/ Clanton Top North GA Speedway Coca-Cola Opener
by Steve Hixson
(CHATSWORTH, GA) – The 2003 racing season officially opened Saturday
night at the North Georgia Speedway (just outside of Dalton) as
top Super Late Model racers from around the region competed in
the $5,000 to win 2nd annual “Coca Cola Classic”. At the end of
the 75 lap “A” Main feature it was “McDaddy” Dale McDowell of
Rossville, GA taking the win, “We really enjoy getting to come
here, see friend and people we only get to see a couple times
a season, and put on a good race for them.” stated McDowell from
victory lane. “It’ll be good to come back here with the Xtreme
DirtCar Series in a month and see how things turn out.” McDowell
was flanked the entire race by up n’ coming DirtStar Shane Clanton.
At race-time Saturday afternoon forty SLM’s signed in for qualifying.
Ray Cook clocked the fast early lap hitting a 13:676 time before
being stunned outta the top seed, by not one, but two other DirtStars.
James Cline pedaled his mount to a 13:664 knocking unseating Cook
from the pole, only to be upstaged minutes later by Shane Clanton.
The Locust Grove (Atlanta Motor Speedway area) GA racer put his
“SAE Parts Inc, Ronnie Dobbins Motorsports” Rocket / Chevrolet
Monte Carlo # 25 on the pole in only his third ever visit to NGS
with a lap at 13:659. “We really like this place and seem to fit
well here.” stated Clanton as the Georgian preluded to his return
at the next event in April.
In the first of two “B” Main “Double Trouble” Consolation races,
Gary McPherson rode his “Oval Craft, Bob’s Auto Sales” MastersBilt
/ Ford Taurus # 29 to victory with Iowa Dirt Legend Johnny Johnson
in tow. Rodney Martin russled away a third place finish along
with Bear Patterson in fourth, for the final transfer spot. In
“B” Main # 2 Doug English of Clayton, GA took the win over (Clanton’s
teammate) Ricky Williams. Jay Brinkley and Kentuckian Brad Neat
(debuting at NGS) tallied top fours earning the final positions
for the “A” Main race.
After the initial start was aborted for debris on the track, Cline
rocketed into the lead leaving Clanton to fight off McDowell and
Cook. The yellow would fly on the second lap as three cars came
together in turn four. As the field reset Ray Cook pitted to the
infield for a new shoe, negating him from early contention. Cline,
McDowell and Clanton took the restart and quickly the yellow wondered
back out as more debris littered the clay. McDowell went to work
immediately on Cline and it would only be five laps until McDaddy’s
“New Vision Graphics, J&J Steel, Petroff Towing” Larry Shaw
Rocket / Pontiac Gran Prix # 17M was out in front of the field.
Clanton worked by Cline for second bringing with him Rex Richey.
Ronnie Johnson reared the next caution on lap 10 before the field
sorted out for battle. On the restart it was McDowell, Clanton
Richey, Cline and Bobby Turner in the “Millwood Plumbing, JP Drilling
& Contracting Services” Rocket / Ford Taurus # 31 taking the
green. Bo Shirley made several shots at top five-dom on Turner
as David Killian entered into the mix from seventh. Cline would
exit next shuffling the top five one more time. Shirley would
later exit for an eighteenth place finish. McDowell was able to
show dominance early as Clanton held his own against Richey. Towards
the halfway point Clanton began pressuring McDowell and pulled
along the outside of the leader. McDaddy made the necessary adjustments
and held off Clanton’s charge. Towards the end of the race Rodney
Martin, Patterson and Perry Delaney tangled rearing yet another
yellow. Cook’s re-charge from the back was taking shape in sixth
battling with fellow Carolinian Killian. Unfortunately for the
“Tar Heel Tiger” Cook found the concrete wall with just eleven
laps remaining, thus ending his night officially in twelfth. Richey
took the “Underground Plumbing & Service, Hicks Specialty
Welding” Rocket / Chevrolet Monte Carlo # 87 to finish third as
Turner held off fellow “NGS Wolverines” to finish fourth. McPherson
highlighted his night after starting seventeenth with a last lap
pass to round out the top five.
