LUCAMA, NC – Call it redemption for Goldsboro, North Carolina's Clay Jones.
After finishing second one year ago in the Thanksgiving All-Star Classic, Jones cruised to victory in this year's 75-lap Limited Late Model race, leading nearly every single lap at Southern National Motorsports Park on Saturday night. Jones started on the outside pole and made quick work of getting around Ronald Renfrow. After the veteran took sole possession of the lead, he established dominance and never surrendered it.
“We were all kind of on equal playing ground this week,” Jones said. “All the weights was back the same and everything. We had a great car and took off a little snug and got going and I kind of burnt the right rear up trying to stay in front. I was just hanging on right there at the end. They kept telling me Joe [Heigl] was coming but I was just doing all I could to stay there. Thank God there wasn't a caution. I can't thank these guys enough. They put a rocket under me again. They're making me look good. I can't thank them enough.”
Jones will celebrate tonight, but it is back to work tomorrow. Jones is one of over 70 drivers who will attempt to make the field for the Snowball Derby next weekend at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida. Jones beat Joe Heigl and Louis White to score the victory. The victory was the fourth of the year for Jones overall. He had two wins on the season at Wake County Speedway in Raleigh, North Carolina and a win in the first ever race held at Carteret County Speedway in Swansboro, North Carolina.
AJ Sanders, who has won races all over the Carolinas and Virginia, scored the victory in the Mini-Stock race in dominant fashion, but not without his fair share of challenges from Motor Mile Speedway (Virginia) competitor Doodle Lang and local favorites Ronnie “Buckshot” Jones and Michael Rouse.
“I was worried about [Jones],” Sanders said. “Under that caution, I radioed and said 'give me my lap times' and 'I want to know what my lap times are the last two or three versus what his lap times were'. We were enough there that I kept my momentum and kept hitting my spots, we were going to be alright. That's what I had to do, just keep my mind focused.”
Lee Horner picked up his first Southern National Motorsports Park victory in the wild, 40 lap U-CAR feature which was halted many times by cautions. At one point, race leaders Ronnie “Buckshot” Jones and Tyler Horne made contact while battling for the lead on lap 23. Both cars had problems which allowed Horner to take the lead, and eventually, the win.
“It looks like they were just racing hard,” Horner said. “I don't think it was intentional by any means. It was just hard racing. It was just, who was going to survive that race and come out on top. I survived. My car was awesome at the end. It was a little bit free at the end but free is fast. This is my best win, my first win at Southern National and, to win the Classic, that's awesome.”
The movie Unstoppable may not be about a train but instead about Dillon Spain. Despite a $300 bounty, Dillon Spain collected the victory in the INEX Legends A-Main over teammate Will Bristle. The victory is Spain's fifth consecutive win in Legends racing at Southern National. 20 cars started the race, with five of those cars transferring in from a B-Main after over 35 cars attempted to make the field.
Tommy Lemons, Jr. set the fast time in Late Model Stock Car qualifying and won in the first of two heat races, putting him on the pole for Sunday afternoon's 200-lap event. Deac McCaskill won the second heat race and will start second in the race. Brandon Setzer and Nick Robinson qualified on the front row for Sunday's 125 lap Super Late Model race.
Sunday's races will begin at 12:01pm, starting with the 125 lap Super Late Model event followed immediately by the 200 lap Late Model Stock Car event.
For more information about Southern National Motorsports Park, check out SNMP’s website at www.snmpark.com, “like” Southern National Motorsports Park on Facebook or “follow” @SNM_Park on Twitter.