It may be a different year, but the results for Ross Bailes during Tuesday night’s Laurens County Shrine Race were the same as they have been three times before.
Bailes was dominant from start to finish during Tuesday night’s Carolina Clash Super Late Model Division main event at Laurens County Speedway, rolling to victory over Rambo Franklin, who finished second, and third-place finisher Joey Coulter. Brett Hamm ended up fourth and Dustin Mitchell was fifth.
The victory was the fourth at the Shrine Race for Bailes, who last won the annual event in 2016. Tuesday night’s victory earned him a payday of $4,000.
On a cool and mostly overcast night Bailes got off to a hot start in qualifying, posting a time of 14.517 seconds to earn the pole position. Coulter had just finished .022 seconds behind in qualifying, while Hamm was third at 14.587 – completing a trio of drivers who were the only ones to break 14.6 seconds in qualifying. Because he won the poll position, Bailes decided to start on the outside of Row 1 instead of the inside for the main event, and the decision immediately paid off. He used a strong start to get past Coulter, who was on the inside of Row 1, and took the lead. Franklin immediately followed in third, with Hamm and Mitchell taking the next two spots. Coulter had a challenge early from Franklin for second place, but in the first few laps Coulter was able to keep the veteran at bay, all while the top five drivers started to pull away from the rest of the field.
Bailes even closed in on lapping the tail end of the field, made up by Mike Kernells, but the lapping would have to wait after a spinout in turn 2 forced Kernells to avoid a serious crash. Kernells did make contact with David Yandle’s car, but it was nowhere near serious enough to keep him from racing on after the restart on lap 6.
When the race did resume Bailes used the outside line again to get back to the front of the field, but Franklin had the better of Coulter and getting second place by the end of the seventh lap. Bailes, meanwhile, started to pull away from the rest of the field in the 35-lap main event, opening a lead of 1.5 seconds on Franklin through 11 laps.
As lap after lap went by, Bailes continued to hold a safe lead, even after catching up to the end of the field, and Franklin never got close enough to put together a serious challenge, eventually losing to Bailes by 3.682 seconds.
Final running order: 1. Ross Bailes; 2. Rambo Franklin; 3. Joey Coulter; 4. Brett Hamm; 5. Dustin Mitchell; 6. Doug Sanders; 7. Adam Yarborough; 8. Larry Grube; 9. David Yandle; 10. Mike Kernells; 11. Dustin Sloan.
604 Crate: Trent Ivey had to wait for the final race of the night to put his name atop the leaderboard at the Laurens County Shrine Race. When he got his chance, though, Ivey didn’t disappoint.
Ivey won the pole in qualifying and used the starting position to his advantage, posting a wire-to-wire victory in the 604 Crate main event Tuesday night at Laurens County Speedway. Larry Timms and Dale Timms finished second and third, respectively behind Ivey. Taylor Puckett followed in fourth place, while Bryan Mullins was fifth.
Ivey set the standard in qualifying with a time of 15.314 seconds, bettering Larry Timms by .087 seconds for the top spot. Dale Timms followed close behind at 15.429 seconds to start on the inside of Row 2, and Puckett was on the outside of Row 2 in the 11-car field, qualifying in 15.476 seconds.
The race got off to an inauspicious start when, just two laps in, Brad Abercrombie spun in turn 1 to bring out the caution flag. The caution had negated what appeared to be a good battle between Dale Timms and Puckett for third. Once the race resumed, Ivey and Larry Timms continued to hold the top spots, all while Dale Timms continued to fight off a closing Puckett for third. Dale Timms eventually opened up a gap between himself and Puckett, but another caution brought the field together on lap 8.
Ivey didn’t let the restart impact him, dropping the proverbial hammer after entering the restart zone to re-establish his lead. Larry Timms briefly had a battle with Dale for second place, but Dale was unable to get close enough to make a pass. That allowed Larry Timms to stay in second, but he fell behind by 1.177 seconds past the halfway mark in the 20-lap main event. The lead briefly was erased after a final caution flag on lap 17, but when the race resumed Ivey again used his starting position as an advantage and pulled away.
Thunder Bombers: Dusty Eaves picked up his third overall victory of the season at LCS, winning the main event in the Thunder Bombers Division. Casey Lawson was second, followed by Troy Bagwell, Dylan Chappell and Dan Lawson, who rounded out the top five.
Scott Pulley was slated to race in the main event, but he suffered heavy contact in his heat race and was knocked out of the main after winning the race just three nights earlier.
Eaves, who started on the outside of Row 1 for the main event, quickly got around Casey Lawson for the lead in the opening turns. Dan Lawson followed in third place, but his fortune quickly ran out when he fell off the pace entering the backstretch on lap 2, and his night was soon over.
Eaves brought the field together leading up to the restart on lap 2 before firing his engine to get the race back underway. Eaves did not pull away to a safe lead, though, with Casey Lawson still close behind. Behind them both Bagwell and Chappell fought it out for third place, with Bagwell continually holding onto the spot.
Eaves kept his lead on Casey Lawson, with the margin yo-yoing between slightly comfortable and too close for comfort. Lawson eventually got as close as the numbers on Eaves’ driver side with four laps to go, but could not get all the way by for the lead, and eventually fell out of contention on the last lap when he lost ground going through turn 2.
602 Crate: 1. Dustin Morris; 2. Chris Patterson; 3. Jeff Robinson; 4. Billy Rushton; 5. Matt Dean.
Front-Wheel Drive: 1. Mason Mack; 2. Michael Bruner; 3. Travis Jamieson; 4. Spud Ammons; 5. Scott Hendricks.
4-Cylinder: 1. Rod Tucker; 2. Larry Teal; 3. Stacy Brock; 4. Scott Nelson; 5. Phillip Wilson.