Roberts dominates Hartwell for second series win
HARTWELL, Ga. (July 16) — Polesitter Casey Roberts of Toccoa, Ga., led all 35 laps at Hartwell Speedway to take the third round of the O'Reilly Southern Nationals and a $3,500 payday. Roberts ran virtually unchallenged for his second career series victory on the Ray Cook-promoted tour.
"We made some changes right before the race," Roberts said. "I should've tightened it up a little more. I never thought it would get quite that slick."
Third-starting Tony Knowles of Tyrone, Ga., posted a series-best second-place finish while Jeff Cooke of Spartanburg, S.C., rallied from 11th for a third-place finish that put him into a tie for the series points lead with Tommy Kerr of Maryville, Tenn., who finished sixth.
Royce Bray of Hull, Ga., was fourth and Benji Cole of Canon, Ga., who started outside the front row and ran second early, slipped back to finish fifth at the 3/8-mile oval in northeastern Georgia.
Notes: Roberts drives a Victory Circle Chassis by Moyer with sponsorship from Starrette Trucking, Cushman Paint & Body and PPM. ... Roberts won his previous series event on July 20, 2006, at Tri-County Racetrack in Brasstown, N.C. ... Tenth-row starter Shon Flanary of Mount Carmel, Tenn., spun in turn two to draw a caution flag; he finished 18th. ... Thirteen drivers have attended all three series events so far. ... Hartwell boosted its car count this season with 31 entrants; last year's event drew 22 entries, including a pair of Limited Late Models. ... Jared Landers of Batesville, Ark., won the PPM Racing Products Hard Charger honors with his 22nd-to-13th run. ... Drivers failing to make the feature: Todd Hammond, Tommy Gandy, David McCoy, Gary Cunningham, Keith Freeman, Jimmy Ivester and J.R. Headen. ... Next up for the series is a Friday night event at Swainsboro (Ga.) Raceway paying $5,300 to the winner.
O'Reilly Southern Nationals @ Hartwell: (1) Casey Roberts, (2) Tony Knowles, (3) Jeff Cooke, (4) Royce Bray, (5) Benji Cole, (6) Tommy Kerr, (7) Dennis Franklin, (8) Austin Dillon, (9) Jonathan Davenport, (10) Dane Dacus, (11) Ethan Hunter, (12) Gar Dickson, (13) Jared Landers, (14) Jamie Oliver, (15) Bruce Taylor, (16) Daniel Baggerly, (17) Shawn Beasley, (18) Shon Flanary, (19) Steven Segars, (20) Michael Akeson, (21) Melvin English, (22) Brent Dixon, (23) Jeff Madden, (24) Daryl Freeman. Fast qualifier (among 31 cars): Roberts, 16.256 seconds. Consolation race winners: Cooke, Davenport. Provisional starters: Madden, Akeson.