Michael Neely Captures His First Victory in STAR SuperTruck Division

Brandon Curran Arrives and Dominates in Sportsman Division; Jerry Hendrixson, Jr. Claims the Win in Tennessee Pure Stocks

06/17/2017

By Kevin Neal

The STAR SuperTrucks, Sportsman, and Tennessee Pure Stock drivers went into battle on Father’s Day Weekend for an evening of outstanding action that featured three first time division winners.

In qualifying for the STAR SuperTrucks, Pure Stock, and Sportsman, Daniel Bradford (14.635) in STAR SuperTrucks, Jerry Hendrixson, Jr. (15.994) in the Pure Stock, and Bryan Faulkner (14.997) in Sportsman turned in the fastest times of the night.

In the STAR SuperTruck Division, fast time qualifier Daniel Bradford claimed the pole in his Swampwater Louies/Affordable Towing number 67 and started as such after rolling a one on the inversion die, flanked by Parker Henegar on the outside of the front row. At the drop of the green flag, it would be déjà vu as Bradford’s truck rocketed into the lead. Michael Neely, starting in third, was able to shut out outside polesitter Henegar and trap him in the high groove and into the clutches of Joe Davis who would ultimately dispatch him for third. Meanwhile up front, Michael Neely was sticking the nose of his Bama Parts number 92 underneath Bradford. The duo battled side by side, but by lap 4, Neely would claim the lead exclusively as his own, relegating Bradford to second. Jacob Stephens, winner of the last STAR SuperTruck feature would begin to make his presence felt after a caution period, moving around Joe Davis for third after nudging the Norton Flooring number 85 off of turn two to create the opening for the pass. The next restart would be a pivotal point of the event as the cone restart would give Jacob Stephens and Greg Sheppard the opportunity to move to the outside to challenge the front runners. After the green, exiting turn two, third place runner Daniel Bradford would make contact with race leader Michael Neely, spinning him to the inside wall at the exit of the turn. Bradford would take advantage of the Sportsmanship Rule, taking credit for the incident and sending himself to the rear while restoring Neely to the race lead. On the subsequent restart, Jacob Stephens on the outside would challenge Neely for the race lead, briefly claiming the point entering turn one, Neely would hammer Stephens, shooting him up the track, and opening the low groove for Neely to once again claim the lead.  Joe Davis and Jacob Stephens would wage war for the runner-up spot over the next several laps while Neely stretched his lead to a half straightaway advantage. Stephens would win that battle claiming second solely for himself and setting sights on the race leader once again. The final restart at lap 37 would see Neely under assault from both Jacob Stephens and Daniel Bradford, who had worked his way back to the front from the rear of the field. Neely would once again stretch his advantage over Stephens and Bradford, while Stephens turned back Bradford’s challenges for second. When the checkered flag fell, it was Michael Neely, fulfilling the childhood dream and claiming his first victory in a premier division at Huntsville Speedway, winning the STAR SuperTruck 50 lap feature.

In the 30 lap Sportsman feature, fast qualifier Bryan Faulkner, making his first Sportsman start of the season, rolled a two on the inversion, putting previous feature winner Henry Wade on the pole. At the drop of the green, Wade took off into the lead, but a loose race car entering turn one sent Wade sliding up the hill, opening the door for Brandon Curran to take the lead. Wade would drop down into the runner-up spot with Alan Callaway and Bryan Faulkner in pursuit. Curran, making his first start of the season at Huntsville after an impressive eighth place finish at Bristol in the Short Track Nationals, had his number 18 on a rail, stretching out to a half straightaway advantage over Wade, who was eventually overtaken by Callaway for second. Caution flew for the stalled machine of Eddie Gibbs, which bunched the field and placed Alan Callaway outside of Curran for the restart. Callaway took several looks to the inside of Curran but was unable to seal the deal while Bryan Faulkner was able to usurp Henry Wade for third. Brandon Curran held on to the top spot claiming the win with Callaway finishing second, followed by Faulkner, Wade, Byron Westbrooks, Johnathan Campbell, and Eddie Gibbs.

In the Tennessee Pure Stock 30 lap feature, fast qualifier Jerry Hendrixson, Jr. started in fourth after the inversion, putting Jason Plunkett, Jr. and Josh Pitt on the front row.  It didn’t take long for Hendrixson, Jr. to find his way to the lead, and he seemed to set sail for an easy victory, but, Matt Adams, the winner of the previous feature, despite starting last, made his way to second and was poised to challenge for the lead. An early race caution was brought out by the number 93 of Nicholas Reed, making his first Pure Stock start of the season, after he made violent contact with the frontstretch wall. The caution regrouped the field and put Adams and Hendrixson, Jr. side by side to race for the lead. Hendrixson, Jr. again went to the lead with Adams nipping at his rear bumper. Hendrixson, Jr. would hold on for the win followed by Adams, and Josh Pitt in the top three.

