EASTABOGA, Ala. (Jan. 6) — Michael Page knew he had a chance to make history. But he really had to work for it.
With a chance to become the first driver to win the Ice Bowl three consecutive times, Page was close to letting the opportunity slip away. A brake malfunction while leading on lap 26 sent his car zipping up the hill in turn two. By the time he could gather it back in, Cory Hedgecock of Loudon, Tenn., was well out front.
But Page simply wouldn’t be denied his history-making victory. Reclaiming the lead from Hedgecock on lap 41, Page of Douglasville, Ga., led the final 10 laps Sunday evening to capture his third straight Ice Bowl triumph at Talladega Short Track.
Hedgecock made a final charge as the lead pair raced into turn three on the final circuit, but, unable to grab the lead, he spun out of second place in turn four. Polesitter Ray Cook of Brasstown, N.C., scooted by Hedgecock to grab the runner-up spot, 2.57 seconds behind Page, while early leader Austin Horton of Newnan, Ga., took third. Ninth-starting Dallas Cooper of Talladega finished fourth, while Joseph Brown of Columbus, Ga., finished fifth after starting 10th.
“I really wanted it bad,” said Page. “I’ve been having problems all week with my car. It’s been a handful. It’d kinda come and go. I was having brake problems. I thought I broke something coming out of (turn) two and the car just took off (up the track). I didn’t think it was gonna stop. I was going right to the wall and I finally got it stopped.”
He did get turned left in time, however. And then, despite falling back to third behind Hedgecock and Cook, he turned his focus back to taking the lead. Chasing them through heavy lapped traffic, Page almost saw his night end on lap 30 when he made contact with the lapped car of Dylan Hoover on the frontstretch. Hoover’s car was left crumpled after he shot into the outside wall, while Page managed to soldier on.
“I hate it for the lapped cars,” Page said. “The track got kinda weird there. When you get behind a car, people don’t realize, you don’t see that car in front of them until they open a hole. Then a lot of times it’s too late. You can ride around and run fourth or fifth, but if you’re gonna win a race, you’ve gotta have yourself there to take advantage and do it.”
After the lap-30 caution, Hedgecock pulled away to lead by a full second. But Page quickly reeled him back in. With Page looking to the inside of Hedgecock on lap 35, Hedgecock denied the pass. Five laps later, however, Hedgecock couldn’t hold him off.
Page grabbed the lead and held on over the final 10 laps, despite Hedgecock’s best effort to muscle back in front as they entered turn three, a daring move that left Hedgecock facing the wrong way in turn four, dropping him to a 19th-place finish after leading twice for a race-high 27 laps.
Cook was close enough behind the action that he thought he could be in line for his third career Ice Bowl victory.
“We felt like we had a third-place car tonight and run second,” said the 2009 and 2012 Ice Bowl winner. “There was some good racing there for the lead and it wasn’t one-grooved ‘cause I started on the pole and went to fourth.
“Hat’s off to Michael and the 9 car (Hedgecock) there. They had a really good race. I thought I was gonna win it there the way they was racing. But I just thank the good Lord for a safe race and thank everyone for coming out.”
Horton, who took the lead from Cook on the opening lap and paced two full circuits before giving way to Hedgecock, was satisfied with his podium finish.
“These two guys (Page and Cook), they race a lot and they’ve both won this race,” said Horton. “I’ll take third to start the year off. We just need to go to work; I wasn’t good enough. We’ll try again next year. It ain’t like I ain’t going down swinging. We’re going home and going to work and we’ll come back stronger than ever.”
Notes: There are 14 Ice Bowls on record in which the winner paced all 50 laps from flag-to-flag. Page, who accomplished the feat in his two previous Ice Bowl wins, led just 21 laps this year, giving him 121 feature laps led in the main event over the last three seasons. … There were four lead changes among three drivers: Horton 1-2; Hedgecock 3-15; Page 16-26; Hedgecock 27-40; and Page 41-50. … Page joins Shane Clanton of Zebulon, Ga., as the only drivers to win the Ice Bowl three times. Clanton won in 2003, ’05 and ’11. … Page also won the Durrence Layne-sanctioned Sportsman race for cars equipped with 602 Crate engines. That win, worth $1,500, gave him a weekend haul of $7,500.
