6 cars in lap 8 wreck
Tucker wins caution-filled race at LC Speedway.
Saturday night’s main event for the 602 Thunder Series at Laurens County Speedway may have felt like it would never end, with caution after caution littering the race.
For Rod Tucker, though, that was perfectly fine by him.
Tucker took the top spot in the main event after qualifying as the third-fastest driver, defeating Austin Mintz to grab the victory in a race that took 1 hour, 3 minutes from the initial green flag to the checkered flag. Mintz was second, while Colby Cannon was third, Colt Smith was fourth, and Billy Rushton was fifth.
The race featured an 18-car field in the 25-lap main event, but the biggest moment of the night came on lap 8. Six cars were involved in a massive wreck that left nearly all the front stretch blocked off. The incident appeared to begin when Billy Rushton turned the 07 car of Dale Timms in turn 4, pushing him to the outside of the front before continuing through. At the same time Michael Smith’s car appeared to get lifted into the air before getting collected with Chris Patterson and Monk Gulledge on the inside of the front. Smith got the worst of that trio, having his car essentially turned into a modified car with the front clip removed, but he was able to resume despite his adventure.
Out of the six cars that were involved in the mess, half – Mark Wilbanks, Timms and Gulledge – were all knocked out of the race, while the field of 18 cars that initially started the race was now down to 11.
The race resumed with Tucker in front, and he managed to maintain the spot as Cannon and Colt Smith trying to chase him down. As the laps went by Tucker’s lead continued to grow, reaching eight-tenths of a second with seven laps to go.
A pair of cautions on the 19th lap helped slow down the pace of the race, further decimating the field. By the time the race finally ended only seven cars were on the lead lap, and because of the length of time the race ran the 25-lap main event was shortened by three laps.
The shortening of the race set up a green-white-checkered finish where Tucker successfully pulled away from Mintz and managed to take home the top spot.
Thunder Bombers: Bo Baker found his way to the top of the ladder in the main event, topping Tinker Roberts for the victory. Roberts was second and Scott Pulley was third.
A stop-and-start main event took three attempts to get through the opening lap before finally finding some brief flow. Baker took first place on the start, edging his car out in front while Pulley had a near spin, but managed to save it. Baker, who initially started on the outside of Row 1, continued to power through the field until a crash came out on lap 3 brought out the red flag for nearly six minutes. The race had some more stop-and-start action before finally getting green-flag laps in on the second lap-3 restart. Baker was still in front with Roberts now in second place, but Roberts had to work hard to keep Pulley back in third place – negating any real chance to charge at Baker for the top spot. The three remained in the top three spots for the remainder of the race while Dan Lawson moved through the field after starting in the back of the field after not racing in his heat race. Lawson managed to finish fourth.
Baker, though, was more than able to hold off Roberts and Pulley, winning the main event by .313 seconds.
4-Cylinder: Bubba Kolb slipped past Aaron Weed to win the main event in the 4-Cylinder Division. Weed took second while Phillip Wilson was third.
Kolb was the pole-sitter for the main race, using his line to find his way to the front as Weed held off Wilson for second place. A four-car pack developed at the front of the field, with Kolb leading the way, and despite cautions on the third and fifth lap, Kolb continued to lead the way – but Weed did not make it easy, staying close enough to the leader as to not allow him a chance to pull away.
Kolb eventually won the race by .305 seconds.
FWD: Travis Jamieson found his way back into Victory Lane by winning the main event. Justin Harris was second and Charles Ouzts was third.
Jamieson battled Harris at the front of the field after each won their heat races, with Jamieson able to get past for the lead by the end of the first lap. Joel Cabe, who was fifth in his heat race and started in the back of the field, quickly moved up through the pack and got to a fourth-place finish despite a caution flag coming out after he hit the wall on the fourth lap.
While Cabe battled to ultimately secure fourth place, Jamieson blew away the field and won with relative ease.
SECA 604 Crate: Bryan Mullis brought a brief stop to Brad Rachels’ recent run of success at LCS, winning the main event. Gray Parton was second and Rachels took third.
Parton and Rachels started on the front row with Parton taking the lead on the drop of the green flag. Mullis, who started on the inside of Row 2, soon moved past Rachels for second and stayed there for much of the race. Parton, who built a lead of more than two seconds past the halfway mark, appeared to be in full command before a caution came out on lap 16.
When the field was bunched back together Parton slapped the wall to allow Mullis his lane to get by for the lead after the restart. Parton and Rachels could not do anything to catch back up once Mullis took the lead, allowing Mullis to pull away.
Limited: Tony Quarles captured the checkered flag for the Limited main event, with Joshua Richeson second and Austin Watkins third.
Quarles took the lead at the start of the main event, while Mike Huey made a nice move to go from fifth to second place on the opening lap. Frank Coates and Watkins followed in the next two spots before a caution came out on lap 3. It took two attempts at a lap-3 restart for the race to get back under green, but it didn’t last very long as a caution came out on lap 5 after Huey hit the wall hard out of turn 2. The accident ended his night.
Quarles and Watkins then found themselves in the front of the field on the lap 5 restart, but the race came to a halt again after an accident where Steven Bowie hit his breaks, forcing Kevin Godwin and Mike Kernells to hit. Kernells had significant damage to the right front of his car, but he continued and finished fifth.
As for Quarles, he maintained the lead from start to finish and, despite Richeson’s best effort to chase down Quarles, held on to win by 1.2 seconds.
Young Guns: T.J. Teal eased to victory in the main event. Kayley Garner was second.
Teal jumped out to a comfortable lead at the start of the race and lapped Garner by the fifth lap of the race. He had a brief hiccup on the eighth lap when a tire went down, but Teal was able to get it replaced and got back out under caution to secure the victory.