In the 20 lap Super Stock feature, Brandon Walker would start from his first pole of the year, alongside of last season’s Super Stock Champion Brad Malone. Walker would sprint into the early lead with David Dean, Jr. following him into second, shutting Malone out of the low groove. Dean, Jr. would furiously pursue Walker for the first few laps until contact between the two would turn Walker sideways in front of the field, claiming a number of machines in the aftermath, including Brad Malone, Todd Cagle, and Dean, Jr. himself who would have to go to the pits to change a tire. Both Cagle and Dean, Jr. would return to the race, where the prime beneficiary of the crash was Guile Hornbuckle, who would lead on the restart. Austin Thornton, making his first Super Stock start of his career in the famed number 1 Bama Parts car, would make a good accounting of himself until he made contact with Caleb Thornberry, taking himself out of contention. Junior Jordan, already a feature winner in 2017, worked high and low, but was ultimately unable to upend eventual race winner Guile Hornbuckle, who took home the trophy.

In the 20 lap Mini Modified feature Doug Emerson and Joel Collier led the field to the green flag, but it didn’t take long for Joel Collier to capture the advantage. Former Mini Stock Champion Tommy Robinett was able to better his fourth place starting position to challenge Collier for the win, but was unable to catch Collier who bettered his previous runner-up finish to take the victory followed by Robinett, Jerry Mills in an impressive outing, six-time feature winner Jeremy Davis, and Charlie McKee rounding out the top five.

In the Buzz 15 lap feature Courtney Gibbs started from the pole in her Buster’s Bait and Pawn number 99 flanked by the Midway Auto and Body number 48 of Mathew Robbins. Robbins would eventually take the lead from Gibbs who would find herself fending off the challenge of Floyd Brown who would take the runner-up spot. Courtney Gibbs would then compete side by side for several laps with Shane Jones in the STEAMMaster Carpet Cleaning/Lowery’s Tactical Firearms number 192. The two would make contact causing Gibbs to spin in turn two, but Jones would take advantage of the Sportsmanship Rule, taking credit for the incident and returning Gibbs to her position. Mathew Robbins would go on to take the victory, followed by Brown, Gibbs, and Jones.

In the 15 lap Hot Shot feature, the feature was two laps too long for Allen Gunter who fended off all challengers until lap 13 when Josh McElhone was finally able to surpass him for the race lead. Jeremy Price, who has previously visited victory lane in the 00 machine, was hotly contesting McElhone for the runner-up spot until his car seemed to drop a cylinder, opening the door for McElhone to set sights on Gunter. McElhone took home the victory followed by Gunter, Jeremy Price, Tommy Rigsby, and Paul Frazier in a brand new number 13 car.

Huntsville Speedway will return to action next Saturday night with the Late Models, Open Wheel Modifieds, Super Stock, 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. 92 – Michael Neely
  2. 5 – Jacob Stephens
  3. 67 – Daniel Bradford
  4. 85 – Joe Davis
  5. 35 – Parker Henegar
  6. 189 – Bryce Carver
  7. 32 – Andrew Whitaker
  8. 62 – Jody Anderson
  9. 31 – Jeremy Pate
  10. 14 – Greg Sheppard
  11. 82 – Josh McWhorter
  12. 37 – Austin Finley

Sportsman Division:

  1. 18 – Brandon Curran
  2. 6 – Alan Callaway
  3. 12 – Bryan Faulkner
  4. 60 – Henry Wade
  5. 5 – Byron Westbrooks
  6. 316 – Jonathan Campbell
  7. 63 – Eddie Gibbs

Tennessee Pure Stock Division:

  1. 33 – Jerry Hendrixson, Jr.
  2. 19 – Matt Adams
  3. 4 – Josh Pitt
  4. 43 – Jason Plunkett, Jr.
  5. 93 – Nicholas Reed
  6. 38 – Jason Plunkett, Sr.

Super Stock Division:

  1. 27 – Guile Hornbuckle
  2. 29 – Junior Jordan
  3. 14 – Caleb Thornberry
  4. 21 – David Dean, Jr.
  5. 18 – Brandon Walker
  6. 98 – Todd Cagle
  7. 1 – Austin Thornton
  8. 15 – Brad Malone

Mini Modified Division:

  1. 71 – Joel Collier
  2. 9 – Tommy Robinett
  3. 61 – Jerry Mills
  4. 85 – Jeremy Davis
  5. 121 – Charles McKee
  6. 31 – Kevin Harrison
  7. 22 – Patrick Christian
  8. 5 – Doug Emerson

Buzz Division:

  1. 48 – Mathew Robbins
  2. 84 – Floyd Brown
  3. 99 – Courtney Gibbs
  4. 192 – Shane Jones

Hot Shot Division:

  1. 01 – Josh McElhone
  2. 15 – Allen Gunter
  3. 00  – Jeremy Price
  4. 51 – Tommy Rigsby
  5. 13 – Paul Frazier