By Kevin Neal


An overcast morning made way for a mild, beautiful afternoon by the river as the Late Models and Open Wheel Modifieds took to the track at Huntsville Speedway.

In qualifying, the Fast Time Qualifying Awards went to Troy Gray in the Open Wheel Modifieds, Edwin Gurley was the fastest qualifier for the Late Models, and Guile Hornbuckle for the SuperStock division.

Fast qualifier in the Open Wheel Modified division Troy Gray of Harvest, Alabama drew a six on the inversion putting Gary Sanford, Jr. of Birmingham on the pole alongside Michael Halbrooks.

Sanford maintained the top spot for the balance of the race, after facing challenges from Michael Halbrooks and a late race challenge from Stuart Dunn, who showed his machine to be just as fast as it was at the conclusion of 2016. Pole sitter Troy Gray was forced to retire early from the event after a collision with Garrett Finley in turn 2 that produced a broken control arm. Sanford captured the victory, followed by Dunn, Halbrooks, and Finley.

The Late Models put on a whale of a show with youth and exuberance meeting a wily veteran to battle for the win. Fast qualifier Edwin Gurley of Morris rolled a one on the inversion giving him the pole and a straight up start for the late models. Starting alongside Gurley was Huntsville Quarter Midget Association graduate Jaxon Bishop, making his first start in a late model machine. Bishop and Gurley would battle tooth and nail over several laps and speedway veteran Brian Bentley would find his way to the front of the field after a skirmish between front runners down the backstretch. Bentley would go on to lead several laps and looked poised to pick up the victory with a scant 12 laps remaining, but Jaxon Bishop would make his way to the front again, making the pass on Bentley for the win, followed by Edwin Gurley, Bobby Castleberry, and Brian Bentley.

The 20 lap Mini Modified feature saw Doug Emerson of Athens take the victory after a tight race for the lead between pole sitter Tommy Robinette and Jeremy Davis ended in contact between the two, causing damage to both cars. Charles McKee made a run at Emerson, but ran out of laps before he could challenge in his Buster’s Pawn Shop Mustang.

In the Super Stock division, David Dean, Jr. and Todd Cagle led the field to green with Dean quickly taking the point. Dean would flex the muscle in his number 21 car, stretching out to as much as a six car length advantage over Cagle en route to the victory. Dean was followed by Cagle, last race winner Junior Jordan, and Guile Hornbuckle.

Floyd Brown and Matthew Robbins once again found themselves nose-to- tail in first and second position in the 15 lap Buzz feature. Austin Thornton, Shane Jones, and Courtney Gibbs made a valiant effort but were unable to put their Saturns in position to usurp the Acuras of Brown and Robbins.

Josh Mac made a return to his winning ways in the Hot Shot division after an outstanding battle with last race winner Joshua Rose. McElhone was able to hold off Rose in a tight battle for the win followed by Tommy Rigsby, Johnny Oates, Paul Frazier, and Jamie Bradford.

Huntsville Speedway will return to action next Saturday with races featuring the STAR SuperTrucks, Sportsman, Super Stock, Mini Modifieds, Pro Buzz, Buzz, and Hot Shot divisions.

Stay tuned to the Huntsville Speedway website and Facebook page as track management may elect to move to night racing next week with the more moderate temperatures.

Late Model:

1. 2 – Jaxon Bishop

2. 27 – Edwin Gurley

3. 14 – Bobby Castleberry

4. 9 – Brian Bentley

5. 75 – Cameron Berry

6. 00 – Jeremy Price

7. 17 – Chuck Tuck

Open Wheel Modified:

1. 18 – Gary Sanford, Jr.

2. 181 – Stuart Dunn

3. 5 – Michael Halbrooks

4. 37 – Garrett Finley

5. 74 – Troy Gray

6. 47 – John Thomas

7. 81 – Jeremy Williams

8. 17 – Chuck Tuck

Mini Modified Division:

1. 5 – Doug Emerson

2. 121 – Charles McKee

3. 31 – Kevin Harrison

4. 85 – Jeremy Davis

5. 9 – Tommy Robinett

6. 22 – Patrick Christian

Buzz Division:

1. 84 – Floyd Brown

2. 48 – Matthew Robbins

3. 16 – Austin Thornton

4. 192 – Shane Jones

5. 99 – Courtney Gibbs

6. 1 – Jay Harmening

Super Stock Division:

1. 21 – David Dean, Jr.

2. 98 – Todd Cagle

3. 29 – Junior Jordan

4. 27 – Guile Hornbuckle

5. 14 – Caleb Thornberry

Hot Shot Division:

1. 01 – Josh Mac

2. 71 – Joshua Rose

3. 45 – Tommy Rigsby

4. 15 – Johnny Oates

5. 13 – Paul Frazier

6. 46 – Jamie Bradford