SYLVANIA, Ga. (Feb. 8) — Getting a reprieve when a caution waved on lap 49, polesitter Brandon Overton of Evans, Ga., regained the top spot and led the rest of the way to win Saturday’s Winter Freeze X finale at Screven Motor Speedway. Overton officially led all 60 circuits en route to a $20,010 payday, but as fast as his Wells and Sons Motorsports Longhorn Chassis was, he needed help from the feature’s lone caution to get it done.
Ross Bailes of Clover, S.C., wrestled the lead away from Overton with a high side pass in turn two as they negotiated lapped traffic, but before Bailes could reach the flag stand, the caution appeared for a car stalled in turn three. The pass was negated, Overton reassumed command and was never threatened again. He pulled away on the restart and finished 1.685 seconds ahead of Bailes.
“I knew he was coming. I made (crewman and signaler Grant) Pearl move today so I could see him really good,” said Overton. “But I wasn’t gonna move. When I won that Firecracker (at Pennsylvania’s Lernerville Speedway in 2017), the whole time Mikey Marlar is hitting me in the butt and I said if he’s gonna pass me, he’s gonna have to go to the outside. Just like when I won the Firecracker, they kept coming in there and they’d blow past me and slide and then I’d get back in front of them. Then I knew to open my entry up or whatever. I knew I needed to spin a lapped car out or so something you know.
“But (Bailes) never game me a sign that he was gonna move out. So, he did a good job. If the caution hadn’t come out … my car was really, really, really good … could I have got back by him? I don’t know. I had a lot more tire left than I thought I did. I never felt loose. I could idle up under them lapped cars and not spin my tires and keep pace with them. So I really wasn’t pressing the issue. But he did, he got me. He kinda caught me off guard. I knew he was there, but I didn’t think he was gonna come by me.”
It was another solid performance by Bailes, who was making his second start in Augie Burtram’s Big Frog Motorsports Rocket. A runner-up for the second time in as many nights, Bailes couldn’t catch Overton after the untimely yellow, but he still managed to stay comfortably ahead of a fast-closing Michael Page of Douglasville, Ga. Page, who started eighth, rallied over the final 11 laps following the caution, getting by Casey Roberts, Dale McDowell and Jason Covert in the final circuits to finish third. Covert, of York Haven, Pa., grabbed his second top-five finish of the weekend with a fourth-place run, while McDowell, of Chickamauga, Ga., completed the top five after finishing sixth in Friday’s Winter Freeze opener.
“I knew the only way I was gonna be able to get by him was in lapped traffic,” said Bailes. “He’s really good here. I guess this is his home track. I was kinda waiting, waiting, until we got to lapped traffic. We slowed way down getting in the bottom and I said ‘I gotta throw something at it,’ so I started working the top and it took me three or four laps. Once I got it going, I got by him and that caution come out and I knew they weren’t gonna let it go.
“But, you know, he’s lost a race to me like that before, so it’s just part of it. At least we’re up front battling with them. We had a really good car this weekend (but) I’m tired of looking at the back of that 76 already.”
Unlike Friday’s race, when Bailes started on the pole, fell behind on the opening lap and gave chase through the duration, he had to battle to get into the second spot on Saturday. Bailes, who started fifth, got by Roberts, of Toccoa, Ga., early. He then maneuvered past McDowell on lap 15 before dispatching Covert on lap 17. Contact with the lapped car of Tim Vance on lap 28 slowed him slightly, but within five circuits he’d closed to Overton’s rear deck.
Bailes pushed slight getting through turns one and two on lap 39, allowing Overton to ease away ever so slightly, but again, he gathered himself and ran the leader back down. Finally, on lap 49, after circling the top for just a handful of laps — and with Overton following in the tracks of a slower car — Bailes pounced. There was little Overton could do but watch as Bailes pulled ahead down the backstretch.
“Usually when they do that (pull ahead on the outside), they’ll over drive it getting in (the corner) when it’s rubbered,” said Overton. “They’ll over drive and hit some of the slick and slide up, but he had just barely rolled to the outside and was just slow enough to not slide out of it. It’s just one of those races. Tonight is a night where, if you were in second, that’s where you wanted to be. There was a couple of times where I felt like I could have went to the outside of the lapped cars and burnt it down a couple laps and got in front of them.
