Boyd’s Speedway held its 2nd Annual Craig Reece Memorial event named in honor of the racer who passed away in 2016 by staging a $3,500-to-win Crate Late Model event. The race had originally been scheduled for Saturday evening but had to be contested on Sunday afternoon after inclement weather interfered. At the end of the day, Knoxville’s Ross White came away from the Ringgold, GA facility with the first place money and the trophy after holding off a late-race challenge.
White began the afternoon by setting fast time among the 35 cars signed in for competition in qualifying when he posted a lap of 14.694 seconds around the third-mile clay oval. With the top-8 being locked into the feature, White was joined by Rusty Ballenger, John Ownbey, Riley Hickman, Jimmy Elliott, Walker Arthur, Ronnie Johnson and Ethan Hunter on the starting grid for the main event.
Jesse Lowe and Cory Hedgecock won the two B-main races used to set the remainder of the field.
At the start of the 35-lap feature it was White who quickly went to the front of the pack with Ownbey, Ballenger, Arthur and Hickman trailing. Arthur went to work early as he passed by Ballenger to claim third on the second lap. At the same time, Elliott moved in to challenge Hickman for the fifth spot while Johnson and Hunter raced side-by-side for seventh.
A lap 4 caution for a spin by Chip Brindle set up a restart that would see Arthur seize the runner-up position while Hickman moved by Ballenger for fourth. One lap later, Johnson made the high groove work as he passed Ballenger to take fifth.
White got out to a relatively comfortable advantage until he found himself in traffic on lap 14. All the while, Ownbey and Hickman battled for third as they also gained on the second running Arthur.
A lap 23 yellow flag for the slowing car of Kyle Courtney once again set up a restart opportunity. However, on this occasion the waving of the green flag brought trouble as Ballenger, Cruz Skinner, Jake Knowles, Josh Henry and Greg Martin were caught up in a multi-car incident.
The second attempt at a restart on lap 23 provided a chance for Ownbey to grab the second spot away from Arthur. The No. J0 car immediately began applying pressure onto the back of the lead car while Elliott, Hickman and Hunter fought over fifth.
As the lap clicked off, Ownbey continued to work on White for the lead. On the last lap, Ownbey moved his car to the high side of the track in a final bid to steal the win but was unable to find his way around as White won the race to the checkered flag.
Feature Finish: 1. Ross White, 2. John Ownbey, 3. Walker Arthur, 4. Jimmy Elliott, 5. Ronnie Johnson, 6. Riley Hickman, 7. Same Seawright, 8. Ethan Hunter, 9. Cory Hedgecock, 10. Jesse Lowe, 11. Max McLaughlin, 12. Craig Burrows, 13. Cruz Skinner, 14. Rusty Ballenger, 15. Heath Hindman, 16. Chip Brindle, 17. Cla Knight, 18. Jake Knowles