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Posted: Tuesday, May 27th 2014 at 3:58pm

McRee rallies late for NeSmith DLMS win at Magnolia

By Roby Helm
click to enlarge
Justin McRee, seen here from earlier action, scored the win in the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series feature at Magnolia Motor Speedway Sunday night. / Photo: Adam Stewart
COLUMBUS, MS – Justin McRee of Woodstock, AL rallied from third to first after a lap 32 restart to win the Salute To The Air Force 40 for the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series on Sunday night at Magnolia Motor Speedway in Columbus, MS, driving the High Roller Race Cars 40. It was McRee’s second series win in the last three races.

McRee ran the high side all night long and led the first 20 laps before giving up the point in heavy lapped traffic to Ashley Newman of Ripley, TN. Kyle Shaw of Millport, AL put McRee back to third with ten laps to go, but a late caution flag on lap 32 slowed the field for a nine lap dash to the finish.

“I wouldn’t have won this race if it wasn’t for that late caution flag,” McRee said. “I went with the softer tires and committed to the high side, so when we had to get down on the bottom to get through lapped traffic, the tires got hot and there was no grip. The caution let me cool off the tires and take care of business on the restart.”

McRee sailed around the outside of Shaw on the restart for second and then made the winning outside pass on Newman with six laps to go to chalk up his 11th NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series win and share the third spot with William Thomas of Phenix City, AL on the career win list.

Newman finished second and Shaw took the third spot. Evan Ellis of Plantersville, MS drove to the fourth spot, and Mack McCarter of Gatlinburg, TN was fifth. Jeremy Shaw of Millport, AL finished sixth.

Johnny Stokes of Columbus, MS was seventh and Brent Barrett of Cleveland, MS took the eighth spot. The defending NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series National Champion Ronnie Johnson of Chattanooga, TN drove to a ninth-place finish and Chandler Petty of Austin, AR rounded out the top ten.

McCarter took over the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series point lead by two points over Johnson in the battle for the $20,000 National Championship. The point lead changed hands three times over the weekend.

Walker Arthur of Forest, VA began the weekend with a four point lead over McCarter. After the first race of the Salute To The Armed Forces Nationals on Saturday night at Whynot Motorsports Park in Meridian, MS, Johnson took over the top spot in the standings with a six-point lead over McCarter. Arthur now sits in the third spot, 38 points behind McCarter.

In preliminary action, Newman was the fast qualifier among the 40 entrants with a lap around the 3/8-mile clay oval in 14.605 seconds. The three 10 lap B-Main races were won by Jamey Boland of Cuba, AL, Daniel Bridgmon of Meridian, MS and Petty.

The race got off to a wild start when sixth starting Chris Noah of Rainbow City, AL spun in turn one on the opening lap which triggered a multi-car tangle. Noah and Nick Thrash of Meridian, MS were done for the night. The first lap wreck necessitated a complete restart.

McRee took the lead from outside front row starting spot with Newman, Kyle Shaw, Barrett and McCarter in tow. McCarter got by Barrett for the fourth spot on lap six. McRee was setting a fast pace, riding the cushion on the high side of the race track, and caught the cars on the tail of lead lap by lap 12.

While McRee sliced through the traffic, Newman, who was stuck like glue on the bottom of the track, began to close the gap between himself and the leader. With McRee on the high groove and Newman on the inside, they battled side-by-side for the lead, splitting lapped cars in the process.

Newman got the better bite off the bottom of turn four on lap 21 to take the lead. When McRee’s tires began to lose their grip, Kyle Shaw closed in and passed McRee for the second spot with an inside move on the front straightaway to complete lap 28. With 10 laps to go, Newman has an eight car-length advantage and a two lapped car cushion on Kyle Shaw.

Just when it seemed Newman had things under control to bring home the win, Walker spun coming off the fourth turn on lap 32 to bring out the caution flag. This completely changed the complexion of the race. Whether it was for the good or bad depended on what race car you were driving and what tires were on it for the restart.

Newman led the field down for the restart to begin the nine lap dash to finish with Kyle Shaw, McRee, McCarter, Ellis, Jeremy Shaw, Stokes, Barrett, Boland and Petty lined up behind him in the top ten.

When the field went back to green, McRee’s cooled down tires went to work, as he went straight to the top of the race track, while Newman and Kyle Shaw covered the bottom of the track. McRee flew by Shaw to take the second spot, and he them set his sights on the leader.

On lap 35, McRee caught Newman, and had just enough cushion between the right side of his race car and the concrete wall to take the lead and pull away to take a .927 second margin of victory under the checkered flag.

The next two races for the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series will be a $2,000-to-win 40-lap event on June 6 at Tri-County Race Track in Brasstown, NC, and the $4,000-to-win 3rd Annual J.T. Kerr Memorial 40 at 411 Motor Speedway in Seymour, TN on June 7.

NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series
Magnolia Motor Speedway - Columbus, MS
Race Results - May 25, 2014

1. 2 25 Justin McRee Woodstock, AL 40 $2,000
2. 1 73 Ashley Newman Ripley, TN 40 $1,000
3. 3 2s Kyle Shaw Millport, AL 40 $700
4. 5 73 Evan Ellis Plantersville, MS 40 $550
5. 8 51 Mack McCarter Gatlinburg, TN 40 $500
6. 9 1s Jeremy Shaw Millport, AL 40 $425
7. 10 1 Johnny Stokes Columbus, MS 40 $375
8. 4 110 Brent Barrett Cleveland, MS 40 $350
9. 15 R1 Ronnie Johnson Chattanooga, TN 40 $325
10. 13 47 Chandler Petty Austin, AR 40 $300
11. 24 15 Nathan Mayes Springdale, AR 40 $275
12. 19 888 Jason Cliburn Star, MS 40 $250
13. 11 232 Jamey Boland Cuba, AL 40 $225
14. 12 09 Daniel Bridgmon Meridian, MS 40 $200
15. 17 56 Jonathan Rowan Whiteville, TN 39 $175
16. 14 4j Josh Banes Learned, MS 39 $150
17. 20 3 Cody Smith Holt, FL 39 $140
18. 21 17 Ronald Dunn Corinth, MS 39 $125
19. 23 121 Michael Blount Sumrall, MS 38 $125
20. 18 19 Marcus Minga Shannon, MS 28 $125
21. 22 J39 Jimmy Elliott Cleveland, TN 22 $125
22. 7 87 Walker Arthur Forest, VA 21 $125
23. 6 56n Chris Noah (R) Rainbow City, AL 0 $125
24. 16 01 Nick Thrash Meridian, MS 0 $125

Link: NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series
Associated Categories: Sports News, Professional Sports, NASCAR

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