latemodelamerica.com - Apr. 2 - Fayetteville Motor Speedway
LateModelAmerica.com by Sam Holbrooks

 
 

Carolina Clash: Luke Roffers dominates "Ed Gibbons Memorial"

Alex Cummings

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. - April 2. Luke Roffers was able to motor his way to an impressive second Carolina Clash win at the "Ed Gibbons Memorial" at Fayetteville Motor Speedway, beating out 31 of the best Late Model drivers in the region.

After thanking his sponsors, Roffers added, "I also want to thank my crew for their hard work and determination, along with wishing my Dad a happy birthday. This is a great present for him on his birthday."

The home town boy Dustin Mitchell and West Virginia native Chris Meadows led the field of 24 to the green flag after qualifying first and second. A massive pileup would ensue in turn two when six cars tangled, bringing out the red flag. Unfortunately, Ray Tucker and Chris Blackwell were unable to continue due to extensive damage on both cars.

When the green was shown again, the fans in the stands were treated to a spectacular show with two wide racing taking place for the next six laps from second place on back, with Mitchell leading. Two distinct grooves had shown up, one really low and one really high. Jeff Smith took to the high side and used it to his advantage en route to his six place finish after starting the event in the 23rd position.

"I consider tonight pretty much a win by advancing 17 positions in the feature," said Jeff Smith after the race. "My car was able to run high or low and I want to thank my crew for all of their hard work tonight."

On lap seven, heading down the backstretch, Roffers made his move on the inside of Mitchell going into turn three and made the pass. Roffers then checked out on the field, taking nearly a full straightaway lead in just a handful of laps. The race was on for second through tenth as nine cars ran either nose to tail or side by side. Every lap saw a position change between one of the drivers in the top 10 during the rest of the race.

Lap 17 saw the caution wave when Tim Allen stopped on the back stretch after a mechanical failure, and lap 19 saw Travis Hair slow up. The final caution waved on lap 21 when Kenny Compton, Jr. looped his car, setting up one of the wildest finishes in Carolina Clash history as a 18-lap shootout would ensue. Roffers took his car to the inside of the track and ran away with the lead as the top 15 cars were running nose to tail, jockeying for position and dicing it up. On lap 32, Mike Gault made a power move around Brent Robinson for the fourth position then two laps later, Gault made a move to the outside, passing Dean Bowen for third. Then on lap 35, Bowen would get crossed up in turn two, allowing three cars past.

As the cars crossed the finish line to take the checkers, the finish resembled what NASCAR fans would normally see at a restrictor plate race with the cars coming across in a large group, two and three wide for positions second on back. When the dust settled, Roffers was the winner taking home the $4,000 check with Dustin Mitchell in second, Mike Gault third, Brent Robinson fourth, and Scott Autry fifth.

Travis Yow began the night with a great qualifying run, putting him in the eighth starting position and locking him into the feature. Yow would run in the top 10 for the most of the night but fell back to 11th place where he would finish.

Carolina Clash - Fayetteville Motor Speedway
1) Luke Roffers, 2) Dustin Mitchell, 3) Mike Gault, 4) Brent Robinson, 5) Scott Autry, 6) Jeff Smith (prov.), 7) Dean Bowen, 8) Shawn Beasley, 9) Chris Meadows, 10) Johnny Pursley, 11) Travis Yow, 12) Dennis Franklin, 13) Chad Paxton, 14) Craig Shuffield, 15) Kenny Compton, 16) Scott Neighbors, 17) David Taylor (prov.), 18) Justin Labonte, 19) Harold Redman, Jr., 20) Dale Hammond, 21) Travis Hair, 22) Tim Allen, 23) Chris Blackwell, 24) Ray Tucker.
Fast Time (31 entries): Dustin Mitchell (17.602 secs.); Heat winners: Autry, Franklin; B-Main winner: Labonte

 

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