Fayetteville Motor Speedway
Pursley rules Clash finale, Franklin gets title
By Thomas PopeDirtonDirt.com correspondent
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (Oct. 19) — After squandering pole starting spots in a number of recent visits to Fayetteville Motor Speedway, Johnny Pursley made sure not to do it again when he led Saturday’s Carolina Clash Super Late Model Series season finale to the green.
Pursley of Clover, S.C., led every lap of Saturday’s 40-lap event, earning $4,000 in claiming his second series victory of the season.
“I think I've sat on the pole four times here and never finished better than third or fourth, so maybe we figured out something tonight,” said Pursley, who claimed the sixth Carolina Clash victory of his career. “I like this place. It's a long drive for us, but it's always fun coming here. We always seem to do decent here.”
While Pursley led the way at the front, Dennis Franklin of Gaffney, S.C., celebrated his the third series championship in the past four years with a third-place finish. Rebounding from a near miss in last year’s championship chase, Franklin, who claimed nine of the tour’s 17 races this season, clinched the series title just by entering Saturday’s event.
“Last year we just had a lot of bad luck and in racing you've got to have luck on your side,” said Franklin, who led most of last year’s points chase before late-season miscues allowed Luke Roffers to overtake him for the title. “Luck’s been on our side this year and you get them years when you can't do nothing wrong, and this year's been one of those years. Last year, Luke couldn't do nothing wrong. this year, every time he's turned around he's had bad luck; That's racing.”
Steve Blackburn of Greensboro, N.C., finished between the winner and the champion in second. Scott Shirey of Swansea, S.C. and Dustin Mitchell of Pine Level, N.C., rounded out the race’s top five finishers in fourth and fifth.
Notes: Pursley’s No. 09 is sponsored by Twin Oaks Racing, Eagle Manufacturing, Freeman Plumbing and Pursley Grading. ... Pursley ended up second to Franklin in the final series points. ... Pursley’s previous Carolona Clash victory came May 3 at Carolina Speedway in Gastonia, N.C. ... Damon Kotke's 11th-place run was good enough to clinch Rookie of the Year honors. ... Ricky Weeks lost a motor in dramatic fashion while running amongst the top five early in the feature. ... Sixteen drivers were running at the finish; 12 completed all 40 laps. ... Mike Gault of Gaffney, S.C., earned the race’s hard charger award with his run from 16th to sixth. ... The feature lineup was set directly from time trials. ... Fayetteville hosted the series for the fourth time this season.
Carolina Clash @ Fayetteville: (1) Johnny Pursley, (2) Steve Blackburn, (3) Dennis Franklin, (4) Scott Shirey, (5) Dustin Mitchell, (6) Mike Gault, (7) Chris Blackwell, (8) Tim Allen, (9) Shaun Harrell, (10) Shawn Beasley, (11) Damon Kotke, (12) Gary Mabe, (13) Mike Parker, (14) Kevin Wilson, (15) Kyle Pierce, (16) Michael Marlowe, (17) Luke Roffers, (18) Tim Neighbors, (19) Cody Shaw, (20) Ricky Weeks, (21) Chuck Smith, (22) Scott Neighbors. Fast qualifier (among 23 cars): Pursley, 17.431 seconds.