Other feature finishes
Limited Late Model finish: Jason Hiett, Tod Hernandez, Tim Roszell, Cass Fowler, Jordan Rodabaugh Cruz Skinner, Derick Quade, Brandon Brown, Mitchell Childress, Mark Page, Oliver Gentry, Justin Owens, Ruben Mayfield, Cole Smartt, Andy Morris, Jason Manley, Skip Freeman, Rucker Orr, Dustin Stewart, Jake Hollis, Johnny Ridings, Todd Brewster, Mike Price, Taylor Hill, Christian Hanger.
Crate Late Model finish: Jimmy Elliott, Jadon Frame, Cruz Skinner, Shannon Davis, Corey Posey, Braden Mitchell, Chase Walls, Steve Russell, Ronnie Johnson, Heath Carr, Brandon Williams, Lee Burdett, Bryant Marsh, Victor Turner Jr., Mike Combs, T.J. Brittain, Clayton Turner, Luke Hoffner, Peyton Walker, Adam Gauldin, Jimmy Elkins, Mike Henn, Tyler Hurst, D.J. Shannon.
Sportsman (602) finish: Michael Page, Booger Brooks, Buddy George, Logan Walston, Bryson Mitchell, Justin Angle, William Blair, Jarrad Gray, Austin Horton, Kyle Clifton, Kody Holland, Colt Smith, Nick Thrash, Jim Wakefield, Matthew Knighy, Alan Banks, Mike Rominger, Garrett Lloyd, Jason Savage, Josh Kimmons, Shun Thomas, Brad Whittle, Ryan King, Victor Turner.
Row 1: Ray Cook, Austin Horton
Row 2: Cory Hedgecock, Michael Page
Row 3: Tom Maddox, Andy Picklesimer
Row 4: David Seibers, Clay Harris
Row 5: Joseph Brown, Dallas Cooper
Row 6: Josh Adkins, Jason Hiett
Row 7: Scott Crigler, David Brannon
Row 8: Dylan Hoover, Josh Hale
Row 9: Tanner English, Chris Jones
Row 10: J.T. Seawright, Jimmy Elkins
Row 11: Mark Bangs, Brett White
Row 12: Corey Posey, Dewayne Kiefer
Row 13: Dillon Tidmore, Tim Roszell
There are seven drivers in this year’s Ice Bowl starting field who were also in last year’s race. Along with last year’s winner Michael Page, Jason Hiett, Dallas Cooper, Chris Jones, David Brannon, J.T. Seawright and David Seibers are in the show for the second consecutive year. … Overall fast qualifier Seawright of Ft. Payne, Ala., had to hustle to get into the feature after contact on the first lap of his heat knocked him from contention on Saturday. Seawright finished second in his consolation race to advance to the main event. … Seibers, of Chapel Hill, Tenn., starts sixth for the second year in a row. … Consolation race winner Tanner English of Benton, Ky., is driving a second car fielded by Tommy Pope. … Driving again following a year-long hiatus, Corey Posey of Fayetteville, Tenn., finished fourth in his consy to make the feature. Posey also starts on the front row of the Durrence Layne Winter Shootout series feature. … Four former Ice Bowl winners are in field, representing six victories. Page (’17-’18), Ray Cook (’09, ’12) and Brannon (’16) are looking to add to their total, while Page looks to become the first driver with three straight Ice Bowl wins. ... Former winner Tim Roszell (’15) missed the main event by one spot, but was awarded a track provisional.
First consolation (top four transfer): Tanner English, J.T. Seawright, Mark Bangs, Corey Posey, Brandon Hightower, Jason Taylor, Christian Hanger, Oakley Johns, Charles Zimmerman. Scratched: Chris Reid, Ted Crunkerton.
Second consolation (top four transfer): Chris Jones, Jimmy Elkins, Brett White, Dewayne Kiefer, Tim Roszell, Jason Lively, Corey Roulette, Brandon Roberts, Jeff White, Bo Eaton, Jason Welshan, Dylan Hoover.
