Garrett Smith Survives Attrition-Filled Tri-County Contest For First Spring Nationals Win

Story By: RYAN DELPH / SOUTHERN NATIONALS SERIES – BRASSTOWN, NC – Young upstart driver Garrett Smith, of Eatonton, Georgia, captured his first career Schaeffer’s Oil Spring Nationals Series victory on Thursday evening in an attrition-filled battle at Tri-County Race Track.

Garrett stopped the clock second quickest overall during the FK Rod Ends qualifying session at the Brasstown, North Carolina oval, which locked him into the outside of the front row for the 40-lap headliner. Garrett got the jump at the outset of the race over polesitter Payton Freeman and survived nine caution flags – five coming in the final seven circuits – to bag the $4,053 winner’s check.

Freeman, who earlier in the night set a New Track Record in qualifying at the “Tiger Pit” with his quick lap of 12.069 seconds, slipped back to as far as fourth in the running order before making a late charge to a strong runner-up performance. New #SpringNationals point leader Carson Ferguson moved up three spots to finish in the third position to round out the podium. Local favorite Jamie Oliver was steady in advancing past four racecars to nab a fourth place effort, while Kenny Collins debuted a new car to a fifth place showing despite an unfortunate spin on lap 33.

Nine caution flags slowed round five of the Schaeffer’s Oil Spring Nationals miniseries tonight at Tri-County Race Track. A slowing Levi Hicks brought out the first yellow flag on lap 7 and a spinning Cory Hedgecock was the cause of the second yellow on lap 12. On that restart, a spinning Kip Cochran slowed the action before once again drawing a caution on lap 16 when he stopped on the track. A slowing Galen Robinson then brought out a yellow on lap 33 before Kenny Collins spun out of the third spot driving hard on that following restart. Danny Ledford then went for a spin on lap 35 before Heath Hindman joined him in the spin cycle on the restart. The ninth and final yellow was brought out for second running Josh Putnam on lap 38 when a flat tire dropped him to ninth in the final finishing order.

“I had a really good car all night,” quoted Smith in victory lane after leading flag-to-flag. I got the jump on the initial start of the race and took the lead early. The top of the track was cleaning off up there and I figured those guys behind me were coming at the end. It was starting to dust off and clean up to where you could run around the whole corner. I just have to thank all of my great sponsors and my crew for all of their hard work!”

Garrett drove a Garrett Smith Performance #10 XR1 Rocket Chassis to victory tonight with sponsorship from Atlanta Paving & Concrete, Terminal Maintenance & Construction, Davis Tire, Senior Life Insurance Company, World Famous Cadillac Ranch, Base Racing Fuel, Schaeffer’s Racing Oil, Swift Springs, and Fox Racing Shox.

A total of 22 competitors signed into the pit area at Tri-County Race Track for tonight’s festivities. The feature lineup was set solely by FK Rod Ends qualifying. Payton Freeman set the quickest time with a New Track Record during qualifying and picked up an extra $260 courtesy of Memory Lane Classic Cars, while eventual winner Garrett Smith knocked down the second fastest time. Kenny Collins, David Payne, and Cory Hedgecock rounded out the top five in time trials. Before the A-Main even went green, local drivers David Payne and Glenn Barnett pulled pitside with mechanical troubles, which shrank the starting field to twenty.

Another $4,053 top prize will be up for grabs for the Schaeffer’s Oil Spring Nationals Series competitors on Friday, April 22 in round six at Crossville Speedway in Crossville, Tennessee. The Volunteer State oval has hosted four past series shows, which were won by Ricky Weiss (’17), Michael Chilton (’18), Donald McIntosh (’19), and Dale McDowell (’21). The third and final contest of the weekend will take place on Saturday, April 23 at Clarksville Speedway in Clarksville, Tennessee and a $10,053 payday will be on the line for the ground-pounding Super Late Models. The Spring Nationals tour made their debut at Clarksville last year and Tanner English walked away with the five-figure windfall ahead of a top five that included runner-up Jadon Frame, Donald McIntosh, Dale McDowell, and David Seibers.

Schaeffer’s Oil Spring Nationals Series presented by Sunoco Race Fuels
Round 5 Race Summary
Thursday, April 21, 2022
Tri-County Race Track – Brasstown, North Carolina

Schaeffer’s Oil Feature Finish (40 Laps):
1. (2) Garrett Smith $4,053
2. (1) Payton Freeman $2,000
3. (6) Carson Ferguson $1,400
4. (8) Jamie Oliver $1,000
5. (3) Kenny Collins $800
6. (13) Joe Denby $700
7. (9) Cla Knight $600
8. (15) Shawn Chastain $550
9. (7) Josh Putnam $525
10. (12) Danny Ledford $500
11. (11) Heath Hindman $480
12. (16) Galen Robinson $470
13. (14) Will Harris $460
14. (21) Craig Greer $450
15. (18) Kip Cochran $440
16. (17) Levi Hicks $430
17. (5) Cory Hedgecock $420
18. (10) Jensen Ford $410
19. (19) Jonathon Cope $400
20. (20) Jacob Hamby $400
21. (4) David Payne $400
22. (22) Glenn Barnett $400

Entries: 22
Lap Leaders: Garrett Smith (Laps 1-40)
Cautions: 9 (Slowing Levi Hicks on Lap 7, Spinning Cory Hedgecock on Lap 12, Spinning Kip Cochran on Lap 12 Restart, Slowing Kip Cochran on Lap 16, Slowing Galen Robinson on Lap 33, Spinning Kenny Collins on Lap 33 Restart, Spinning Danny Ledford on Lap 35, Spinning Heath Hindman on Lap 35 Restart, and Flat Tire for Josh Putnam on Lap 38)

FK Rod Ends Time Trials:
Fast Time Overall: Payton Freeman 12.069 NTR
1. Payton Freeman, 2. Garrett Smith, 3. Kenny Collins, 4. David Payne, 5. Cory Hedgecock, 6. Carson Ferguson, 7. Josh Putnam, 8. Jamie Oliver, 9. Cla Knight, 10. Jensen Ford, 11. Heath Hindman, 12. Danny Ledford, 13. Joe Denby, 14. Will Harris, 15. Shawn Chastain, 16. Galen Robinson, 17. Levi Hicks, 18. Kip Cochran, 19. Jonathon Cope, 20. Jacob Hamby, 21. Craig Greer, 22. Glenn Barnett

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