SYLVANIA, Ga. (July 22) — Assuming command when race-long leader Brandon Overton of Evans, Ga., pitted with a flat tire on lap 39, Casey Roberts of Toccoa, Ga., led the remaining distance to win Saturday’s Schaeffer’s Oil Southern Nationals-sanctioned Rebel Yell at Screven Motor Speedway. Roberts withstood a challenge from Shanon Buckingham before securing his 12th career series victory and second win in Screven’s annual southern classic to earn $10,053.
Buckingham of Morristown, Tenn., finished second, with polesitter Mark Whitener of Middleburg, Fla., grabbing the final podium spot. Dennis Franklin of Gaffney, S.C., edged Ross Bailes of Clover, S.C., at the line for the fourth spot.
Roberts, the 2015 series champion, inherited the lead from Overton on Friday night as well, but was unable to close out the race when he, like 17 other drivers at Swainsboro, retired early with mechanical issues. He had no such trouble at Screven, though he did have to turn back a valiant effort from Buckingham over the final 10 laps.
“In lapped traffic you never know what happens. (Overton has) been running good,” Roberts said. “It was just meant for us to win I guess. I hate that for them. They’ve been doing a real good job this year, but we’ve lost them that way too, so we’ll definitely take it. It’s a good shot in the arm. We had a good chance to win last night. We just needed a little bit of luck.”
After inheriting the the lead, Roberts had his hands full trying to turn back Buckingham. It took Roberts, who was on a harder compound tire, several laps to get rolling after the caution. That gave Buckingham a chance to pull even with him three separate times on the bottom.
“We didn’t fire off good. It took awhile to get going,” Roberts said. “I seen my wife there telling me to get down, get down. But I didn’t want to pinch him off. We’ve always raced each other clean and with just a few laps to go there when I thought I was clean enough, I got back down where it was kinda rubbered up a little bit. The hard tires starting taking off pretty good when they got a little heat in them and we were able to pull away a little bit there at the end.”
Buckingham last won on the tour July 21, 2016 at Tri-County Racetrack in Brasstown, N.C.. He was oh so close to grabbing his second career Southern Nationals victory and a career-high payday.
“I could’ve run in there and door slammed him, but I’m not gonna do that,” said Buckingham. “I’ve never seen Casey race anyone that way. He’s never raced me that way and I’m not gonna race him that way. I will say, maybe one more (lap) and I was gonna try to slide up in front of him.
“I felt like I was in a position to where I could’ve done that. And if he would’ve stayed composed, he would’ve turned back under me because I was about maxed out on traction. I would’ve had to shear (off) quite a bit (of traction) to have done that and I don’t think I could have held him off.”
It marked the second night in a row that a flat tire derailed Overton while leading. He suffered the same fate at Swainsboro Raceway a day earlier. He did manage to rally from 13th back to seventh, and more importantly, he was able to get around series points leader Donald McIntosh of Dawsonville, Ga., with just a handful of laps remaining to save two valuable points.
After winning three series races in a row, McIntosh started 12th and was never in contention at Screven. He finished eighth as his streak came to a halt, though he did manage to hang on to the points lead as the series heads to Rome (Ga.) Speedway on Sunday.
With his runner-up finish, Buckingham suddenly made the series points race a three-way battle. A model of consistency over the course of the first six events, Buckingham has yet to record a victory, but he has five top-five finishes to his credit and hasn’t finished worse than eighth.
While McIntosh grabbed the points lead from Overton on Friday night, he’s now tied with Buckingham for the top spot in the series standings. Overton led the points following the second and third race on the schedule. Now, however, he sits in third, two markers behind McIntosh and Buckingham.
“I’m pretty excited about (the points),” said Buckingham. “Brandon’s been on a tear and you know he’s really good at Rome. The last time we were there, we were really good too. We lost brakes in the feature. I like that place and we’re gravitating back towards home, so I’m excited. Anyway it falls out, Brandon and Donald, they’re great guys and I want to race with them. I just feel blessed to have that opportunity.”