(12 laps, top four transfer)
Row 1: Mark Bangs, Charles Zimmerman
Row 2: Brandon Hightower, Tanner English
Row 3: Corey Posey, Chris Reid
Row 4: J.T. Seawright, Ted Crunkleton
Row 5: Christian Hanger, Jadon Frame
Row 6: Jason Taylor, Oakley Johns
Row 1: Dewayne Keiferl, Jimmy Elkins
Row 2: Tim Roszel, Jason Lively
Row 3: Corey Roulette, Chris Jones
Row 4: Bo Eaton, Jeff White
Row 5: Dillon Tidmore, Brandon Roberts
Row 6: Jason Welshan, Brett White
All but one of Saturday’s heat winners at Talladega Short Track started on the front row of their respective prelim. Michael Page of Douglasville, Ga., grabbed an early lead and paced the first heat flag-to-flag. Page, who is seeking a record third straight Ice Bowl victory, will start fourth on Sunday.
Others winning heats on Saturday included Cory Hedgecock of Loudon, Tenn., Austin Horton of Newnan, Ga., and Ray Cook of Brasstown, N.C. While Page won after starting on the outside front row, both Hedgecock and Horton — who won a lengthy third heat that was slowed by six cautions before a single lap was complete — cruised to heat wins from the pole. Cook, a two-time Ice Bowl winner (2009, ’12), was the only winner who started further back than the front row.
The third-starting Cook took advantage of lap-one contact between polesitter J.T. Seawright — the overall fast qualifier — and Joseph Brown that resulted in Seawright dropping to the rear of the field and led the distance to win the fourth heat. Cook’s victory puts him on the pole for Sunday’s 50-lap, $6,000-to-win main event.
Heat race results
First heat (top four transfer): Michael Page, Clay Harris, Jason Hiett, Jackson Hale, Jimmy Elkins, Jason Lively, Chris Jones, Brett White, Brandon Roberts, Jeff White.
Second heat (top four transfer): Cory Hedgecock, David Seibers, Josh Adkins, Dylan Hoover, Charles Zimmerman, Tanner English, Chris Reid, Ted Crunkleton, Jadon Frame. Scratched: Bill Mahan.
Third heat (top four transfer): Austin Horton, Andy Picklesimer, Dallas Cooper, David Brannon, Dewayne Kiefer, Tim Roszell, Corey Roullette, Bo Eaton, Dillon Tidmore, Jason Welshan.
Fourth heat (top four transfer): Ray Cook, Tom Maddox, Joseph Brown, Scott Crigler, Brandon Hightower, Corey Posey, J.T. Seawright, Christian Hanger, Jason Taylor, Oakley Johns, Mark Bangs, Peyton Cagle.
(10 laps, top 4 transfer)
Row 1: Jimmy Elkins, Michael Page
Row 2: Jason Hiett, Clay Harris
Row 3: Jackson Hale, Brett White
Row 4: Chris Jones, Jason Lively
Row 5: Brandon Roberts, Jeff White
Row 1: Cory Hedgecock, David Seibers
Row 2: Josh Adkins, Jadon Frame
Row 3: Dylan Hoover, Tanner English
Row 4: Charles Zimmerman, Chris Reid
Row 5: Ted Crunkleton, Bill Mahan
Row 1: Austin Horton, Dallas Cooper
Row 2: Andy Picklesimer, David Brannon
Row 3: Dillon Tidmore, Jason Welshan
Row 4: Tim Roszell, Dewayne Kiefer
Row 5: Bo Eaton, Corey Roulette
Row 1: J.T. Seawright, Joseph Brown
Row 2: Ray Cook, Tom Maddox
Row 3: Scott Crigler, Mark Bangs
Row 4: Corey Posey, Oakley Johns
Row 5: Christian Hanger, Jason Taylor
Row 6: Peyton Cagle
Going out near the tail of the 42-car field, J.T. Seawright of Ft. Payne, Ala., turned the quickest lap during Saturday’s qualifying for the 28th annual Ice Bowl. He’ll start from the pole of the fourth heat. Taking advantage of his draw on a track that was quick early, slowed down noticeably during the middle of qualifying and then picked up a bit of speed toward the end of the session, Seawright turned a fast lap of 14.978 seconds — the only driver to crack the 14-second threshold.
Hometown driver Jimmy Elkins, of Talladega, was the quickest in the first group with a time of 15.230 seconds. Elkins will start from the pole of the first heat. Cory Hedgecock of Loudon, Tenn., was the fastest in the second group, stopping the clock at 15.191 seconds, and Austin Horton of Newnan, Ga. — the second quickest overall — was the fastest qualifier in the third group at 15.041.
