Edge breaks through with NeSmith at Clayhill
By Roby HelmNeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series
ATWOOD, Tenn. (May 5) — Saturday’s NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series event at Clayhill Motorsports Park didn’t start off too well for Chase Edge, but it ended in great fashion. The 18-year-old driver from Lafayette, Ala., captured his first victory on the Crate Late Model circuit by blistering the field in the 50-lap main event driving the Edge’s Gas Company Special. | Video
Edge and his race team barely made it from the previous night’s event at Malden (Mo.) Speedway after the axle on his trailer hauling the race car and support equipment broke. While the trailer was ailing, the race car inside it was untouchable at Clayhill After starting seventh, Edge dusted off the outside groove of the 3/8-mile clay oval and charged to the front of the pack.
The lead changed hands twice on a lap]-24 restart, and Edge took the lead with a vicious slide job pass on two-time series champ David Gentry of Murfreesboro, Tenn., to take the lead coming off the fourth turn. Once in the lead, Edge packed his bags, turned in the key, and checked out on the field.
In just a few laps, Edge opened up a full straightaway lead on Gentry and Chase Washington of Houlka, Miss., who were left to battle for second. Edge had better than a two-second lead at the checkered flag.
“This is great, it’s unbelievable, and I just don’t know what to say,” Edge said. “We’ve been trying to get this first win for almost two years, and I owe it to my Mom and Dad, Debbie and Bill Edge, my sister Ali, and Bodie and Cord, who help work on the car. This was a team effort, and I had a great car tonight.”
Washington took the second spot in the Jerry Inmon Racing Special and Gentry finished third. Ashley Newman of Ripley, Tenn., started 13th and finished fourth while fast qualifier Chris Cantrell of Chester, S.C., ran fifth. Series points leader Matthew Turner of Dawsonville, Ga., was seventh.
Cantrell led the first seven laps before Washington took over, while Edge led the final 27 circuits of the 50-lapper.
Notes: Eight drivers finished on the lead lap. ... Johnny Stokes had a 24th-to-ninth run for the Hedman Husler of the Race award. ... The feature lasted nearly 40 minutes. ... The series takes a break until a Memorial Day weekend tripleheader on May 25-27 at Hattiesburg (Miss.) Motorsports Park, Whynot (Miss.) Motorsports Park and Magnolia Motor Speedway in Columbus, Miss. Each event pays $2,000-to-win.
NeSmith @ Clayhill: (1) Chase Edge, (2) Chase Washington, (3) David Gentry, (4) Ashley Newman, (5) Chris Cantrell, (6) Chris Ragan, (7) Matthew Turner, (8) Anthony White, (9) Johnny Stokes, (10) Kyle Berry, (11) Evan Ellis, (12) Michael Blount, (13) Mitch Thornton, (14) Marcus Minga, (15) Eric Cooley, (16) Ronnie Cooper, (17) Larry Harrod, (18) Jessie Bailey, (19) Tait Davenport, (20) R.C. Whitwell, (21) Cody Kierre, (22) Chris Tays, (23) Tony Lawson, (24) Jake Teague. Fast qualifier (among 33 cars): Cantrell, 15.609 seconds. Consolation race winners: Tays, Cooley.