The Southern All Stars Dirt Racing Series rode into Smoky Mountain Speedway on Friday night to contest the first leg of a two-race weekend. At the end of the feature race, Canadian Ricky Weiss earned a $5,000 payday at the Maryville, TN track after making a pass for the lead in the early going and then driving away from the pack over the latter stretches of the event.
The Southern All Stars will head to Alabama’s Talladega Short Track on Saturday night to complete their weekend double header.
Ashton Winger led the way in Group A time-trials by turning a lap in 17.464 seconds around the 4/10 mile clay oval. That time beat out the efforts of Vic Hill, Kyle Strickler, Chris Madden and Donald McIntosh. Those five drivers were locked into the feature based on their qualifying results.
Jonathan Davenport was fastest in Group B and overall with a lap of 17.307 seconds. Ricky Weiss, Jimmy Owens, David Breazeale and Shanon Buckingham were also locked into the feature along with the fast qualifier.
Brandon Overton, Robby Moses, Michael Brown and Michael Page won the four B-main races used to set the remainder of the starting lineup.
At the start of the 40-lap feature Winger jumped to the early lead ahead of Davenport, Weiss, Hill and Owens. However, a lap 1 caution for a flat tire on Buckingham’s car slowed the action.
On the ensuing restart, Weiss got by Davenport to claim second just behind Winger. At the same time, Owens got around Hill to move into the fourth spot. Just one circuit later, Madden moved into the top-5 when he passed by Hill.
Madden continued to move forward as he overtook Owens for fourth on lap 7 after a brief battle.
On lap 10, Weiss closed in on the race leading car of Winger as the two cars caught the tail end of the field. On lap 11, Weiss seized his opportunity as Winger was caught behind a slower car. The No. 7 machine bloted into the lead in turn three as Winger’s momentum was lost.
Just before the halfway point, Davenport tracked down Winger and began to work on him in hopes of capturing the runner-up position. However, mechanical issues would sideline the No. 49 machine on lap 21.
From that point, it was all Weiss with no challenge coming from anyone else in a feature that only saw the one early yellow flag wave. The only issue to be settled was who would come home closest to Weiss. That issue was settled on lap 37 when Madden swept by Winger take that spot.
In the end, it would be Weiss who would sail under the checkered flag to earn a convincing win.
Feature Finish: 1. Ricky Weiss, 2. Chris Madden, 3. Ashton Winger, 4. Jimmy Owens, 5. Brandon Overton, 6. Vic Hill, 7. Michael Page, 8. Kyle Strickler, 9. David Breazeale, 10. Donald McIntosh