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Daily Dirt 04/15/2024 19:11:03

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October 7
Swainsboro Raceway,
Swainsboro, GA
Sanction: Hunt the Front Super Dirt Series (Southern Showcase) - $23,000
Information provided by: Series and track reports (last updated October 8, 12:29 pm)
Carson Ferguson claims $23,000 Swainsboro win
Southern Showcase
  1. Carson Ferguson
  2. Ashton Winger
  3. Cody Overton
  4. Pearson Lee Williams
  5. Josh Putnam
  6. Jimmy Owens
  7. Dalton Cook
  8. Sam Seawright
  9. Donald McIntosh
  10. Trey Mills
  11. Brandon Overton
  12. Michael Page
  13. Zack Mitchell
  14. Joseph Joiner
  15. Wil Herrington
  16. Chris Ferguson
  17. Haiden Cowan
  18. Ross Bailes
  19. Jackson Hise
  20. Josh Henry
  21. Allen Styck
  22. Bo Slay
  23. John Henderson
  24. Ethan Dotson
presented by
Zackary Washington/Simple Moments Photography
Carson Ferguson's joined by Ashton Winger (left) and Cody Overton (right) on the podium.
What won the race: Snatching the lead on a lap-45 restart from race-long dominator Cody Overton, Carson Ferguson of Lincolnton, N.C., controlled the remainder of the distance to claim Saturday night’s 60-lap Hunt the Front Super Dirt Series Southern Showcase at Swainsboro Raceway. The 23-year-old driver beat Ashton Winger to the finish line by 1.229 seconds for a career-high $23,000 winner’s check.
Key notes: Fifth-place finisher Josh Putnam claimed the 2023 championship on the first-year Hunt the Front tour. His run pushed him past Joseph Joiner, who entered the night leading the standings by eight points but struggled to a 14th-place finish. … Ferguson registered his second HTF victory of the season; his previous score came on May 19, also at Swainsboro.
On the move: Donald McIntosh of Dawsonville, Ga., started ninth and finished 18th.
Winner's sponsors: Ferguson’s Paylor Motorsports Longhorn by Wesley Page Chassis is powered by a Vic Hill Racing Engine and sponsored by WP Racing Shocks, Hoopaugh Grading Company, Schaeffer’s Racing Oil, Night Owl National Contractors, Mega Plumbing of the Carolinas, John Page Racing, Live Oak Family Dentistry, VP Race Fuels, Earnhardt Technologies and Pro Fabrication.
Points chase: Final: 1. Josh Putnam (1,456); 2. Joseph Joiner (1,446); 3. Wil Herrington (1,424); 4. Trey Mills (1,342); 5. Dalton Cook (1,328).
Current weather: Clear, 63°F
Car count: 34
Fast qualifier: Cody Overton
Time: 15.674 seconds
Polesitter: Carson Ferguson
Heat race winners: Cody Overton, Pearson Lee Williams, Ashton Winger, Carson Ferguson
Consolation race winners: Brandon Overton, Donald McIntosh
Provisional starters: Wil Herrington, Bo Slay
Next series race: October 28, East Alabama Motor Speedway (Phenix City, AL) $49,000
Editor's note: Results and race details are unofficial.
From series reports

SWAINSBORO, Ga. (Oct. 7) — Carson Ferguson was a bit speechless after winning Saturday night’s 60-lap Hunt the Front Super Dirt Series Southern Showcase at Swainsboro Raceway. Not only because the $23,000 first-place check was the richest of his career, but also a result of his race car’s appearance.

“I don’t really know what to say,” Ferguson said in victory lane. “I never thought I’d have a car look like that after the race.”

Ferguson, 23, of Lincolnton, N.C., was eyeballing the bent-up bodywork on his Paylor Motorsports Longhorn Chassis, a byproduct of some hard racing on a 3/8-mile oval that was reworked before the start of the feature. He traded sliders — and some contact — with Cody Overton of Evans, Ga., while grabbing the lead from the race-long dominator on a lap-45 restart, leaving his No. 93 a little worse for the wear.

“But I really wanted this bad,” Ferguson said.

Returning to competition during Swainsboro’s HTF weekend for the first time since suffering a mild concussion and neck whiplash in a Sept. 9 crash at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, Ferguson was a hungry racer. He showed it with his aggressive third-to-first outside surge past Ashton Winger of Hampton, Ga., and Overton following the A-main’s first caution period — a move that put him in front for good as lap-46 was scored.

