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Dennis Franklin lands his third Gaston County Shrine 100

Friday August 17, 2012

 

Dennis Franklin survived a heated tussle with Chris Ferguson to grab his third career Gaston County Shrine 100.
Photo by Mike Neff

Dennis Franklin won his third Gaston County Shrine 100 in a wild and crazy 35 lap main event. The win marked the 21st all-time Carolina Clash win for the Gaffney, SC driver having led all 35 laps of the feature event from the pole position. Franklin captured the XS Power Racing Batteries Pole Position by setting a fast-time of 16.200 seconds around the Carolina’s Action Track.

The first lap of the main event saw the 24-car field roar down the main straightaway before a series of cautions foiled the action on the opening lap. Many top contenders were forced pit-side after mechanical failures and restart crashes sidelined some of the top point contenders in the 13-year old series.

Johnny Pursley entered the night second in series points and qualified fourth to Kannapolis, NC Tim Allen, former Shrine 100 winner and point-leader Luke Roffers, who took outside front row honors. The three drivers were involved in a scary lap 1 restart crash sending his #09 car tumbling down the backstretch. While the car did not actually flip, it sustained major front-end damage and put him out of the event early. Roffers and Allen also sustained damage in the melee, which began as the three cars were three-wide exiting turn two. Pursley and Roffers tangled sending the #09 machine into a spin-cycle above the backstretch surface. Pursley came to rest midways of the back straightaway before being towed pitside for the remainder of the event. Luke Roffers spent much of the night in and out of the pits during caution flags. His crew performed amazing pit work on the #21 racer and he salvaged a ninth place finish. It would be a major points-victory for the Oneida, Wisconsin native.

The race was slowed during the first nine laps by a myriad of cautions that befell plenty of stout competition. Brandon Overton, Jay Sessoms, Zack Mitchell, Tim Allen and Scott Autry also fell out of the race before the halfway flags were crossed.

The most violent crash of the night occurred off of turn three when Doug Sanders, Thomas Hedgpath and Joey Coulter tangled at the entrance of turn four. The #28 United Contractors car of Hedgpath sustained the most severe damage, dashing his hopes for another top-five Clash finish.

After a series of green-flag runs, Chris Ferguson was making serious challenges for the race lead with Dennis Franklin. While he was in the familiar #22 Carver & Sons Roofing Warrior Racecar, Ferguson was piloting an unfamiliar number – D1 – in honor of the team of Quality Landscape Materials of Bessemer City, NC. Ferguson and his family donated a 40th Annual Shrine 100 that was autographed by each driver in the field. The Ferguson team raised $1352 in ticket sales for the raffle of the helmet and donated all of the proceeds to the Gaston County Shrine Club to support the Shriner’s Children Hospital organization.

Franklin and Chris Ferguson were engaged in a massive battle over the next 10 laps of the event until they caught lapped traffic exiting turn three. Ferguson made a daring move to the outside of Franklin, but the lead battle caught the tail end of the field and made contact. The two leaders came together resulting in Ferguson spinning off turn four. With damage to the #D1 machine, Ferguson had to pit releasing Franklin to lead the final four laps of the race to take his third Shrine 100 win.

Wayne Hughes took home second in his career-best Carolina Clash finish having missed all of the early race mishaps, along with Ross Bailes who was third in the final rundown. The defending winner of the Shrine 100 appeared to be a late contender in the event. Two cagey veterans and former series champions, who started deep in the 24-car field – Ricky Weeks and Jeff Smith -, would finish fourth and fifth.

Ricky Weeks was the Safety-Kleen Hard Charger of the Race, advancing 13 positions from 17th starting spot to finish 4th. Michael Marlowe recorded a season-high finish in sixth with Gaffney, SC Mike Gault in seventh. Brian Ledbetter of Dallas, NC was eighth with Luke Roffers ninth and two-time Shrine 100 winner Doug Sanders rounding out the top ten. Ferguson finished 11th in the event and Travis Yow, who was involved in an early mishap on the frontstretch, finished 12th.

In the NDRA Late Model feature it was Ron Parker collecting the $1,000 win. Anthony Sanders was second with Steve Banal third, Jonathan Edwards fourth and Gib Gibbons fifth.

In the Domino’s Pizza Street Stock main event it was Kings Mountain, NC racer Josh Robbins scoring the $700 win. Ronald Pope, Jonathan Jennings, Derrick Ramey and Chris Patterson rounded out the top five.

Jerry Oliver took home the Q2U BBQ Pit Four Cylinder victory. Jason Day, Jamie Major, Mike Miller and Tommy Stang followed.

Tilley Harley Davidson Renegade honors went to John Rhnye over Barrett Bradshaw and David Lucas. Patrick Lyon rallied to fourth with Jeff Parson fifth.

The next event at Carolina Speedway will be Friday night August 24th. For more information please visit www.carolinaspeedway.net

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This report was provided by an outside PR source and posted by Mike Neff.

 

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