1. Dale McDowell (# 17M) of Rossville GA
2. Shane Clanton (# 25) of Pleasant Grove GA
3. Rex Richey (# 87) of Ringgold GA
4. Bobby Turner (# 31) of Ballground GA
5. Gary McPherson (# 29) of Dalton GA
6. David Killian (# K25) of Murphy NC
7. Ronnie Johnson (# 5) of Chattanooga TN
8. Shane Tankersley (# T31) of Morganton GA
9. Derrick Rainey (# 87) of Powder Springs GA
10. Greg Skinner (# 11) of Oxford AL
11. Ricky Williams (# 17) of Fayetteville GA
12. Ray Cook (# 53) of Brasstown NC
13. Rodney Martin (# 92) of Cartersville GA
14. Bear Patterson (# D7) of Ellijay GA
15. Perry Delaney (# 04) of Cookeville TN
16. Johnny Chastain (# 00) of Murphy NC
17. Brian Hickman (# 41) of Soddy Daisy TN
18. Bo Shirley (# 111) of Gadsden AL
19. Doug English (# 12) of Clayton GA
20. Johnny Johnson (# 17J) of W. Burlington IA
21. Brad Neat (# 41) of Dunnville KY
22. David Payne (# 8) Murphy NC
23. James Cline (# 3) of Oxford AL
24. Jay Brinkley (# 10) of Shelbyville TN
making the field was
77 Joe Armes
10 Jason McMahan
25 Jerry Bradley
24 Buster Goss
11 Davy Davis
07 Dewayne Aldridge
16 Wesley English
79 V Muzzin
9 Frank Ingram
17 Jeff Weber
14 Derrick Laney
79 Russ Main
1 Eddie Blackmon
32 Nathan Parris
x15 Shane Chastain
18 Rodney Dickson
LIMITED LATE MODEL 40laps $1000.
1. Johnny Cloer Jr. 41 Chatsworth,Ga.
2. Daven Dilbeck 30 Copperhill,Tn.
3. James Gamble 27 Chattanooga,Tn.
4. Jason Earley E98 Copperhill,Tn.
5. Randy Dillard 51 Epworth,Ga.
6. Tony Brindle 91
7. Marvin Allen J88
8. Danny Yoder 2Y
9. Rodney DeFoor 21
11. Len McNeese 84
12. Kenny Dyer 70
13. David Rogers 00
14. Matthew Gainer G21
15. Roger Frye 6
16. Jeff Helton 111
17. Charlie Hatler H22
18. Bo Stanley Jr. 49
19. Danny Pippin 76
20. Leon Brindle B39
21. Kyle Green 32
22. Shannon Bearden 55
23. Ty King 62
24. Scott Franks 4
1. Derek Ellis 99 Chatsworth,Ga.
2. Darel Ownbey 33 Calhoun,Ga.
3. Reed Johnson 11 Dalton,Ga.
4. Darrell Sullivan 00 Dalton,Ga.
5. Ward 82
6. Tony Walston 31
7. Charles Ward 48
8. Brent Clark 50
9. Billy Callahan 32
1. Bentley Goff 4 Chatsworth,Ga.
2. Greg Ledford 15 Talking Rock,Ga.
3. Olan Patterson R1 Crandall,Ga.
4. Walt Williams 68 Canton,Ga.
5. Chris Sizemore 20 Canton,Ga.
6. Michael Sharpnack 10
7. David Stewart 20
8. Mike Mitchell 23
9. Aaron Begley 33
10. Jerry Kinsey 14
11. Josh Davis T7
1. Steve Campbell 11 Georgetown,Tn.
2. Tim Duggard 12 Ooltewah,Tn.
3. Danny Yoder Jr. 2
4. Marcella Payne M11 Fairmont,Ga.
5. Donnie Lowe T4 Georgetown,Tn.
1. Brian Chapman 17 Plainville,Ga.
2. Lee Shipman 8 Calhoun,Ga.
3. Dennis Crane 3 Chattanooga,Tn.