By Kevin Neal

Huntsville Speedway roared back to life for the 2017 season with a special matinee event this past Saturday headlined by a 50 lap Late Model feature.

In qualifying, fast time awards went to Jeremy Davis (15.006) in the Mini Modifieds, David Dean, Jr. (15.525) in the Super Stocks, and Brian Bentley (14.029) was the fastest qualifier for the Late Models.

In the Late Model division, fast qualifier Brian Bentley rolled a four on the inversion dice putting Chattanooga’s Keith Rankin on the pole alongside the number 75 of Late Model rookie, but speedway veteran Cameron Berry in his first Late Model start. Rankin paced the first several laps, but was soon overtaken by Nashville driver Justin Ashburn, who would lead the remainder of the race to capture the win ahead of a fierce battle between Rankin and Bentley for the runner-up spot. Rankin would brush the backstretch wall slowing his number 24 machine and falling into the clutches of Bobby Castleberry who would hold on for a podium finish.

Junior Jordan captured a dominant and emotional victory taking the win in the 20 lap Super Stock feature in the previous Michael Jordan number 29 car. The race was the first for Jordan since the loss of his beloved wife Cherita earlier in the year. Jordan, the crews, officials, and fans on hand honored Cherita’s memory with a special pace lap and standing ovation prior to the event.

In the 30 lap Mini Modified feature, Jeremy Davis was able to fend off the challenge of defending Mini Modified track champion Tommy Robinett to take the win.

Courtney Gibbs started from the pole for the 15 lap Buzz feature flanked by Matthew Robbins of Birmingham. Gibbs would have trouble coming up to speed in her new number 99 allowing Robbins to charge to the front followed by teammate Floyd Brown. Robbins would firmly establish himself as the leader while Floyd Brown would have his hands full with a hard charging Austin Thornton who drove every iota of race track he could to finally make a pass on Brown to take the runner-up honors. Curtis Thornberry took the win in the amateur ranks of the Buzz division feature.

Joshua Rose had no problem taking the victory in the 15 lap Hot Shot feature, holding off a late challenge from Paul Frazier.

Huntsville Speedway will return to action with another matinee next Saturday afternoon with races featuring the SuperTrucks, Sportsman, Tennessee Pure Stock, Super Stock, Mini Modifieds, Buzz, and Hot Shot divisions. The Pit gates will open at 11AM, front gates at 12PM,
with qualifying beginning at 2:15PM and the first green flag of the afternoon flying shortly after 3PM.

Late Model Division:

1. Justin Ashburn

2. Brian Bentley

3. Bobby Castleberry

4. Keith Rankin

5. Cameron Berry

6. Josh Mac

Mini Modified Division:

1. Jeremy Davis

2. Tommy Robinett

3. Doug Emerson

4. Charles McKee

5. Lance Campbell

6. Jody Garner (DNS)

Buzz Division:

1. Matthew Robbins

2. Austin Thornton

3. Floyd Brown

4. Shane Jones

5. Courtney Gibbs

6. Curtis Thornberry (Amateur Buzz)

Super Stock Division:

1. Junior Jordan

2. David Dean, Jr.

3. Guile Hornbuckle

4. Todd Cagle

5. Caleb Thornberry (DNS)

Hot Shot Division:

1. Joshua Rose

2. Paul Frazier

3. Johnny Oates

4. Alan Gunter

5. Josh Mac (DNS)