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Hudson O'Neal Powers his Way to Iron-Man Classic Victory

(June 19, 2021) Hudson O’Neal used a slide job on a restart to win Saturday’s Iron Man Classic for the Valvoline Iron Man Late Models. O’Neal joins his father, Don, as an Iron Man Classic winner.

Ross Bailes set fast time in group A qualifying to win the pole position for the 40-lap race. He was joined on the front how by Spencer Hughes who was the fastest qualifier in group B. As the green flag waved, Hughes used the outside line to quickly grab the lead. Bailes was immediately under fire from Mike Marlar in a battle for second. A series of quick cautions in the first 7 laps slowed the pace of the field. After each restart, Hughes would maintain his lead as a battle for second took place between Marlar, Bailes, and O’Neal. Bailes eventually fell out of the race and left the battle for second to be fought between Marlar and O’Neal.

Following a caution on lap 12, Marlar chose the outside line which put O’Neal on the inside line for the restart. When the green waved, O’Neal dove to the bottom of the track and pulled his huge slide job in front of Hughes and Marlar. Hughes tried to power back up to retake the lead, but O’Neal was already on the gas and maintained the lead.

Meanwhile, Dakotah Knuckles, Randy Weaver, Cory Hedgecock, and Zack Mitchell had their own battle behind the lead duo. Knuckles was able to grab third late in the race after Marlar pulled off the track while Mitchell and Hedgecock battled for fourth.

O’Neal was able to seal the deal and led the remainder of the race with Hughes finishing second in this first trip to Smoky Mountain.

(MRM Racing Photo)

1. Hudson O'Neal # 71
2. Spencer Hughes # 11
3. Dakotah Knuckles # 21k
4. Zack Mitchell # 57
5. Cory Hedgecock # 13
6. Tommy Kerr # 4t
7. Jensen Ford # 83
8. Skip Arp # 31
9. Robby Moses # 21
10. Matthew Nance # 2
11. Mike Marlar # 157
12. Michael Chilton # 97
13. Dusty Carver # 9
14. Randy Weaver # 85
15. David Payne # 8
16. Vic Hill # 1
17. Brett Wyatt # 17
18. Ross Bailes # 79
19. Donald McIntosh # 7m
20. Ray Cook # 53
21. David Crabtree # C5
22. Joey Coulter # 2

DID NOT QUALIFY: Kenny Cobble (31), Tim Rucker (47), Pierce McCarter (71)

The Brucebilt Iron Man Modified Series saw Blake Brown pick up his first win at Smoky Mountain Speedway. Brown was the fast qualifier and started the race from the pole position. Ryan Ayers started on the outside front row. Brown took the early lead over Ayers as Clayton Miller and Ricky Tinch battled for third. Miller eventually took the spot and moved in on Ayers. Miller set his sights on Ayers and finally took over second with a few laps remaining. Brown seemed to be in total control before getting out of shape against the cushion in the closing laps. That allowed Miller to close in and tighten up the race for the lead. Brown stayed in control and held of Miller to secure the win.

1. Blake Brown # 99
2. Clayton Miller # 15
3. Josh Harris # 22
4. Ricky Tinch # 327
5. Amos Bunch # 50
6. David Clark # 13
7. Ryan Ayers # 6
8. Wayne James # 4
9. Larry James # J2
10. Austin Holcombe # 8

The limited late model feature saw drama before the race started. Pole sitter Matt Henderson had a mechanical failure before the race went to green. Henderson’s car had to be towed off the track. That moved Jason Trammell to the pole position with Mack McCarter starting alongside. Trammell zipped to the early lead and McCarter and Cameron Weaver battled for second. Trammell maintained a several car-length advantage of McCarter. Around the halfway point of the race, Trammell developed some handling issues on his #90. Trammell nearly tagged the wall in turn 1 and that allowed McCarter to scoot by for the lead. Weaver would later take second from Trammell. Ronnie Johnson, who hit the wall in qualifying and started at the rear, was slicing his way through the field and joined the battle for a top five spot. Johnson would take fourth from Trammell and battled Jesse Lowe for third. McCarter took the win over Weaver as the final 8 laps of the race went caution free.

1. Mack McCarter # 51
2. Cameron Weaver # 16
3. Jesse Lowe # D2
4. Ronnie Johnson # 5
5. Jordan Horton # 56h
6. Jason Trammell # 90j
7. Jed Emert # 51
8. Bobby Giffin # 97
9. Roger Best # 007
10. Kelvin White # X
11. Matt Melton # 17
12. Mario Gresham # 21
13. Matt Henderson # 00

Baily Cardwell put another with the Cardwell name in the record books as a race winner in the 602 late model race. Cardwell’s only challenge during the 20-lap race was when Josh Keeble spun in front of Cardwell on lap 17. Cardwell cleared the spinning car and went on to a decisive win once the race resumed. Tucker Anderson finished comfortably in second and Curtis Thomas took third when Dane Curtis dropped out with a few laps to go.

1. Baily Cardwell # 07
2. Tucker Anderson # 6
3. Curtis Thomas # 5
4. Josh Keeble # 36
5. Dante Curtis # 03
6. Dustin Bunch # 9
7. Dylan Cole # 426

Full MRM Gallery

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Red Clay 602 Series - $1,500 to win




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