Story By: KAYLA MAY / WORLD OF OUTLAWS – SEYMOUR, TN – On Friday evening, Cory Hedgecock collected the biggest win of his career in front of a packed house at 411 Motor Speedway. The Loudon, TN driver etched his name on the World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series All-Time Wins list alongside the greatest Late Model drivers in history.
“I knew if I ever had a chance at winning one of these races, it was no doubt going to be here,” said Hedgecock. “I am tickled to death… This track was absolutely phenomenal tonight… We were no doubt going to wreck her or bring her home.”
Hedgecock claimed the lead from rookie of the year contender and race-long leader David Breazeale on lap 23 and never looked back. Two late race cautions on lap 44 and lap 45 of the 50-lap event posed no threat to the driver of the No. 9 who held off charges from recent World of Outlaws winner (Fayetteville Motor Speedway on May 12) Jimmy Owens.
“I just had mixed emotions. I did not want them cautions,” said Hedgecock. “During that long green run (lap 5-41), I’m not sure if I didn’t use my right rear a little bit up. It got hot on me. So, then I was like, ‘OK, well maybe I do want a caution’… I knew the No. 57 [of David Breazeale] was behind me and then the No. 20 [Jimmy Owens] popped up and I thought, ‘Oh shoot. This one is going to be tough.’ You know, we got that caution but I just kept getting the thumbs up. I am tickled to death. This is awesome.”
Owens of Newport, TN claimed second on lap 24 and relentlessly tried to reel in Hedgecock for the remaining 26 laps. Yet, The Newport Nightmare was unsuccessful in his attempts and settled for runner-up.
“I tell you it’s awesome to get to see Cory win this,” said Owens. “Man, I come by him and we were just giving him a high five at the end of the race there and he was beating on his steering wheel. It’s awesome to see someone get so emotional over a win and congratulations to him. Those guys race hard all weekend. He’s a tough driver to get around down here.”
Mike Marlar of Winfield, TN rounded out the podium at 411 Motor Speedway giving Tennessee drivers a clean sweep of the top-three.
“We’re having a lot of fun,” said Marlar. “It’s fun racing and Tennessee guys are pretty tough. This is a great big team sport and my car owner Ronnie Delk and his family are over in the pits. Our car is from Brucebilt right here in Knoxville. Smithbilt Homes is also right here in Knoxville so we have a lot of support out of the East Tennessee area. Also, I have an awesome crew. If it wasn’t for these guys I wouldn’t be standing here.”
When Hedgecock passed under the checkers, Owens and Marlar split to the outside of his car and the trio celebrated three-wide down the front stretch.
“I started to make him do a donut because it didn’t look like he was going to celebrate but I thought they might take that the wrong way,” said Owens.
“We were just trying to get up there and figure out what he was doing, that’s all we were trying to do,” laughed Marlar. “Cory is an awesome driver and he wins a ton of races around here. A guy that wins 20-30 races right here locally, he’s going to be tough to beat no matter who comes in.”
The World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series heads just one hour Northeast for Saturday’s race at Volunteer Speedway in Bulls Gap, TN. The Series will take part in another 50-lap $10,000-to-win event to cap off the double-header weekend shootout.
Abbreviated Results from 411 Motor Speedway:
Sears Craftsman Feature (50 Laps)- 1. 9h-Cory Hedgecock [$10,000]; 2. 20-Jimmy Owens [$5,000]; 3. 157-Mike Marlar [$3,000]; 4. 44-Chris Madden [$2,500]; 5. 97-Michael Chilton [$2,000]; 6. 91-Tyler Erb [$1,700]; 7. B1-Brent Larson [$1,400]; 8. 54-David Breazeale [$1,300]; 9. 25-Shane Clanton [$1,200]; 10. 1-Brandon Sheppard [$1,100]; 11. 7-Rick Eckert [$1,050]; 12. 18c-Chase Junghans [$1,000]; 13. 50-Shanon Buckingham [$950]; 14. 53-Ray Cook [$900]; 15. 3v-Kyle Hardy [$850]; 16. 14m-Morgan Bagley [$800]; 17. 22-Chris Ferguson [$770]; 18. 1g-Ryan King [$750]; 19. 9-Devin Moran [$730]; 20. 116-Brandon Overton [$700]; 21. 101-Casey Roberts [$700]; 22. 21-Robby Moses [$700]; 23. C5-David Crabtree [$700]; 24. 17M-Dale McDowell [$700]
Hard Charger Award: 44-Chris Madden[+8]
Qualifying – 1. 20-Jimmy Owens, 14.001; 2. 3v-Kyle Hardy, 14.104; 3. 54-David Breazeale, 14.132; 4. 9h-Cory Hedgecock, 14.15; 5. 97-Michael Chilton, 14.24; 6. 50-Shanon Buckingham, 14.246; 7. 18c-Chase Junghans, 14.26; 8. B1-Brent Larson, 14.286; 9. 44-Chris Madden, 14.296; 10. 7-Rick Eckert, 14.301; 11. 1-Brandon Sheppard, 14.327; 12. 157-Mike Marlar, 14.357; 13. 101-Casey Roberts, 14.36; 14. 21-Robby Moses, 14.364; 15. 17M-Dale McDowell, 14.37; 16. 91-Tyler Erb, 14.374; 17. 55-Benji Hicks, 14.393; 18. C5-David Crabtree, 14.4; 19. 9-Devin Moran, 14.432; 20. 1g-Ryan King, 14.439; 21. 22-Chris Ferguson, 14.528; 22. 53-Ray Cook, 14.531; 23. 116-Brandon Overton, 14.559; 24. 14m-Morgan Bagley, 14.625; 25. 11B-Stacy Boles, 14.756; 26. 144-Chris Barton, 14.835; 27. 17-Billy Franklin, 14.906; 28. 86-Jeff Neubert, 15.024; 29. 25-Shane Clanton, NT