Preliminary results and notes:
Row 1: Mark Whitener, Brandon Overton
Row 2: Dennis Franklin, Zack Mitchell
Row 3: Donald Bradsher, Casey Roberts
Row 4: Brian Conner, Michael Brown
Row 5: Shanon Buckingham, Ross Bailes
Row 6: Scott Shirey, Donald McIntosh
Row 7: Ivedent Lloyd, Jr., Pearson Williams
Row 8: Brent Dixon, Steve Casebolt
Row 9: Brian Ligon, Craig Vosbergen
Row 10: Matt Henderson, Brandon Carpenter
Row 11: Ryan Crane, Bryan Reece
Brian Ligon won the consolation race, with Craig Vosbergen finishing second ahead of Matt Henderson. Brandon Carpenter rallied from an early spin to finish fourth. The race was slowed by three cautions. Fourth-running Carpenter’s spin on lap two brought out the first caution, collecting Ryan Crane also. A second yellow waved when Crane slid over the infield berm on the front straightaway. The third was for debris on lap five.
Finish (top four transfer): Brian Ligon, Craig Vosbergen, Matt Henderson, Brandon Carpenter, Ryan Crane, Brian Reece, Farrel Skelton, Jim Rogers
(10 laps, top four transfer)
Row 1: Brandon Carpenter, Brian Ligon
Row 2: Craig Vosbergen, Brian Reece
Row 3: Matt Henderson, Jim Rogers
Row 4: Josh Langley, Jason Walker
Row 5: Ryan Crane, Farrel Skelton
Zach Mitchell of Enoree, S.C., cruised to victory in the fourth heat race, winning well ahead of Michael Brown. With a dazzling move off of turn four on the fourth circuit, Brown passed Donald McIntosh and Steve Casebolt to grab the runner-up spot. McIntosh, winner of three straight series events, finished third, with Casebolt holding down the final transfer spot.
Finish (top four transfer): Zach Mitchell, Michael Brown, Donald McIntosh, Steve Casebolt, Brian Reece, Jason Walker
Winning the dash into turn one, polesitter and overall fast qualifier Brandon Overton of Evans, Ga., topped Casey Roberts by a straightaway to pick up the victory in the third heat and earn the outside front row for the A-main. Roberts finished second easily ahead of Ross Bailes. Pearson Williams edged Brian Ligon for the final transfer position.
Finish (top four transfer): Brandon Overton, Casey Roberts, Ross Bailes, Pearson Williams, Brian Ligon, Jim Rogers, Farrel Skelton
After two attempted starts, officials moved the entire front row of Josh Langley and Brent Dixon back one row. Putting Dennis Franklin of Gaffney, S.C., on the pole, the four-time Rebel Yell champion took advantage and led all 10 laps for the win. Franklin was pressured over the final five laps by Brian Conner, who pulled to within a car length at the finish. Scott Shirey and Brent Dixon completed the top four. Other than the two aborted starts, the caution waved once for Langley, who slowed and did not finish the heat.
Finish (top four transfer): Dennis Franklin, Brian Conner, Scott Shirey, Brent Dixon, Craig Vosbergen, Josh Langley
Mark Whitener got the jump on polesitter Donald Bradsher on the first lap and led all 10 circuits to win the first heat. Whitener of Middleburg, Fla., won by a straightaway over Bradsher, earning the pole position for the 53-lap main event. Shannon Buckingham turned back repeated challenges from Evident Lloyd Jr. to claim the third position, with Lloyd settling for the fourth and final transfer spot. The race went caution free.