Ferguson handled a final restart on lap 57 to cross the finish line 1.229 seconds in front of Winger, who slid past Overton on lap 58 to secure a runner-up finish in Jeff Mathew’s Rocket Chassis. The 25-year-old Overton settled for a third-place finish in Bruce Kane’s Rocket after leading the first 45 laps.

Pearson Lee Williams of Dublin, Ga., finished fourth while fifth place was claimed by Josh Putnam of Florence, Ala., who clinched the $20,000 championship on the first-year Hunt the Front Super Dirt Series. Putnam entered the night trailing Joseph Joiner of Milton, Fla., by eight points, but his top-five run combined with Joiner’s troubles — he never climbed higher than ninth and placed 14th after pitting to change a tire on lap 57 — left Putnam with a 10-point title margin on Joiner.

The star of the show for much of the distance was Overton, who shot off the outside pole at the initial green flag to grab the lead from the polesitting Ferguson and proceeded to set a torrid pace. He built as large as a five-second edge over Ferguson while ripping through lapped traffic. At one point, in fact, he even threatened to lap his well-known older brother Brandon, who started 17th after winning a B-main and finished 11th.

Ferguson had a good sense, however, of how the race was playing out.

“(Overton) put on a softer tire than everybody else,” Ferguson said. “I knew if I could just hold Ashton off (to remain in second) we’d be in pretty good shape.”

The 23-year-old Winger overtook Ferguson for second on lap 43, but that actually put Ferguson in position to make his deciding move on the race’s first restart just two circuits later. He swung to the top of turn one to overtake Winger and then traded sliders with Overton before seizing command.

“I think Cody was trying to block Ashton on that restart and we were able to sneak up on there and surprise him,” Ferguson said. “I think we slid each other and we got into each other a little bit, but that was just good racing. I gotta thank him for racing me clean.”

Overton blamed himself for letting the race slip from his grasp.

“I just think I made a stupid move,” Overton said, referring to the lap-45 restart. “Just kind of going into (turn) one … I’ve done it multiple times and (Ferguson’s) actually been the one to pass me every single time doing the same exact thing. So you’d figure I’d learn from it …

“My car was really good. I couldn’t complain any. It was perfect. It just wasn’t our night. Just gotta move on to the next one.”

Ceding second to Winger following the lap-57 restart resulted from another miscue by Overton.

“I think I was driving kind of reckless toward the end,” Overton said. “I just got frustrated. It’s just one of them racing deals where you think you have it, and then you don’t.”

Winger was glad he regained second from Overton on the final restart, but he knew the restart 12 circuits earlier was the turning point.

“Carson just did a better job than me there,” said Winger, who won Friday’s $5,000 weekend opener at Swainsboro. “I think I picked the wrong lane there. Cody fired kind of late and I thought he’d fire a little earlier, and I got choked up there and just left the top wide open there for Carson.

“I actually don’t think I was that good around the tires, but I made a dumb mistake and that happens. (Ferguson) did a good job, his whole team works hard. I wish we could’ve swept the weekend but you know, hey, it’s all good.”

Ferguson’s victory was his fifth of the 2023 season, including two in Hunt the Front action. His previous triumph was a $10,000 score on May 19, also at Swainsboro, a track where his body of work includes a sweep of 2021’s Turkey 100 that earned him $10,500.

The checkered flag also put Ferguson back in the right frame of mind. He struggled to an 18th-place finish in Friday’s feature, which didn’t exactly boost his psyche in his first race back from his hard heat-race accident during Eldora’s World 100 weekend last month.

“Just doubting myself after wrecking at Eldora, then I spent a lot of days at home,” Ferguson said. “You kind of doubt yourself, but this one puts the cherry up on top.”

The only disappointment for Ferguson? He didn’t get to share the win with his closest supporters.

“I wish my dad was here, and (shock guru) Wesley Page, and (car owners) Donald and Gena Bradsher — everybody who’s helped me,” Ferguson said. “It’s just me, (crew chief) Andrew (Stewart) and Aiden this weekend.”

The race’s two caution flags were triggered by Allen Styck stopping on the inside of the track due to a damaged nosepiece (lap 45) and Chris Ferguson — the winner’s older cousin — slowing with a right-rear flat tire (lap 57).

Feature lineup

Row 1: Car. Ferguson, C. Overton
Row 2: Winger, Williams
Row 3: D. Cook, Putnam
Row 4: Mills, Hise
Row 5: S. Seawright, Chr. Ferguson
Row 6: Joiner, Cowan
Row 7: Page, Owens
Row 8: Z. Mitchell, Dotson
Row 9: B. Overton, McIntosh
Row 10: Henry, Henderson
Row 11: Bailes, Styck
Row 12: Herrington, Slay
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