Alabama drivers sweep Delta Dirt Nationals
By Roby HelmNeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series
Editor's note: Two weeks after the race, Jason Hiett was disqualified for using a chemically-enhanced tire; Matthew Turner inherited the July 31 victory.
GREENVILLE, Miss. (July 30-31) — Alabama drivers Jason Hiett of Lincoln and Mike Boland of Cuba captured NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series victories the last weekend in July at Greenville Speedway’s Delta Dirt Nationals. Boland captured Friday’s opener, earning $2,000 while Hiett earned $2,500 on Saturday for his first-ever series victory.
In Friday’s opener, Boland led flag-to-flag for his third series victory of the season and ninth of his career, moving him into second on the all-time list. He used the low groove in beating Chip Brindle of Chatsworth, Ga., to the checkered flag by 1.668 seconds.
“It was our plan to stay on the bottom of the track as much as we could,” said Boland, who builds his own Trak-Star Race Cars. “I don’t know who was behind me, but I knew they were there."
Mike Palasini Jr. of Leland, Miss., was third after falling back to sixth while series points leader Eric Cooley of Fulton, Miss., and Johnny Stokes of Columbus, Miss., rounded out the top five at the 3/10-mile oval.
In Saturday’s race, Hiett mastered Greenville’s gumbo clay and led all 50 laps of the weekend finale.
“The track surface here is a lot different than what we have at home, so it took us a while to figure it out,” Hiett said. “We weren’t that good last night, so we changed just about everything on the car except the engine, and all of that paid off tonight.”
Hiett beat Matthew Turner of Dawsonville, Ga., to the checkered flag by less than a half-second. Turner got within a few lengths of Hiett amid lapped traffic, but couldn’t make the pass. Boland finished third followed by Palasini and Larry Harrod of Plains, Ga.
July 30 feature: (1) Mike Boland, (2) Chip Brindle, (3) Mike Palasini Jr., (4) Eric Cooley, (5) Johnny Stokes, (6) Larry Harrod, (7) Matthew Turner, (8) Jeremy Shaw, (9) Chris McElhenney, (10) Bubba Harrison, (11) Doug Showah, (12) Shannon Lee, (13) Greg Fore, (14) Jason Hiett, (15) Mark Tice, (16) Charlie Henderson, (17) Chad Washington, (18) Jason Michau, (19) Marcus Minga, (20) Kevin Henderson, (21) Justin McRee, (22) Kenny Carpenter, (23) Michael Blount, (24) Cliff Williams. Fast qualifier (among 34 cars): Boland, 15.720 seconds. Heat race winners: Hiett, McElhenney, Cooley, Showah. Consolation winners: Fore, Michau.
July 31 feature: (1) Jason Hiett, (2) Matthew Turner, (3) Mike Boland, (4) Mike Palasini Jr., (5) Larry Harrod, (6) Eric Cooley, (7) Jeremy Shaw, (8) Bubba Harrison, (9) Chris McElhenney, (10) Mark Tice, (11) Chip Brindle, (12) Marcus Minga, (13) Charlie Henderson, (14) Glenn Craft, (15) Chad Washington, (16) Robert Smith, (17) Shannon Lee, (18) Cliff Williams, (19) Michael Blount, (20) Johnny Stokes, (21) Evan Ellis, (22) Justin McRee, (23) Chris Ragan, (24) Lucky Keeton. Fast qualifier (among 35 cars): Stokes, 15.185 seconds. Consolation race winners: Shaw, Keeton. Provisional starters: Blount, Minga.