JAMAICA, VA – Benji Hicks of Mt. Airy, NC was awarded his second FASTRAK Pro Late Model Series win of the season on Saturday night at Virginia Motor Speedway as a part of the 41st Annual USA 100. Hicks pulled his T&K Enterprises Longhorn into Victory Lane after the car of apparent winner Ross Bailes of Clover, SC was light at the scales.
Even before the penalty to Bailes, Hicks was pretty happy with a second-place finish, as Bailes was driving a car owned by Hicks’ Uncle Billy Hicks. When Hicks arrived in Victory Lane, his happiness went to pure emotion.
“It was two years ago tonight that my Namaw passed away and she was my everything,” Hicks said. “This win tonight is for her. I tried to win the Bill Hicks Sr. Memorial last Friday night at 311 Motor Speedway, but finished third. Bill Hicks Sr. was my Grandfather and my Namaw’s husband. Winning this race tonight with my family here is a pretty good consolation prize.”
For Hicks, family was the operative word, as he and Bailes driving his Uncle’s car were parked next to each other in the Garage Area of Virginia Motor Speedway. Hicks hinted that the fate of his win and Bailes being light at the scales may have been set at lunch time.
“My Mom made tacos for everyone at lunch time, so both teams dug in,” Hicks said tongue-in-cheek. “I ate more tacos than Ross did, so it didn’t really surprise me that he was light at the scales and we made weight. But in all seriousness, I hate that for them because they work as hard as anybody else.”
The $3,000 victory also gave Hicks the FASTRAK Pro Late Model Series point lead. Hicks now leads Jensen Ford of Piney Flats, TN by two points after the first four races of the 2017 season. The defending FASTRAK Pro Late Model Series Champion Cla Knight of North Augusta, GA is tied for the third spot with Ron Parker of Belwood, NC. Both drivers are ten points behind Ford.
The 2016 FASTRAK World Challenge Race winner Ryan Montgomery of Fairmont, WV finished second in the 40-lap main event for the FASTRAK Pro Late Models on Saturday night at Virginia Motor Speedway driving the T&J Contracting Rocket, and the defending FASTRAK Late Model Champion at VMS Justin Williams of Concord, VA took the third spot in the Mark Parks Racing Rocket.
Tyler Bare of Rockridge Baths, VA came back from an early visit to the pit area to finish fourth in the Loco Motives Rocket, and Logan Roberson of Waynesboro, VA came back from an early race spin to finish fifth in the Mike’s Tire and Auto Mastersbilt. Phillip Thompson of Knoxville, TN was the Rookie of the Race with a sixth-place effort in the Milmax Filtration Warrior, and Ford took the seventh spot in the Tim Byrd Motorsports TNT.
Corey Almond of Appomattox, VA finished eighth in the Ditch Witch Longhorn, and Matthew Nance of Ronda, NC was ninth in the Diversified Finishers Longhorn. Parker rounded out the top ten in the Schaeffer Oil Rocket.
In preliminary action, Nance was the Fast Qualifier among the 23 entrants with a lap around the Taj Mahal of American Dirt Tracks in 18.956 seconds. The three eight-lap Heat Races were won by Nance, Williams, and Matthew Quade of Mechanicsville, MD in the Northern Neck Chevrolet Rocket.
Nance took the lead at the start of the main event followed by Walker Arthur of Forest, VA in the Cecil B. Arthur Beef Farms Longhorn, Bare, Williams, and Bailes in the H&H Auto Sales Barry Wright. After starting 11th, Bailes was on a mission, as he passed Williams and Bare to move up to the third spot on lap five.
The first of five caution flags slowed the field on lap 11 when Darrell Dow of Chesapeake, VA hit the turn two guardrail. Nance led Arthur, Bailes, Williams, Hicks, Roberson, Knight, Quade, Montgomery and Ford down for the restart, with Bare on the tail of the field after pitting. Bailes and Hicks got by Arthur to move up to second and third respectively after the restart.
