Ross Bailes wins again (and again) at Friendship

By Jim Fuller jfuller@civitasmedia.com

July 22, 2014

Ross Bailes won for the third and fourth times this season at Friendship Motor Speedway, claiming both $1,000 Southeastern Crate Association Late Model features early Sunday morning.

North Wilkesboro’s Chad Call claimed the $500 Super Stock 4 feature; Troutman’s Chad Paxton took the Open Wheel Modified feature; West Jefferson’s Shaun Robinson won the Renegades feature; Randy Powell won wire-to-wire in Xtreme Stock feature; and Clifton Richardson took the UCars feature.

The start of the races was delayed by more than an hour by afternoon rain. With the prize money offered for late models and three nearby dirt tracks cancelled due to weather, Friendship was host to quite a few more cars than usual.

With the track its slickest and smoothest of the season, there was plenty of spinning in the corners and crashes all over as Saturday night turned into Sunday morning. It was 2 a.m. before the second of two SeCA Late Model features started.

The wins also put Bailes, of Clover, South Carolina, in a strong position to claim the $7,500 bonus for the SeCA season championship.

Friendship regulars Benji Hicks and Chris Cheek represented the home track well. Hicks, who started the first Late Model feature on the sixth row, moved up steadily to take fourth. Cheek, after crashing in the first feature, rebounded to grab fifth in the second feature.

The Renegades feature was stopped by the 25-minute time limit after 11 laps of 15 scheduled laps. Robinson, of West Jefferson, was a clear winner after Michael Harrell and then Jerry Lowery dropped out after nine laps.

Robinson was protested after winning his fifth race of the season. “We passed,” he said, adding he knew his motor was legal. “We build our own motor.”

Robinson said the motor was torn down “to the crankshaft.”

On a long, wet night and with most cars finding it difficult in the corners, Robinson’s No. 56 held steady. “We’ve been working on the setup,” Robinson said. “We’ve been spinning off the corners.

“Our car was pretty hooked up. We didn’t spin hardly at all.”

The win increased Robinson’s 44-point lead over second-place Jr. Blackburn in the Renegades point standings. “We got off to a good start,” Robinson said. “We won a few races early.”

Robinson is sponsored by West Jefferson businesses Smokey Mountain Barbecue, NAPA Auto Parts, Wendy’s, and Basic Finance; and Statesville Truck and Trailer. In particular, he wanted to thank Sam Weaver, the owner of NAPA Auto Parts; and Steve Haun of Statesville Truck and Trailer.

He also thanked his father; his wife (Jessica); his race team (RPM, which includes the No. 30 Renegade driven by Craig Miller and the No. 16 UCar driven by Kenneth Miller; and his family for their support.

Robinson won the Limited Sportsman point standings in 2012 and is the defending Renegades point champion at Friendship. “Three points championships would be nice,” he said. “We’ll see how it turns out.”

In the Open Wheel Modified feature, Paxton held off Elkin’s George Anen for the win. Anen tried Paxton down low several times — particularly after a lap 14 restart — but Paxton was able to hold on. Buck Stevens, of Statesville, finished third.

Unless one stayed well after 1 a.m. to see the SeCA Late Models go at it again, the best race seen was the first Open Wheel Modified heat. Paxton got under Stevens, with what appeared to be contact, on the fourth lap of the five-lap heat between turns 3 and 4. Stevens made Paxton pay for it on the final lap in the same spot with a little contact of his own. Stevens won the heat.

Powell started from the pole and held off Bailey Wagoner for the Xtreme Stock win. Wagoner, who battled Powell early in the race, took second place away from Dennis Kirk on lap 9.

Xtreme Stock driver Doug Clonch went upside down on the front straightaway in his No. 61. Clonch’s wife, Laura, said he suffered a broken hand and needed some “stitches between his fingers. We are really blessed,” she added.

Call added to his slight lead in the Super Stock 4 division, taking the win over Doug Wagoner and Robbie Brown, who finished second and third, respectively. Brown trailed Call by two points going into Saturday night’s action.

Richardson’s UCars feature win was his first in his two-and-a-half year career. For more on Richardson’s win and a nap taken by runner-up Stephanie Clew Caudle, see Friday’s Tribune.

Results — Super Stock 4: 1. Chad Call, North Wilkesboro; 2. Doug Wagoner; 3. Robbie Brown. Open Wheel Modifieds: 1. Chad Paxton, Troutman; 2. George Anen; 3. Buck Stevens. SECA Crate Late Model (1st Race): 1. Ross Bailes Clover, SC; 2. Jonathan Davenport; 3. Chris Meadows; 4. Benji Hicks; 5. Ron Parker; 6. Justin Hudspeth; 7. Trent Ivey; 8. Jerry Cochran; 9. Dillon Brown; 10. Bryan Nance. SECA Crate Late Model (2nd Race): 1. Ross Bailes; 2. Jonathan Davenport; 3. Ron Parker; 4. Chris Meadows; 5. Chris Cheek; 6. Timbo Mangum; 7. Chase McCormick; 8. Taylor Hicks; 9. Dale Timms; 10. Mitchell Coble. Renegades: 1. Shaun Robinson; 2. John Reed; 3. Victor Durham. Xtreme Stock 4: 1. Randy Powell; 2. Bailey Wagoner; 3. Dennis Kirk. UCars: 1. Clifton Richardson; 2. Stephanie Clew Caudle; 3. Jeff Martin.

Jim Fuller may be reached at 336-258-4052 or Twitter @elkinareasports.