Shanon Buckingham Doubles Down at Smoky Mountain

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Shanon Buckingham earned his first Southern All Stars win

It would be hard to imagine a more appropriately named team on a given night at a race track than that of Double Down Motorsports for driver Shanon Buckingham on Saturday night at Smoky Mountain Speedway. The Morristown, Tenn. native scored two feature wins at the Maryville, Tenn. facility as he earned $4,000 for a victory in the Durrence Layne Dirt Late Model Series event then picked up another $7,500 by taking the checkered flag in the Southern All Star Dirt Racing Series nightcap.

Buckingham’s fellow Double Down Motorsports driver Robby Moses set fast time in Southern All Stars time-trials when he led Group A qualifying with a lap of 16.803 seconds around the 4/10 mile clay oval to beat out Casey Roberts, Buckingham and Riley Hickman.

Vic Hill proved to be the fastest in Group B qualifying with a lap of 16.914 seconds to better the efforts of Randy Weaver, Zach Leonhardi and Cory Hedgcock.

Buckingham earned the pole for the main event by beating Moses, Dakotah Knuckles and Joey Coulter in the first heat race of the night while Hickman bested Roberts, Tommy Kerr and Dale McDowell in the second preliminary.

Hill would start the feature from the outside of the front row by virtue of his win in the third heat ahead of Leonhardi, Gary McPherson and Jeff Smith just before Weaver took the final heat of the night ahead of Hedgecock, Kenny Collins and Matt Henderson.

Eric Wells and Will Roland won the two B-mains used to set the remainder of the starting grid.

At the start of the 50-lap feature Buckingham wasted no time in going to the front of the field and pulling away from the pack. Hill, Weaver, Hickman, Moses and Leonhardi served as the early pursuers of the driver who had dominated the Durrence Layne feature for Crate Late Model cars just minutes before.

Randy Weaver(116) and Vic Hill battle at Smoky Mountain

The race ran caution free for the first 22 laps with Buckingham pulling out to a lead of a full straightaway while Hill and Weaver ran second and third while managing to break away from the remainder f the pack. At the same time, the 15th starting McDowell was making up ground as he moved all the way up to sixth before the action was interrupted for the only time due to caution on lap 22 when David Crabtree stopped on track with mechanical issues.

Buckingham again got away from the field on the lap 22 restart while both Moses and McDowell passed by Hickman to gain spots within the top-5. Just one lap later McDowell would move around Moses to take fourth and then track down a pass by Hill for third on lap 27.

Dale McDowell(17m) passing Casey Roberts

Over the course of the closing laps the top-3 of Buckingham, Weaver and McDowell checked out from the rest of the pack then tighten up among themselves as they worked through slower traffic. McDowell was able to get around Weaver on the final lap for the runner-up spot but Buckingham would go largely unchallenged as he sailed under the checkered flag.

Feature Finish: 1. Shanon Buckingham, 2. Dale McDowell, 3. Randy Weaver, 4. Cory Hedgecock, 5. Vic Hill, 6. Robby Moses, 7. Casey Roberts, 8. Tommy Kerr, 9. Riley Hickman, 10. Eric Wells, 11. Dakotah Knuckles, 12. Joey Coulter, 13. Kenny Collins, 14. Zach Leonhardi, 15. Jay Scott, 16. Jeff Smith, 17. Gary McPherson, 18. Will Roland, 19. Mark Dodson, 20. Stacy Boles, 21. Ryan King, 22. David Crabtree, 23. Mike Weeks, 24. Matt Henderson

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