OCALA, FL – Ronny Lee Hollingsworth of Northport, AL picked up the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series season opener and the first night of the Rock Auto.com Speedweeks Presented by Racecar Engineering at Bubba Raceway Park on Tuesday night. Hollingsworth led all 40 laps in the Sparks Motorsports Special.
Hollingsworth held off a late-race charge from Kyle Bronson of Brandon, FL in the Brandon Ford Warrior, but “Right Foot Ronny” was able to keep Bronson behind him to take the checkered flag with a .744 second margin of victory and pick up the $2,000 top prize. Bronson took the second spot with Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, GA taking the third spot in the AES Racing Special. Justin McRee of Cottondale, AL finished fourth in the High Roller Race Cars Special and Jeff Mathews of Valrico, FL drove the CURS Warrior to a fifth-place finish. Ronnie Johnson of Chattanooga, TN was sixth in the NeSmith Chevrolet Special and Jake Teague of Oliver Springs, TN finished seventh in the Wade’s Body Shop Special.
Jason Fitzgerald of Middleburg, FL started 17th in the M&M Transport Refrigeration GRT and finished eighth to earn the Hedman Husler of the Race Award. Two-time NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series Champion David Earl Gentry of Murfreesboro, TN took the ninth spot in the Eads Farms/Hardy & Associates Warrior.
Shan Smith of Dade City, FL came back from a spin near the halfway point in the 40-lap race to round out the top ten in the Outlaw Race Parts TNT. Cody Martin of Christiana, TN finished 18th in the My Racing Graphics.com Warrior to earn the Rookie of the Race Award. Hollingsworth earned the pole position for the main event by winning the first of six 12-lap heat races. Hollingsworth took the lead at the start of the race followed by Bronson, Davenport, Mathews and Teague. Hollingsworth set a fast pace, as he was lapping cars by the fifth lap. The first of four caution flags came out on lap 19 when Smith spun in turn four. When the field went back to green for the double-file restart, it was Hollingsworth
leading Bronson, Davenport, Mathews, Teague, McRee, Johnson, Gentry, Ivedent Lloyd of Ocala, FL in the Harrod Logging Special, and Shannon Lee of Lumberton, MS in the Billy Riels Racing GRT. Teague, McRee, and Lloyd got by Mathews on the restart.
The second caution flag came out on lap 24 when Phillip Cobb of Dover, FL in the Mathis Farms Special triggered a multi-car tangle coming off the fourth turn. Hollingsworth led Bronson, Davenport, Teague, McRee, Mathews, Lloyd, and Johnson doubled up behind the leader back to the green flag. The restart saw the third caution flag of the race when Johnny Collins of Jacksonville, FL spun the Mills Concrete Special coming off the fourth turn. When the field went back to green flag action, McRee, Lloyd, and Mathews all got by Teague to take over fourth, fifth, and sixth respectively.
With ten laps to go, Bronson found a groove in the middle of the track that helped him close in on Hollingsworth to challenge for the lead. While Hollingsworth ran the inside groove, Bronson was able to get outside the leader on a couple of occasions in turns three and four. A late-race caution flag would interrupt the battle for the point. Lloyd would have problems on lap 36 while running fifth when he stalled in turn three to bring out the fourth and final caution flag. That misfortune earned Lloyd the Dominator Race Products Hard Luck Award. In the five lap dash to the checkered flag, Hollingsworth moved up the race track, which slowed Bronson’s momentum, and kept him in front for the win.
In preliminary action, Brent Barrett of Cleveland, MS was the Smiley’s Racing Products Fast Qualifier among the 67 entrants with a lap in 15.115 seconds driving the Custom Spraying GRT, The six 12-lap Heat Races were won by Hollingsworth, Davenport, Bronson, Keith Nosbisch of Valrico, FL in the Adams Used Auto Parts Rocket, Teague, and Mathews. Nosbisch scratched for the feature race.
The five 12-lap B-Main Races were won by Dennis Franklin of Chesnee, SC in the AES Racing Special, Collins, Smith, Lee, and Barrett. Tait Davenport of Benton, KY won the ten-lap Last Chance Race in the Murtco Special. The event was rain delayed for two hours by a rain shower after the second B-Main race.
History was also made on Tuesday night when 11-year-old Michael Lake of Uniontown, PA became the youngest driver to start a NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series main event. Lake, who has been racing go-karts since the age of three, finished second in the fifth B-Main race and earned the 20th starting spot for the big show. Lake finished 22nd in the Bobby Lake Motorsports Warrior.
Night two of the Rock Auto.com Speedweeks Presented by Racecar Engineering for the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series at Bubba Raceway Park will be on Wednesday night at Bubba Raceway Park with a $2,000-to-win 40-lap main event. For more information about the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series visit the series web site at www.nesmithracing.com, or visit the series on Facebook at NeSmith Racing. Becoming a fan of the NeSmith Racing Facebook page will make you
eligible for special prizes that will be given away each month. You can follow us on Twitter @NeSmithRacing.
NeSmith Chevrolet, Buick, GMC of Claxton, GA is the Title Sponsor of the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series. NeSmith Chevrolet, Buick, GMC is the nation’s number one GM Powertrain and Performance Dealer six years running, with free delivery anywhere in the Southeast. Chevrolet Performance Parts is an Official Sponsor of the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series. Hoosier Racing Tire is the Official Tire Sponsor of the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series. Hedman Hedders is the Official Hedder of the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series and the Hedman Husler Award sponsor. Bilstein Shocks is the Official Spec Shock of the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series. Old Man’s Garage is the sponsor of the NeSmith Chevrolet Old Man’s Garage Weekly Racing Series. RockAuto.com and VP Racing Fuels are Official Sponsors of the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series. NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series Contingency Sponsors for 2013 are Dominator Race Products, Race Car Engineering, KRC, Stealth Racing Carburetors, Modern Images, Mike Custom Tanks, Shorty’s Shock Service, Schoenfeld Headers, J.T. Kerr Racing Equipment, Kinser Air Filters, AR Bodies, Velocita Racewear, and Performance Rod & Custom. 2013 Chassis Sponsors are Trak-Star Race Cars, Warrior Race Cars, Rocket Chassis, GRT Race Cars, TNT Race Cars, Stinger Race Cars, and CVR Race Cars.