“But I’m telling you, we killed our tires tonight in our heat race. We almost slicked our tires. And then, for the (feature) people were putting hard tires on and we put the soft (compound) back on that we killed in the heat race. I didn’t want to put a hard tire on and lose, you know. I felt like I needed to get the jump (at the start) and just protect and make it last. I didn’t want to put a hard tire on and go straight backwards and then have to work my (butt) off and then it rubber up and not pass anybody.”
Once the caution appeared, Overton was again in the clear — this time for good. He pulled away on the restart, leaving those behind him to deal with Page’s late-race charge, which fell short before he could get to Bailes.
“I was lucky to get it to third, but I wish I had a little caution and I’d a done everything I could to try (to win the race),” said Page. “I stayed behind that one car too long. I could get there, but he was using the track up. If I could’ve cleared him a little earlier I think I’d maybe had a little better chance. I just tried to go where they wasn’t and I found me a little groove and I could really exit good. If I could get it pointed straight I could get ‘em coming off of (turn) four there. Nobody could get up there in (turns) three and four. I went on my normal thing … on a hard tire. I knew it was gonna be a gamble and I don’t know this place. But I just like to do something different and it worked out pretty good.”
Notes: Overton has now won three of the last four Winter Freeze features and his weekend sweep of Winter Freeze X gave him an event record $30,020 in earnings. … It’s also one of the richest weekend’s of Overton’s career. He’s won $50,000 twice (2019’s Fastrak World Championship at Virginia Motor Speedway and 2018’s Hillbilly 100 at West Virginia’s Tyler County Speedway) and also won $30,000 previously (2017’s Firecracker 100 at Pennsylvania’s Lernerville Speedway). “$30,000 is big,” said Overton. “That’s a lot of money, especially for somebody like me. I race for a living, so that’s how I make my money. That’s a lot of money. But more than that, it’s more for David (Wells) and Eric (Wells) and all my guys. I have a whole new crew besides (Grant) Pearl.” … Eighteen of the 24 starters finished the race with a dozen drivers completing all 60 laps. … Saturday’s lone new addition to the field, Coleby Frye of Dover, Pa., stopped by Screven on his way home from Florida’s East Bay Raceway Park. East Bay “hurt my pride” Frye told fellow Pennsylvanian Gregg Satterlee after the race as they stood at the back of Satterlee’s hauler watching the conclusion of East Bay’s Saturday feature on MavTV. … Yes, Screven’s main event did wrap up before East Bay’s, but the action at Screven, including a $15,000-to-win, 100-lapper for the Sport Compact Dirt Racing Series (front wheel drives), continued to nearly 1 a.m. … Trent Ivey of Union, S.C., who was involved in a rollover accident during qualifying, earned some consolation by winning the 604 Crate Late Model feature for the second night in a row.
Preliminary notes and results
Heat race recap
Repeating the front row starters from Friday’s main event, the first heat featured Brandon Overton and Ross Bailes. But it was instead Overton on the pole rather than Bailes. Flipping rows hardly mattered as Overton again won the race into turn one and pulled away to win the heat. … Staying true to his word, Casey Roberts was much improved in winning the second heat. Roberts, who finished 23rd in Friday’s feature, pulled ahead of polesitter Chris Ferguson on the opening lap and held on to win. … For the second night in a row, Jason Covert averted disaster on the opening lap of his heat. On Friday, Covert spun with two others, but recovered to win his heat. On Saturday, a caution appeared at the start of the third heat when officials deemed overall fast qualifier John Henderson jumped the start. Just as the caution waved, Covert jumped the cushion in turn one at brushed the wall. He once again recovered to win the heat. Henderson ran second for six laps before giving way to Kyle Hardy and Gregg Satterlee. … Dale McDowell made sure he got a better start on Saturday. McDowell started from the pole position in the fourth heat, got the jump on fellow front row starter Michael Page at the start and drove away to win to earn the fourth starting spot in the main event.
