A cold forecast forced the annual Hangover event at 411 Motor Speedway to be moved from its scheduled New Year’s Day date to Saturday, December 30th but the action on the track was red hot no matter the temperatures. The Schaeffer’s Oil Iron-Man Late Model Series kicked off its 2018 campaign with a $4,000-to-win feature race that was captured by Donald McIntosh in his first outing with his new family owned team and in a new chassis.
Cory Hedgecock set the pace early as he led Group A and overall qualifying by posting a fast time of 13.052 seconds around the 3/8 mile clay oval. McIntosh proved to be second quickest in the group. The top-2 from each group earned a starting spot in the feature.
Will Roland was fastest in Group B qualifying with a time of 13.136 seconds to just beat out Casey Roberts. Both of those drivers also earned feature starting positions via time-trials.
Tyler Bare captured the first heat race of the afternoon by outrunning Chicky Barton, Jason Cardwell and Stephen Breeding. Billy Ogle, Jr. won the second preliminary over Jadon Frame, Jason Welshan and Aaron Ridley.
Ryan King took the honors in the third heat by beating out Dustin Nabbe, Steve Smith and Joey Standridge while Kenny Collins took the fourth and final heat ahead of Carder Miller, John Barrett and Eric Webber.
There were no B-main races.
Hedgecock jumped to the early lead when the green flag dropped on the 40-lap feature with McIntosh, Roland, Bare and Roberts trailing. However, a caution just after the completion of the first circuit for a spin by Barton briefly slowed the action.
On the ensuing restart, Roberts went on the move as he shot by Roland to grab the fourth position. The No. 101 would gain another spot after a lap 4 restart when he bolted by Bare to take third. At that point, the top-3 of Hedgecock, McIntosh and Roberts ran in tight formation around the track while at the same time separating themselves from the rest of the pack.
The third and final caution flag of the afternoon waved on lap 8 when Miller began dumping fluid on the track.
The race was on after the green flag waved to set the field back in motion at full speed. Hedgecock continued to lead but McIntosh and Roberts continued to apply pressure with the lead trio briefly going three-wide as they fought over the top spot.
By lap 14 slower traffic came into play with Hedgecock momentarily extending his advantage over his closest pursuers. However, McIntosh and Roberts would close the gap until the three were once again tightly bunched. The move of the race would come on lap 17 when McIntosh saw an opening on the low as Hedgecock attempted to lap a slower car on the outside. The two drivers split the slower car with McIntosh emerging from the fray with the race lead.
One lap later, Roberts would move around Hedgecock to seize the runner-up position and set up a battle between the former driver of the Blount Motorsports car in McIntosh versus the current driver of that same ride in Roberts. On lap 30, Roberts had momentum coming off of turn four setting what looked as if it would be a side-by-side battle between the two. However, McIntosh moved left to get by a slower car and tagged the right front of the No. 101 machine. Roberts struggled to regain control of McIntosh darted away.
Hedgecock was able to take advantage of the Roberts bobble to grab second but McIntosh was too far out front to challenge for the lead.
McIntosh drove his brand new 007 Chassis under the checkered flag to take the win in the car’s maiden voyage. It was the driver’s third career Hangover 40 victory.
Feature Finish: 1. Donald McIntosh, 2. Cory Hedgecock, 3. Casey Roberts, 4. Tyler Bare, 5. Will Roland, 6. Ryan King, 7. Kenny Collins, 8. Aaron Ridley, 9. Billy Ogle, Jr., 10. Jadon Frame, 11. Dustin Nabbe, 12. Jason Cardwell, 13. Steve Smith, 14. Zach Leonhardi, 15. Stephen Breeding, 16. Jason Barrett, 17. Eric Webber, 18. Joey Standridge, 19. Craig Greer, 20. Carder Miller, 21. Jason Welshan, 22. Chicky Barton