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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
OCALA, FL – Mark Whitener of Middleburg, FL won the RockAuto.com Winter Shootout 40-lap Main Event for the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series Thursday night at Bubba Raceway Park driving the ULC Land Clearing Special. Whitener took the lead from Kyle Bronson of Brandon, FL on lap 22, and then held off a late race charge from Bronson to take the win.
For Whitener and his crew, 48 hours of hard work was worth the effort to get their #5w machine to Victory Lane. The finished brand new race car was picked up from the Barry Wright Race Cars shop in South Carolina on Tuesday, and hit the race track for the first time during Wednesday night’s Open Practice at Bubba Raceway Park.
Whitener failed to hit the mark in qualifying, as he was out of the top five that transferred to the main event. They got the new car real close to where they wanted it after Whitener won the third 12-lap B-Main and earned an inside seventh row starting spot for the big show.
“We have fought this race car for the past two days ever since we picked it up on Tuesday,” Whitener said. “The more we adjusted it, the faster it got, and we had one fast hot rod for the main event. I knew Kyle likes the outside here at Bubba Raceway Park, so we passed him on the bottom because we had to go where he wasn’t. He stayed on the top late in the race, but we came here to get a NeSmith Golden Helmet Trophy tonight!”
After passing Bronson for the lead on lap 22, Whitener had pulled out to a full straightaway lead over Bronson, who was busy trying to hold off Walker Arthur of Forest, VA for the second spot. A late-race caution flag on lap 37 set up a four-lap dash to the finish. Whitener held his ground on the bottom of the track, while Bronson climbed up on the top shelf trying to get a run on Whitener.
Bronson came close, but he was .334 seconds short at the checkered flag, and had to settle for second spot in the Brandon Ford Special. Arthur finished third in the Cecil B. Arthur Beef Farms Special, and Devin Dixon of Apollo Beach, FL took the fourth spot in the Dave’s Towing Rocket.
Don O’Neal of Martinsville, IN came back from a cut tire on lap ten to finish fifth in the Whelen Engineering Rocket, and Tyler Bare of Rockridge Baths, VA was sixth in the May’s Recycling Rocket. Hudson O’Neal of Martinsville, IN took the seventh spot in the Lineal Contracting Special, and Logan Roberson of Waynesboro, VA drove the Dirt Defender Rocket to an eighth-place finish.
While Jimmy Elliott finished ninth in the Car Smart Auto Sales Special, it was a big finish for the Cleveland, TN driver. Elliott took a provisional and started 24th to race his way to not only the Beyea Headers Hard Charger of the Race Award, but he also became the new point leader for the Rock Auto.com Winter Shootout Series.
Elliott will have the honors on Friday night at Bubba Raceway Park of carrying the day-glow red Advance Lazer and Machine Point Leader rear spoiler on his race car. Elliott has a four-point lead over three-time NeSmith Late Model National Champion and National Dirt Late Model Hall of Fame Inductee Ronnie Johnson of Chattanooga, TN, 176 to 172.
Ivedent Lloyd Jr. of Ocala, FL rounded out the top ten in the Vivid Graphics Special. In preliminary action, Bronson was the Sunoco/Knowles Race Parts and Bodies Fast Qualifier among the 51 entrants with a lap around the unique 3/8-mile egg-shaped clay oval in 14.974 seconds.
The four 12-lap B-Main Races were won by Dennis “Rambo” Franklin of Gaffney, SC in the Baird Transport Special, Don O’Neal, Whitener, and Riley Hickman of Ooltewah, TN in the Hickman Manufacturing CVR.
For more information and rules 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.
OFFICIAL RESULTS OF ROUND 2 OF THE ROCKAUTO.COM WINTER SHOOTOUT AT BUBBA RACEWAY PARK IN OCALA, FL ON 2/22/18:
POS STRT CAR # DRIVER HOMETOWN LAPS $ WON
NeSmith Chevrolet, Buick, GMC of Claxton, GA is the Title Sponsor of the NeSmith Late Models. NeSmith Chevrolet, Buick, GMC is one of the nation’s top GM Powertrain and Performance Dealer seven years running, with free delivery anywhere in the Southeast. Chevrolet Performance Parts is an Official Sponsor of the NeSmith Late Models. Hoosier Racing Tire is the Official Tire Sponsor of the NeSmith Late Models. Sunoco Race Fuels is the Official Race Fuel of the NeSmith Late Models. RockAuto.com is an Associate Sponsor of the NeSmith Late Models. Beyea Headers the NeSmith Late Model Hard Charger Sponsor. Knowles Race Parts and Bodies is the Official Parts Supplier for the NeSmith Late Models. Cruise With The Champions is the Official Vacation and Rookie of the Year Sponsor for the NeSmith Late Models. David Smith Carburetors is the Official Carburetor of NeSmith Racing. Freestyle Graphix is the Official Wrap, Banner, and Sign Company of NeSmith Racing. NeSmith Late Model Contingency Sponsors for 2017 are Out-Pace Performance, CrateInsider.Com, Gresham Racing Parts, Knowles Racing Parts and Bodies, and FreeStyle Graphix. 2017 Chassis Sponsors are Trak-Star Race Cars, Warrior Race Cars, Rocket Chassis, GRT Race Cars, and CVR Race Cars.