Heat race results
First heat: Brandon Overton, Ross Bailes, Brent Dixon, Johnny Pursely, Coleby Frye, Greg Oakes.
Second heat: Casey Roberts, Chris Ferguson, Cla Knight, Tyler Millwood, Ahnna Parkhurst, Brian Connor.
Third heat: Jason Covert, Kyle Hardy, Gregg Satterlee, John Henderson, Josh Bishop, J.R. Moseley.
Fourth heat: Dale McDowell, Michael Page, Dustin Mitchell, Tim Vance, Jimmy Sharpe Jr. Scratched: Trent Ivey.
Heat race lineups
(10 laps; all transfer)
Row 1: Brandon Overton, Ross Bailes
Row 2: Brent Dixon, Coleby Frye
Row 3: Johnny Pursley, Greg Oakes
Row 1: Chris Ferguson, Casey Roberts
Row 2: Ahnna Parkhurst, Brian Connor
Row 3: Tyler Millwood, Cla Knight
Row 1: John Henderson, Jason Covert
Row 2: Gregg Satterlee, Kyle Hardy
Row 3: J.R. Moseley, Josh Bishop
Row 1: Dale McDowell, Trent Ivey
Row 2: Michael Page, Dustin Mitchell
Row 3: Jimmy Sharpe Jr., Tim Vance
Overcast skies with a high temperature peaking at 57 degrees greeted drivers and fans at Screven Motor Speedway on Saturday. Intermittent rain fell around the facility as well, but not enough to slow the program. … Saturday’s schedule was shaken a bit as all the prelims for the Sport Compact Racing Association division, which is competing for $15,000-to-win, were bumped to afternoon with a 5 p.m. hot lap start time set for all other divisions. … The Super Late Models hit the track at 5:45 p.m. for their hot lap session. … There are 24 entries, down two from Friday. Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., Brian Nuttall of Claxton, Ga., and Payton Freeman of Commerce, Ga., have left, while Coleby Frye of Dover, Pa., joined the field. … Lanigan struggled in Friday’s feature, slowing to draw one caution and later spinning and collecting Ahnna Parkhurst of Evans, Ga., and Brian Connor of Martinez, Ga. Parkhurst’s car stopped on top of Lanigan’s and needed two wreckers to assist with the removal. “Apparently he got spun,” said Parkhurst. “When I got there he was sitting completely sideways.” … Friday runner-up Ross Bailes of Clover, S.C., said he knows exactly what he could’ve done to beat winner Brandon Overton of Evans, Ga. “Get the hole shot,” said Bailes. “He just beat me to the corner. You can’t let Brandon Overton get in front of you at Screven.” … Friday’s fourth-place finisher Gregg Satterlee of Indiana, Pa., said he hoped to be able to make the correct changes, if ever so slight, to gain a few spot tonight. “The guys in front of me were definitely better than me. They drive this track better,” said Satterlee. “I know what we need to do, but we need to try to make that happen without going backward.” … Jason Covert of York Haven, Pa., threw a jab at Satterlee, who is sporting a thick beard as he occasionally does to start the season. Covert told DirtonDirt.com pit reporter Dustin Jarrett that Satterlee’s beard looked like a Chia Pet. “I’ve heard worse,” quipped Satterlee. “Maybe he’s jealous.” … Chris Ferguson of Mount Holly, N.C., said he’s finally close to 100 percent after a tough bout with the flu forced him to miss a Drydene Xtreme DIRTcar Series race Jan. 26 at Cherokee Speedway. “That’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to me,” said Fergy while standing at the DirtonDirt.com production van watching a replay of Friday’s feature. “I’d never had the flu before.” … A flat tire in Friday’s feature derailed Tyler Millwood’s debut of his brand new Rocket XR1. “I think I hit something right in turns three and four because I felt it (shift over to the right front) and then I had to gas it to try to make it turn and I got into the fence,” said the Kingston, Ga., driver. The contact with the wall bent a spindle and control arm, but Millwood’s team had his No. 31 ready for action Saturday afternoon. … Casey Roberts has had plenty of success at Screven, including Schaeffer’s Southern Nationals wins in 2010 and ’17 and an Ultimate Southeast Series triumph in 2015. Friday, however, he was an early exit. “We were just bad from the get-go,” said Roberts. “I screwed us up qualifying and got stuck back there. It’s just a mess back there. Hopefully we can redeem ourselves tonight.” Rather than ride around, Roberts opted to pull off on lap nine. “We didn’t want to end up like Lanigan did. That could have very well been us.” … Trent Ivey of Union, S.C., was the fastest in hot laps and had a good first lap qualifying, but when something broke on his car on his second qualifying lap, Ivey hit the third turn wall hard and rolled over on its lid. Ivey crawled out apparently uninjured.
