Compton wins Clash finale, Franklin gets title
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (Oct. 15) – Locked in a tight points battle with defending series champion Dennis Franklin, Kenny Compton Jr. did all he could to win his first series championship in Saturday night’s Carolina Clash Late Model Series finale at Fayetteville Speedway. | Notebook
Compton of Bland, Va., posted the fastest lap in time trials and led the entire distance of the night’s 40-lap main event for a $4,000 payday. But it wasn’t enough as Franklin, who needed to finish ninth or better to clinch the title, raced from his 12th starting position to finish fourth, giving the Gaffney, S.C., driver the $10,000 series championship.
Even after coming up short of the series title, Compton wasn’t disappointed.
“I’m pretty happy with it. I don’t think we can be disappointed with the way we ran here, especially these Clash Chase races,” Compton said of the tour’s chase system, which reset the points for the final five events of the season. “The worst finish we had was third until we broke, and I think we made a lot of accomplishments and improvements this year and I’m pretty happy.”
Meanwhile, Franklin was happy to pick up his second-consecutive championship, but was a little disappointed he didn’t race hard for the victory late in the race.
“(The championship) just speaks a lot for my team. I dug us a hole in qualifying, I forgot to adjust the shocks, I dropped the 8-ball totally. I told them I’d make it up,” Franklin said. “The car was superb. I got to points racing there at the end trying to be protective and I should’ve just stepped on up to the plate and went for the win.”
Scott Autry started third in Saturday’s race, and battled for the second spot with Luke Roffers of Concord, N.C., for nearly the entire race. Compton never got very far away from the runner-up battle, but was able to stay far enough ahead to score the victory. Autry got under Roffers coming off the final turn on the last lap to squeeze by for second. Roffers settled for third with Franklin fourth and Dustin Mitchell of Pine Level, N.C., rounding out the top five finishers.
Notes: The victory is Compton's second of 2011; his previous victory came May 21 at Dublin Motor Speedway. ... Franklin will pick up $10,000 at the series banquet on Jan. 28 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. He finished 35 points ahead of Compton. He earned 10 bonus points for being the race’s hard charger. ... Travis Yow wrapped up the tour’s $2,500 Rookie of the Year award. ... No heat races were ran for Saturday's race due to a late start.
Carolina Clash @ Fayetteville: (1) Kenny Compton Jr., (2) Scott Autry, (3) Luke Roffers, (4) Dennis Franklin, (5) Dustin Mitchell, (6) Mike Gault, (7) Jeff Smith, (8) Johnny Stovall, (9) Ricky Weeks, (10) Scott Shirey, (11) Travis Hair, (12) Travis Yow, (13) Donald Bradsher, (14) Chuck Smith, (15) Mike Parker, (16) Kerry King, (17) David Taylor, (18) Daulton Wilson, (19) Jay Sessoms, (20) Craig Shuffield (21) Tim Allen, (22) Jonathan Gunther, (23) Steven Blanton, (24) Roger Lucas. Fast qualifier (among 24 cars): Compton, 17.808 seconds.