The Iron-Man Championship Series continued its 2017 campaign with a $3,000-to-win show at I-75 Raceway on Saturday night in front of a good crowd. Georgia’s Kenny Collins turned in a dominating performance on the Sweetwater, Tenn. track to earn the first place prize.
Collins began the night by setting the pace in qualifying when he toured the third-mile track in 13.576 seconds to beat out the field of 16 cars that had been signed in for competition. With qualifying results being the determining factor in establishing the starting lineup for the feature race, 12-year-old Carder Miller earned the right to start alongside Collins when the green flag waved over the main event. The front row starters would be followed by David Payne, Billy Ogle, Jr., Ray Cook, Benji Shaw, Chicky Barton, Sammie Russell, Casey Turman and Ruben Mayfield.
Collins immediately bolted to the lead at the start of the 30-lap feature followed by Miller, Payne, Cook and a side-by-side battled for fifth between Barton and Ogle. But a spin near the rear of the pack would briefly stall the action after only one lap had been completed.
On the ensuing restart, Payne was able to maneuver around Miller to gain the second position while Ogle moved in on the young driver in hopes of seizing third. However, a caution would again slow the pace on lap 3 when Cook’s car came to a stop in the third turn.
Collins again moved away from the pack when the race went green. However, the battle for positions just a few cars behind the leader kept the dust flying as Shaw pressed Barton in an effort to take 5th as Turman and Russell stalked. In the meantime, Ogle continued to challenge Miller for third as those two raced several car lengths behind the lead duo of Collins and Payne.
As the race marked the halfway point, the fight for positions 5-8 intensified as Barton worked to hold back the advances of Shaw, Turman and the high line running Russell. However, that battle would be interrupted on lap 18 when Barton slowed on the track to bring out a caution.
Collins controlled the final run to the finish in his first ever start using American Racer tires, even after a caution with just three laps remaining offered his pursuers one last chance to mount a challenge.
Feature Finish: 1. Kenny Collins, 2. David Payne, 3. Carder Miller, 4. Billy Ogle, Jr., 5. Benji Shaw, 6. Sammie Russell, 7. Casey Turman, 8. Levi Ashby, 9. Ruben Mayfield, 10. Cale Finley, 11. Craig Greer, 12. Jeff Neubert, 13. Chicky Barton, 14. Joey Standridge, 15. Ray Cook, 16. Brian Selby