Alan Callaway Victorious in Sportsman Division; Jerry Hendrixson, Jr. Emerges the Winner in Tennessee Pure Stocks


By Kevin Neal

After being plagued by rainouts in the 2017 season, the STAR SuperTrucks, Sportsman, and Tennessee Pure Stock drivers once again faced the specter of possible precipitation on Saturday night, but track management, after evaluating weather models for three days, had a good feeling that the only forecast for the South’s Fastest Quarter-Mile Short Track was SPEED and the drivers in all divisions answered the call, delivering some of the best racing of the 2017 season.

In qualifying for the STAR SuperTrucks, Pure Stock, and Sportsman, Parker Henegar (14.612) in STAR SuperTrucks, Jerry Hendrixson, Jr. (16.258) in the Pure Stock, and Alan Callaway (14.763) in Sportsman turned in the fastest times of the night.

It was a story of grasping defeat from the jaws of victory in the STAR SuperTruck division as fast qualifier Parker Henegar drew the three on the inversion putting the number 85 of Joe Davis on the pole alongside the number 5 truck of Jacob Stephens. In a déjà vu moment from the previous SuperTruck event when Joe’s father Wesley took off with the lead, Joe Davis did the same, taking the point from the drop of the green flag and seeming unstoppable.

The first caution of the event flew at lap 8 when Jacob Stephens, who had been making runs at Davis for the lead, inadvertently hitting the rear bumper of Davis’s truck a little too hard and spinning him out of the lead. But wait…there’s more. Stephens would notify track officials that he was invoking the Sportsmanship Clause of the Spin Rule, a new addition for 2017 that allows a driver to claim responsibility for spinning another driver, relegating them to the rear, but allowing the party spun to reclaim their previous position.

Joe Davis was back on the point for the restart with the truck of Parker Henegar in tow. Davis would continue to pace the field, and Stephens would soldier on until lap 30 when he had to retire following a caution. Caution would quickly come again at lap 32 for the number 62 truck of Jody Anderson in a self spin . The restart saw Davis retaining the lead, and rookie driver Bryce Carver in his Window World number 189 take advantage of the restart cone to advance to the outside front row. Davis had Carver’s number on the restart, but Carver was able to squeeze down in front of Michael Neely to retain second. Neely would nudge Carver into a spin at lap 36, but again, good sportsmanship prevailed, as Michael Neely invoked the Sportsmanship Clause, sending Bryce Carver back to the runner-up spot.

Joe Davis was still in command at the restart, but scarcely one lap later, his Norton Flooring/1 st Impressions Signs truck would succumb to a mechanical failure, ending a run that seemed destined for a second win for the truck in 2017. With 12 laps remaining, this put Bryce Carver in front of the field with Jody Anderson in pursuit. A caution at lap 40 for a single truck spin involving Michael Neely set the stage for a 10 lap shootout. On the restart, Parker Henegar used the cone to start front row outside, but was unable to best the young rookie at the drop of the green. Carver and Henegar dueled for the top spot right up until the exit of turn 4 on the last lap when Henegar collided with Carver’s left rear quarter panel sending both drivers careening toward the inside wall and opening the door for Jody Anderson to swing to the high  groove, missing both Henegar and Carver, and crossing the stripe for his first STAR SuperTruck victory.

Prior to the evening’s racing activities, the drivers of the Sportsman division met in the pits and came up with a special format that was approved by track management to put on a whale of a show for the fans who defied the elements to enjoy some short track racing at its finest. The drivers ran their normal 30 lap feature, which was ended by a caution flag, setting up a 10 lap shootout with the drivers gathered back up for a restart. Fast qualifier Alan  Callaway rolled a three on the inversion dice which placed the number 5 of Byron Westbrooks on the pole for the special event, alongside the number 60 of Henry Wade, winner of the last Sportsman feature.

Wade was able to nab the lead from the drop of the green flag, and looked  intent on repeating as a feature winner, but Alan Callaway had a fast ride and wouldn’t go down easy. Callaway was able to navigate around Westbrooks and take second, and then set his sights on Wade. Wade and Callaway waged a  stupendous battle for the lead, with Callaway getting a run to the inside and taking the advantage from the veteran Wade.

As the two battled nose to tail,  quarters became a little too tight, and contact from Wade’s nose spun Callaway around at the exit of turn four. Enter the Sportsmanship Clause. Wade tapped his roof and took credit for the spin, sending Alan Callaway back to the front. After the competition caution at lap 30, Callaway was able to fend off a challenge from Byron Westbrooks to take home the victory. Henry Wade, Greg Kruse, Eddie Gibbs, and Johnathan Campbell, whose car overheated at the competition caution, rounded out the field.

