“ Ryan Millington wins Twin #1 and Ty Gibbs wins Twin #2 ”
May 27th, 2017
The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series and Hickory Motor Speedway returned to action on Saturday night with Woodforest Bank Night at the Races, after the annual All-Star weekend off.
The Bojangles Late Models would lead off the night with race #1 of their scheduled Twin 40 lap features. Ryan Millington in the #76 would grab the pole position by setting fast time in qualifying with the #18 of Ty Gibbs starting to his outside. Millington would jump to the early lead as Gibbs would fall back and eventually come to pit road with a flat right rear tire. Landon Huffman in the #1 would move up to second and make a bid for the top spot but Charlie Watson in the #9 would soon join the fray and move around Huffman. Watson would get close but Millington would have enough to hold him off and grab another Bojangles Late Model checkered flag. Watson would hold on for second while Huffman would grab the 3 rd spot. Colby Howard in the #16 would come home in 4 th with the #4 of Annabeth Barnes-Crum finishing in the 5 th spot.
Next up would be the Catawba Realty & Insurance Classic Sportsmen and their 25 lap feature. Eddie Gilbert in the #95 would start from the top spot as Bill Webb in the #16 would be to his outside. Gilbert would jump to the early lead as Webb would ride patiently waiting for a shot at the top spot. The #4 of Bill Lett would start from the rear, as is the custom for the previous winner of the Classic Sportsmen series, but would not stay there long as he would work his way through the field and to the bumper of the leader, Gilbert. The pair would put on a good battle for the win with Gilbert coming out on top and Lett finishing 2 nd . Webb would finish 3 rd , Dennis Hinkle in the #90 would finish 4 th , and Don Fenn in the #72 would round out the top 5.
Round #5 of the Paramount Kia 'Big 10' Challenge for the Paramount Auto Group Limited Late Models would be up next for 50 action packed laps. Mitch Walker in the #29 would grab the pole with Monty Cox in the #21 starting to his outside. Walker would make the early move to the point and the lead. Cox wouldn't settle for the second spot however as he would muscle past Walker and pace the field from the front. The #51 of Jeremy Pelfrey would start 5 th but have a fast hot rod after a few laps and start working towards the front. Pelfrey would get by Walker for second and a caution with 15 laps to go would bunch the front runners. Pelfrey would use to high groove and work his way around Cox as the pair dueled for 10 laps side by side. Another caution would fly with 45 laps on the board. This would once again bunch the leaders and Pelfrey would choose to restart on the high side which had worked to his advantage some 10 laps ago. This time Cox was ready and used the low line to move back around Pelfrey and drive on to the win as Pelfrey would hold on for 2 nd . Mack Little in the #16 would have another good run and work his way up to the 3 rd finishing position. Past HMS 4-Cylinder champion Matt Elledge would have his hot rod running up front and would bring it home in 4 th . The #18 of Alex Reece would round out the top 5 after posting his first 2 wins earlier this season.
The Cosmo Motors Street Stocks would roll off next for their 35 lap feature. The #18 of Cody DeMarmels would roll off from the top spot with the #77 of Mark Whitten to his outside. DeMarmels would get a good start and pull away from the pack while Whitten, Kevin Eby in the #03, Marshall Sutton in the #64, and Carroll McKinney in the #16 would do battle for the remainder of the top 5. Whitten would eventually grab the second spot and give chase to DeMarmels while Sutton and Eby would swap the third spot repeatedly with McKinney hot in their tracks. DeMarmels would hold on for the win with Whitten settling for 2 nd . Eby would get around for 3 rd , Sutton would come home in 4 th , and McKinney would grab the 5 th spot in his first HMS visit of the year.
