Posted: Monday, June 9th 2014 at 6:00pm
Welshan DQ gives Johnson NeSmith DLMS victory
By Roby Helm
Ronnie Johnson of Chattanooga, TN receives the $2,000 check and the Bill Hendren Memorial 40 Trophy from Bettie Hendren after Johnson was declared the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series race winner driving Friday night at Tri-County Race Track. / Photo: Piña Pix Photography
BRASSTOWN, NC – When Ronnie Johnson of Chattanooga, TN climbed from his NeSmith Chevrolet Special in the Tech Area after what appeared to the be a second-place finish on Friday night in the Bill Hendren Memorial 40 at Tri-County Race Track in Brasstown, NC, he was all smiles after a four-car three-wide battle for the runner-up spot. A few minutes later, Johnson was declared the winner.
The apparent winner of the race, Jason Welshan of Maryville, TN, who took the checkered flag with a full straightaway advantage over Johnson, was disqualified during the post-race technical inspection when it was discovered that a tire that came off his Hidden Hollow Motorsports Special had been chemically altered.
That gave Johnson, the defending NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series National champion, his second win of the season and the 19th of his series career. The victory also gave Johnson the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series point lead in the battle for the $20,000 National Championship by four points over Mack McCarter of Gatlinburg, TN.
Walker Arthur of Forest, VA took the second spot and McCarter finished third. Local favorite Jacob Anderson of Murphy, NC was fourth and Johnny Stokes of Columbus, MS drove to a fifth-place finish.
Tanner Works of Cleveland, TN finished sixth and Matthew Turner of Dawsonville, GA charged from the 18th starting spot to finish seventh. Jacob Grizzle of Blairsville, GA overcame a trip to the pit area with a cut tire on lap 18 to comeback and finish eighth.
Chris Noah of Rainbow City, AL was the Rookie of the Race with a ninth-place finish and Brent Rhodes of Boaz, AL rounded out the top 10.
In preliminary action, Arthur was the Fast Qualifier among the 28 entrants with a lap around the ¼-mile clay oval in 13.600 seconds. Less than one second separated the 28-car field in time trials. The two 10-lap B-Main races were won by Chase Edge of LaFayette, AL and Works.
The first start of the race was waved off, and as the field slowed for the caution flag, several cars got together on the backstretch. The multi-car tangle eliminated Brian Kinnersley of Blairsville, GA and Steven Sofield of Hiawassee, GA.
The complete restart saw Johnson grab the lead from his outside front row starting spot followed by Stokes, Arthur, Anderson and Welshan. Stokes and Walker were racing side-by-side for the second spot on lap two, and Walker got inside Stokes to take the position on lap four. Walker wouldn’t stay there long, as he dropped back to fifth on lap five with Stokes, Anderson and Welshan getting by.
Welshan got inside Anderson in turn three on lap nine to take over the third spot just before the field was slowed by the second caution flag of the race on lap 11 for a spin by Ronald Dunn of Corinth, MS. Johnson had the field doubled up behind him, as Stokes chose the outside for the “Dixie Style” double-file restart.
When the race went back green, Welshan stayed to the inside of Stokes, and cleared him for the second spot coming off the fourth turn on lap 12. Welshan wasted no time chasing down the leader, as he and Johnson were battling side-by-side for the lead by lap 13. Welshan was able to dive under Johnson coming off the fourth turn on lap 15 to take the lead.
Anderson got by Johnson for second on the restart, and Stokes powered past Arthur for fourth. The fourth caution flag came out for a spin by Dunn in turn two on lap 18. Grizzle gave up the sixth spot to pit with a cut left-rear tire, but he would return to restart on the tail of the field.
On the restart, Paydon Shook of Young Harris, GA spun in turn one to trigger a multi-car pile-up that brought out the red flag for a blocked race track. The race went clean and green the rest of the way. Welshan checked out on the field, but the battle behind him for the second spot was intense and crowded around the close confines of Tri-County Race Track.
Johnson began looking inside Anderson to challenge for the second spot by lap 21. Arthur moved up to make it a three way dance on lap 25. It was Johnson on the inside, Anderson in the middle, and Arthur on the outside bringing the packed house to their feet for the three-wide duel. McCarter passed Stokes for the fifth spot on lap 26, and then closed in to make a quartet in the battle for second.
Johnson and Anderson would swap the second spot three times in the last ten laps of the race, while Welshan maintained a full straightaway lead. After several attempts to pass Anderson for second on the inside, Johnson climbed the banking on lap 30, and finally got the job done.
Anderson caught Johnson in lapped traffic on lap 36 to dive back under him for the second spot, but Johnson would come back on the outside to make what would prove to be the winning pass one lap later on the 37th tour. Arthur would get by Anderson on lap 38 for what would end up being the second spot on lap 38, and McCarter ended up third by passing Anderson on the final lap.
NeSmith Dirt Late Model Series
Tri-County Race Track - Brasstown, NC
Bill Hendren Memorial 40 - June 6, 2014
POS STRT CAR # DRIVER
1. 2 5 Ronnie Johnson Chattanooga, TN 40 $2,000
2. 1 87 Walker Arthur Forest, VA 40 $1,000
3. 10 51 Mack McCarter Gatlinburg, TN 40 $700
4. 6 64 Jacob Anderson Murphy, NC 40 $550
5. 4 1 Johnny Stokes Columbus, MS 40 $500
6. 12 T35 Tanner Works Cleveland, TN 40 $425
7. 18 10 Matthew Turner Dawsonville, GA 40 $375
8. 9 16 Jacob Grizzle Blairsville, GA 40 $350
9. 3 56n Chris Noah Rainbow City, AL 40 $325
10. 20 13 Brent Rhodes Boaz, AL
11. 21 23 Barry Anderson Andrews, NC 40 $275
12. 23 121 Michael Blount Sumrall, MS 40 $250
13. 14 17h Matt Henderson Loudon, TN 40 $225
14. 8 J39 Jimmy Elliott Cleveland, TN 39 $200
15, 24 19 Marcus Minga Shannon, MS 38 $175
16. 7 88 Paydon Shook Young Harris, GA 17 $150
17. 11 18 Chase Edge LaFayette, AL 17 $140
18. 13 17 Ronald Dunn Corinth, MS 17 $125
19. 16 38 Jamie Oliver Murphy, NC 15 $125
20. 17 8a Todd Morrow East Ridge, TN 11 $125
21. 22 37 Michael Barnett Hayesville, NC 9 $125
22. 19 27k Brian Kinnersley Blairsville, GA 0 $125
23. 15 8s Steven Sofield Hiawassee, GA 0 $125
24. 5 29 Jason Welshan Maryville, TN
Link: NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series
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