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Fayetteville Motor Speedway

Roffers captures Clash victory at Fayetteville

July 1, 2012, 9:23 am
From correspondent and series reports
Luke Roffers tunes up Saturday at Fayetteville, where he won the night's main event. (thatsrightphotography.net)
Luke Roffers tunes up Saturday at Fayetteville, where he won the night's main event. (thatsrightphotography.net)

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (June 30) — Series points leader Luke Roffers of Concord, N.C., led all but one lap Saturday at Fayetteville Motor Speedway to win the fourth annual Ed Gibbons Memorial. Starting outside the front row, Roffers earned $4,000 for his second Carolina Clash Super Late Model Series victory of the season and seventh of his career.

Roffers took the checkers ahead of Scott Autry of Autryville, N.C., who started fourth and took the runner-up spot in a car largely rebuilt after a rollover accident in the previous series race at Fayetteville. Polesitter Dennis “Rambo” Franklin of Gaffney, S.C., settle for third while battling engine woes followed by Jay Sessoms of Stanley, N.C., and 24th-starting Mike Gault of Gaffney.

Hometown driver Travis Yow ran fourth most of the race, but mechanical problems slowed him in turn four on the final lap and he ended up eighth.

It took a few starts to get the action going — one of them halted by a five-car pileup that included Jeff Smith and five-time series champ Ricky Weeks, who was debuting a Longhorn Chassis — but Roffers got the edge on Franklin early for a lead he’d never give up.

"My car was pretty good, really good at the beginning,” Roffers said. “There was a time in the middle of the race I kind of slowed down a little bit, I was just trying to save my stuff for a run at the end — usually at these races there are runs of 4, 5 (or) 6 laps at the end.”

On a sweltering night when action was delayed an hour because of the heat, Roffers and the other competitors were still able to find some racing room on a track that maintained moisture.

"I was surprised how good it was,” Roffers said. "It was kind of slimy, kind of greasy for qualifying, but it worked out good starting the race a little later to help keep the moisture in the track. It was slicker than it looked out there, but it was from the moisture coming up in the track.”

Autry was glad to get back on track with a runner-up finish after the June 9 accident required a piece of the frame of his Wolf-Pack Racing Rocket Chassis to be cut out and replaced, along with virtually all the bolt-on components behind the driver.

He took second from Franklin on the backstretch on lap 24 and challenged Roffers before a caution reset the field. Autry never got a good run at the winner over the final seven green-flag laps.

"I didn't have as much grip as I did before (June 9), and if you ain't mashing the gas coming off the turn, normally you're backing up,” Autry said. It was a good enough car to run second with and hopefully we'll learn something from it.”

Franklin said his Steve Cooke-owned No. 37 said his engine lost a cylinder, hampering his chances.

“It wouldn't pull up off the corner as good as they could and I was holding Autry up, so finally I just to heck with it and let him go,” Franklin said. “I thought he might have a shot at winning. don't know what happened, but it wouldn't pull a lick.”

Notes: Roffers drives a Rocket Chassis with sponsorship from Wolf-Pack Racing, Cal-Les-2 Transport, Wayne Roffers Trucking, Chad Roffers Trucking, Roffers Wildlife Studio and Wisconsin Lock & Load. ... The race honored 2001 series champion Ed Gibbons, who was killed in a 2009 highway accident. ... Mike Gault’s 24th-to-fifth run gave him the Safety-Kleen Hard Charger honors. ... Ricky Weeks of Rutherfordton, N.C., came to Fayetteville after a brief shakedown the previous night at Cleveland County Speedway in Lawndale, N.C. The team had to make an engine swap before heading to Fayetteville and he ended up 13th in the main event. ... Austin Kirkpatrick of Ocala, Fla., was disqualified when his car came up light at the scales. ... Nine cars completed 40 laps and 13 were running at the finish. ... Next up for the Carolina Clash is a July 14 event at I-77 Speedway for the first-ever series race in Chester, S.C.

Ed Gibbons Memorial: (1): Luke Roffers, (2) Scott Autry, (3) Dennis Franklin, (4) Jay Sessoms, (5) Mike Gault, (6) Johnny Pursley, (7) Shaun Harrell, (8) Travis Yow, (9) Jeff Smith, (10) Scott Neighbors, (11) Gary Mabe, (12) Wayne Hughes, (13) Ricky Weeks, (14) Daulton Wilson, (15) Michael Marlowe, (16) Travis Hair, (17) Scott Shirey, (18) Shawn Beasley, (19) Mike Parker, (20) Roger Lucas, (21) Craig Shuffield, (22) Chuck Smith, (23) Timmy Carroll, (24) Ronnie Hoover, (25) Charles Hanson. Disqualified: Austin Kirkpatrick. Fast qualifier (among 26 cars): Franklin, 18.214 seconds.

Carolina Clash points

(Unofficial through June 30)
1. Luke Roffers - 166
2. Jeff Smith - 154
3. Johnny Pursley - 153
4. Scott Autry - 147
5. Ricky Weeks - 146
6. Mike Gault - 123
7. Travis Yow - 114
8. Michael Marlowe - 108
9. Wayne Hughes - 96
10. Ross Bailes - 95
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