Hickman pockets $10,000-to-win Possum Town Grand Prix
By NeSmith Racing Series PR (Columbus, MS) — Tennessee’s own Riley Hickman completed a dominant weekend at Magnolia Motor Speedway by leading 100 laps and claiming the $10,000 top prize for renewed running of the Possum Town Grand Prix. Hickman’s CVR Race Car with Hickman Manufacturing sponsorship crossed the finish line 3.444 seconds ahead of second place finisher Chase Washington of Houlka, MS. 2009 and 2010 NeSmith Dirt Late Model Series National Champion Eric Cooley came home third, with Spring, TX driver Chris Brown fourth, and Grant Garrison taking a top five finish back to his home state of Kentucky.
Hickman led the 26 car field to the green flag for the 100-lap event at the immaculate facility known for its ultra-racy “black ice” racing surface. The field quickly spread out on the wide surface, but Hickman was able to take advantage of the side-by-side action behind him and jump to an early lead.
The first of 6 caution flags would come on lap 12 when 2016 NeSmith Dirt Late Model Series Champion Cory Hedgecock would spin his Eagle Racing Engines/Brucebilt Rocket off turn 4. Hedgecock would head pitside for quick repairs and rejoin the field, eventually working his way up to the 10th spot at the finish. The field would go back to green with Hickman again jumping to a several car length lead before the caution lights would come back on at lap 18 for the slowing car of David Breazeale, who would retire from the event.
Once again at the restart Hickman would establish himself as the man that everyone was going to have to beat in order to take home the check. Two and three-wide action with wholesale position changes were taking place all through the field. The action would take the field all the way to lap 60 when the caution flag would wave for a competition fuel stop. After the brief pause in the action, it was Hickamn again establishing a lead although it would be short lived as the caution would wave again on lap 64 for a solo spin by Michael Blount in the Magnolia Transport special.
The “Dixie-style” double file restart placed Hickman out front by himself where he was able to take another lead. Meanwhile, the action amongst the top 10 was intense, and even moreso for the top 5 positions as Brown, Cooley, Washington, Garrison, and Chase Edge went after each other lap after lap. Lap 71 would see the yellow lights flash for the 5th time after the 4J of Josh Banes made hard contact with the outside wall in turn 1. Banes was able to refire the car, but his night would come to an end. The lap 71 restart would stack the field up for a 30-lap “dash” to the finish. Hickman still flashed his dominance on the restart as he maintained his race-long lead before the final caution would wave on lap 86 for the recent Southern 100 at Southern Raceway winner Andy Picklesimer who spun his #1 machine in turn 4.
The lap 86 restart proved to be intense as Hickman, who had been able to establish his lead on each prior restart, would appear to not get going as well which allowed Chase Washington and Eric Cooley to stay right on the rear of Hickman. Washington and Cooley’s battle for position ultimately allowed Hickman to overcome the slow restart and re-establish his multi-car lead which would not be challenged during the final 14 laps allowing him to flash under the checkered flag and claim the $10K payday after leading wire-to-wire.
Along with crowning Hickman the 2016 Possum Town Grand Prix Champion, other NeSmith Racing Champions were recognized for their 2016 accomplishments which included: Cory Hedgecock of Loudon, TN was crowned the 2016 NeSmith Dirt Late Model Series National Champion along with Cruise with the Champions Rookie of the Year; Bryant Marsh was honored as the 2016 Sunoco Young Guns Challenge Champion; Michael Arnold makes it back-to-back NeSmith Weekly Racing Series National Championships; and Spencer Hughes will claim the 2016 NeSmith Performance Parts Street Stock Division National Championship.
The Possum Town Grand Prix closes out the 2016 racing season for the NeSmith Dirt Late Model Series. The staff would like to thank the drivers, fans, sponsors, and especially our promoters for an excellent season. 2017 Winter Shootout and Touring Division schedule are planneed to be released in the coming days and weeks.
For more information about the NeSmith Dirt Late Model Series, please visit the official website at www.nesmithracing.com.