Finish (top four transfer): Mark Whitener, Donald Bradsher, Shannon Buckingham, Ivedent Lloyd Jr., Brandon Carpenter, Matt Henderson, Ryan Crane
Heat race lineups
(10 laps, top four transfer)
Row 1: Donald Bradsher, Mark Whitener
Row 2: Ivedent Lloyd Jr., Shanon Buckingham
Row 3: Brandon Carpenter, Ryan Crane
Row 4: Matt Henderson
Row 1: Josh Langley, Brent Dixon
Row 2: Dennis Franklin, Brian Conner
Row 3: Scott Shirey, Craig Vosbergen
Row 1: Brandon Overton, Casey Roberts
Row 2: Ross Bailes, Pearson Williams
Row 3: Brian Ligon, Jim Rogers
Row 4: Farrel Skelton
Row 1: Zack Mitchell, Steve Casebolt
Row 2: Michael Brown, Donald McIntosh
Row 3: Brian Reece, Jason Walker
Track officials decided to push the program back approximately 30 minutes due to Saturday’s extreme heat … Riley Hickman’s plans to follow the tour through its remaining Georgia stops took an unexpected wrong turn when he crashed his only car 10 laps into Friday’s feature at Swainsboro. The Ooltewah, Tenn., driver reportedly bent the front clip on his Capital Race Car in the accident, which happened while he was leading the race. Hickman headed home to reassess his damaged car. … Kenny Collins, of Colbert, Ga., who was sixth in points, isn’t at Screven. The first miss for Colbert, who was experiencing water pump problems on Friday night, brings the series perfect attendance down to eight. … David Doherty of Sydney, Australia, who has been on and off the tour, isn’t at Screven. Doherty was 10th in points.
Time trail results (unofficial)
Driver (car no.), hometown, time
Donald Bradsher (93), Burlington, N.C., 14.856
Josh Langley (7), Lancaster, S.C., 15.031
Mark Whitener (2w), Middleburg, Fla., 15.069
Brent Dixon (1), Elkton, Ga., 15.125
Ivedent Lloyd Jr. (21), Ocala, Fla., 15.174
Shanon Buckingham (50), Morristown, Tenn., 15.235
Brian Conner (77), Martinez, Ga., 15.344
Brandon Carpenter (44), Augusta, Ga., 15.387
Scott Shirey (10s), Swansea, S.C., 15.401
Ryan Crane (10), Panama City, Fla., 15.764
Craig Vosbergen (8), Perth, W. Australia, 15.998
John Henderson (2x), North Augusta, S.C., 16.070
Brandon Overton (116), Evans, Ga., 14.356
Zack Mitchell (57), Enoree, S.C., 14.463
Casey Roberts (101), Toccoa, Ga., 14.510
Steve Casebolt (c9), Richmond, Ind., 14.874
Ross Bailes (87), Clover, S.C., 14.939
Michael Brown (24D), Pageland, S.C., 15.059
Pearson Williams (121), Dublin, Ga., 15.140
Donald McIntosh (7), Dawsonville, Ga., 15.351
Brian Ligon (04), Augusta, Ga., 15.542
Brian Reece (14), Sharpsburg, Ga., 15.571
Jim Rogers (71K), Statesboro, Ga., 15.819
Jason Walker (83), Culleoka, Tenn., 16.717
Farrel Skelton (0F), Mt. Pleasant, Tenn., 17.221
The sixth round of the Schaeffer’s Oil Southern Nationals rolls into Screven Motor Speedway, a 3/8th-mile red-clay oval located about 60 miles northwest of Savannah.
Thanks to his third straight series victory, Donald McIntosh of Dawsonville, Ga., has assumed the series points lead. McIntosh leads Brandon Overton of Evans, Ga., by a scant four points, while Shanon Buckingham of Morristown, Tenn., sits just 12 points behind McIntosh.
The Super Late Model program includes hot laps, time trials, heat races and a 53-lap main event. Entries will be split into two groups for time trials and then run four heats races and a consolation race. Two series provisionals will be added to make a 22-car starting field.
6:30 p.m. - Draw closes/driver’s meeting
7:30 p.m. - Hot laps/qualifying
- Stock V-8 hot laps
- Crate Late Model hot laps
- Super Late Model hot laps
- Mini Late Model hot laps
- Renegade 4 hot laps
- Road Warrior hot laps
- Super Late Model time trials (two laps)
- Crate Late Model time trials
- Stock V-8 feature (15 laps)
- Super Late Model heats (10 laps)
- Renegade 4 consolation (12 laps)
- Crate Late Model consolation (eight laps)
- Super Late Model consolation (10 laps)
- Mini Late Model feature (15 laps)
- Super Late Model feature (51 laps)
- Crate Late Model feature (30 laps)
- Renegade 4 feature (30 laps)
- Road Warrior feature (15 laps)
Correction: Fixes series points to reflect tie for lead.