Riley Hickman tightens grip on Southern All Stars title with Talladega win

*Story submitted by Daniel Watkins(@RacingWithJDW on Twitter)

Riley Hickman came into Saturday night’s Southern All Stars race at the Talladega Short Track with an already commanding lead in the series standings. And now with only two races remaining on the schedule for that series, it looks as if the Chattanooga driver is about to lay claim to his second consecutive championship on that regional tour.

Tom Maddox earned the pole position for the feature race by posting the fastest time in Group A qualifying with a lap of 14.887 seconds. He was followed by Kyle Beard and Chris Wilson.

Hickman was the fastest in Group B qualifying as well as overall after he laid down a lap of 14.814 seconds. Jason Croft and Jeff Smith rounded out the top-3 in that time-trial session.

Aaron Ridley held off David Seibers to win the first B-main of the evening. This came after Ridley had spun on lap 5 of that race to set off an incident that would collect virtually all of the 13 cars entered in the event. Tim Roszell passed Josh Adkins on lap 7 of the second B-main to claim the win in that preliminary.

Hickman immediately seized the top spot at the start of the 40-lap main event and built up a significant advantage over the rest of the field. Seemingly the only thing that could slow the #R1 machine down on this night was for yellow flags to be displayed.

Cautions on laps 13, 18 and 29 for stalled cars on track briefly slowed the action during the main event.

While under green, Hickman would build a big lead as a hornet’s nest of two and three-wide racing for position was taking place behind him. Among those making moves forward throughout the race was 8th starting Ray Cook, who moved all the way to the runner-up spot by the checkered flag.

Riley Hickman sailed away to the win after that final caution. He was followed by Ray Cook, Tom Maddox, Jason Croft, Kyle Beard, Jake Knowles, Brandon Kinzer, Josh Adkins, Jeff Smith and Tim Roszell.

Hickman earned $4,000 for the victory.

Riley Hickman, seen here at last year's awards ceremony with SAS owner Matt Wagner, is close to another title.

Riley Hickman, seen here at last year’s awards ceremony with SAS owner Matt Wagner, is close to another title.

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