Jeff Letson Captures the Open Wheel Modified Win in the Rapid Roy 100

Chris Whorton Returns to Claim Late Model Win

By Kevin Neal

09/16/2017

On a beautiful September evening at the foot of Green Mountain, a field of some of the finest Open Wheel Modified drivers anywhere took to the track at Huntsville Speedway in an event to honor one of Huntsville’s greatest living legends, the great Roy Cantrell in the inaugural Rapid Roy 100.

FAST TIME QUALIFYING

In qualifying, Billy Melvin (13.874) in the Late Models, Bradley Carter (13.688) in Open Wheel Modified, David Dean, Jr. (15.544) in the Super Stock, and Jeremy Davis (14.964) in the Mini Modified captured the Fast Time Qualifying Awards.

OPEN WHEEL MODIFIED – RAPID ROY 100

After turning a blistering lap of 13.688 in qualifying to capture the TLC Automotive/Cagle Tire and Alignment Fast Time Award, Bradley Carter rolled a five on the inversion to put the number 74 car of Troy Gray on the pole alongside the Ron’s Insulation number 131 of Jeff Letson for the 100 lap feature. On the drop of the green, Gray charged into the lead, with the other drivers quickly falling into single file formation, with Letson, perennial favorite John Thomas, Phillip Price, Chase Oliver, and Carter in hot pursuit. The first of what would be many cautions on the night flew at lap 7 for the number 85 car of Jason Davis who would see his night come to a premature end. The subsequent restart would see caution fly again when Gary Sanford, Jr. and Johnny Brazier tangled with Sanford using the sportsmanship rule to claim responsibility. Brazier would have to pit for damage, negating his right to reclaim his position. Under green once more, the field continued to be paced by Gray until lap 22 when Bradley Carter and Phillip Price got together, sending Carter and Price to the pits for damage repair. Cale Finley, making his first start of the season would also take advantage of the caution to pit. The field would race on clean and green until lap 42 when the yellow was displayed for a self-spin with Finley in turns 3 and 4 that would see Justin Bonnett pit for service. Lap 62 would see the next caution period for the stalled car of Chase Oliver in turn 1.  Oliver, Brazier, Finley, and the 101 car of Cameron Berry, who had an outstanding race would pit for service. On the restart, Gray would feel the most pressure yet from Letson who would race alongside him, leading the next lap before Gray would reclaim the point on the next circuit. Three laps later at lap 66, caution was displayed for a crash involving Phillip Price and Chase Oliver that would see both drivers headed to the pits for repairs. The next caution came at lap 77 for a collision between Price and Justin Bonnett with both drivers taking advantage of their three laps under caution for repairs. Gray would continue to control the field until lap 93, when heartbreak would strike. On a restart following a brief caution for the number 51 machine, Gray’s car would stall on acceleration, bringing out the final caution of the evening. Gray’s gas tank had run dry. Jeff Letson would assume the lead with John Thomas firmly attached to his bumper bar. Thomas would challenge Letson at every corner, but the former Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville Late Model Champion would hold on to capture the victory in the Rapid Roy 100.

CONTINGENCY AWARDS FOR RAPID ROY 100

FAST TIME: BRADLEY CARTER

10TH AT LAP 50: CALE FINLEY

HALFWAY LEADER: TROY GRAY

10TH AT LAP 100: TROY GRAY

NEXT TO LAST: PHILLIP PRICE

WINNER: JEFF LETSON

HARD CHARGER: GARY SANFORD, JR.

HARD LUCK: TROY GRAY

LATE MODEL

Fast time qualifier Billy Melvin rolled a five on the inversion, placing Keith Rankin of Soddy Daisy, Tennessee on the pole alongside Zach Johnson of Nashville, Tennessee for the 50 lap Late Model feature. Rankin would pace the field from the point for several laps before being overtaken by multiple time Huntsville track champion Chris Whorton in his familiar Rick Coulter prepared number 4. Whorton would go on to lead the remainder on the laps, although it would not be an easy win as points leader Billy Melvin would fall into Whorton’s tire tracks and even stick a nose under the leader on several occasions. Nathan Davis, whose 05 machine provided a frightening moment when his radiator cap forcefully ejected itself on the frontstretch pit road, narrowly missing a crew member. Despite the overheating issue, Davis would rally for an impressive third place finish, followed by Rankin, and Larry Ardry who started last on the field after arriving at the track late.

