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Greenville's Rumbo on the Gumbo Night 1 Goes to Greg Fore
Greenville, MS - Greg Fore out dueled the visiting invaders to his hometown track and drove his Washington Body Shop sponsored machine to the 2017 NeSmith Dirt Late Model Series National Touring Season Opener win at Greenville Speedway in Greenville, MS on Friday night April 7th.
The National Touring Season opener drew 33 entries to the 3/8th mile Mississippi delta gumbo clay surfaced facility, where another hometown driver, Peter Hazzard, put all the other competitors on notice that they were not going to waltz into their home track and pick up an easy victory. Hazzard timed in with a 16.033 second lap in his Cleveland Medical/Pasquales of Cleveland sponsored mount in Sunoco Race Fuels Pole Qualifying Group A, while Qualifying Group B was topped by Cruise with the Champions Rookie of the Year Candidate Grant Garrison of Walton, KY with a lap time of 16.337 seconds.
The top 5 qualifiers from each Qualifying group were locked in for the 40-lap feature, and two Knowles Race Parts and Bodies B-Mains were contested to determine the remainder of the starting field. Those wins were picked up by Milton, FL driver Joseph Joiner in his Cole Services sponsored ride, while another local driver Duke Palasini piloted his #V8 Palasini Farms backed machine to the win in B-Main 2 setting the 24-car field for the season opening $2,000 to win affair.
Hazzard and Garrison led the field to green flag with action picking up with three and four wide racing throughout the field. Garrison used his outside starting spot to clear Hazzard as they entered turn 1 and established a several car length lead early on. While Garrison was setting the pace out front, the action behind him was nothing short of spectacular. Holt, FL driver Cody Smith, 2016 NeSmith National Champion Cory Hedgecock, Houlka, MS Chase Washington, and Greg Fore were waging war amongst themselves inside the top 5.
As the race moved along at a rapid pace, race long leader Garrison began to encounter lapped traffic. He was able to clear most of the cars at the back of the pack, but the gumbo surface began to slick off and with those lapped cars racing for position, Garrison had to adjust his line around the speedway. This allowed Fore to close the gap between himself and Garrison, and around lap 30 he was along the back bumper of the Kentucky native's car. With both drivers running the line right along the concrete of the outside wall, Fore knew he was going to have to find other options to take the lead away. This setup a multi-lap, multi slide job duel that had the fans on their feet. Fore and Garrison would swap the lead two and sometime three times each lap.
With the laps winding down toward the finish, the urgency to capture and retain the lead became apparent as the two drivers worked each other over. Fore made a pass to the bottom of the track for the lead entering turn 3 and off of turn 4 while Garrison kept his momentum at the top and claimed the top spot at the stripe. Garrison was able to setup a couple of car length advantage, but lapped traffic was about to become a bigger issue than it had been all night. Garrison entered turn 1 and in an attempt to slide up in front of Fore and some of the lapped traffic in turn 2 spun his Darrell Lanigan Racing/Got-A-Go Portables sponsored machine.
This one and only caution period setup a three-lap shootout to the finish. Fore was able to get a good start at the restart while Hedgecock and Washington battled for the runner up spot. This allowed Fore to jump out ahead of the battle for position and flash under the Sunoco Race Fuels checkered flag 2.244 seconds ahead of Chase Washington who just edged defending National Champion Cory Hedgecock in a side-by-side battle to the stripe. Cody Smith brought his Smithco sponsored entry home fourth with Peter Hazzard rounding out the top 5.
The series returns to Greenville Speedway for Night #2 of the Rumble on the Gumbo Nationals for a 50 lap, $2,500 to win feature. For more information visit www.GreenvilleSpeedway.net.
For those that are not able to make it to Greenville for the live action, it will be broadcast LIVE on Pay Per View with www.FloRacing.com and search the Rumble on the Gumbo.
For more information about the NeSmith Dirt Late Model Series, please visit the official website at www.nesmithracing.com.
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NeSmith Chevrolet, Buick, GMC is the Official Title Sponsor of the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series.
Contingency Sponsors Include: Crate Insider.com, AR Bodies, FreeStyle Graphix, and Knowles Racing Parts and Bodies.2017 Chassis Sponsors are Trak-Star Race Cars, Warrior Race Cars, Rocket Chassis, GRT Race Cars, and CVR Race Cars.