In the Tennessee Pure Stock 30 lap feature, fast qualifier Jerry Hendrixson, Jr. also rolled a three on the inversion which put the number 43 of Jason Plunkett, Sr. on the pole alongside Jason Plunkett, Jr. Hendrixson would quickly find his way to the lead as another competitor was charging up through the field. Matt Adams, the winner of the previous Pure Stock event at Huntsville, had issues with a wheel bearing on his car which kept him from qualifying, but once repaired, revealed he was still plenty fast. Hendrixson would put up a fierce fight, but would be overtaken for the lead by Adams, who would go on to take the checkers, and seemingly the win, but post-race technical inspection revealed that the headers on the engine were not stock, an infraction of the division rules, which disqualified Adams, making Jerry Hendrixson, Jr. the feature winner.

In the 20 lap Super Stock feature, Todd Cagle started from the pole, flanked by the number 27 Mayhalls Wrecker machine of Guile Hornbuckle. After a side by side duel for the top spot, Hornbuckle was able to close down the bottom groove and capture the definitive lead. From there, Hornbuckle was  unstoppable, stretching out to a half-straightaway advantage over Cagle who seemed to have issues with his left front brakes throughout the race. David  Dean, Jr. and Caleb Thornberry had a race within a race as they dueled for second place with Thornberry eventually capturing the runner-up spot. On this night, no one had anything to quell the assault of Hurricane Hornbuckle, who made landfall in Huntsville Speedway Victory Lane for the first time in 2017.

In the Pro Buzz 15 lap feature Matthew Robbins and Courtney Gibbs would lead the flag to green. After a fantastic start, Robbins would nab the lead from Gibbs who quickly found herself in the clutches of Robbins’s teammate Floyd Brown. Brown would eventually overtake Gibbs for second place, but ran out of time in mounting a challenge to Robbins for the lead. Robbins captured the victory, followed by Floyd Brown, Courtney Gibbs, and Jay Harmening.

In the 15 lap Hot Shot feature, Tommy Rigsby and Josh Mac started on the  front row, and Rigsby would showcase the improvements he’s made to his number 51 machine, making it a very tough night for the multiple Hot Shot feature winner McElhone who would find himself struggling to surpass Rigsby to secure the lead. McElhone was finally able to seal the deal and close the door on Rigsby to take the win, followed by Allen Gunter and Jeremy Price.

Huntsville Speedway will return to action next Saturday night with a special event featuring the USAC Eastern Midgets Series. These insanely fast 950 lb., 260 HP speed demons will likely turn the fastest laps seen in some years at Huntsville Speedway. Also in action will be the Late Models, Open Wheel Modifieds, Super Stock, Mini Modifieds, Buzz and Pro Buzz, and Hot Shot divisions. The Pit gates will open at 3PM, front gates at 4PM, with qualifying beginning at 6PM and the first green flag of the evening flying at 7PM.

STAR Supertruck Division:

1. 62 – Jody Anderson

2. 14 – Greg Sheppard

3. 92 – Michael Neely

4. 189 – Bryce Carver

5. 35 – Parker Henegar

6. 85 – Joe Davis

7. 82 – Josh McWhorter

8. 5 – Jacob Stephens

9. 93 – Drew Uptain

Sportsman Division:

1. 6 – Alan Callaway

2. 5 – Byron Westbrooks

3. 60 – Henry Wade

4. 6 – Greg Kruse

5. 63 – Eddie Gibbs

6. 316 – Johnathan Campbell

Tennessee Pure Stock Division:

1. 33 – Jerry Hendrixson, Jr.

2. 38 – Jason Plunkett, Jr.

3. 43 – Jason Plunkett, Sr.

4. 4 – Josh Pitt

5. 14 – Curtis Thornberry

6. 19 – Matt Adams (DQ – Headers)

Pro Buzz Division:

1. 48 – Matthew Robbins

2. 84 – Floyd Brown

3. 99 – Courtney Gibbs

4. 92 – Jay Harmening

Super Stock Division:

1. 27 – Guile Hornbuckle

2. 14 – Caleb Thornberry

3. 21 – David Dean, Jr.

4. 98 – Todd Cagle

Hot Shot Division:

1. 01 – Josh Mac

2. 45 – Tommy Rigsby

3. 15 – Allen Gunter

4. 5 – Jeremy Price