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Daily Dirt 05/25/2024 00:40:31

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February 5
Screven Motor Speedway,
Sylvania, GA
Sanction: XR Southern All Star Series (Winter Freeze) - $10,000
Information provided by: Series and staff reports (last updated February 6, 8:28 am)
Third-to-first move lifts Bailes to Screven victory
Winter Freeze
  1. Ross Bailes
  2. Pearson Lee Williams
  3. Rusty Schlenk
  4. Payton Freeman
  5. Colten Burdette
  6. Brent Dixon
  7. Cla Knight
  8. John Henderson
  9. Kenny Collins
  10. Dalton Cook
  11. Benjamin Cranford
  12. Dale Timms
  13. Banjo Duke
  14. Jimmy Sharpe Jr.
  15. Brian Nuttall Jr.
  16. Bryson Harper
  17. Billy Franklin
  18. Matt Dooley
  19. Josh Putnam
  20. Todd Brennan
  21. Shay Miller
  22. Michael Brown
presented by
Richard Barnes
Ross Bailes celebrates his second career Southern All Star victory.
What won the race: Ross Bailes of Clover, S.C., went from third to first with a thrilling move exiting turn two on the 12th lap Saturday at Screven Motor Speedway to capture the 40th season opener on the Southern All Star Racing Series. Bailes earned $10,000 in the Winter Freeze for his second career series victory.
Key notes: Bailes, who made the winning move around Brent Dixon and Payton Freeman on the 12th lap, took the checkers over runner-up Pearson Lee Williams by a three-second margin. ... Three cautions, all in the first 13 laps, slowed the action. ... The Southern All Stars opened the season at Screven for the first time. ... Saturday's program included a $5,000-to-win event for 602 Bandits (Crate Late Models) and $18,000-to-win for the Sport Compact Dirt Racing Association. ... Friday's preliminary action (no Super Late Models scheduled) was rained out. ... The Southern All Stars last month were purchased by Minnesota-based XR.
Winner's sponsors: Bailes drove a Billy Hicks-owned Longhorn Chassis powered by a Clements Racing Engine and sponsored by H&H Auto Sales, Felony Farms, Bailes Construction, Hoosier Tire South, Fred Caldwell Chevrolet and Bilstein Shocks.
Points chase: Payton Freeman of Commerce, Ga., is the reigning series champion.
Current weather: Clear, 44°F
Car count: 23
Fast qualifier: John Henderson
Time: 14.603 seconds
Polesitter: Brent Dixon
Heat race winners: Brent Dixon, Josh Putnam, Ross Bailes, Payton Freeman
Next series race: March 6, Cherokee Speedway (Gaffney, SC) $10,000
Editor's note: Results and race details are unofficial.
From staff reports

SYLVANIA, Ga. — Nobody remembers who finished second. And Ross Bailes was so determined not to finish second Saturday at Screven Motor Speedway that he skipped holding that position altogether.

The 32-year-old Clover, S.C., made a nifty third-to-first move exiting turn two on the 12th lap of the 40th Southern All Star Racing Series opener and rolled to a $10,000 Winter Freeze victory at the 3/8-mile oval.

Amid lapped traffic as Bailes chased early leader Brent Dixon and reigning Southern All Star champ Payton Freeman, "it got kind of sketchy there," Bailes said. "But they left me the top and I took it and I was able to get by 'em before the caution came out."

Indeed a lap-13 caution slowed the action, but Bailes wasn't challenged the rest of the 50-lapper in capturing his second career Southern All Star feature and first since capturing 2017's season opener at Cherokee Speedway in Gaffney, S.C.

Bailes took the checkers three seconds ahead of Pearson Lee Williams of Dublin, Ga., who improved five positions for a $5,000 payday. Surprising entrant Rusty Schlenk of McClure, Ohio, drove a John Nicholson-owned car to a third-place finish while Commerce, Ga.'s Freeman and Colten Burdette of Parkersburg, W.Va. rounded out the top five. Dixon, who started on the pole and led 11 laps, settled for sixth.

While Dixon pounced into the early lead, he soon had his hands full with Freeman. When the low-running frontrunners came upon the slower car of Shay Miller, the third-running Bailes saw an opportunity.

"That's one of those cases where it's just better to be in second or third so you can see what they're doing and what you need to do," Bailes said. "And luckily, like I said, Payton started pressuring Brent there on the bottom, and they left me at the top and I was able to take advantage of it."

Bailes had to navigate slower cars in the second half of the race, but never appeared in danger despite Williams, who took second from Freeman on lap 27, cutting the margin to less than two seconds with 10 laps remaining.

Williams was pleased with his seventh-to-second run for Wynn Motorsports.

"I'm hungry man. I'm ready to go," he said. "This is gonna be our year, so I'm ready to keep on getting after it."

