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Rambo Claims Third Carolina Clash Title Quest in Four Years (Read 2066 times)
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Rambo Claims Third Carolina Clash Title Quest in Four Years
11/05/13 at 2:28am
Carolina Clash Series
November 4, 2013

Rambo Dennis Franklin Wins the Carolina Clash 2013 Roush Yates Performance Products & JE Pistons Countdown to the Cup Championship Chase
Third Title Quest in Four Years for Cherokee County, SC Veteran - 2013 Season Recap
by Mark Huey
FAYETTEVILLE, NC (November 4) - Dennis Franklin of Gaffney, SC became the 2013 Carolina Clash series champion on October 19, 2013 after he entered the final race of the season at Fayetteville Motor Speedway. It was perhaps the most successful season ever for Franklin in nearly 20 years of racing, as he has dominated Carolina Clash racing, along with cashing in on various crate late model titles and lucrative victories since February. Franklin was in contention to win the title in 2012, but ill-fated DNFs in the chase would hinder his third-straight championship run. This year, luck was on his side - and so were the victories.

Final 2013 Point Standings 

"We just had so much bad luck last year, especially toward the end of the season. I knew that the key to the championship was to keep winning. We set our sights on this title from the beginning of the season after winning the Skyler Trull. We fell behind early in the regular season run, but things worked out along the rest of the year."
Franklin failed to start one event that he entered - the May edition at Carolina Speedway - where he encountered engine trouble during hot laps. The only other race he failed to finish was the July 13 event at 311 Speedway. All total, he won nine races, which would be a Carolina Clash season high, along with two runner-up finishes, and two additional top five runs. Franklin began the championship chase with an 11 point lead, having received bonus points for winning five regular season races and leading the regular season points at the reset. Franklin scored wins at seven different tracks in the 2013 season - Carolina, Fayetteville, Cherokee, Wythe, Friendship (career first), I-77 of Richburg, SC and the opening round of the championship at Lancaster Super Speedway. 
Clover, SC driver Johnny Pursley piloted the family-owned #09 car to victory in the final race of the season, securing his second-place finish in the point standings. The win was the second of the season, the first of which he took the May 3 victory at Carolina Speedway. Pursley had a great season, but fell 25 points in the final tally. The only events where Pursley had problems were at Laurens County Speedway in June, where he had problems from the onset, finishing 17th and at Lancaster in the opening round of the championship series.  All of his other races featured finishes in the top 10, with top 5 finishes in four out of the last six races.
Finishing in third place in the championship series was Kannapolis, NC competitor Tim "The Toolman" Allen. Tim opened the season with a big statement, that the Gray Motorsports backed #17 car would be a force for the 2013 season. A second in the season opener and a win at Fayetteville's Ed Gibbons Memorial Race would be the start he was looking for. However, that success would be followed up with two consecutive DNFs at 311 and Carolina, which left his team concerned about the remaining races on the season. Allen would get the ship righted and find his way back to the top five, with three consecutive finishes to end the regular season. Allen started the championship series with 1006 points, having received 2 points for the 1 win, 2 loyalty points and 2 points for finishing fourth in the regular season points. Allen mustered two second place finishes in the chase races, along with a fifth. However, a disastrous night in race #5 at Fayetteville made his chances hard to achieve. Allen finished eighth in the season finale, en route to his third place finish. Allen competed in the finale without the presence of his long-time supporter, racing friend and father Ben Allen, who passed away a week prior to the Fayetteville finale. The family and series officials are contemplating a Ben Allen Memorial Tribute Race in 2014 in association with Carolina Clash. Event date and venue location are to be announced soon.
The one win and top ten finishes moved Tim Allen ahead of fourth-place finishing Ricky Weeks, of Rutherfordton, NC, who ended the regular season with three, second-place finishes. While the driver with the most series wins (37) has not visited victory lane yet in 2013, Weeks knows that the championship series will open at a track that he has three wins at since 2005. His last win on the tour came at Lancaster Super Speedway in April 2012, where he dominated the 24 car field. Weeks found top five successes in the opening four races in the championship series. However, the luck turned south for Weeks in the final two events, where mechanical failures plagued his run at the top three. Weeks finished one point ahead of Mike Gault for the fourth position. Weeks was able to find success in the NDRA Crate Late model King of the Carolinas feature at Carolina Speedway the next weekend, where he took the checkered flag at the October 26 event.   
Gaffney, SC driver Mike Gault encountered problems in the early stages of the championship series, but rebounded nicely en route to three outstanding runs in the final three events. Gault scored three top five finishes in the final three races to close within one point of fourth in the standings, with the "Hard Charger of the Race" award in the season finale.
Louisburg, NC driver Damon Kotke is the 2013 Rookie of the Year contender and finished sixth in the series final standings. His best finish of the season was fifth at Carolina Speedway in May. Kotke outscored Statesville, NC native Kyle Pierce in nine events to seal the Rookie title. Kyle Pierce was seventh in the final standings, scoring four top ten finishes - a season best seventh at Cherokee in August. 
2012 Rookie of the Year Michael Marlowe of Nichols, SC finished eighth in the series point standings, having competed in every race in 2013. Marlowe was sixth in the May event at Carolina, his season best.
2012 champion Luke Roffers did not compete in the full season, but did qualify for the championship chase. However, Roffers did not have the success in 2013 that his team experienced in 2012, but did score four third-place finishes during the regular season.
Clover, SC drivers Ross Bailes and John Pursley rounded out the 11-car field in the championship chase. Ross Bailes exited the chase contention after a tough finish to the event at Friendship and was tenth in the final standings.
Those who finish in the top ten in points will receive point fund monies at the season-ending banquet in late January. 
The Carolina Clash would like to thank each of the following tracks and promoters for hosting events in 2013:
Carolina Speedway of Gastonia, NC - three events - Mark Gibbons, Clint Elkins & Gaston Shrine Club of Gastonia, NC
Cherokee Speedway - Gaffney, SC - Lennie and Ronnie Buff and employees
Fayetteville Motor Speedway - Fayetteville, NC - Larry Norris and Larry Lee
Lancaster Super Speedway - Lancaster, SC - Doug McManus, Mark Huey, Bruce Arrants
Laurens County Speedway - Laurens, SC - Dennis Neighbors and Laurens County Shrine Club
Wythe Raceway - Rural Retreat, VA - Mr. and Mrs. Fred Brown of Mark IV Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha of Wytheville, VA
Friendship Motor Speedway - Elkin, NC - Michael Tesh, Michael Brown, Jason Walls
I-77 Speedway - Richburg, SC - Darrell Trull and Melissa Ervin
311 Speedway - Pine Hall, NC - Mike Fulp and employees
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