Story by: Corey Latham — [email protected]
Altamahaw, NC(April 24, 2009) — Ace Speedway was the place to be Friday night, as the bullring went into night #3 of the 2009 season. The premiere division at Ace are the Late-Model Stocks, and while highly competitive, Speedy Faucette has won the first two events. Another field of good cars showed up Friday, and while Speedy had tough competition on the rear of his #37 machine the entire event, he once again was standing tall in victory lane. Speedy’s team motto is “Old School”, and for 2009 at Ace, class is definitely in session.
15 LMSC’s were on hand at the track, and from the get-go the track itself was throwing many drivers a curve-ball. Ryan Wilson, who is a rookie this year at Ace, had to change the gear in the car after battling with it all through practice. Defending champion Dean Fogleman was scratching his head also, “It’s just different this week, nobody seems to be where they want, everybody is off”, said the champ. Rodney Cook was there, and while he didn’t have problems with the track persay, his Chevy was having problems in the rear end. After tearing up a clutch last week, the team figured out they had done unseen damage in the rear-end, and needed a backup car. The team sent out a search party and brought a car just in time for qualifying, the Ford that Rodney had not wanted to run because the track makes the Ford’s add weight. We were finally going to see what it had.
Qualifying rolled off, and to no ones surprise, Faucette was on the pole. And if he needed any more luck at all, on the redraw he picked the pole position. following him to the green would be Dean Fogleman, Robert Turner, Ryan Wilson and Dustin Rumley. Cook would roll off 10th, but had to change the gear and the carb in the car to match what he had in the Chevy. Thomas Scott was making his LMSC debut, and would roll off 12th.
The green dropped and Faucette would jump to the lead, and rest fell in line. As the opening laps clicked off, racing was hard and heavy through the field, with Turner getting past Fogleman for 2nd on lap 16, and Brad Kurth giving Dustin Rumley all he wanted for the 5th spot. Kurth would have to worry about the 5th spot long, as Cook was coming in a hurry.
Rodney Cook would be the one to watch on this night, as he drove like a man on a mission. Starting 10th in a stout field of cars, he didn’t have much time to make it to the front in the 75 lap race. He disposed of Kurth and Rumley, then set his sights on Ryan Wilson for 4th. Wilson is a rookie at Ace, and after a breakout year at Caraway Speedway last year winning his first ever LMSC race, the youngster wanted more experience, and Ace was the place to get it on Friday nights. He got experience this night, with Cook jacking the rear of his #12 machine up lap after lap, but the young star held him at bay for nearly 30 laps until Cook got under him on lap 49.
Faucette may have had the lead, but he was being hounded every lap. The front two of Faucette and Turner had separated themselves from Fogleman, and it was going to be between them. With 2 different driving styles, Faucette would ease into the corner for fast exit, as Turner would dive-bomb the turns and cut left, the 2 put on a heck of a show. It looked as if Turner had the faster car, it was just a matter of finding a way around. His chance came on lap 34, as turner gets under Faucette off turn 4, but can’t hold it and gets loose killing his momentum, and possibly a chance at victory.
Cook was coming but had too much track to make up without a caution. He gets by Fogleman for 3rd with 20 to go, and Turner has caught back up with the leader, but time is running out. The laps grow thin as Thomas Scott hits pit road, ending his night. A broken rotor puts the young man out, but he got valuable seat time, and by the end of the year he should be a force to be reckoned with.
Faucette had it locked up, until…….caution with 5 to go. Speedy brings the field down slow, and as the green waves Turner gets in the rear of the #37, nearly turning him sideways. Faucette regains control, and as the scramble goes on, Cook gets by turner for second with 3 to go. Time runs out of Cook’s bid for victory, as the intense battle between him and Turner help Speedy maintain a comfortable lead to the finish.
Speedy Faucette has figured Ace Speedway out, and while the racing is good, he is the man to beat by far. He has simply figured the place out the last few years, and some rumors always fly when someone is winning about something “unfair”, the simple fact of the matter is that the other drivers just need to work harder. He has worked very hard to get where he is, It’s everybody else’s job to do the same to make the outcome different.
Speedy Faucette: I’ll tell you what, I like to win but I don’t like all this attention. I really didn’t want to see that caution with 5 to go.. I’m not a Rodney Cook fan, but he probably helped me out a lot fighting with Robert for second, it let me get away and I had pretty much run my tail off.” How about the contact coming to the flag on the last restart, you got pretty sideways? “He jacked me up a bit. The leader starts the race, and I try to vary where I start, he didn’t want me to wait that late and picked the back tires up off the ground. Rodney got up beside him and that was it. Wheww….a hell of a race”.
Rodney Cook: “I started this car here with no practice at all on it, starting back in 10th, these guys here are tough. I just had to keep my nose clean and make good passes, I feel like I won, I had to drive the wheels off this thing here tonight, it just got real tight there at the end. I’ll tell you what, Speedy is on a rail, it might look good starting out front on the pole, hanging out front and winning races. When you start out back and earn your way up through there, I feel like I did my job, the fans are here to see good racing, and I’m happy tonight. If you had started 2nd on the last restart, do you think you could have gotten by Speedy? I don’t know if I would have gotten by him, but I damn sure would have made it interesting.
Robert Turner: Speedy is a great competitor, and we have two different lines that are so much apart. He likes to brake early, and we like to drive in deep, and sooner or later It’s a collision course. But I try to do it clean, I got up beside him and just did touch his left rear and it bent something in my right front, we were pretty much done then. It must have bent something, because the car drove totally different, but we’ll fix it and come back next week and see if we can’t do a little better.
In other action from Ace, Michael Tucker came from the back and passed AJ Sanders with 3 laps to go to take the mini-stock victory. The Extreme cars put on whale of a show, with Keith Brame taking the victory with a few to go over Jerry Kernodle in a race with ZERO cautions. Ziggy Zimmerman won a hotly contested Limited Sportsman race over Micheal Hatley, and Brian King once again demolished the field to take the modified win.