Franklin leads all 35 laps of Carolina opener
GASTONIA, N.C. (July 13) — Outside front-row starter Dennis “Rambo” Franklin of Gaffney, S.C., led all 35 laps Tuesday at Carolina Speedway for his sixth career victory on the Southern Nationals Series for Super Late Models. Franklin earned $3,500 for winning a race that became the series opener after Monday’s rainout at Wythe Raceway in Rural Retreat, Va. | Slideshow | Video
"When I took off on that green flag in that first couple of laps, I knew we were going to be good," Franklin said. "The crew did a wonderful job."
Seven cautions slowed the action but Franklin was never headed in his victory at the 4/10-mile oval. Polesitter and fast qualifier Austin Dillon of Welcome, N.C., settled for second while eighth-starting Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, Ga., rallied for third. Mike Gault of Gaffney advanced six positions to finish fourth while Tony Knowles of Tyrone, Ga., won the PPM Racing Products Hard Charger honors with his 22nd-to-fifth run.
After taking Wednesday off, the series runs July 15-17 at Cherokee Speedway in Gaffney, S.C.; Swainsboro (Ga.) Raceway and Screven Motor Speedway in Sylvania, Ga.
Notes: Franklin’s Barry Wright Race Car is sponsored by AES, Hollywood’s Productions, Carolina Collision and M&W Towing. ... Five of the seven cautions were in the first eight laps, including three on lap eight that required four restarts before the race got rolling again. ... Jeff Smith spun on the first start and collected Donald Bradsher with Jonathan Davenport narrowly missed the wreck. .... The event drew 30 cars from eight states. ... Drivers failing to make the feature: Anthony White, D.J. Wells, Mike Collins, Lee Sutton, Rodney Kiker and Dane Burns.
Southern Nationals @ Carolina: (1) Dennis Franklin, (2) Austin Dillon, (3) Jonathan Davenport, (4) Mike Gault, (5) Tony Knowles, (6) Jay Sessoms, (7) John Henderson, (8) Ethan Hunter, (9) Robbie Bailey, (10) Tommy Kerr, (11) Scott Creel, (12) Brian Booze, (13) Vic Hill, (14) Brian Ledbetter, (15) Donald Bradsher, (16) Brian Nuttall Jr., (17) Jeff Smith, (18) Chris Ferguson, (19) Donald Bradsher, (20) G.R. Smith, (21) John Pursley, (22) Ross Bailes, (23) Johnny Pursley, (24) Chris Wilson. Fast qualifier (among 30 cars): Dillon, 15.516 seconds. Consolation race winners: Henderson, Nuttall.