KNOWLES RACES TO BE ORDAINED KING JAKE II IN DURRENCE LAYNE NAS ACTION
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
TUSCUMBIA, AL – Jake Knowles of Rome, GA was ordained King Jake II on Sunday afternoon after winning the 2nd Annual King of the Crate 60 for the Durrence Layne Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series at North Alabama Speedway. In addition to the crown, Knowles was also rewarded with a $5,000 check for winning the race that was filled intense daytime racing.
Knowles spent the first half of the race battling side-by-side with the current point leader, defending and two time series Champion, and defending King of the Crate Champion Cory Hedgecock of Loudon, TN. Knowles took the lead on a lap 42 restart and then pulled away for his third series win of the season in the Knowles Race Parts and Bodies Longhorn.
“Ever since Cory and I ran first and second the last time we raced, I’ve been thinking about this race, and it seemed like we raced all over the place the first part of the race,” Knowles said. “I want to thank Cory for racing me clean, and I also want to thank all of these fans for coming out to watch us on a hot day. It was slick coming off turn two and we both ended up going off there, and the last time he did it, I was able to sneak by and hold on for the win.”
Hedgecock was able to mount a challenge to retake the lead from Knowles after a late race caution flag, but his effort to keep the King’s Crown fell .226 seconds short at the checkered flag. Hedgecock accepted the second spot and called it a good point night in his quest for a third straight National Championship driving the Eagle Racing Engines Rocket.
Eric Hickerson of Linden, TN raced close at the front of the pack to take the third spot driving the WW Auto Special, and Ashton Winger of Senoia, GA, despite driving a Keyser Manufacturing Rocket that had the back of it looking like it had been through a meat grinder, finished fourth and was the Cruise With The Champions Rookie of the Race.
Polesitter and Knowles Race Parts and Bodies Fast Qualifier Seth McCormack of Muscle Shoals, AL drove the Posey Farms Special to a fifth-place finish, and two-time Durrence Layne Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series National Champion Eric Cooley of Fulton, MS was sixth in the 78 Towing Rocket.
Tyler Wood of Hohenwald, TN took the Mudd Sauce 7th-Place Award driving the Speedy Bs GRT, and Justin McRee of Woodstock, AL finished eighth in the J&J Logging Special. Oakley Johns of Hohenwald, TN was ninth in the Johns Logging Special, and Steve Russell of Pontotoc, MS rounded out the top ten in the Steele’s Dive Special.
In preliminary action on Saturday night, McCormack toured North Alabama Speedway in 14.575 seconds to out-qualify the 32-car field and earn the pole position for the first of four ten-lap heat races. McCormack won the first heat to earn the pole for the Big Show.
The other three heats were won by Hedgecock, Knowles, and Chase Washington of Houlka, MS in the Steele’s Dive Special. The two 12-lap B-Main Races on Sunday afternoon were won by Ben Brocato of Muscle Shoals, AL in the ABC Cash Register Special and Evan Ellis of Plantersville, MS in the Ellis Welding Special.
Before the race, the consensus among the drivers was that the track would dry up, and rubber up under the afternoon sun, leading to single file racing. That did not happen. The track did take rubber, but it was from top to bottom, and the first half of the race saw two and three-wide caution-free intense racing throughout the 24-car field.
The caution-free part came after a complete restart necessitated by an initial start that resembled a Rugby Scrum. The front of the field went four-wide and polesitter McCormack got turned to the right and a pile-up ensued. The wreck started at the flagstand and ended in turn two, but all cars were able to restart.
The restart saw Hedgecock take the lead from the outside front row, with Knowles coming from the inside second row to camp out on his left hip. Behind the two leaders it was Washington in third, McCormack in fourth, and Winger in fifth.
Hedgecock was content to run the top shelf leaving the rest of the track to Knowles. The lead duo pulled out to a half straightaway lead over Washington by lap six. Knowles pulled alongside Hedgecock to challenge for the point on lap seven, but Hedgecock used his high side momentum off the corners to hang on to the lead.
Winger and Hickerson passed McCormack for the fourth and fifth spots respectively on lap eight. Hedgecock pulled out to a two car-length advantage over Knowles as he approached the cars on the tail of the lead lap by lap ten. The traffic was heavy at the tail of the field, and Washington closed in on Hedgecock and Knowles as they sized up the situation.
Hedgecock’s two car length advantage went bye-bye on lap 12 when the leader slid off the banking coming off the second turn and into no man’s land off the backstretch kicking up a plume of dust. By the time Hedgecock got things under control, Knowles was sitting on his left door, and Washington was on his back bumper.
But no moves would be made as the lead trio was dressed up with no place to go, as the cars on the tail of the lead lap were intensely racing three-wide for position in front of them. For the next ten laps, Hedgecock and Knowles put on an awesome display of driving by swapping grooves on each other through the lapped traffic.
Knowles even tried the higher high line off the banking down the backstretch, showing the fans the underside of his race car on lap 18. By lap 22, Hickerson came up from fourth to make the lead battle a quartet. Lap 25 saw Hedgecock put the lapped car of Ellis between himself and Knowles.
The leaders had an anxious moment on lap 35 when Cale Finley of Athens, AL in the 5 Star Plus Excavating CVR, Bryant Marsh of Corinth, MS in the Modern Woodmen of America Rocket, and Andy Picklesimer of Ooltewah, TN in the Hyma Motorsports Special tangled in front of the leaders in turn two to bring out the second caution flag.
The leaders were all able to get to the high side to avoid disaster. With the lapped cars gone, Hedgecock set up at the front of the Dixie-Style Double-File Restart. Knowles chose the inside while Washington, Hickerson, Winger, McCormack, Shannon Davis of Estill Springs, TN in the Scott Rodds Racing Rocket, Wood, McRee, and Cooley doubled up behind the leader.
