Cooley bags first Super victory at Thunderhill
By Connie PutnamDirtonDirt.com correspondent
SUMMERTOWN, Tenn. (July 27) — Eric Cooley of Fulton, Miss., broke through for his first-ever Super Late Model victory Friday night at Thunderhill Speedway, earning $2,000 for a flag-to-flag victory in the quarter-mile oval’s 30-lap unsanctioned special. | Slideshow
The polesitting Cooley held off challenges from second-starting Josh Putnam of Killen, Ala., before pulling away in traffic late in the race.
Eric Hickerson of Linden, Tenn., took second when Putnam slipped high in traffic late in the race, but the spot was given back to Putnam when Hickerson failed to go through post-race technical inspection.
Davie Gentry of Wheel, Tenn., rallied from the tail of the field to finish third after slowing to bring out an opening-lap caution. Jerry Owens of Killen, Ala., finished fourth.
Cooley took the lead on the first attempt to start the race, but the third-starting Gentry slowed on the backstretch to cause the race’s first caution before a lap was completed. The field lined up for a complete restart with Gentry tagging the tail of the field.
With Owens joining him on the front row, Cooley pulled back out front on the second start with Owens and Putnam giving chase.
Putnam moved to second on lap 10 before the race’s second and final caution waved a lap later when Michael Greer spun in turns one and two.
Cooley maintained control over the remaining distance, challenged only by Putnam until he was held up in lapped traffic. Hickerson took second when Putnam slid high in turns one and two late in the race.
Notes: Cooley’s Barry Wright Race Car is powered by a Jeff Burns Racing Engine with sponsorship from Bryson Motorsports, 78 Towing, Cooley Transport, Eric Cooley Trucking and DJ Transportation. … Gentry went for a wild ride in Wally Walls-owned Crate Late Model, flipping several times after getting turned into the front straightaway all. Gentry wasn’t injured, but the car suffered heavy damage. ... Flags were flown at half-mast Friday night in honor of long-time driver, car owner and Thunderhill Raceway supporter Johnny Collier, who died earlier in the day after a battle with cancer.
Thunderhill Raceway: (1) Eric Cooley, (2) Josh Putnam, (3) David Gentry, (4) Jerry Owens, (5) Brad Glass, (6) Jason Clayton, (7) William Burns, (8) Jerry Jackson, (9) Michael Greer, (10) Seth McCormack, (11) Cale Finely, (12) Jeff Weaver, (13) Ray McElhiney. Disqualified: Eric Hickerson. Fast qualifier (among 15 cars): Cooley, 11.632 seconds.
Correction: Fixes Cooley's chassis make.