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A major crash on the final turn of the last lap marred the 50-lap race at Franklin Co. Speedway.
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
CALLAWAY — Wild and woolly. That was the only apt description of Langley Austin’s first show as promoter at Franklin County Speedway on Monday.
On an evening that already had produced a major post-race scuffle between Tunerz division crew members and a delay for a lights failure on the back straightaway, Hillsville’s Steve Dalton held on during a crash-filled final lap to capture the featured Late Model Stock race.
The 50-lap race was marred by a huge accident in the final turn of the last lap in which the car of Bassett’s Calvin Brooks was T-boned just behind the driver’s side door by a car driven by Ernie Gillespie.
Emergency crews needed about 20 minutes to cut the roof off of Brooks’ car to remove the 61-year-old FCS regular. Brooks was transported to Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital, where he was held overnight and released Tuesday morning with a fractured rib and some swelling.
Gillespie, who wasn’t hurt in the crash, told track officials afterward that his car had lost its brakes and was unable to avoid Brooks’ car, which was sitting sideways high in the fourth turn. Brooks had been collected in a tangle that was triggered when Kyle Barnes tried to go three-wide into Turn 3 with Floyd’s Bobby Gillespie and Vinton’s Wesley Thomason.
Dalton, who was running ahead of the five-car crash, beat Tommy Peregoy to the finish line by a car length for his 166th victory spanning all divisons of his 15-year driving career.
“We won, and that’s all that matters, as long as everybody over there is OK,” said Dalton as he glanced toward the mangled carnage in the fourth turn.
“Oh my goodness, that’s been one of the toughest races in which I’ve ever gotten back to the front and won the race. It’s unbelievable, man. It should have been a heck of a show for the fans. I tell you, they ought to go their money’s worth. I guarantee they will be back!”
Roanoke’s Kyle Dudley, who had to overcome a spin with Dalton midway in the race and had to visit the pits twice for a flat left rear tire and right-side sheet metal damage, finished third. Barnes claimed fourth, David Sell was fifth and Thomason sixth from their cars’ positions on the track following the red flag stoppage of the race.
Thomason, 25, also said he would be back to find Barnes, whose bonsai move triggered the last-lap mess.
“You want to write a good story? Follow me and the 15 [Barnes] the next couple weeks,” Thomason told a reporter after the race. “Payback will happen, and it’s going to happen hard. I’m either going to take it to Motor Mile or he’s going to come back here. Revenge will happen, I will tear his car up.
“It takes a lot to tear mine up, and I’m mad about it as hell. He’s got a lot more money in his car than I do, and it’s going to cost him, mark my words.”
Defending track champion Billy Martin was running fourth in the 14-car field before his car was forced to retire with mechanical problems at the halfway point.
Other division winners included: Joey Phillips (U-Car); Steve Teeter (Mini Cup); Daniel Hudson (Mini Stocks); Eddie Rocke (Street Stock); and J.C. Morgan (Tunerz).
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