The Durrence Layne Late Model Series for cars equipped with Crate Late Model engines contested a race on Saturday night at Smoky Mountain Speedway as part of the Mountain Moonshine Classic. Cory Hedgecock came away as the big winner after turning in a dominating performance to collect the $3,000 first prize at the Maryville, Tenn. track.
Hedgecock let it be known early that he would be a force when he set fast time in qualifying with a mark of 18.286 seconds around the 4/10 mile clay oval. He would be locked into the feature along with Brandon Williams, Jensen Ford, Cruz Skinner, Will Herrington, Jake Rainey, Oakley Johns, Drew Kennedy, Corey Dunn and T.J. Brittain.
Series points leader Jake Knowles won the lone B-main used to set the remainder of the starting grid for the main event.
At the start of the 40-lap feature Hedgecock jetted to the early lead with Williams, Herrington, Ford and Skinner in his wake. Skinner went to work early as he passed by Ford to take fourth on the second circuit. But Ford would fight back and regain the spot just one lap later.
However, Ford’s early momentum would prove to be short lived as his car came to a stop on the track to bring out the race’s only caution flag on lap 5.
On the ensuing restart Herrington took second behind Hedgecock while Kennedy slipped by Skinner for fourth. On lap 9, Williams took second back from Herrington as Hedgecock pulled further ahead of his pursuers.
For several laps the top-4 of Hedgecock, Williams, Herrington and Kennedy ran in an evenly spaced formation until slower traffic came into play. Williams closed to the rear spoiler of Hedgecock’s machine just before the race’s halfway point.
On lap 22, the No. 95 car drew alongside of the No. 23 as the two drivers battled for the top spot on the scoreboard. But Hedgecock fought back the challenge and then drew away from those who hoped to catch him.
Over the race’s final half Hedgecock drove away and ultimately sailed under the checkered flag to collect the win.
Feature Finish: 1. Cory Hedgecock, 2. Brandon Williams, 3. Will Herrington, 4. Drew Kennedy, 5. Cruz Skinner, 6. Jake Knowles, 7. Jesse Lowe, 8. T.J. Brittain, 9. Jake Rainey, 10. Eli Beets, 11. Zach Pilcher, 12. Tyler Wood, 13. Marcus Minga, 14. Donald Johns, 15. Oakley Johns, 16. Corey Dunn, 17. Austin Langley, 18. Jensen Ford, 19. John Ownbey