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411 Motor Speedway

Happy New Year for Hedgecock at 411

January 2, 2014, 2:14 pm
By Richard Allen
Cory Hedgecock gets up to speed Jan. 1 at 411. (circlesville.com)
Cory Hedgecock gets up to speed Jan. 1 at 411. (circlesville.com)

SEYMOUR, Tenn. (Jan. 1) — Cory Hedgecock started 2014 just like he ended 2013 at 411 Motor Speedway. The 21-year-old driver from Loudon, Tenn., set fast time and led all 35 laps of Wednesday afternoon's fourth annual Hangover, a special New Year’s Day event at the 3/8-mile oval.

Hedgecock survived first-lap contact with fellow front-row starter Jason Manley, then used the high groove to fend off mid-race challenges from runner-up Jensen Ford for a $1,500 payday in the Limited Late Model event.

“We got lucky by qualifying decent,” Hedgecock said. “I’m not sure what the Manley deal was all about. I was just trying to hold my groove as much as he was holding his. We were just lucky again tonight and got another one to start the year off good.”

“I always just think momentum is going to be the ticket,” Hedgecock added, explaining his decision to stick with the high groove against Ford. “I was struggling coming off of (turn) two because it was slick. I knew somebody was down there because my dad was giving me hand signals but I think I finally just started to pull back away. We struggled a couple of times through one and two but it all worked out in the end.”

Rusty Ballenger finished third behind Hedgecock and Ford while Josh Henry and Ross White rounded out the top five.

Hedgecock, who won the 2013 finale at the Mitch and Tanya McCarter-owned track, led the field through turns one and two at the outset of the 35-lapper, but he and Manley made contact on the backstretch. Hedgecock held onto the front spot while Manley fell back to fourth as Henry and Ford chased the leader.

During a lap-four caution for Josh Driskill's spin, Manley pulled alongside Hedgecock to show his displeasure over the first-lap contact.

On the fifth lap, the race’s second caution flag waved when Manley had his car tagged by another machine in turn one, setting off a series of events that resulted in Manley spinning in turn three. Having been hit by William Overby’s car after coming to rest, Manley climbed from the damaged racer and walked away in disgust.

Following the race’s final yellow flag on lap 12, Hedgecock received his only real challenge of the night when Ford attempted to make the lower line work around the track that typically tends to favor the upper groove. At the same time, Henry, White, Ballenger and Jason Cardwell staged a four-car battle for position just behind the lead duo. Eventually, Hedgecock was able to pull away for the victory.

Notes: Hedgecock’s No. 23 Rocket Chassis is sponsored by K&P Used Cars, Total Communication, Renegade Racing Fuels & Lubricants, MikeAndGina.biz, Shy Shocks, Stealth Racing Carburetors, Timeless Memories Photography, Eagle Racing Engines, ET Graphics and Scotty Evans. … Hedgecock was the only driver to crack the 18-second mark in time trials. … While Limited Late Models will make regular appearances at 411 in 2014, the track’s weekly Late Model division will be sanctioned by NeSmith Chevrolet Old Man’s Garage Weekly Racing Series for Crate Late Models.

Hangover: (1) Cory Hedgecock, (2) Jensen Ford, (3) Rusty Ballenger, (4) Josh Henry, (5) Ross White, (6) Josh Evans, (7) Jason Cardwell, (8) Jason Welshan, (9) Jason Manley, (10) Josh Chesney, (11) Ryan King, (12) Pierce McCarter, (13) William Overby, (14) Josh Driskill, (15) Tristan Clawson. Scratched: Travis Banther. Fast qualifier (among 16 cars): Hedgecock, 13.827 seconds. Heat race winners: Henry, Cardwell.

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