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NeSmith Chevrolet, Buick, GMC is the Official Title Sponsor of the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series.
Chevrolet Performance is an Official Sponsor of the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series.
Hoosier Racing Tire is the Official Tire of the NeSmith Dirt Late Model Series.
Sunoco Race Fuels is the Official Race Fuel of the Series.
Panama City Cycles is the Official ATV Provider of the Series.
Cruise with the Champions is the Official Vacation and Rookie of the Year Sponsor for the Series.
RockAuto.com is an Associate Sponsor of the Series and Official Sponsor of the RockAuto.com Winter Shootout Series.
David Smith Carburetors is the Official Carburetor of NeSmith Racing.
Contingency Sponsors Include: Out-Pace Performance, Crate Insider.com, AR Bodies, FreeStyle Graphix, and Knowles Racing Parts and Bodies.
2016 Chassis Sponsors are Trak-Star Race Cars, Warrior Race Cars, Rocket Chassis, GRT Race Cars, and CVR Race Cars.
Possum Town Grand Prix Feature Finish
1 R1 Riley Hickman Cleveland, TN Hickman Manufacturing CVR
2 38 Chase Washington Houlka, MS 45 Race Shop Capital
3 72 Eric Cooley Fulton, MS Steele’s Dive Barry Wright
4 21 Chris Brown Spring, TX Bloomquist
5 1 Grant Garrison Walton, KY Darrell Lanigan Racing Club 29
6 18 Chase Edge LaFayette, AL Edge’s Gas Company Mastersbilt
7 33 Scott Dedwylder Vossburg, MS Scott’s Body Shop & Towing Capital
8 4 Michael Arnold Hattiesburg, MS The Strength Center Longhorn
9 1m Neil Baggett Columbus, MS Montgomery Farms HRRC
11 73 Evan Ellis Plantersville, MS Ellis Welding Barry Wright
12 117 Jake Teague Oliver Springs, TN Wade’s Body Shop Longhorn
13 55 Chris Kratzer Haysville, KS Wichita Tire And Alignment Barry Wright
14 1s Jeremy Shaw Millport, AL Bassethound Motorsports GRT
15 147 Hunter Carroll Columbus, MS FBG Motorsports Trak-Star
16 760 Jim McDuffie Meridian, MS McDuffie Racing Black Diamond
17 19 Marcus Minga Shannon, MS B&M Salvage Rocket
18 121 Michael Blount Sumrall, MS Magnolia Auto Transport Mastersbilt
19 01 Nick Thrash Meridian, MS Thrash Motorsports GRT
20 77 Robbie Starnes Baytown, TX Lone Star Hydro & Maintenance Capital
21 2 Tyler Burgess Quitman, MS Burgess Outdoor Power Mastersbilt
22 1 Andy Picklesimer Ooltewah, TN Hyma Motorsports CVR
23 23 Cory Hedgecock Loudon, TN Eagle Racing Engines Rocket
23 4j Josh Banes – Y Lerned, MS Diversified Pest Management Blk Diamond
24 3 Todd Robinson Walnut, MS Robinson Racing Mastersbilt
25 00 Ricky Waggoner Milan, TN Waggoner Racing Taylormade
26 17 David Brazeale Four Corners, MS Franklin Enterprises Black Diamond
FAST QUALIFIER: Riley Hickman – 14.720
PROVISIONALS: Minga and Blount
LEAD CHANGES: None
LAP LEADERS: Riley Hickman – 1-100
BEYEA HEADERS HARD CHARGER OF THE RACE: Scott Dedwylder (Started 21st, finished 7th)
CRUISE WITH THE CHAMPIONS ROOKIE OF THE RACE: Hedgecock
MARGIN OF VICTORY: 3.444 seconds
TIME OF THE RACE: 66 minutes, 10 seconds
NEXT RACE: 2017 Winter Shootout Series – ICE BOWL – Talladega Short Track – January 5-8
Submitted By: Kirk Elliott