Time trial results
Driver (car no.), hometown, time
Brandon Overton (76), Evans, Ga., 14.693
Chris Ferguson (22), Mount Holly, N.C., 14.729
Ross Bailes (58), Clover, S.C., 14.750
Casey Roberts (101), Toccoa, Ga., 14.821
Brent Dixon (1), Elberton, Ga., 14.866
Ahnna Parkhurst (23), Evans, Ga., 14.909
Coleby Frye (0), Dover, Pa., 15.010
Brian Connor (77), Martinez, Ga., 15.120
Johnny Pursley (9), Clover, S.C., 15.130
Tyler Millwood (31), Kingston, Ga., 15.274
Greg Oakes (22o), Franklinville, N.Y., 15.480
Cla Knight (42), North Augusta, S.C., 15.660
John Henderson (2x), North Augusta, S.C., 14.638
Dale McDowell (17m), Chickamauga, Ga., 14.640
Jason Covert (72), York Haven, Pa., 14.783
Trent Ivey (88), Union, S.C., 14.801
Gregg Satterlee (22), Indiana, Pa., 14.908
Michael Page (18x), Douglasville, Ga., 14.909
Kyle Hardy (79), Stephens City, Va., 14.913
Dustin Mitchell (32), Pine Level, N.C., 15.019
J.R. Moseley (99), Columbus, Ga., 15.317
Jimmy Sharpe Jr. (26JR), Vidalia, Ga., 15.356
Josh Bishop (J1), Statesboro, Ga., 15.378
Tim Vance (17), Clover, S.C., 16.093
Saturday’s Winter Freeze X finale at Screen Motor Speedway, which features a 60-lap, $20,010-to-win unsanctioned Super Late Model race, wraps up Screven’s most lucrative Winter Freeze ever. It will mark the 14th Georgia-Florida Speedweeks event Screven has hosted over an eight-season span and will be the third time — along with Friday’s event — a race has been unsanctioned.
Grabbing his first win since joining Kentucky’s Wells and Sons Motorsports in November, Brandon Overton of Evans, Ga., won Friday’s 50-lap feature, his second Winter Freeze triumph in as many seasons, becoming one of four drivers with more than one victory in the event. Shane Clanton of Zebulon, Ga., a winner during last year’s Winter Freeze IX, leads all drivers with four event wins, but isn’t on hand this year.
Saturday’s program will include hot laps, time trials, heat races, consolations if needed and the 60-lap, $20,010-to-win main event. Crate Late Models are among other divisions that will be in action. Watch live video coverage of the weekend doubleheader at DirtonDirt.com.
9 a.m. - Gates open
1:30 p.m. - Drivers’ meeting
2:15 p.m. - SCDRA Renegade 4 (Round 2 qualifying)
3:30 p.m. - SCDRA Renegade consolations (10 laps)
5 p.m. - Hot laps
-Street Stock V-8
-602 Late Models
-604 Late Models
-Super Late Models
-Super Late Model qualifying (two laps)
-602 Late Model qualifying (two laps)
-Super Late Model heats (10 laps)
-Modified heats (eight laps)
-604 Late Model qualifying (two laps)
-Super Late Model consolations if needed (10 laps)
-Super Late Models (60 laps)
-Street Stock V-8 (20 laps)
-602 Late Models (30 laps)
-SCDRA Renegade (100 laps)
-604 Late Models (20 laps)
-Modifieds (20 laps)