Posted: Saturday, February 8th 2014 at 2:00pm
Cook takes NeSmith Chevy DLMS opener at Golden Isles
Ray Cook celebrates his win on Friday afternoon in the Super Bowl of Racing 2014 season opener for the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series at Golden Isles Speedway. / Photo: Heath Lawson
WAYNESVILLE – Ray Cook of Brasstown, NC took the lead with five laps to go and drove the Tri-County Race Track Special to victory in the 2014 NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series season opener on Friday afternoon in the Super Bowl of Racing Presented By Rock Auto.com at Golden Isles Speedway in Waynesville, GA.
Cook started ninth and moved up to the second spot by lap eight. When early race leader Walker Arthur of Forest, VA began to encounter lapped traffic with ten laps to go, Cook closed in and made up a half straightaway deficit. Arthur pushed up the banking in turn one on lap 26, and Cook dove underneath to take the lead.
“I couldn’t catch Arthur until he got into that lapped traffic because until then, it seemed like we were running the same speed,” Cook said. “He tried to lap a car on the outside and the lapped car moved up in front of him. That opened the door for me to take the lead.”
The victory was the second straight NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series win for Cook, who won the 2013 season finale in November in the Chevrolet Performance World Championship Race. That win was in a different car, but Cook had some valuable pieces from that winning mount on his car Friday afternoon.
“We won the race in November with another car, but we took the shocks off that car and put them on my car that I drove today,” Cook said. “We put the same set up under it, and it worked again for us this afternoon.”
Jak Kicklighter of Savannah, GA drove to a second place finish and was the Rookie of the Race. NASCAR star Joey Coulter of Concord, NC took the third spot, and Mack McCarter of Gatlinburg, TN was fourth.
Scott Lagasse Jr. of St. Augustine, FL drove to a fifth-place finish, and Mark Whitener of Middleburg, FL finished sixth. Josh Adkins of Talladega, AL was seventh, with Chris Noah of Rainbow City, AL, Tait Davenport of Benton, KY and Robert Diekemper of Bloomingdale, GA rounding out the top ten. In preliminary action, the four ten-lap B-Main Races were won by Noah, Whitener, Cook, and Chase Edge of LaFayette, AL.
Justin McRee of Woodstock, AL set fast time honors among the 45 entrants with a lap around the 4/10-mile clay oval in 16.435 seconds, and earned the pole position for the 30-lap main event. McRee led the first lap of the race before Arthur took over the lead on lap two after starting fourth.
The first of seven caution flags came out on lap six when Chase Washington of Houlka, MS hit the first turn guard rail. Arthur had McRee, Steve Cook of Mt. Airy, NC, Kicklighter, McCarter, Cook, Mallory Harvey of Baxley, GA, Whitener, Noah, and Kelly Walker of Moultrie, GA doubled up behind him for the “Dixie Style” double-file restart.
On the restart, Cook and Harvey moved up through the field and into the third and fourth spots respectively. The caution came out for the second time on lap seven when Walker cut down the left-rear tire.
The yellow caution light got a workout, as Cooke spun on the restart, Stacey Robert of Sylvester, GA spun in turn three on lap eight, and then McRee spun out of the fourth spot in turn three on lap nine. The next restart saw Arthur leading Cook, McCarter, Kicklighter, and Whitener.
Arthur held a half-straightaway lead over Cook on lap 20, but then the leader began to encounter heavy lapped traffic. The temperature gauge on Arthur’s mount was pegged and steam began to wisp from underneath the car.
After Arthur had his miscue with the lapped car and Cook took the lead on lap 26, Arthur’s race car gave up the ghost on lap 27 to bring out the last caution flag. Cook breezed home to take the win in the last five laps of the race, as he pulled away from Kicklighter and Coulter.
All results are unofficial until certified by race officials.
NeSmith Dirt Late Model Series
Golden Isles Speedway - Waynesville, GA
Super Bowl of Racing Race 1 (Unofficial) - Feb. 7, 2014
POS STRT CAR # DRIVER HOMETOWN LAPS $ WON
1. 9 53 Ray Cook Brasstown, NC 30 $2,500
2. 5 7k Jak Kicklighter (R) Savannah, GA 30 $1,250
3. 12 2c Joey Coulter Concord, NC 30 $850
4. 6 51 Mack McCarter Gatlinburg, TN 30 $700
5. 15 8 Scott Lagasse Jr. St. Augustine, FL 30 $650
6. 8 58 Mark Whitener Middleburg, FL 30 $550
7. 19 19m Josh Adkins Talladega, AL 30 $500
8. 7 56n Chris Noah (R) Rainbow City, AL 30 $450
9. 24 18 Tait Davenport Benton, KY 30 $500
10. 14 5d Robert Diekemper Bloomingdale, GA 30 $375
11. 16 55 Montana Dudley (R) Phenix City, AL 30 $350
12. 11 29 Mallory Harvey Baxley, GA 30 $300
13. 21 56 David Earl Gentry Murfreesboro, TN 30 $280
14. 20 4 Jeremy Faircloth Swainsboro, GA 30 $260
15. 23 5 Ronnie Johnson Chattanooga, TN 30 $250
16. 10 18e Chase Edge LaFayette, AL 30 $240
17. 3 17c Steve Cooke Mt. Airy, NC 30 $220
18. 22 121 Michael Blount Sumrall, MS 29 $200
19. 4 87 Walker Arthur Forest, VA 26 $200
20. 17 11 Stacey Roberts Sylvester, GA 12 $200
21. 1 03 Justin McRee Woodstock, AL 8 $200
22. 2 21k Kelly Walker Moultrie, GA 7 $200
23. 18 27 Ben Faircloth Swainsboro, GA 6 $200
24. 13 38 Chase Washington Houlka, MS 5 $200
Link: NeSmith Chevy Dirt Late Model Series
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