Sugar Creek Raceway
Ridley comes out on top at Sugar Creek
By Connie PutnamDirtonDirt.com correspondent
BLUE RIDGE, Ga. (June 23) — In a race where frontrunners found a heap of trouble, seventh-starting Aaron Ridley of Chatsworth, Ga., came out on top Saturday at Sugar Creek Speedway for his second consecutive victory on the Southern Regional Racing Series. | Slideshow
Ridley, who was running third when a three-car wreck moved him out front, earned $3,000 for his second career series victory, both in Georgia. Ridley also won June 2 at his hometown North Georgia Speedway.
Hometown driver Shane Tankersley was second at Sugar Creek with SRRS points leader Riley Hickman of Ooltewah, Ga., starting on the tail in a backup car, was third. Gary McPherson of Dalton, Ga., and Kurt English of Murphy, N.C., rounded out the top five.
Outside front-row starter Josh Putnam of Killen, Ala., took the early lead over polesitter David Payne of Murphy, N.C., and Putnam caught the tail of the field after just five laps.
Just as Putnam was about to lap his first competitor, Rodney Weeks slowed in front of the leader and Putnam had nowhere to go. Weeks spun and Payne made contact, knocking both out of the race while Putnam held the lead on the restart.
But after building a big lead, Putnam’s race ended on the ninth lap when the fifth-arm bracket on his car broke, disabling the driveshaft and handing the lead to Jamie Oliver.
But Oliver, too, had troubles with lapped traffic, getting into the back of Jerry Bradley’s car, which ended up in the turn-four wall. Second-running Shawn Chastain was also caught up in the scramble, and all three drivers retired to the infield.
Ridley inherited the lead followed by Tankersley, George Mashburn, McPherson and Riley Hickman, and the frontrunners — finally — weren’t part of the final caution when a turn-two pileup took out several more cars.
Ridley was out front at the finish with just eight of 18 starters surviving the feature.
Notes: Ridley's Revelution Chassis is sponsored by True Temp Heating & Air Conditioning. ... Cale Finley retired with a broken driveshaft during the race’s second caution. ... With only 18 cars on hand, SRRS officials elected for two groups of time trials setting up the inside and outside lanes for the feature. ... David Payne and Josh Putnam topped the qualifying groups. ... SRRS competitors have a busy stretch coming up with five races between June 28-July 3, starting at Duck River Raceway Park before moving to Boyd’s Speedway, Smoky Mountain Speedway, 411 Motor Speedway and Wartburg Speedway.
SRRS @ Sugar Creek: (1) Aaron Ridley, (2) Shane Tankerlsey, (3) Riley Hickman, (4) Gary McPherson, (5) Kurt English, (6) George Mashburn, (7) Josh Henry, (8) Gabe Wilson, (9) Bo Eaton, (10) Jamie Oliver, (11) Johnny Chastain, (12) Shawn Chastain, (13) Johnny Cloer Jr., (14) Jerry Bradley, (15) Josh Putnam, (16) David Payne, (17) Cale Finley, (18) Rodney Weeks. Fast qualifier (among 18 cars): Payne, 15.187 seconds.