Central Mississippi Speedway
Cooley leads all 40 laps at Central Mississippi
By Roby HelmNeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series
WINONA, Miss. (May 7) — Eric Cooley of Fulton, Miss., raced to his second straight NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series victory Friday in the Mid-State Nationals 40 at Central Mississippi Speedway. The 19-year-old reigning series champ led all 40 laps and was never challenged in route to his third series career win in a race that was a survival of the fittest, as just eight of the 24 cars that started the race were around for the checkered flag.
A hot and humid evening combined with a heavy clay surface that clogged radiators led to the majority of the field suffering overheating problems.
“That was a long, hot 40 laps of racing,” Cooley said. “It was not only tough on the engines running hot, but on drivers too. I couldn’t wait to get this one over with because I was really thirsty with cotton mouth. Running up front was a real advantage to surviving the race because I think my car didn’t get as hot as a lot others did.”
Hometown driver Wesley Greene started 14th and finished second, a full straightaway behind Cooley at the checkered flag. Matthew Turner of Dawsonville, Ga., took the third spot and now trails Cooley by 20 points in the series standings.
Reigning Central Mississippi Speedway champ Randall Beckwith of Kilmichael, Miss., was fourth and Johnny Stokes of Columbus, Miss., was fifth.
Mid-State Nationals 40: (1) Eric Cooley, (2) Wesley Greene, (3) Matthew Turner, (4) Randall Beckwith, (5) Johnny Stokes, (6) Shannon Lee, (7) Michael Blount, (8) Brett Delk, (9) Justin McRee, (10) Kyle Berry, (11) Larry Harrod, (12) Charlie Henderson, (13) Evan Ellis, (14) Mike Palasini Jr., (15) Chris McElhenney, (16) Chris Ragan, (17) Bobby Jordan, (18) Eric Carr, (19) Marcus Minga, (20) Doug Sanchagrin, (21) Chad McCool, (22) Jason Michau, (23) Ronny Lee Hollingsworth, (24) Jerry Inmon. Fast qualifier (among 31 cars): Coole, 14.647 seconds. Consolation race winners: McElhenney, McRee. Last-chance winner: Michau. Provisional starters: Minga, Henderson.