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Posted: Monday, August 11th 2014 at 3:44pm

Johnson takes sixth NeSmith DLMS victory at Jackson

By Roby Helm
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Ronnie Johnson celebrates in Victory Lane after driving to his sixth NeSmith Chevy Dirt Late Model Series win of the season on Friday night at Jackson Motor Speedway. / Photo: Courtesy MS Dirt Track Racing
JACKSON, MS – The defending NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series National Champion Ronnie Johnson of Chattanooga, TN zeroed in on his second straight $20,000 series title with his sixth win of the season on Friday night during night one of the Delta Dirt Nationals at Jackson Motor Speedway in the River Rumble 40 driving the NeSmith Chevrolet Special.

The National Dirt Late Model Hall of Fame Inductee took the lead on the opening lap from his outside row starting spot and never looked back. The only way the rest of the field could stay with Johnson was when they bunched up behind him for the four restarts after caution periods. Johnson carried a 5.189 second margin of victory under the checkered flag.

“The car wasn’t very good in hot laps, so we made some adjustments and that made the car good for the rest of the night,” Johnson said. “This race car has been good to us this season, so we haven’t done much to it. When a race car is as good as this one, you tend to just leave it alone.”

Jason Cliburn of Star, MS put on a show for the fans by starting 12th and running the cushion just inches away from the wall on the high side of the track and driving the Cliburn Tank Lines GRT to a second-place finish. Chase Edge of LaFayette, AL raced side-by-side with Cliburn in the closing laps, but had to settle for third in the Edge’s Gas Company Special.

Marcus Minga of Shannon, MS turned a career-best fourth-place finish in the B&M Salvage Rocket and Cliff Williams of Star, MS raced as high as second before finishing fifth in the Cliff Williams Plumbing Trak-Star. Pole sitter Chris Noah of Rainbow City, AL took the sixth spot in the Old Man’s Garage Special and was the Rookie of the Race.

Cliff Ross of Florence, MS finished seventh in the Pearl Tire and Auto Trak-Star and Jimmy Cliburn of Star, MS drove the Diversified Pest Management Special to an eighth-place finish. Brent Barrett of Cleveland, MS took the ninth spot in the Custom Spraying, Inc. GRT, and Hunter Carroll of Columbus, MS rounded out the top ten in the FBG Motorsports Special.

In preliminary action, Noah out-qualified the 28-car field with a lap around the 3/8-mile clay oval in 15.962 seconds to earn the pole position for the River Rumble 40. The two ten-lap B-Main races were won by Johnny Stokes of Columbus, MS in the Bassett Hound Motorsports GRT and Jason Cliburn.

The first race of the Delta Dirt Nationals took the green flag with Johnson grabbing the lead followed by Noah, Edge, Henry Cooper of Star, MS in the Country Pleasin’ Sausage Special and Minga. On lap two, Cooper got into the back of Edge causing him to spin in turn one to bring out the first caution flag of the race. Cooper was ticketed with the caution flag, and Edge got his spot back.

On the restart, Minga drove under Edge to take the third spot. Williams charged from his ninth starting position to pass Edge for fourth on lap three. Johnson had pulled out to a half-straightaway lead by lap five.

Williams continued his charge to the front of the pack, as he stepped to the outside in turn three to pass Minga for the third spot. Edge found a groove he and his race car liked at the bottom of the track, and he got underneath Minga in turn three to reclaim the fourth spot. Johnson was setting a fast enough pace to begin lapping cars on the tail end of the lead lap by lap ten.

The second caution flag of the race came out on lap 19 when Doug Sanchagrin of Florence, MS spun the Permanent Exterior Solutions Trak-Star in turn one. When the field formed up for the “Dixie Style” double-file restart, Johnson had Noah, Williams, Edge, Kody Barber of Bogalusa, LA in the Barber’s Hardware Special, Minga, Jake Knight of Georgetown, MS in the Got Dirt, Inc. GRT, Jason Cliburn, Richie Beasley of Terry, MS in the Byrum Home Center Special and Jimmy Cliburn doubled up behind him.

Jason Cliburn dusted off a groove just inches from the wall for the restart, and went from eighth to sixth when the green flag came out. Williams drove underneath Noah to take over the second spot on lap 22. Barber dropped off the pace from the fifth spot on lap 23 and parked his race car for the night in the infield, which moved Jason Cliburn up to the fifth.

Johnson pulled away from the field and had a full straightaway lead by lap 25. Cliburn sailed around the outside of Noah on lap 26 to take the third spot, and in doing so, scraped the wall which removed the right side of his rear spoiler. Knight hit the third turn wall on lap 29 to bring out the third caution flag.

The top ten for the double-file restart with 12 laps to go had Johnson on the point followed by Williams, Jason Cliburn, Noah, Edge, Jimmy Cliburn, Minga, Barrett, Beasley, Ross, and Carroll. Beasley and Neil Baggett of Shannon, MS in the Montgomery Farms Special tangled on the backstretch after the restart to bring out the fourth and final caution flag.

After the next green flag, Cliburn threw a slide job on Williams going into turn one and had enough momentum coming from the inside to the outside to take the second spot in turn two. Edge was also able to drive under Williams in turn two to take over the third spot. By lap 33, Johnson was able to open up a half straightaway lead on Jason Cliburn.

Minga got under Williams to claim the fourth spot on lap 34. Edge pulled to the inside of the high-flying Jason Cliburn to challenge for the second spot in the last five laps of the race. Lap 37 saw Johnson pack his bags, turn in the key, and check out on the field with a full straightaway lead. Cliburn hung on for the second spot, and Edge finished third.

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

NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series
Jackson Motor Speedway - Jackson, MS
Delta Dirt Nationals - Aug. 8, 2014

1. 2 5 Ronnie Johnson Chattanooga, TN 40 $2,000
2. 12 888 Jason Cliburn Star, MS 40 $1,000
3. 3 18 Chase Edge LaFayette, AL 40 $700
4. 5 19 Marcus Minga Shannon, MS 40 $550
5. 9 C11 Cliff Williams Star, MS 40 $500
6. 1 56n Chris Noah (R) Rainbow City, AL 40 $425
7. 16 C20 Cliff Ross Florence, MS 40 $375
8. 13 4j Jimmy Cliburn Star, MS 40 $350
9. 15 110 Brent Barrett Cleveland, MS 40 $325
10. 7 147 Hunter Carroll Columbus, MS 40 $300
11. 8 54 Richie Beasley Terry, MS 40 $275
12. 21 2 Tyler Burgess Quitman, MS 39 $250
13. 24 01 Tyler Hudson Brandon, MS 39 $225
14. 6 93 Jake Knight Georgetown, MS 27 $200
15. 22 21b Neil Baggett Shannon, MS 27 $175
16. 19 711 Steve Bynum Florence, MS 27 $150
17. 10 21 Kody Barber Bogalusa, LA 22 $140
18. 18 J88 Jered Smith Hazlehurst, MS 21 $125
19. 17 33 Sid Scarbrough Florence, MS 18 $125
20. 20 34 Doug Sanchagrin Florence, MS 17 $125
21. 4 14 Henry Cooper Star, MS 13 $125
22. 14 38 Chase Washington Houlka, MS 8 $125
23. 23 R1 Michael Blount Sumrall, MS 2 $125
24. 11 1 Johnny Stokes Columbus, MS 1 $125

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

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