 

SUPER STOCK

In the Super Stock division, Fast Time Qualifier David Dean, Jr. started on the pole with Brandon Walker, who had an impressive effort himself in qualifying. Dean, Jr., driving the number 29 car usually piloted by Junior Jordan, claimed the early lead, before caution on lap 1 quickly slowed the field when an incident with Austin Evans and Junior Jordan, driving David Dean’s usual number 21 car, sent Jordan to the pits with a broken axle. Brandon Walker would claim the lead at lap 3. Caution would fly again at lap 5 for Shane Jones, making his sophomore effort in the Bama Parts number 192 car. On the following restart, the field would hardly get going before the yellow was out again when the number 98 of three-time feature winner Todd Cagle slapped the outside frontstretch wall seven times, ending The Ogre’s run for the evening. The final caution would come at lap 9 for the number 2 of Butch Jones. On the restart, Austin Evans would take advantage of the cone, passing Walker for the lead. Evans would claim the point as Walker fell into the clutches of Dean, Jr. who surpassed him for second 2 laps later. Dean, Jr. would put up a valiant effort, but was unable to catch Austin Evans, who captured his third victory for the season.

MINI MODIFIED

Fast Time Qualifier Jeremy Davis rolled a three on the inversion, giving Tommy Robinett the pole alongside a fast 5A car of Alex Campbell for the 20 lap feature. Robinett would do battle with the 5A and Davis would make his presence known, but it would be the 83 car of Jeremy Williams, who started scratch on the field, putting on an impressive performance and surpassing Robinett to take the win, followed Jacob Hill, Alex Campbell, and Doug Emerson rounding out the top five finishers.

BUZZ

Shane Jones captured another Pro Buzz victory in his Steam Master Carpet Cleaning/Lowery’s Tactical Firearms number 192, followed by Courtney Gibbs’s number 99 car. Shawn Garmon, driving the number 424, made a most impressive showing in the Amateur Buzz portion of the race, as he was the only car to avoid being lapped by a determined Jones. Garmon captured the Amateur Buzz victory, followed by Dennis Lang, Jaclyn Barnett, Danny Mason, and Josh Ross. Former feature winner Kassey Rogers only completed two laps before suffering an engine failure in his number 18 car.

 

HOT SHOT

Logan Berry started his first Hot Shot feature of the season from the pole alongside the Mustang of Allen Gunter. Berry would be caught up in a collision later, after the 02 driven by Brandon Moman assumed the lead.

Huntsville Speedway will return to action next Saturday night with races featuring the STAR SuperTrucks, Sportsman, Pure Stocks, Super Stock, Pro Buzz, Buzz, and Hot Shot divisions along with Superhero Night and An American Muscle Car Show presented by Buster’s Bait and Pawn. Pit gates will open at 2PM with practice starting at 3PM, followed by driver’s meeting at 5:30PM, qualifying at 6PM, and racing at 7PM.

Open Wheel Modified RAPID ROY 100:

  1. 131 – Jeff Letson
  2. 47 – John Thomas
  3. 18 – Gary Sanford, Jr.
  4. 23 – Bradley Carter
  5. 101 – Cameron Berry
  6. 71 – Johnny Brazier
  7. 5 – Chase Oliver
  8. 54 – Cale Finley
  9. 12 – Justin Bonnett
  10. 74 – Troy Gray
  11. 51 – Phillip Price
  12. 85 – Jason Davis
  13. 1 – Tim Gay (DNS)

Late Model:

  1. 4 – Chris Whorton
  2. 145 – Billy Melvin
  3. 05 – Nathan Davis
  4. 24 – Keith Rankin
  5. 19  -Larry Ardry
  6. 116 – Zach Johnson
  7. 71C – Ray Clemens
  8. 72 – Ron Evans
  9. B36 – Brittany Finley
  10. 114 – Brian Malone
  11. 59 – Roger Wood, Jr.
  12. 07- Lonnie Watson

Super Stock Division:

  1. 19 – Austin Evans
  2. 29 – David Dean, Jr.
  3. 18 – Brandon Walker
  4. 192 – Shane Jones
  5. 2 – Butch Rogers
  6. 98 – Todd Cagle
  7. 21 – Junior Jordan

Mini Modified Division:

  1. 83 – Jeremy Williams
  2. 9 – Tommy Robinett
  3. 19 – Jacob Hill
  4. 5A – Alex Campbell
  5. 31 – Kevin Harrison
  6. 5 – Doug Emerson
  7. 05 – Jimmy Wise
  8. 85 – Jeremy Davis
  9. 3 – Will Crews
  10. 5G – Carl Griffitt
  11. 8 – Matthew Tucker
  12. 81 – Eddie Dodd
  13. 31 – Kevin Harrison
  14. 121 – Charles McKee (DNS)

Pro Buzz Division:

  1. 192 – Shane Jones
  2. 99 – Courtney Gibbs

Amateur Buzz Division:

  1. 424 – Shawn Garmon
  2. 14Y – Dennis Lang
  3. 17 – Jaclyn Barnett
  4. 14B – Danny Mason
  5. 15 – Josh Ross
  6. 18 – Kassey Rogers

Hot Shot Division:

  1. 01 – Josh McElhone
  2. 02 – Brandon Moman
  3. 15 – Allen Gunter
  4. 51 – Tommy Rigsby
  5. 4 – Logan Berry
  6. 46 – Jamie Bradford
  7. 53 – Jimmy Kent