Schlenk, a northern Ohio-based owner of Domination Race Cars who makes occasional Southern racing trips, headed to Georgia to assist customer John Nicholson. He ended up driving Nicholson's No. 63 to a podium finish.

"They bought it from me this year and we haven't had it on the racetrack yet, so I come down to test with them on Thursday and everything went pretty good," Schlenk said. "So they decided to throw me in the car for tonight and let me have some fun down here. So we figured we'd stick around and try it. We had some had some good luck last time (with the Southern All Stars).

"We had another good race. This is a tricky little place. I wish we could wish we could rerun that feature. I think we might have something for him. I found some speed there at the end. I just a tricky little joint. It took me about 15 or 20 laps to figure it out."

Three cautions slowed the action, all in the first 13 laps. The first appeared on the first attempted start when Dalton Cook and Matt Dooley tangled on the backstretch. A lap-two caution appeared for Brian Nuttall Jr.'s spin exiting turn two and Todd Brennan drew a lap-13 yellow flag in turn four.

Notes: Bailes is coming off a nine-victory season that included two five-figure paydays. ... Half the Screven's 22 starters completed 50 laps. ... The Southern All Stars return to action March 6 at Cherokee for the $10,000-to-win March Madness event.

Feature lineup

Row 1: Brent Dixon, Josh Putnam
Row 2: Ross Bailes, Payton Freeman
Row 3: Cla Knight, Colten Burdette
Row 4: Pearson Lee Williams, Rusty Schlenk
Row 5: Benjamin Cranford, John Henderson
Row 6: Dale Timms, Michael Brown
Row 7: Banjo Duke, Brian Nuttall Jr.
Row 8: Matt Dooley, Kenny Collins
Row 9: Bryson Harper, Dalton Cook
Row 10: Shay Miller, Billy Franklin
Row 11: Todd Brennan, Jimmy Sharpe Jr.
Row 12: Brad Basey

Heat race results

(10 laps; all transfer)

First heat: Brent Dixon, Cla Knight, Benjamin Cranford, Banjo Duke, Bryson Harper. Scratched: Todd Brennan.

Second heat: Josh Putnam, Colten Burdette, John Henderson, Brian Nuttall Jr., Dalton Cook. Scratched: Jimmy Sharpe Jr.

Third heat: Ross Bailes, Pearson Lee Williams, Dale Timms, Matt Dooley, Shay Miller. Scratched: Brad Basey.

Fourth heat: Payton Freeman, Rusty Schlenk, Michael Brown, Billy Franklin, Kenny Collins. Scratched: Billy Franklin.

Time trials

Group A
Driver (car no.), hometown, Time

  1. Cla Knight (42), North Augusta, S.C., 14.650
  2. Ross Bailes (79), Clover, S.C., 14.795
  3. Brent Dixon (1D), Elberton, Ga., 14.906
  4. Pearson Lee Williams (121), Dublin, Ga., 14.958
  5. Banjo Duke (11), Manning, S.C., 15.037
  6. Matt Dooley, Brooks, Ga., 15.405
  7. Dale Timms (07), Hodges, S.C., 15.256
  8. Bryson Harper (20H), Forest City, N.C., 15.341
  9. Todd Brennan (20), Zanesville, Ohio, 15.412
  10. Shay Miller (21), Hayden, Ala., 15.468
  11. Benjamin Cranford (93), Thomson, Ga., 15.753
  12. Brad Basey (D52), Augusta, Ga., 16.761

Group B

  1. John Henderson (2x), Aiken, S.C., 14.603
  2. Payton Freeman (F1), Commerce, Ga., 14.776
  3. Josh Putnam (212), Florence, Ala., 14.871
  4. Rusty Schlenk (1), McClure, Ohio, 14.920
  5. Brian Nuttall Jr. (16), Claxton, Ga., 14.982
  6. Kenny Collins (1c), Colbert, Ga., 15.035
  7. Colten Burdette (44), Parkersburg, W.Va., 15.074
  8. Michael Brown (24-D), Pageland, S.C., 15.166
  9. Dalton Cook (44D), Smiths Station, Ala., 15.290
  10. Billy Franklin (17), Calera, Ala., 15.403
  11. Jimmy Sharpe Jr. (26jr), Vidalia, Ga., 21.333


Feature lineup

Row 1: Dixon, Putnam
Row 2: Bailes, Freeman
Row 3: Knight, Burdette
Row 4: Williams, Schlenk
Row 5: Cranford, Henderson
Row 6: Timms, Brown
Row 7: Duke, Nuttall
Row 8: Dooley, Collins
Row 9: Harper, Cook
Row 10: Miller, Franklin
Row 11: Brennan, Sharpe Jr.
Row 12: Basey

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