Time trial results
Driver (car no.), hometown, time
Jimmy Elkins (07), Talladega, Ala., 15.230
Michael Page (18x), Douglasville, Ga., 15.231
Jason Hiett (1), Oxford, Ala., 15.278
Clay Harris (6), Jupiter, Fla., 15.368
Jackson Hale (22x), Southside, Ala., 15.519
Brett White (44), Kosciusko, Miss., 15.534
Chris Jones (46), Alabaster, Ala., 15.769
Jason Lively (21L), Jacksonville, Ala., 15.846
Brandon Roberts (10), Anniston, Ala., 16.246
Jeff White (31), Kosciusko, Miss., 16.328
Cory Hedgecock (9), Loudon, Tenn., 15.191
David Seibers (18), Chapel Hill, Tenn., 15.206
Josh Adkins (57), Cumming, Ga., 15.347
Jadon Frame (8J), Winchester, Tenn., 15.451
Dylan Hoover (1H), Columbia, Mo., 15.671
Tanner English (22E), Benton, Ky., 15.694
Charles Zimmerman (93), Cunningham, Tenn., 16.053
Chris Reid (04), Wiggins, Miss., 16.190
Ted Crunkleton (95), Carnesville, Ga., 16.347
Bill Mahan (M1), Lacey’s Spring, Ala., scratched
Austin Horton (16), Newnan, Ga., 15.041
Dallas Cooper (35), Talladega, Ala., 15.157
Andy Picklesimer (1P), Cleveland, Tenn., 15.175
David Brannon (33), Elora, Tenn., 15.215
Dillon Tidmore (38), Southside, Ala., 15.270
Jason Welshan (29), Maryville, Tenn., 15.277
Tim Roszell (25), Anniston, Ala., 15.343
Dewayne Kiefer (0), Ste. Genevieve, Mo., 15.494
Bo Eaton (3x), Blue Ridge, Ga., 15.864
Corey Roulette (05), Cumming, Ga., 16.087
J.T. Seawright (16), Ft. Payne, Ala., 14.978
Joseph Brown (92), Columbus, Ga., 15.137
Ray Cook (53) Brasstown, N.C., 15.212
Tom Maddox (07), Centre, Ala., 15.230
Scott Crigler (12), Alton, Mo., 15.282
Mark Bangs (376), Ft. Payne, Ala., 15.304
Corey Posey (16), Fayetteville, Tenn., 15.497
Oakley Johns (c6), Summertown, Tenn., 15.560
Christian Hanger (29), Winchester, Tenn., 15.603
Jason Taylor (48), Livingston, La., 15.871
Peyton Cagle (117), Flintville, Tenn., 16.448
8 a.m. - Gates open
10 a.m. - Hot laps/qualifying/heats
Limited Late Model hot laps
Super Late Model hot laps
Street stock hot laps
Crate Late Model (604) hot laps
Mini stock hot laps
Sportsman (602) hot laps
Modified hot laps
Factory stock B-main (8 laps)
Hot shot B-main (8 laps)
Limited Late Model qualifying
Super Late Model qualifying
Street stock qualifying
Crate Late Model (604) qualifying
Mini stock qualifying
Sportsman (602) qualifying
Limited Late Model (10 laps)
Super Late Model (10 laps)
Street stock (8 laps)
Crate Late Model (604) (10 laps)
Mini stock hot laps (8 laps)
Sportsman (602) (8 laps)
Modified (8 laps)
Factory stock (20 laps)
Hot shot (15 laps)
9 a.m. - Gates open
10 a.m. - Non-denominational worship service
11 a.m. - Driver’s meeting
Noon - B-mains/hot laps
Limited Late Model B-main (12 laps)
Limited Late Model hot laps (locked in cars)
Super Late Model B-main (12 laps)
Super Late Model hot laps (locked in cars)
Street stock B-main (10 laps)
Street stock hot laps (locked in cars)
Crate Late Model (604) B-main (12 laps)
Crate Late Model (604) hot laps (locked in cars)
Sportsman (602) B-main (10 laps)
Sportsman (602) hot laps (locked in cars)
Modified B-main (10 laps)
Modified hot laps (locked in cars)
Mini stock B-main (10 laps)
Mini stock hot laps (locked in cars)
Limited Late Model (30 laps)
Super Late Model (50 laps)
Crate Late Model (604) (50 laps)
Street stock (30 laps)
Sportsman (602) (25 laps)
Modified (25 laps)
Mini stock (25 laps)