Ogle fights off challengers at Cleveland
By Richard AllenTennesseeRacer.com
CLEVELAND, Tenn. (Aug. 18) — Reigning series champion Billy Ogle Jr. of Knoxville, Tenn., led all 40 laps Saturday at Cleveland Speedway to capture the 22nd Jean Johnson Memorial and his first Southern All Star Dirt Racing Series victory of the season. Ogle earned $3,500 as he turned back a host of challengers at the third-mile oval.
“My biggest thing when I was out there out front, I didn’t know where I needed to run,” said Ogle, who stretched a personal winning streak to two after a win a week earlier at Smoky Mountain Speedway in Maryville, Tenn. "And I was kind of moving around top to bottom. I finally decided on keeping it at the top towards the end. I think that’s what was causing me some problems, moving around too much, and losing time that way. I did have a feeling somebody was close to me ... I just felt it. I’m glad to get it over with, because I thought my car was slipping there at one point.”
Dingus Griffin, Skip Arp and series points leader Randy Weaver were among drivers who tried to unseat Ogle from the top spot.
“That’s what I was trying to do, get myself a little bit of a cushion and get away from that hornet’s nest, and get up through some lapped cars,” Ogle said. "But when I got to the back of the lapped cars — a few of ‘em pulled out for me — but then the ones that weren’t pulling out, I was struggling to get around him. I think that’s what hurt me a lot, too, as far as letting ‘em close up on me. I’m just glad we held on to the end.”
Weaver, of Crossville, Tenn., finished second from his 12th starting spot with Arp, of Georgetown, Tenn., in third. Johnny Chastain of Murphy, N.C., and Alexandria, Ala.’s Griffin rounded out the top five finishers.
Ogle jumped into the lead at the outset and built a sizable advantage, but once Griffin took the second spot from Greg Martin, he began applying pressure to the lead after 15 laps were complete.
Griffin peeked underneath Ogle a few times as the frontrunners faced traffic while Martin, Jacob Grizzle and Arp gave chase.
A lap-22 caution for the slowing car of William Thomas gave the field an opportunity to catch its collective breath and prepare for the second half of the race.
On the restart, Griffin and Martin faded a bit while Weaver and Arp emerged as Ogle’s most serious challengers. Arp went for the lead on lap 28, but that opened the door for Weaver to take the second spot. The race’s second and final caution came on lap 37 when Shan Smith blew an engine, setting up a three-lap dash to the finish.
Ogle stuck with his high groove and kept Weaver in check over the final laps for the victory.
Notes: Ogle’s Blount Motorsports Rocket Chassis is sponsored by Arnold Trucking, Bearden Oil Company, Blount Excavating, Cherokee Millwright, GEOServices, Insurance Partners, Massey Electric, Stowers (CAT) Machinery Corp. and Wine and Spirits Cellar. ... Lamar Scoggins won the feature in Cleveland’s division for Limited Late Models and Crates, earning $1,200 in the 30-lapper. ... Next up for the Southern All Stars is the Sept. 2 Buddy Rogers Memorial at Tazewell (Tenn.) Speedway. ... Lap sponsorships are available for the 44-lap event. ... The $44 from each purchased lap goes to the American Cancer Society. Call Jimmy “Pup" Thomas from Hoosier Racing Tire at (865) 806-4459 or Chris Tilley with the Southern All Stars at (606) 219-1723 for details.
Jean Johnson Memorial: (1) Billy Ogle Jr. (2) Randy Weaver, (3) Skip Arp, (4) Johnny Chastain, (5) Dingus Griffin, (6) Jacob Grizzle, (7) Greg Martin, (8) Derek Ellis, (9) Jake Knowles, (10) Skip Freeman, (11) Mike Weeks, (12) Jeff Neubert, (13) Kurt English, (14) Shan Smith, (15) Mark Vineyard, (16) William Thomas, (17) Brian Hickman, (18) Kayne Hickman, (19) Jamie Perry. Fast qualifier (among 19 cars): Ogle, 13.091 seconds. Consolation race winner: Ellis.