FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (October 9) - Dustin Mitchell in his Dickerson and Mitchell Motorsports D8 collected his first ever Carolina Clash victory Saturday night at Fayetteville Motor Speedway.
"I couldn't have asked for a better car" said Mitchell after the race. "It feels awesome to get that first win".
Mitchell is sponsored by Jerry Dickerson, Frank Aver, MP&J Construction, Creech's DJ, and Dunn Benson. It was a fitting win for Mitchell who's crew was all wearing pink on Breast Cancer Awareness Night at Fayetteville. Mitchell was able to beat 32 of the best super late models in the southeast on this evening.
Chris Meadows was able to motor his way to the pole position in qualifying with a time of 17.445 and lead the field to the green flag. Meadows would get the jump on the field but would drastically slow coming out of turn 2 with a flat left rear tire. What was looking like a promising night for the young man who traveled all the way from Beckley, WV went up in smoke in just two corners. This would give the lead to the 1 of Ricky Weeks with the 17 of Timmy Blackwell in hot pursuit.
Three cautions would slow the field from laps 1-6. On the lap 6 restart the 22 of Chris Ferguson would take over the 2nd spot from Blackwell. Ferguson began the event in the 8th position and by lap 7 he was already up to the 2nd spot. Lap 8 would see the Carolina Clash Series current point's leader in the 2 of Dennis Franklin have trouble when the oil pump broke off the back of the motor. Franklin would go behind the wall with an 18th place finish on the night.
Lap 13 saw a pass for the record books as Ferguson had finally caught Weeks and was on his back bumper coming down the backstretch. Heading into turn 3 Ferguson set Weeks up and made a daring pass coming out of turn 4, threading the needle as he split Weeks and a lapped car to take over the lead which was short lived. As Ferguson hit turn 1, the rear end of his Rocket Chassis would break ending his night. From the highest of highs to the lowest of the lows for Ferguson at Fayetteville yet again, a track that the young man always runs well at but has the worst luck with mechanical issues. Also under caution, the 07 of Brian Ledbetter was smoking heavily and pulled into the pits.
This relinquished the lead back to Weeks who would be pressured yet again by Blackwell. Blackwell was now in the groove running the extreme bottom of the track and on lap 18 would make the pass for the lead in turn 4. Weeks wasn't to be out done and went into turns 1 and 2 and pulled out a slide job passed Blackwell.
On lap 23, the caution would fly when the 08 of Michael Marlowe slowed in turn 2. On the restart, Blackwell's good luck ran out when he broke heading down the backstretch bringing out another caution. Under the caution, Weeks luck would run out as he also suffered a flat left rear tire.
The 44 of Justin Labonte would now inherit the lead which was his first time this season leading a lap in a Carolina Clash feature event. By this time the 54 of Steve Blackburn was in the 2nd position and pressuring Labonte hard and on lap 27, Labonte bobbled just enough in turn 4 to allow Blackburn to pass him on the inside.
The final caution flew on lap 36 when Ricky Weeks blew a right rear tire this time coming down the frontstretch which literally blew apart causing body damage to his Rocket Chassis.
That setup a four lap shootout with Mitchell hot on Blackburn's tail. On the restart, the A1 of Randle Chupp would make his way past Mitchell but Mitchell wasn't to be outdone. On lap 38 Mitchell would retake the 2nd position and set his sights on Blackburn. Coming to the checkered flag, Blackburn would hit a hole in turn 3 causing him to nearly loop his car and this allowed Mitchell to get along side and the two would drag race to the finish line with Blackburn beating out Mitchell by less than ¾ of a car.
During post race technical inspection, Blackburn's car was deemed light at the scales relinquishing the win to Dustin Mitchell. Coming home in 2nd was Randle Chupp, 3rd was Justin Labonte, 4th was the 00 of Jay Sessoms, and 5th was the 15 of Dean Bowen.
With Bowen coming home in the 5th position and Franklin in the 18th position, the points have now closed up to a mere 40 point differential between current point's leader Dennis Franklin and 2nd place runner Dean Bowen. That's the difference between 1st and 9th in a race.
It's anyone's game heading into the Clash Bash season finale which will be held on November 13th at Fayetteville Motor Speedway. The race will be the 1st ever Jack Starrette Tribute Race in memory of the late Carolina Clash Hall of Fame Member. The race will be a 50 lap, $5,000 to win feature event and with the points as tight as they are, it's going to be a barnburner.
Finish Driver Start Hometown
1. Dustin Mitchell (14) Pine Level, NC
2. Randle Chupp (12) Troutman, NC
3. Justin Labonte (6) Trinity, NC
4 Jay Sessoms (11) Stanley, NC
5. Dean Bowen (7) Whiteville, NC
6. Jeff Smith (13) Dallas, NC
7. David Taylor (20) Fayetteville, NC
8. Michael Mason (22) Spring Lake, NC
9. Ricky Weeks (2) Rutherfordton, NC
10. Chuck Smith (21) Sanford, NC
11. Raymond Brown (15) Danbury, NC
12. Walker Arthur (16) Forrest, VA
13. Timmy Blackwell (4) Fayetteville, NC
14. Michael Marlowe (24) Nichols, SC
15. Chris Ferguson (8) Mt. Holly, NC
16. Jim Rasey (17) Southington, Ohio
17. Brian Ledbetter (23) Dallas, NC
18. Dennis Franklin (5) Gaffney, SC
19. Craig Shuffield (18) Fayetteville, NC
20. Donald Bradsher (10) Burlington, NC
21. Travis Hair (19) Fayetteville, NC
22. Chris Meadows (1) Beckley, WV
23. Steve Blackburn (9) Brown Summit, NC
Comp Cams Feature Winner: #D8 Dustin Mitchell
Heintz Performance Fastest Qualifier: #33 Chris Meadows
R2C Performance Products Heat Race Winners: #00 Jay Sessoms, #A1 Randle Chupp
Heat race #1 Jay Sessoms, Jeff Smith, Raymond Brown, Jim Rasey, Travis Hair, Chuck Smith, Michael Marlowe, Travis Yow, John Pursley. DNS Keith Jacobs
Heat race #2 Randle Chupp, Dustin Mitchell, Walker Arthur, Craig Shuffield, David Taylor, Michael Mason, Brian Ledbetter, Bubba McGee, Jonathan Gunther. DNS Dale Hammond