Roberson spun in turn four and out of the fifth spot on lap 15 to bring out the second caution flag. When the field went back to green flag action, two battles at the front of the pack developed. Nance and Bailes went at it for the lead, while Walker came back to challenge Hicks for the third spot. Hicks hung on to third by lap 17, but the battle for the point stayed hot and heavy.
Bailes was able to get an inside run on Nance coming off the fourth turn on lap 20, and took the lead at the scoring loop under the flagstand where the crossed flags were being displayed to signal the halfway point in the race. Nance then began to back up to Hicks in third, with Hicks taking second on lap 22.
Arthur spun out of the fourth spot in turn four on lap 23 to light up the yellow bulb for the third time in the race. Bailes led Hicks, Nance, Williams, Montgomery, Ford, Almond, Quade, Davis Lipscombe of Mechanicsville, VA in the After Hours Rod And Custom Mastersbilt, and Roberson down for the restart.
Montgomery and Ford got up on the wheel, as they both leapfrogged Williams and Nance to move up to third and fourth respectively when the green flag came back out of the restart. Williams was able to work his way around Nance for the fifth spot, and then passed Ford for the fourth spot in lap 26.
Dow brought the caution flag out on lap 28 with a spin in turn four. The top ten for the double-file restart was Bailes, Hicks, Montgomery, Williams, Ford, Nance, Roberson, Almond, Bare, and Quade. Williams passed Montgomery for the third position on the restart, but Montgomery retook the spot on lap 30.
A three car tangle in turn three on lap 31 involving Troy Frazier of Montclair, WV in the National Resources Rocket, Carl Vaughan of Chesapeake, VA in the Wild Wing Café Rocket, and Tyler Hoy of Stuarts Draft, VA in the Hoy Racing Rocket brought out the final caution flag of the race on lap 31. With the race inside of ten laps to go, it was a single-file restart.
On the restart, Hicks got a run on Bailes down the front straightaway. Bailes took his normal line into turn one on the high side of the track, while Hicks drove hard to the bottom of the track in turn one. Hick’s momentum had him sliding in the front of Bailes in turn two, but Bailes made a hard left, and drove back under Hicks to retake the lead he would never relinquish.
“I knew my only chance to win the race was to drive as hard as I could into turn one and hope I had enough right-front tire left to make it work,” Hicks said. “I needed a little more tire than what I had, so he was able to drive back around me for the lead while I tried to keep the car out of the fence.”
If Hicks would have only thought about those extra tacos at lunchtime, and that it would give him another opportunity after the race at the scale house.
The next race for the FASTRAK Pro Late Model Series South East Region will be on Saturday night, June 17 at Toccoa Raceway in Toccoa, GA for a $2,000-to-win, $250-to-start race. It will be the second visit of the season to Toccoa Raceway for FASTRAK, and Hicks won the season opener there on April 1.