Washington dropped back on the restart and dropped back to the fifth spot. When Washington went into turn one on lap 36, the car didn’t turn and he collected Winger, who was running just in front of him in fourth. That brought out the third caution flag of the race. Washington was done for the race, but after pulling some sheet metal, Winger continued.
When the field went back to green, the top four cars settled into a single-file race pace, while Wood challenged McCormack for the fifth spot, which he captured on lap 37. By lap 40, Wood developed a right-front fender rub with tire smoke trailing his race car.
Wood began falling back through the field, but he caught a break on lap 42 when Davis came to a stop off turn two, giving up the sixth spot and bringing out the fourth caution flag of the race. Wood was able to get the sheet metal pulled off his right-front tire, and line up for the restart.
The top ten respectively for the double-file restart was Hedgecock, Knowles, Hickerson, Winger, McCormack, Cooley, Wood, McRee, Johns and Chase Walls of Decherd, TN in the Michael Barnes Performance Center Special. Knowles had tried lap after lap to pass Hedgecock for the lead in the first 41 laps of the race. The break he was waiting for was about to happen.
The exit of turn two had been a trouble spot for both Hedgecock and Knowles thus far in the race. Whichever driver dared to put a wheel off the racing surface, the other was there to take advantage. On the restart, Hedgecock put the right rear into the dusty dirt off the high side of the track, and Knowles pulled alongside down the backstretch. Knowles took the lead in turn three.
Hedgecock tried to work to the inside of Knowles coming off the fourth turn in an effort to retake the lead, but Knowles was too strong and began to pull away from the field. By lap 45, Knowles had opened up a six car-length advantage over Hedgecock.
Knowles would not breeze home to the King’s crown, however, as there would be calamity in front of the leader in turn four on lap 53. Finley and Brandon Shaw of Corinth, MS in the Shaw Mechanical Trak-Star would tangle and spin just in front of Knowles. The leader jumped on the brakes and made a hard right to just miss the spinning cars in front of him.
Knowles pulled Hedgecock four car-lengths on the restart with Hickerson in third, and Winger went to the inside to challenge for the spot. With five laps to go, Hedgecock began to chip away at Knowles’ lead. He closed to within two car-lengths with two laps to go, but Knowles hit his marks, took the checkered flag, and was crowned the King of the Crates.
In the first ten races of the 2018 Durrence Layne Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series season, Knowles, Hedgecock, and Winger have won seven races. That trio and the rest of the cars and starts of the Durrence Layne Dirt Late Model Series will now head to Smoky Mountain Speedway in Maryville, TN this Saturday night for a $4,000-to-win, 50-lap race.
For more information and rules about the Durrence Layne Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series, visit the series web site at www.durrencelayneracing.com, or visit the series on Facebook at Durrence Layne Racing. You can follow us on Twitter @DurrenceLayneRacing.
OFFICIAL RESULTS OF ROUND 10 AT NORTH ALABAMA SPEEDWAY IN TUSCUMBIA, AL ON 9/30/18:
POS STRT CAR # DRIVER HOMETOWN LAPS $ WON
1. 3 66 Jake Knowles Rome, GA 60 $5,000
2. 2 23 Cory Hedgecock Loudon, TN 60 $2,500
3. 8 98 Eric Hickerson Linden, TN 60 $1,750
4. 5 12 Ashton Winger (R) Senoia, GA 60 $1,500
5. 1 s4 Seth McCormack Muscle Shoals, AL 60 $1,250
6. 15 33c Eric Cooley Fulton, AL 60 $1,000
7. 12 17jr Tyler Wood Hohenwald, TN 60 $850
8. 11 F44 Justin McRee Woodstock, AL 60 $750
9. 10 C6 Oakley Johns Hohenwald, TN 60 $700
10. 6 72 Steve Russell Pontotoc, MS 60 $650
11. 9 25 Chase Walls Decherd, TN 60 $600
12. 20 1 Bryant Marsh (R) Corinth, MS 60 $550
13. 24 05 T.J. Brittain Centre, AL 60 $500
14. 13 19 Marcus Minga Shannon, MS 60 $450
15. 14 F36 Cale Finley Athens, AL 60 $400
16. 18 73 Evan Ellis Plantersville, MS 59 $380
17. 21 69 Braden Mitchell Russellville, AL 59 $360
18. 23 232 Jamey Boland (R) Cuba, AL 59 $340
19. 16 58 Brandon Shaw Corinth, MS 59 $320
20. 7 7 Shannon Davis Estill Springs, TN 41 $300
21. 4 38 Chase Washington Houlka, MS 35 $300
22. 22 24 Greg Martin Oliver Springs, TN 34 $300
23. 19 P1 Andy Picklesimer Ooltewah, TN 33 $300
24. 17 713 Ben Brocato Muscle Shoals, AL 19 $300
KNOWLES RACE PARTS AND BODIES FAST TIME: McCormack,
PROVISIONALS: Boland and Brittain
LEAD CHANGES: 1
LAP LEADERS: Hedgecock, 1-41; Knowles, 42-60
LAPS LED: Hedgecock, 41; Knowles, 19
CRUISE WITH THE CHAMPIONS ROOKIE OF THE RACE: Winger
MUDD SAUCE 7TH-PLACE AWARD: Wood
BEYEA HEADERS HARD CHARGER OF THE RACE: Brittain (started 24th and finished 13th)
MARGIN OF VICTORY: .226 Seconds
TIME OF THE RACE: 36 Minutes and 31.647 Seconds
NEXT RACE: October 6, Smoky Mountain Speedway, Maryville, TN, $4,000-To-Win, 50 Laps