Whynot Motorsports Park
McRee redeemed with Friday victory at Whynot
By Roby HelmNeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series
MERIDIAN, Miss. — Fast qualifier Justin McRee of Woodstock, Ala., captured the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series victory that got away four months ago by winning the opener of the weekend's the Summer Shootout at Whynot Motorsports Park. McRee took the lead on lap 10 and led the rest of Friday's 40-lapper. | Slideshow
McRee had four months to think about losing the May 2 series event at Whynot, when he was leading the race with six laps remaining and victory was snatched away.
“Now this is what was supposed to happen back in May,” McRee said as he climbed from his race car in victory lane. “This feels a lot better than breaking a shock with six laps to go. I can’t tell you much of what happened in the last six laps tonight because I was talking to God asking Him to get us to the checkered flag.”
Six lengths separated McRee from the second-place finisher Todd Morrow of East Ridge, Tenn., while Chris McElhenney of Lake, Miss., hometown driver Jim McDuffie and Scott Knowles of Lanett, Ala., rounded out the top five.
Knowles started outside the front row and led the first 10 laps running the outside groove, while McRee stuck to the bottom of the quarter-mile oval.
“I knew Scott Knowles would be tough to beat because he came out of the box like a rocket at the start of the race on the outside,” McRee said. “I stayed on the bottom hoping it would get better as the race went on, and it did.”
After McCree took the lead, Morrow got around Knowles for the second spot on lap 14 and was able to catch McRee with a caution flag on lap 16 after Shannon Lee of Lumberton, Miss., hit the frontstretch wall. McRee led Morrow, McElhenney, Knowles and Mike Boland back to green and on the restart. Knowles and McElhenney briefly swapped the third spot while the fifth and final caution appeared when Derrick Rainey of Powder Springs, Ga., got into the first-turn wall.
The second half of the race went clean and green as Knowles and Bub McCool of Vicksburg, Miss., went to the outside and started making up ground. Knowles got by McElhenney for the third spot, but he didn’t stay there long, as McElhenney returned the favor on lap 24. Boland retired on lap 24.
McDuffie showed some muscle, coming from ninth on the lap 20 restart to fourth by lap 29. McRee had to work some lapped traffic in the closing laps of the race, which enabled Morrow to move in, but not close enough to challenge for the victory.
Notes: McCree's Trak-Star Chassis is sponsored by Century Carriers. ... Half of 24 starters completed 40 laps. ... Fourteen drivers were running at the finish. ... Series points leader Eric Cooley of Fulton, Miss., was eighth. ... Larry Boutwell of Baker, Fla., earned GM Performance Parts Hard Charger honors for his 23rd-to-10th run. ... Other cautions were for Gathan Burns (turn-one spin), Randall Beckwith (turn-one wall) and for a turn-four tangle between Cliff Williams and Wiley Williams. ... The NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series National Tour returns to Whynot on Saturday for night two of the Summer Shootout with a $2,500-to-win 50-lapper.
NeSmith Chevrolet @ Whynot: (1) Justin McRee, (2) Todd Morrow, (3) Chris McElhenney, (4) Scott Knowles, (5) Jim McDuffie (6) Jason Hiett, (7) Bub McCool, (8) Eric Cooley, (9) Matthew Turner, (10) Larry Boutwell, (11) Klint Byars, (12) Chase Washington, (13) Randy Boyd, (14) David Gentry, (15) Paul Walters, (16) Mike Boland, (17) Wiley Williams, (18) Derrick Rainey, (19) Shannon Lee, (20) Chris Jimerson, (21) Wesley Greene, (22) Cliff Williams, (23) Randall Beckwith, (24) Gathan Burns . Fast qualifier (among 48 cars): McRee. Heat race winners: Morrow, Boland, Williams, Boyd. Consolation winners: McCool, Burns. Provisional starters: Boutwell, Rainey.