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Posted: Tuesday, July 22nd 2014 at 12:00pm

Newman nabs NeSmith DLMS hometown win at Clayhill

By Roby Helm
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Ashley Newman hoists the Gold Helmet Trophy after a $3,000 victory in Saturday night's NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series feature at Clayhill Motorsports. / Photo: Courtesy NeSmith Racing
ATWOOD, TN – Ashley Newman of Ripley, TN won the No Till 50 on Saturday night for the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series at Clayhill Motorsports in Atwood, TN driving the Greg’s Sawmill Special in front of a packed hometown crowd. Newman took the lead on lap 16 and then survived a tangle with a lapped car on lap 39 to go on and win his second series career win.

Newman chased down early race leader Ronnie Johnson of Chattanooga, TN in heavy lapped traffic. Going into turn three on lap 16, Newman drove to the inside of Johnson to battle for the lead. The lead duo then drove under two lapped car running side-by-side to occupy a piece of real estate where cars four-wide could only fit three-wide.

After a lot of contact, Newman emerged with the lead, while Johnson cut down a left-front tire and began to drop back through the field. Newman then stretched out to a half straightaway lead over Mike Palasini, Jr. by lap 30. Newman was in heavy lapped traffic by lap 35, and Palasini began to close the gap.

On lap 39, Palasini was camped out on Newman’s back bumper when they entered turn one behind the lapped car of Ronnie Cooper. Cooper tried to get to the bottom of the track as far as he could to give the leaders room to race, but he clipped a utility tire that marks the inside of the track and spun, collecting Newman in the process.

Cooper was ticketed with the caution flag, and Newman restarted back on the point. In the 11 lap dash to the finish, Newman, with clear race track in front of him, was able to keep Palasini four to five car lengths behind him to take a .696 second margin of victory to the checkered flag and cash the $3,000 check.

“Winning here at home is big for us,” Newman said. “Our first win was the Gumbo Nationals in Greenville, MS, but this one is even better. And to race for it against a Hall of Fame driver like Ronnie Johnson makes it even more special. It was a tough race because it seemed like we were in lapped traffic all night long, and were fortunate to survive that spin with the lapped car and not get any damage.”

Palasini finished second and Johnny Stokes drove the 50 laps one handed to come from the 11th starting spot to finish third. The visor on Stokes’ helmet broke on the first lap of the race and the veteran driver would have to hold one hand up to deflect flying dirt clods from the opening in the helmet and drive with the other.

Tait Davenport of Benton, KY drove to a fourth-place finish and Chris Noah of Rainbow City, AL was the Rookie of the Race with a fifth-place finish. Brent Lewis of Harrisburg, IL took the sixth spot and two-time NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series Champion David Earl Gentry of Murfreesboro, TN was seventh.

Brent Barrett of Cleveland, MS started 17th and finished eighth and Cooper came home in the ninth spot. After hanging on for 23 laps, Johnson was able to pit and change his cut left-front tire during the lap 39 caution period and then came back to take the tenth spot.

In preliminary action, Johnson out-qualified the 32-car field with a lap around the 3/8-mile high-banked clay oval in 15.613 seconds to earn his second Fast Time Award of the season. The two ten-lap B-Main Races were won by Stokes and Chase Edge of LaFayette, AL.

Johnson’s tenth-place finish now gives him a 158-point lead in quest of his second-straight $20,000 NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series National Championship with a total of 1,344 points. Noah used his fifth-place finish to move up to the second spot in the standings with 1,186 points, and Stokes’ third-place effort moved him up to the fifth spot with 904 points.

At the start of the race, the field made it to turn three before Edge spun and triggered a multi-car tangle that necessitated a complete restart. The next attempt to start the race, saw Johnson take the lead followed by Newman, Lewis, Noah and Joe Mike of Mayfield, KY. Johnson set a quick pace that saw him reach the cars on the tail of the lead lap by lap seven.

The second caution flag of the race came out on lap eight when Cale Finley of Athens, AL stalled on the backstretch. Johnson had Newman, Lewis, Noah, Mike, Palasini, Gentry, Stokes, Davenport and Cooper doubled up behind him for the restart.

