Bubba Raceway Park
Bronson fades, rallies to win wild one at Ocala
By Roby HelmNeSmith Dirt Late Model Series
OCALA, Fla. (Jan. 31) — Kyle Bronson of Brandon, Fla., survived a wild NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series 40-lap main event Thursday to win the third round of the Rock Auto.com Speedweeks presented by Racecar Engineering event. Bronson swapped the lead on several occasions before taking the $2,000 Crate Late Model victory at Bubba Raceway Park. | Slideshow | Video
Bronson led the first 14 laps of the race before dropping back to the fourth spot, but he rallied back to survive a tangle in front of him between the top two cars. That incident led to Bronson reclaiming the lead on lap 32.
Bronson then held off a challenge from two-time series champ David Earl Gentry of Murfreesboro, Tenn., to take his first series victory with a 1.216 second margin of victory. Bronson finished second in Tuesday’s 40-lap opener.
“There were slide jobs being thrown all over the place tonight, so when I saw how we were going to race, I got in there with them,” Bronson said. “There is some great competition here, so it feels great to win and we’re looking forward to the rest of the week.”
Gentry finished second Knoxville-based Warrior Race Cars in taking the series points lead. Hall of Famer Ronnie Johnson of Chattanooga, Tenn., took the third spot after a high-riding, late-race charge while Doug Horton of Bruceton Mills, W.Va., and hometown driver Ivedent Lloyd Jr. rounded out the top five. Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, Ga., rallied from 23rd to sixth to earn Hedman Husler Hard Charger honors.
Ronny Lee Hollingsworth of Northport, Ala., winner of Tuesday and Wednesday’s features, led 15 laps but spun to the infield in a lap-31 tangle with fellow Alabamian Justin McRee.
The polesitter Bronson led at the outset over Hollingsworth, McRee and Canadian invader Darren Peters, but Horton was on the move early in racing up to second, challenging Bronson for the point by lap seven as the frontrunners entered traffic.
Horton dove under Bronson in turn one to edge ahead, but Branson regained the point exiting turn two while Hollingsworth stalked the leaders. Hollingsworth sailed around the outside of Horton for second on lap 14 in turn three, and on lap 15, the high-flying Hollingsworth went around Bronson in turn four.
McRee picked up his pace on lap 17 when he dove under Horton in turn three to take the third spot, One lap later, McRee got by Bronson for second and Horton dropped Bronson to fourth. The first of four caution flags appeared on lap 19 when John Over of Uniontown, Pa., nosed into the frontstretch wall.
Hollingsworth led the doubled up McRee, Horton, Bronson and Gentry back to green with Bronson quickly moving back to second. McRee edged back ahead on lap 20, and Branson again fell to fourth behind Horton on lap 28.
After a caution for Matthew Turner’s turn-four stall on lap 29, McRee challenged Hollingsworth on the restart. They tangled coming off turn two and Hollingsworth spun to the infield on the backstretch, bringing out the thirdï¿½ yellow. McRee was out front on the restart followed by Gentry, Bronson, Horton and Joey Coulter.
Bronson turned up the wick on the restart by getting around Gentry for the second spot, and moved right up to challenge McRee for the lead before the final yellow on lap 32 for a slowing Larry Harrod.
McRee retired with mechanical problems during the caution period, and Brnton held off Gentry the rest of the way while Johnson charged from sixth to third in the final nine laps.
Action continues Friday with a $2,000-to-win, 40-lap feature.
Rock Auto.com Speedweeks (Jan. 31): (1) Kyle Bronson, (2) David Gentry, (3) Ronnie Johnson, (4) Doug Horton, (5) Ivedent Lloyd Jr., (6) Jonathan Davenport, (7) Joey Coulter, (8) Ryan Montgomery, (9) Shannon Lee, (10) Jason Welshan, (11) Mack McCarter, (12) Dalton Myers, (13) Austin Kirkpatrick, (14) Jason Fitzgerald, (15) Johnny Stokes, (16) Brent Barrett, (17) Darren Peters, (18) Larry Harrod, (19) Chase Edge, (20) Matthew Turner, (21) Phil Pittman, (22) Justin McRee, (23) Josh Atkins, (24) Mike Pegher Jr., (25) Ronny Lee Hollingsworth, (26) John Over, (27) Shan Smith. Fast qualifier (among 62 cars): Hollingsworth, 14.774 seconds. Heat race winners: Horton, Peters, Hollingsworth, Montgomery, McRee, Bronson. Consolation winners: Lloyd, Barrett, Lee. Last-chance winner: Over. Provisional starters: Harrod, Stokes.