It took 21 days from the original date of the season opener at Anderson Motor Speedway for the race to actually take place but the racing on the track made the wait well worth it.

Twin Late Model Stock Car races were on tap for the opening night following the rain out back on April 6th. Neil Meredith made a last minute decision to attend the opener and it paid off in qualifying as he posted the fastest time ahead of RA Brown, Luke Sorrow, David Roberts and Trey Gibson the top five among the 14-car field.

Meredith, however, would never see the front row for the start of the race as an invert of four was selected for the 40-lap race putting Roberts on the point with Sorrow to the outside. Roberts would get the jump from the start putting his #18 car out front. Sorrow would fall in line but Brown and Meredith were side by side for the third spot.

Meredith slipped up the track a little allowing Brown to take third with Gibson grabbing fourth and Ashton Higgins getting under him for the fifth spot too. Higgins discarded with Meredith quickly and then set his sights on Brown who had lost third to Gibson already and was quickly by him as well. Gibson and Higgins soon caught Sorrow and dropped him from second to fourth by lap 15.

Meanwhile, Roberts was out front in clean air with Higgins all over Gibson for the second spot. Archie Adams, Jr. was on the move for a while moving into the top five but then got kicked back to seventh as Meredith made his way back forward after his early slip. Higgins moved into second with seven laps to go and began trying to track down Roberts who had got a long way out front.

Roberts kept his car out front and took home the win over Higgins and Gibson. Brown would slip by Sorrow for fourth with Sorrow holding down fifth at the finish. Meredith, Kenneth Headen, Ralph Carnes, Adams, and Ron Hall completed the top ten.

David Roberts stands in victory lane following the first of twin 40-lap races at Anderson Motor Speedway. Jaden Austin Photo

When it came time for the second of the twin 40-lap races, the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series mandated eight-car invert put Carnes and Headen on the front row for the second race. Carnes and Headen are very successful Upstate South Carolina drivers and with the invert, it was their time to shine in front of the front runners from the first race.

The start of the second race would be way more chaotic than the first race was as coming to the original green flag Adams would get into the back of Higgins and a chain reaction would cause a long cleanup. Following this skirmish Brown would break a track bar mount and spin in turn three on lap 1. Another short red flag to get Brown’s car off the track would slow the show.

Once the field was able to get back racing Headen had taken the lead from the outside line on the original start but would take the inside lane for this restart and that would prove costly as Carnes would get the jump from the outside line. Carnes would get a nice lead over Headen but behind them, it was a beehive of action as Sorrow and Roberts banged doors before Roberts took the spot and Meredith kept Headen in check.

Roberts and Gibson had quickly moved through the field and after both got by Meredith they ran third and fourth by lap 14. Soon after Roberts got by Headen for second and began to give chase to Carnes for the lead. Roberts was six car lengths behind Carnes but was beginning to reel him in as the laps clicked off.

The lead was down to four car lengths by lap 26 but Carnes was able to keep that lead pretty steady. Roberts would give chase but he had run out of tires and Carnes maintained a three car length lead until two to go when Roberts made one more run but had nothing left. Carnes would pick up the win, his first in five years, over Roberts, Headen, Higgins, and Gibson.

Ralph Carnes is elated after picking up his first win in five years after winning the second of twin 40-lap races on opening night at Anderson Motor Speedway. Jaden Austin Photo

Coming to the finish Gibson and Sorrow made contact sending Sorrow around and into the barrels at the end of the front stretch wall. Sorrow would finish tenth while Gibson finished fifth. Meredith, Charlie Barrett, Adams, Hall, and Sorrow completed the top ten.

The second race certainly provided plenty of action unlike Roberts dominating performance in the first race. The Late Models return to action at Anderson this Friday night May 4th.

Race #1
1 – David Roberts #18
2 – Ashton Higgins #9
3 – Trey Gibson #112
4 – RA Brown #60
5 – Luke Sorrow #9
6 – Neil Meredith #36
7 – Kenneth Headen #99
8 – Ralph Carnes #2
9 – Archie Adams, Jr. #17
10 – Ron Hall #44
11 – Mitchell Mote #22
12 – Anthony Cordell #33
13 – Charlie Barrett #09
14 – JP Dyar #46

Race #2
1 – Ralph Carnes #2
2 – David Roberts #18
3 – Kenneth Headen #99
4 – Ashton Higgins #9
5 – Trey Gibson #112
6 – Neil Meredith #36
7 – Charlie Barrett #09
8 – Archie Adams, Jr. #17
9 – Ron Hall #44
10 – Luke Sorrow #9
11 – Anthony Cordell #33
12 – JP Dyar #46
13 – RA Brown #60
14 – Mitchell Mote #22