The Bojangles Late Models would hit the track next for race #2 of their Twin 40 lap features. After suffering some bad luck with a flat tire in the first 40 lap feature Ty Gibbs in the #18 would get the luck of the draw and grab the pole for Twin #2 with Annabeth Barnes-Crum in the #4 to his outside. After a couple of attempts Gibbs would grab the top spot and try to put some distance on his competitors. Ryan Millington in the #76 would make quick work getting through the field and reach the bumper of the leader. Around lap 15 Millington would work his way back to the point, moving around Gibbs. The pair would race nose to tale for the next 15 laps but neither giving an inch and Gibbs seemingly remembering a similar situation earlier in the year when Millington would chase him down and pass him for the win late in the race. Lap 30 would see Gibbs decide to turn the tide and look under Millington for the lead once again. The pair would swap the top spot for the next 5 laps until Gibbs would finally squeak ahead. Millington was not done however, as he was glued to Gibbs' left rear bumper and would pressure him for the lead. The front duo would put on an epic battle for the win that was more reminiscent of a Dennis Setzer and Max Prestwood standoff of years gone by than it was of 14 year old(Ty Gibbs) and 15 year old(Ryan Millington) racing at the highest level of NASCAR Whelen All-American Series before they are even old enough to get their drivers' licenses. Gibbs would go on to win by a car length, grabbing his first win at Hickory Motor Speedway. Millington would still hold his head high knowing that he ended the night 2 nd in the final feature but also notching a win earlier in the evening. Charlie Watson in the #9, Landon Huffman in the #1, and Colby Howard in the #16 would have a fan pleasing battle for the 3 rd through 5 th spots. Watson would hold on for 3 rd after the spirited contest with Huffman and Howard over the last 20 laps. Huffman would grab the 4 th spot while Howard would round out the top 5 in 5 th .
he 35 lap feature for the One Design Super Trucks would roar to life next. Joey Shuryan in the #30 would win the pole position for the feature with Allen Huffman in the #51 starting to his inside. Huffman would have trouble early, spinning and going to the rear during the ensuing caution but looking to have no major damage. The restart would see Shuryan choosing the outside line with 2016 HMS Super Trucks champion Sheflon Clay in the #15 to his inside. Clay would make the inside work and move to the point, which would prove to be the safest spot on the track. For the next 30 minutes multiple restarts and crashes would shuffle the entire field, with the exception of Clay, who had worked his way into the lead. As the race would progress Shuryan would spin coming off of turn 4 and collect 2015 HMS Super Trucks champion and the points leader at present, Tyler Dayton in the #36. Dayton
would have to make the trip to the pits on the hook of the wrecker and his night seemed to be done. But, as the field would take the green flag with Dayton sitting on pit road, the caution would fly again before a lap would be completed. Dayton's crew finished repairs and got their truck back on the track for the next restart without losing a lap. After early problems and a spin, Huffman would methodically work his way back through the field and find himself running second to Clay. Clay would hold on for the win and take his truck back to victory lane. While Huffman had visions of the winners circle himself he would settle for 2 nd after the early race misfortunes. Tanner Long in the #45 would have a great run and get to join in the front stretch celebrations with a 3 rd place finish. The #99 of David Messer and the #26 of Charlie Watson would mix it up over the last 5 laps but would eventually see Messer finish 4 th and Watson come home in 5 th .
Closing out the night would be the Covington Dental Smash & Crash series and their 10 lap crashfest. After battling some health concerns earlier in the year, a Hickory Motor Speedway favorite, Greg Austin, would be back in action with the rowdy gang driving in the organized bedlam feature. All the favorites were back, including the limo, the Cowboy mobile, a 4-door Chevy that sounds like a top fuel dragster, plus a couple of minivans, and other grocery getters. As the flag flew for the standing start one had to wonder if anyone would make it out of turn 1 when the whole of the field tried to dive in 4-wide! But not only did they make it they got all the way to lap 8 before the red flag would fly bringing about another standing start with a Green-White-Checker for the win. Greg Austin in the Big G/It's Showtime Mini-Van would get a great restart and start to pull away, but the #7 4-door Chevy was making that familiar roar towards the front. Austin would not be denied and would make the mini-van wide enough that the big engined 4-door Chevy could not get by, at least not without facing the Big G's wrath. As the rowdy gang helped celebrate Austin's victory it was good to see his smiling face back where he belongs, victory lane at Hickory Motor Speedway.
Next week, June 3 rd , sees one of the biggest fan favorite events of the year, the Knights of Destruction, return to Hickory Motor Speedway. With all of the action of the previous shows plus Monster Trucks w/Gunslinger, Green Mamba Jet Car, School Bus racing, Demo Derby, Car Soccer, and much much more including Fireworks.
In 2 weeks, June 10 th , the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series returns to action with the Law Offices of Lyndon R. Helton, PLLC Night at the Races. Twin 40 lap Bojangles Late Model Features, Paramount Auto Group Limited Late Models, One Design Super Trucks, Cosmo Motors Street Stocks, and Renegades will all be in action.