Fayetteville Motor Speedway
Mitchell-Autry clash triggers Fayetteville fireworks
Editor's note: The following story was written before series officials stripped Dustin Mitchell of his victory for using illegal tires. Ricky Weeks was elevated to the winning position.
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (June 9) — Dustin Mitchell of Pine Level, N.C., survived a late-race tangle with Scott Autry — and a fracas in victory lane at Fayetteville Motor Speedway — for his second career Carolina Clash Super Late Model Series. | Slideshow
Mitchell, whose previous career series victory came Oct. 9, 2010, at Fayetteville, set fast time and led the first 33 laps at Fayetteville before fellow front-row starter and hometown favorite Scott Autry made his most serious challenge of the Al Lucas Memorial.
Autry took the lead going into turn one, but contact between the frontrunners exiting turn two sent Autry’s machine flipping over the embankment. He wasn’t reportedly injured, but he was out of the race while Mitchell was restored to the top spot for the restart.
Mitchell led the rest of the way, but his welcome to victory lane was a rude one as a local fan slipped into the winner’s circle and sucker-punched Mitchell before being removed by track security after a flurry of punches.
Third-starting Ricky Weeks of Rutherfordton, N.C., finished second with Luke Roffers of Concord, N.C., advancing three spots to finish third. Eighth-starting Ross Bailes of Clover, S.C., and 14th-starting Jeff Smith of Dallas, N.C., rounded out the top five finishers.
Notes: Mitchell’s No. D8 is powered by a Vic Hill Race Engine and sponsored by MP&J Construction, Dickerson’s Garage and Three Aces Speed Shop. ... Mitchell was scored as leading all 40 laps; his margin of victory was nearly a half-second. ... Nine of 26 starters completed 40 lap. ... A dozen were running at the finish. ... Wayne Hughes of Ghent, W.Va., earned Safety-Kleen Hard Charger honors for his 20th-to-sixth performance. ... Mike Gault of Gaffney, S.C., received the Shell Racing Solutions Hard Luck award. ... The Al Lucas Memorial paid tribute to the late Coca-Cola distributor who sponsored Fayetteville’s Late Model division and was instrumental in providing the track’s scoreboard. Lucas, who died in March, provided points fund money, trophies, and other support for dirt and asphalt tracks in the Cape Fear region. ... Carolina Clash competitors are slated to return to Fayetteville on June 30 for the $4,000-to-win Ed Gibbons Memorial, a race halted by weather March 24 and May 5.
Al Lucas Memorial: (1) Dustin Mitchell, (2) Ricky Weeks, (3) Luke Roffers, (4) Ross Bailes, (5) Jeff Smith, (6) Wayne Hughes, (7) Johnny Pursley, (8) Travis Hair, (9) Michael Marlowe, (10) Timmy Carroll, (11) Dale Hammond, (12) Chuck Smith, (13) Dean Bowen, (14) Scott Autry, (15) Travis Yow, (16) Shawn Beasley, (17) Austin Kirkpatrick, (18) Scott Neighbors, (19) Roger Lucas, (20) Robbie Turner, (21) Charles Hanson, (22) Ronnie Hoover, (23) Gary Mabe, (24) Mike Gault, (25) Mike Parker, (26) Craig Shuffield. Fast qualifier (among 26 cars): Autry, 17.658 seconds.