By Phillip Prichard, MSA:
Swainsboro Raceway hosted the Turkey 100 on Thanksgiving weekend.
This is the 50 year Swainsboro Raceway has operated as a race track. The Turkey 100 drew sixty-two (62) Crate Late Models with prominent names such as Madden, Davenport, Lannigan, Johnson, Gibbons, plus many more from surrounding states.
Thursday night kicked off with a practice for all classes.
Friday’s schedule consisted of practice for the six classes, qualifying for the Zaxby’s Crate Late Models, heat races for the support classes and six (6) heat races for the Zaxby’s Crate Late Models.
Chris Madden posted the fastest overall time in the qualifying of the 62 Zaxby’s Crate Late Models. The Gray Court, SC driver clocked in with a lap time of 14.508 seconds around the 3/10 mile clay oval.
Madden secured the pole for the 100 lap feature by winning the first heat race. The pole award earned Madden an additional $400 from GRW Competition Engines. Kyle Bronson and Ches Chester were second and third.
Ross Bailes earned the outside of the front row by winning the second heat race. Jeff Smith and Brian Connor rounded out the top three.
Gib Gibbons won the third heat, Trent Ivey was second and Joshua Bishop was third.
National Dirt Late Model Hall of Fame Inductee Ronnie Johnson of Chattanooga, TN dominated the fourth heat race. Johnson is the 2013 and 2014 NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series National Champion. Michael Page of Douglasville, GA and Cla Knight rounded out the top three.
Jonathan Davenport captured the fifth heat over Matt Henderson and Carter Stokes. Matt Henderson will start the H2Duayne Hommel tribute car from the 11th position.
World of Outlaws Late Model Champion Darrel Lannigan was sandwiched in a three wide battle that resulted in extensive damage to his #1 Crate Late Model. The damage caused Lannigan to withdraw from Saturday’s competition.
Michael Brown won the sixth heat over Jason Welshand and Dennis “Rambo’ Franklin.
Saturday’s action began with three “B” Mains for the Zaxby’s Crate Late Models. In the first “B” Main, Ben Faircloth and Josh Adkins advanced to the “A’ Main. Jordy Nipper and Joey Coulter advanced in the second “B” Main and John Gill, known as the modern day cowboy is a 2013 National Dirt Late Model Hall of Fame Inductee and Dustin Mitchell advanced in the third “B” Main.
The field of twenty-seven (27) Zaxby’s Crate Late Models was set for the Turkey 100. Chris Madden (44) had the dominate car for the entire race. Third place finisher Ross Bailes (75) was Madden’s competition in the first few laps. Jonathan “Superman” Davenport (49) tried a slide job in the final laps that resulted in damage to both the 44 and the 49, that resulted in Madden having crawl to out the right side in victory lane.
On the 100th green flag lap, it was Madden taking the checkered flag and the $20, 000 prize money.
“Rambo” Franklin brought out the first caution on lap 12 when he lost a rear wheel that would retire him from the evening. Matt Henderson and Jason Welshan brought out cautions in the first half of the race.
The last caution was on lap 81 for Clay Knight. Twelve drivers completed the 100 laps.
The top ten were: Madden, Davenport, Bailes, Kyle Bronson, Jordy Nipper, Ronnie Johnson, Michael Page, Michael Brown, Joshua Bishop, and Josh Adkins.
A Non-Qualifier’s race was held after the Turkey 100 with Brandon Overton taking the checkered flag and the $750.
The historic Swainsboro Raceway not only has the dirt track, it has a kart track and a Mud Bogg.
Information on Swainsboro Raceway can be accessed at www.swainsbororaceway.com.