The Chevrolet Performance Super Late Model Series made its first ever appearance at the Boyd’s Speedway on Saturday night to stage a $3,000-to-win feature race. Riley Hickman of Ooltewah, Tenn. walked away from the Dale McDowell and David Duplissey-owned facility in Ringgold, GA with the top prize after securing the victory with a late race pass around the outside of Jeff Smith.
Cory Hedgecock led the way in qualifying as he posted a lap of 15.273 seconds around the third-mile clay oval. That placed him ahead of Jeff Smith, Riley Hickman, Austin Smith, Jake Knowles, and John Ownbey as the top-6 from time-trials were locked onto the starting grid for the feature race.
Devin Dixon and Ronnie Johnson won the two B-main races used to set the remainder of the starting lineup for the main event.
Jeff Smith used his outside front row starting spot to his advantage as he took the early lead when the 50-lap feature was shown the green flag with Hedgecock, Austin Smith, Hickman and Jake Knowles trailing close behind. Hickman and Knowles wasted little time in trying to work their way forward as Hickman made a bid to take third away from Smith on lap 2 with Knowles looking to make it three-wide for the spot.
Just outside the top-5, the action was fierce as Dixon, Johnson, Brandon Williams and Ryan King fought for 6th during the early going.
The lead duo of Jeff Smith and Hedgecock broke away from those battling further behind and made it what seemed to be a two-car race during the first half of the event. Those two found themselves working through slower cars almost without a break throughout the first 30 caution-free circuits. Smith was able to use the slower machines to his advantage as he was seemingly always able to keep a couple of cars between himself and his closest pursuer.
A lap 30 caution for the stalled car of Lavon Sparks changed the complexion of the race by giving the leaders a reprieve from the slower traffic and by bunching the front runners back together. The ensuing restart saw a continuation of the fighting for positions 3-8 but it also saw Hedgecock stick closer to Smith than earlier in the race.
But on lap 38, the look of the race would again change as the second-running car of Hedgecock sent up a shower of sparks on the front stretch then slowed and was steered off of the racing surface after limping to the back straightaway.
After Hedgecock’s retirement, Hickman’s car seemed to come to life as he moved to a higher groove on the track and began to draw closer to Smith. With just five laps remaining, Hickman steered his car to the outside of Smith as they roared through turns one and two then headed for the back stretch. It was there where Hickman drew alongside then eventually bolted ahead.
From that point, there was no stopping the No. R1 machine as Hickman won the race to the checkered flag.
Feature Finish: 1. Riley Hickman, 2. Jeff Smith, 3. Austin Smith, 4. Jake Knowles, 5. Ryan King, 6. Devin Dixon, 7. Ronnie Johnson, 8. Ross Martin, 9. Brandon Williams, 10. Tim Busha, 11. Zach Pilcher, 12. Jadon Frame, 13. Randy Dillard, 14. Lavon Sparks, 15. Chad Wallace, 16. Landon Bagby, 17. Mario Gresham, 18. Doug Smith, 19. Oliver Gentry, 20. Cory Hedgecock, 21. Buddy George, 22. Jeff Fields