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OFFICIAL RESULTS OF ROUND 4 AT VIRGINIA MOTOR SPEEDWAY IN JAMAICA, VA ON 6/3/17:
POS STRT CAR # DRIVER HOMETOWN LAPS $ WON
1. 5 55 Benji Hicks Mt. Airy, NC 40 $3,000
2. 7 12m Ryan Montgomery Fairmont, WV 40 $1,500
3. 2 2w Justin Williams Concord, VA 40 $900
4. 4 30 Tyler Bare Rockridge Baths, VA 40 $650
5. 8 17 Logan Roberson Waynesboro, VA 40 $600
6. 15 24t Phillip Thompson Knoxville, TN 40 $500
7. 10 83 Jensen Ford Piney Flats, TN 40 $450
8. 12 7a Corey Almond Appomattox, VA 40 $425
9. 1 24n Matthew Nance Ronda, NC 40 $400
10. 14 8 Ron Parker Belwood, NC 40 $365
11. 18 71 Davis Lipscombe Mechanicsville, VA 40 $340
12. 13 66x Matt Tarbox Brandywine, MD 40 $325
13. 23 71t Tyler Hoy Stuarts Draft, VA 40 $300
14. 16 40 Brent Bordeaux Fredericksburg, VA 40 $275
15. 20 28 Carl Vaughan Chesapeake, VA 39 $275
16. 9 42 Cla Knight North Augusta, SC 36 $275
17. 3 47 Matthew Quade Mechanicsville, MD 30 $275
18. 21 44 Dylan Lewis Oakland, MD 29 $275
19. 17 0 Troy Frazier Montclair, WV 29 $275
20. 19 5j Darrell Dow Chesapeake, VA 27 $275
21. 6 87 Walker Arthur Forest, VA 22 $275
22. 11 79 Ross Bailes Clover, SC 40 $275 (DQ/LT)
23. 22 38 Nick Love Hughesville, MD 0 $0 (DNS)
FAST QUALIFIER: Williams, 18.798 Seconds
LEAD CHANGES: 2
LAP LEADERS: Nance, 1-20; Bailes.21-39; Hicks, 40
LAP LEADERS: Nance, 20; Bailes, 19; Hicks, 1
ROOKIE OF THE RACE: Thompson
HARD CHARGER OF THE RACE: Hoy (started 23rd and finished 13th)
MARGIN OF VICTORY: .552 Seconds
TIME OF THE RACE: 44 Minutes and 18.785 Seconds
NEXT RACE: Saturday night, June 17, Toccoa Raceway, Toccoa, GA, $2,000-to-win, $250-to-start
POS CAR # DRIVER HOMETOWN CHASSIS TIME
1 24n Matthew Nance Ronda, NC Longhorn 18.956
2 83 Jensen Ford Piney Flats, TN TNT 19.064
3 12m Ryan Montgomery Fairmont, WV Rocket 19.279
4 30 Tyler Bare Rockridge Baths, VA Rocket 19.616
5 66x Matt Tarbox Bradywine, MD Rocket 19.779
6 40 Brent Bordeaux Fredericksburg, VA Pierce 19.846
7 5j Darrell Dow Chesapeake, VA Warrior 20.805
POS CAR # DRIVER HOMETOWN CHASSIS TIME
1 2w Justin Williams Concord, VA Rocket 18.798
2 55 Benji Hicks Mt. Airy, NC Longhorn 18.869
3 17 Logan Roberson Waynesboro, VA Mastersbilt 19.028
4 8 Ron Parker Belwood, NC Rocket 19.239
5 79 Ross Bailes Clover, SC Barry Wright 19.298
6 0 Troy Frazier Montclair, WV Rocket 19.412
7 28 Carl Vaughn Chesapeake, VA Rocket 20.861
6 38 Nick Love Hughesville, MD Rocket 22.059
POS CAR # DRIVER HOMETOWN CHASSIS TIME
1 47 Matthew Quade Mechanicsville, MD Rocket 19.006
2 7a Corey Almond Appomattox, VA Longhorn 19.076
3 87 Walker Arthur Forest, VA Longhorn 19.110
4 42 Cla Knight North Augusta, SC Longhorn 19.177
5 71 Davis Lipscombe Mechanicsville, VA Mastersbilt 19.685
6 44 Dylan Lewis Oakland, MD Mastersbilt 19.804
7 71t Tyler Hoy Stuarts Draft, VA Rocket 20.301
8 24T Phillip Thompson Knoxville, TN Warrior 22.166
HEAT RACES – 8 LAPS:
1ST HEAT: 1. Nance; 2. Bare; 3. Montgomery; 4. Ford; 5. Tarbox; 6. Bordeaux; 7. Dow.
2ND HEAT: 1. Williams; 2. Hicks; 3. Roberson; 4. Bailes; 5. Parker; 6. Frazier; 7. Vaughan; 8. Love.
3RD HEAT: 1. Quade; 2. Arthur; 3. Knight; 4. Almond; 5. Thompson; 6. Lipscombe; 7. Lewis; 8. Hoy.
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