
Josh Rice and “The Silver Shark” Scott James paced the field to the green with Scott James taking the point over Rice. As lap (1) was scored it was James, Rice, Nick Latham, 6th starting Jesse “James” Lay and Justin Ratliff in the top five. The field settled in until lap (6) was completed as the James and Rice were approaching lap traffic, James was on the high side while Rice was middle down, the lap #17 car of Gary Major was high coming off turn two and slid high causing James to crack the throttle as Rice who was on the low side was able to power off the corner and pass James down the backstretch. Lap (8) Ratliff gets by Lay for 5th. Lap (13) the first of three cautions flew for the stopped #18 of Ethan Burgess. Josh Rice would lead the Delaware double file restart back to the flag stand with James and Latham in row two, Ratliff and Lay in row three. Lap (15) the second caution would wave for the stopped #47 of Tom Webster as he was facing the wrong way on the bottom of turn two. The top five would restart in the same order as the previous restart. Lap (16) a scramble for the top five ensued as Latham grab 2nd from James and 10th starting “Insane” Duane Chamberlain passed Lay for 5th. Lap (18) Chamberlain would get by Ratliff for 4th. Lap (19) James would take back the runner up spot from Latham. Lap (21) Latham would keep the pressure on James as he once again passed James for 2nd. Two laps later (23) James returned the favor dropping Latham back to 3rd. The race continued its frantic pace as James was reeling in Rice lap after lap but before lap (27) could be scored James passed Rice for the lead with (9) laps to go but the 9th running Robby Hensley spun bringing out final caution and thus returning the field to the previous scored lap when Rice was still on the point.. The restart posted Josh Rice out front with James and Latham in row two and Chamberlain and Ratliff in row three. The final (9) circuits was a cat and mouse game as the top five would peek their noses out but could not make the pass. But as the laps wound down James once again made a charge at Rice but came up .352 seconds short at the checkers.
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 James, 3rd Latham, 4th Chamberlain and 5th James Rice. The “Hard Charger” of the race was the #11r of James Rice of Verona, KY who started 12th and hustled his way up to 5th.
In the Pure Stock 15 lap feature, Brandon Gibson continued his hypnotizing act on the rest of the field as he made it 7 for 7 in 2015. Brandon started from the 6th row inside and moved up to 5th after lap (1), 4th on lap (2), 2nd by lap (3). But race leader Michael Hensley subbing for Tim Brearton wasn’t going to just move over for Gibson. Hensley built a sizeable lead over the field. But lap after lap Gibson bit into Hensley lead and on lap (8) Gibson overtook Hensley for the point. Lap (9) while Hensley was digging for everything he could, had entered the corner a little hot and spun the #14 mount to bring out the only caution of the event. Hensley would continue but from the tail. The restart had Gibson out front with Don Grace, Joel Andrews, Dana Moore and Donnie Maxwell in tow. Gibson would hold off a spirited effort by Grace in the #d7 machine and hold on for the victory.
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 Auto body, Webb’s Excavating, Bill’s Auto Service and Pine’s Mobile Home Park .
Finishing 2nd was Grace, 3rd Andrews, 4th Hensley and 5th Moore.
The “Hard Charger” of the race was the #37 of Brandon Gibson of Dry Ridge, KY who started 11th and battled his way to victory.
Florence Speedway’s kicked off the 4th season of our rendition of the up and coming 4 Cylinder front wheel drive class, that we call the Hornets.
In the Hornet division 12 lap feature event Ryan Eversole and Billy Gibson, Jr. brought the field to the green. As lap (1) was scored Eversole grabbed the lead but it was to be short lived as Billy Gibson, Jr. would take it from him on lap (2). Lap (4) current point’s leader Brandon Gibson, Jr. would slow and come to a stop on the bottom of turn three to bring out the only caution of the race. The restart posted Billy Gibson, Jr. out front with Eversole 2nd, Jerry Gibson III 3rd, Blake Gibson 4th, and Hunter Scherder 5th. Billy would take his top spot and turn it into a first place payday as he captured his 1st ever Hornet “A” feature here at Florence Speedway.
The 22 year old Billy Gibson, Jr. of Fayetteville, OH, made his 1st ever visit to the speedway payoff as he piloted his dad’s Pontiac/Sunfire while being sponsored by Bill’s Auto Service and Just Right Heating and Cooling.
Finishing 2nd was Eversole, 3rd Billy Gibson, Sr, 4th Blake Gibson, and 5th Josh Lambert.
The “Hard Charger” of the race was the #57 of Billy Gibson, Sr. of Crittenden, KY who started 11th and fought his way to 3rd.
Florence Speedway will be down next week 07/04/15 but will return to action on Wednesday July 8th for the $5,000 to win UMP Summer Nationals aka “The Hell Tour” along with the $1000 to win Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals.