Trey Gibson celebrates his second win of the night at Greenville Pickens Speedway on March 3, 2018. Kimberly Austin Photo

Trey Gibson only picked up one win at Greenville Pickens Speedway during the 2017 season but on the first race night of the 2018 season he was able to double his season long stats from last year picking up twin wins on opening night.

Gibson, who didn’t look to have the best car in either race was able to find himself in the right spot at the right time in both races. Part-time NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Kyle Benjamin stole the headlines early as he sat on the pole and led the early portions of the race.

Tasha Kummer’s engine blew in the first race of the night. Kimberly Austin Photo

With 10 laps completed Tasha Kummer’s night came to an end as her engine expired in a huge plume of smoke. That moment changed the course of the race for Gibson. He would get a great restart and steal the lead from Benjamin and would never look back. Gibson would, however, face many challenges but he settled down and took command of the 50-lap race.

He would have to survive challenges from Taylor Satterfield soon after taking the lead and then from defending track champion Will Burns. Gibson held strong and took the first win in dominating fashion. Burns would finish second after getting by Satterfield for the position on lap 22 when Satterfield got loose off the corner. Satterfield was third with Benjamin fourth after falling all the way to sixth when he lost the lead. Jeremy Burns finished fifth in race one.

Trey Gibson (112) works to hold off Kyle Benjamin (71) and Will Burns late in race one. Kimberly Austin Photo

After getting his first win Gibson started the second race from the seventh position. Ashton Higgins who had mechanical problems in the first race but held on to finish eighth started from the pole. J. Burns would start on the outside pole with Neil Meredith, Benjamin, Satterfield, W. Burns completing the top six ahead of Gibson.

The green flag would wave and after a great first race for both Satterfield and W. Burns, the two would find each other as they crashed hard in turn three on the opening lap. Satterfield’s car bottomed out and shot up into W. Burns’ car and Burns got the worst of it as his car was trashed and Satterfield was done for the night as well. Burns took a hard hit and took a moment to get out of the car.

After Satterfield drove off and Burns made his way back to the pits, things got lively on pit road. Adam Lindeen, a member of Burns’ crew rushed into Satterfield’s pit and was promptly bounced back out as punches were thrown. Soon after Burns made his way to the pits, which can be seen in a race22 exclusive video. Things got heated but Burns didn’t come to fight, he came looking to figure out what happened.

Burns got his explanation from Satterfield who claimed something must have broke on his car which in a video posted by Will Burns to Facebook it appears that is true as the car suddenly hits the ground and then veers right into Burns’ car. Burns wasn’t happy with the explanation but accepted it because while he doesn’t agree he said he has to take him at his word.

After things calmed down, the race got back going with J. Burns taking the lead from the complete restart. Higgins would hold his own up front this race unlike in the first race of the night where he struggled with his car all race long. He would soon slip behind sliding to fifth behind Gibson, Benjamin, Meredith and Lexi Gay. On lap 10 J. Burns would suffer a race ending blow as his car lost power and he became the next caution.

This handed the lead to Gibson and he would never relinquish despite a couple of rallies by Benjamin and a late race restart. Ryan Walker was the man on the move. After a dismal run in the first race and having to run in his tires between races to have enough laps on them for the second race. Walker moved up to third on the restart with Gay making moves of her own which was another driver who didn’t really have a good run in the first race of the evening.

The final caution of the night came out when Higgins and Meredith made contact second Higgins around. Gibson would get a great restart but Walker would get the jump on Benjamin and put himself in the second position, which he wouldn’t relinquish despite Benjamin’s best efforts. Gibson would be chased to the line by Walker, Benjamin, Gay, and Carnes.

Troy Carnes (40c) and Lexi Gay (77) raced hard over the last seven laps of the race. Gay picked up the position at the finish. Kimberly Austin Photo

Carnes and Gay would put on a great show for the last seven laps as they raced door to door with Gay getting the position at the finish. They would spin one another in turn one following the race but neither were any worse for the wear.

For Gibson, it would be the storybook beginning to what he hopes will be his first Greenville Pickens Speedway championship after finishing second three times in recent years. For the Burns brothers, it was a great night turned bad in a hurry after a good run in the first race and one crashing out and the other losing power costing both a chance to win the race. For Satterfield, it was a bad ending to a really good day with a really fast car and loading it up with repairs needed.

For others, there were signs of promise. Walker got up on the wheel and drove his way to a second place finish. Gay, Higgins, and Carnes rebounded from their first race woes with strong runs in race two and that will give all three of them confidence heading into the next race.  Another driver that should have some confidence is Austin Green who was running really good until he got into the wall and had suspension damage toward the end of the first race. He was really running well before then and could be a threat for some wins this season.

With the strongest car count of the weekend for Late Model Stock Cars around the region at 15, Greenville Pickens fourth season under Anthony Anders management has the look of another strong season of Late Model Stock Car racing.



Unofficial Results:
Race #1:
1 – #112 Trey Gibson
2 – #41 Will Burns
3 – #40 Taylor Satterfield
4 – #71 Kyle Benjamin
5 – #5 Jeremy Burns
6 – #36 Neil Meredith
7 – #1 Nolan Pope
8 – #9 Ashton Higgins
9 – #77 Lexi Gay
10 – #25 Terry Smith
11 – #40c Ralph Carnes
12 – #28 Ryan Walker
13 – #2 Austin Green
14 – #35 Tasha Kummer
15 – #25 Marty Ward

Race #2:
1 – #112 Trey Gibson
2 – #28 Ryan Walker
3 – #71 Kyle Benjamin
4 – #77 Lexi Gay
5 – #40c Ralph Carnes
6 – #9 Ashton Higgins
7 – #1 Nolan Pope
8 – #36 Neil Meredith
9 – #25 Terry Smith
10 – #5 Jeremy Burns
11 – #25 Marty Ward
12 – #40 Taylor Satterfield
13 – #41 Will Burns