Fayetteville Motor Speedway
Gibbons captures finale; Weeks gets 5th title
By Thomas PopeDirtonDirt.com correspondent
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (Oct. 4) — Sixth-starting Ed Gibbons of Manning, S.C., captured the richest race in Carolina Clash Super Late Model Series history with a $9,000 triumph at Fayetteville Motor Speedway in the season finale. Gibbons wasn't the only one smiling as Ricky Weeks of Rutherfordton, N.C., despite falling out of the 60-lapper with 16 laps remaining, wrapped up an unprecedented fifth consecutive series championship. | Slideshow
Gibbons, who finished third in series points, crossed the finish line ahead of Chris Blackwell of Gray's Creek, N.C., who earned a career-high $4,500 for his runner-up finish. Steve Blackburn of Brown's Summit, N.C., was third followed by Jeff Smith of Dallas, N.C., and Timmy Blackwell of Gray's Creek.
Polesitter Chris Ferguson of Mount Holly, N.C., an 18-year-old freshman at North Carolina-Charlotte, led the first 36 laps but was forced pitside when his car's rear end broke. Weeks broke a balljoint with 16 laps remaining that knocked him out of the race, but his 13th-place finish was good enough to win the title over Dennis Franklin of Gaffney, S.C., who lost his brakes early and struggled home seventh.
Notes: Gibbons is sponsored by CarQuest Auto Parts, Wood Logging and Cagle Automotive. ... Gibbons has seven career Clash victories, but that's his first since April 16, 2005, at Sumter (S.C.) Speedway. ... Jeff Smith drove the No. 18m Rocket Chassis, a Star Leasing-owned car formerly driven by Ricky Boahn. Smith plans to split time next season between that car and his regular No. 70. ... Weeks unofficially finished the season with 4,039 points to outdistance Dennis Franklin (4,016), Gibbons (3,885), Jeff Smith (3,878) and Doug Sanders (3,855). ... Scott Neighbors of Spring Lake, N.C., edged Fayetteville's Craig Shuffield by a single point to win Rookie of the Year honors. Shuffield was ahead of Neighbors in series points, but the rookie points are based on a driver's top-12 finishes of the season. ... Drivers failing to make the feature lineup: Luke Roffers, Chris Marshall, Raymond Brown, Dan Breuer, Roger Lucas, Dale Hammond, Austin Hubbard, Kent Wright and James Upchurch. ... After the first season of a playoff-style points chase, the series plans to use the Countdown to the Cup again in 2009. ... The postseason banquet is set for Jan. 10 at Lowe's Motor Speedway.
Carolina Clash @ Fayetteville: (1) Ed Gibbons, (2) Chris Blackwell, (3) Steve Blackburn, (4) Jeff Smith, (5) Timmy Blackwell, (6) Scott Autry, (7) Dennis Franklin, (8) Craig Shuffield, (9) Scott Shirey, (10) Justin Labonte, (11) Scott Neighbors, (12) Doug Sanders, (13) Ricky Weeks, (14) Ray Tucker, (15) Shawn Beasley, (16) Chris Ferguson, (17) Derek Francis, (18) Michael Mason, (19) David Taylor, (20) Brent Robinson, (21) Furman Parton, (22) Deano Long, (23) G.R. Smith, (24) Dean Bowen. Fast qualifier (among 33 cars): Weeks, 17.410 seconds. Consolation race winners: Autry, J. Smith, Parton. Provisional starters: Shuffield, G.R. Smith, Labonte.