The caution flag came back out on lap nine when Evan Taylor of Clarksville, TN cut down a tire. When the green flag came back out, Mike spun out of the fifth spot in turn one to relight the caution bulb.

On the next restart, Palasini made a big move from sixth to third, while Johnson pulled away from Newman until he reached heavy lapped traffic on lap 15. Newman pounced at the opportunity to close in, and began to look inside to challenge for the lead.

Johnson left the bottom open going into turn three on lap 16, and Newman filled the hole. Newman and Johnson raced side-by-side into turn three with two lapped cars running side-by-side to their outside. The four-wide formation would not fit into a three-wide piece of race track and contact ensued.

Newman took the lead, while Johnson fell off the pace with a cut down left-front tire. Once out front, Newman was able to open up a half-straightaway lead over Palasini, who had worked his way around Lewis for the second spot on lap 30. Newman began to encounter heavy lapped traffic by lap 35, and Palasini was able to close to within a few car-lengths by lap 37.

On lap 39, Palasini was all over Newman as they came up on Cooper, who spun in turn one trying to get out of the way of the leaders. That set up an 11-lap dash to the finish that saw two and three-wide racing among the top ten drivers and wholesale position changes.

Newman led Palasini, Lewis, Gentry, Stokes, Noah, Davenport, Barrett, and Bronson Berry of Huntingdon, TN down for the restart. Newman was able to pull out and keep a four to five car-length advantage over Palasini to the checkered flag, but things got busy behind the lead duo.

Stokes got by Gentry for fourth on the restart, and then Davenport got up on the wheel to move up to the third spot by lap 42. Stokes, running the top of the race track, sailed around the outside of Davenport to claim the third spot on lap 45. Noah made a big move in the closing laps to get by Lewis and Gentry to collect the fifth-place money.

The next two NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series events will take place at Jackson Motor Speedway in Jackson, MS on August 8 with a $2,000-to-win 40-lap race, and at Greenville Speedway in Greenville, MS on August 9 with a $2,500-to-win 50-lap race.

For more information and rules about the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series, visit the series web site at

NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series
Clayhill Motorsports - Atwood, TN
No Till 50 - July 19, 2014

1. 3 73 Ashley Newman Ripley, TN 50 $3,000
2. 9 8 Mike Palasini Jr. Leland, MS 50 $1,250
3. 11 1 Johnny Stokes Columbus, MS 50 $850
4. 8 18d Tait Davenport Benton, KY 50 $700
5. 4 56n Chris Noah (R) Rainbow City, AL 50 $650
6. 2 18L Brent Lewis Harrisburg, IL 50 $550
7. 6 56 David Earl Gentry Murfreesboro, TN 50 $500
8. 17 110 Brent Barrett Cleveland, MS 50 $450
9. 15 10 Ronnie Cooper McKenzie, TN 50 $400
10. 1 5 Ronnie Johnson Chattanooga, TN 49 $375
11. 13 00 Bronson Berry Huntingdon, TN 49 $350
12. 21 34 Doug Sanchagrin Florence, MS 49 $300
13. 20 19 Marcus Minga Shannon, MS 49 $280
14. 10 15 Shane Stephens Arlington, TN 49 $260
15. 18 11 Mark Stephens Arlington, TN 49 $250
16. 22 14 Brant Tirello Silver Creek, MS 49 $240
17. 23 121 Michael Blount Sumrall, MS 48 $220
18. 12 18 Chase Edge LaFayette, AL 38 $200
19. 24 6 Jimmy Halford Atwood, TN 34 $200
20. 5 4 Joe Mike Mayfield, KY 20 $200
21. 7 36 Evan Taylor Clarksville, TN 8 $200
22. 14 79 Billy Flannagen Jr. Tuscumbia, AL 7 $200
23. 19 18 Cale Finley Athens, AL 7 $200
24. 16 54 Richie Beasley Terry, MS 2 $200

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

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