Just Thunder Bombers still to be decided
Out of the six regular division championships up for grabs this season at Laurens County Speedway, only one was left in play by the time Saturday’s regular-season finale arrived – the Thunder Bomber Division.
Dan Lawson led Scott Pulley by just 55 points with one race to go, while defending champion Dylan Chappell was behind by 110 points – a long way out, but still mathematically alive for the title on a night of double points. By the end of the night, though, Lawson’s second-place finish proved more than enough to secure the division championship, while Chappell finished fifth and Pulley was sixth in the main event.
Tinker Roberts won the race itself, while Clay Crowder finished behind Lawson in third place.
Strategy for the main event came into play during the heat races. Lawson won the heat to start on the pole, but Pulley allowed himself to fall through the field and ended up sixth in the heat – and eventually 13th at the start of the main event. Chappell started in 10th place in the main, but after a few negated starts the two trailing drivers had moved up through the field and into the top six.
Lawson, meanwhile, fell into second place at the start of the main event as Roberts made is move from the outside of Row 1. By doing so Lawson maintained a hold of his spot, never being seriously challenged for second while having to sit a comfortable distance behind Roberts for first. Pulley tried his hardest to make a run toward the front of the field in the hope of eventually passing Lawson to make up ground in the points, but he could never get out of sixth place and remained there the rest of the night.
Chappell, too, tried to make a run up through the field, but he also couldn’t make up any more ground once he got to fifth place – helping give Lawson the season title, while leaving Pulley in second and Chappell in third for the season.
Limited: Division champion Frank Coates won the final race of the season in the Limited Division, with Deano Long finishing second and David McCoy third.
Coates started the main event on the front row with Nick Deitz, but Deitz spun out on the first attempted start of the race. Deitz moved to eighth for the next attempt at the start, but he was involved in a caution that eventually sent him to the pits and knocked him out of the race. Coates, meanwhile, stayed at the front of the field for the entire race but held a slim lead over Deano Long for much of the time. Long stayed close enough to harbor hopes of a pass for the lead but could never get close enough to make a full pass for the lead – even though he got within .047 seconds with three laps to go.
SECA 604 Crate: Gray Parton won the main event, with division winner Brad Rachels was second and Terry Bullard was third.
Parton and Rachels were at the front of the field for the entire race, with the only caution coming out on the first attempted start as Bullard and Blackwell got involved in an accident. After the race resumed the cars were so well spaced out that it made any passing attempt impossible – especially at the front of the field, where Parton won by a whopping 5.371 seconds.
FWD: Billy Medlin took the checkered flag in the Front-Wheel Drive main event, while Travis Jamieson was second and Shawn Nichols was third.
Nichols led the field to the start with Steve Smith in second, starting on the outside of Row 1, and the two drivers remained at the front of the field for almost the entire race. With four laps to go both drivers faltered at the front of the field, allowing then trailers Medlin and Jamieson to move on by on the backstretch and take over the top two positions – with Medlin first and Jamieson, the division winner, second. Medlin started to look secure for the victory once he made his pass for the lead, and he eventually took the top spot by .331 seconds.
4-Cylinder: Matt Gilbert topped the field in the main event, while Travis Sharpe was second and Larry Teal was third. Division champion Phillip Wilson was not able to race in the main event despite finishing second in his heat race.
Sharpe led the field at the start of the race and maintained hold of first through the first three laps, but on lap 4 Sharpe went a little high and smacked the outside wall, allowing Gilbert to take over the top spot. Gilbert kept hold of the spot after a pair of lap-5 restarts, but Sharpe kept up the pressure as he tried to take back the lead position – only to come up short.
602 Crate: Two-time division champion Colt Smith finished his season on a high, winning the main event. Colby Cannon was second and Mart Patterson took third.
Smith had the lead at the start of the main event, while Patterson managed to shake off smacking the wall coming out of the first turns and kept going in the race. Smith, meanwhile, was on a strong run and looked to put the race away early before a caution came out on lap 5. Once the caution came out it brought the field back together and made Smith work to re-establish his lead. Smith was eventually able to do so, winning the race by more than 1.1 seconds.
Demolition Derby: Keith Williams won the demolition derby at LCS, the official end to the 2019 season. J.J. Williams was second.
The demo derby was as advertised, with plenty of hard hits, blown engines, torn-up vehicles and even fiery tempers, but by the end of the race Keith Williams proved able to outlast all the rest of the drivers in the field and took home the victory.