latemodelamerica.com - July 29 - USA Speedway
LateModelAmerica.com by Sam Holbrooks

 
 

Morgan Bagley at USA Speedway

Morgan Bagley's #14 emerged relatively unscathed from a massive lap six pileup and continued to his first career Comp Cams Super Dirt Series win at USA Speedway. (Woody Hampton)

CCSDS: Bagley Win Streak Intact After Comp Cams Thriller at USA Speedway

Bryan Winberley

STERLINGTON, La. – July 29. At USA Speedway on Friday night, Morgan Bagley of Longview, Tex., proved that it will take more than a wide array of bizarre happenings to dethrone his winning streak. Bagley took a dramatic last lap pass on race-long leader Curtis Cook of Vilonia, Ark., en route to a $2,000 paycheck and his second win on the Comp Cams Super Dirt Series tour.

Cook led the charge for 34 of the 35 scheduled laps, before giving way to Bagley in the final three corners of the race. Cook would settle for second, followed by 2010 series champion Bill Frye of Greenbrier, Ark., in third and Brandon Smith of Floral, Ark., in fourth. Sixth-row starter, B.J. Robinson of Shreveport, La., would round out the top five finishers.
"We started way back there in the feature, we had a good car and could pass wherever I wanted too, but I knew it was going to be hard to get up front. I felt like we definitely had a top five car, then that wreck happened. I seen it ahead of me and always look way ahead on restarts. I saw cars getting sideways, I kind of slid it in there and I am glad I tightened it up, we had

Curtis Cook at USA Speedway

Curtis Cook led the entire race at USA Speedway, but was denied his second CCSDS win on the last lap. (Woody Hampton)

 
enough side-bite to keep me from slamming somebody. I don't know how we didn't hit anybody! I went through the infield and I just knew I couldn't keep it from stopping. I know with this Comp Cams Series, anybody that stops on a caution, has to go to the rear of the field. I think that is a real good rule, I respect them for that and that definitely worked out to our advantage tonight," Bagley said.
As ominous weather lurked nearby early on, an already over-watered track hampered the starting efforts of the program. Combine that, along with some equipment issues and a power outage and you were set up for what was sure to be an eventful feature -and it didn't disappoint!
Curtis Cook took the lead with Trey Beene, Dewaine Hottinger, Jon Mitchell and Frye trailing on the initial lap. A quick yellow would fly for a tire barrier hit and landing in turns one & two.
With two cautions coming out virtually back-to-back on laps 5 & 6, the next and final one would be the doozie on the restart. Seeking momentum, Jon Mitchell of Texarkana, Tex., was battling for second with Beene on the restart. Mitchell's car went hot into turn one on the cushion and stalled, sending cars down low to seek refuge. Mitchell avoided making contact with the outside wall, as cars hunted for lanes to escape, causing a chain reaction and a 12-car pileup. Many cars involved suffered cosmetic damage, others had flats and a couple just ran out of room due to a blocked speedway -stopping on the track.
 
Darin Patrick and Kyle Beard at USA Speedway

Area driver Darin Patrick and Kyle Beard race for position at USA Speedway. CCSDS regular Beard posted eighth place. (Woody Hampton)
Bagley was running 10th, when the fourth and final caution occurred for the pileup, as he pointed the No. 14M towards the infield, never letting the car come to a halt and avoiding the chaos -Bagley would advance to third in the restarting order for his efforts.
Cook still held the lead with Beene, Bagley, Frye and Jay Brunson being shown in the top 5 positions. Only three cars would be lost from the lap 6 melee. Brunson would
later fall victim, while running near the front of the pack, due to power steering problems suffered from the accident.
The race would go green the final 29 laps, but high drama was still on tap for the fans remaining in attendance. Seven circuits into the restart, Bagley closed on Beene for second, as Cook set the pace and caught the back of the field on lap 16.
Bagley drew up to Beene's decklid several times, but didn't have an answer to get by him. With 15 laps remaining, the top four cars (Cook, Beene, Bagley and Frye) had a full straightaway on the rest of the group.
On lap 26, surprisingly Beene pulled his car to the infield with smoke shooting from under the hood, relinquishing second to Bagley as he sets his sights on Cook and perhaps another USA Speedway victory.
Bagley was two-lengths from Cook, but traffic started to play a part with five to go. The pair cleared the lapped cars as Bagley began to experiment with the outside groove with two laps left.
White flag flying with Bagley stalking Cook into turn one. Cook stayed married on the bottom, as Bagley would charged into the two turns on the high-side. Bagley powered around Cook exiting turn two, giving him the complete pass down the backstretch and entering into three. Cook couldn't regain momentum, as Bagley seized control the last several feet to the flagstand, stealing a four-length victory over Cook, in front of the rewarded, enduring crowd.
 

Trey Beene and Dewaine Hottinger at USA Speedway

Shreveport area racer Trey Beene (115) and Little Rock's Dewaine Hottinger raced for second as Curtis Cook led the early going at USA Speedway. (Woody Hampton) 

"I knew when we got to third, it was a blessing in disguise for us to get there and that it wasn't going to be a bad night, which we would have taken. I know Curtis (Cook) was good on the bottom, I knew Trey (Beene) wasn't about to give up that bottom and he was going to have to really mess up for me to get by him. Beene ran a good line down there and knew that probably wasn't going to happen. I was trying to keep myself some distance and be prepared for anything that might happen. Whenever Beene pulled off, I told myself, ' Looks like we have a little chance and we can try something '! I seen the five to go, ran about two laps and cleared some lap traffic with some open racetrack ahead. I knew I could try the top for about two laps and find me something that worked. Maybe it would work or maybe it wouldn't, but we came from so far back that I wanted to go ahead and try to win it," said Bagley.

Notes: Bagley's Rocket Chassis race car is powered by a Clements Racing Engine and sponsored by P&W Sales & Oilfield Mfg., Mr. Frank Motorsports, Southern Transport, 360 Motorsports, Outerwears, Club 29, Hyperco, J&J Motorsports and MSI.
Bagley's fight to keep the winning streak alive at USA Speedway was in serious jeopardy after his heat race, where he started fourth and was pushed to dead last at the start. Bagley only managed to move up for a 5th place finish in the heat, giving him the 15th-starting position in the feature.
 Ian Samuels and Jon Kirby at USA Speedway

Newcomer Ian Samuels and recent CCSDS winner John Kirby race each other close and hard at USA Speedway.(Woody Hampton)

"I think we had a decent car in the heat race, I think we just got a bad start, then we got pushed up in the loose stuff and couldn't turn. By the time we got going, we was dead last and the track was a little bit wet. The track was kind of hard to pass on in the heat, we got back there and never had a caution and it put us behind the 8-ball to start the night," explained Bagley.
Bagley has five victories in six Late Model appearances at USA Speedway. The other was a 19th-place finish in September 2010, in the O'Reilly SUPR Series.
"I know we have won more here than anywhere else, that's obvious, but we have been here more than anywhere else too. There is nothing wrong with that and people can say what they want. We won at Champion Park and at (Lonestar Speedway) Kilgore, we have got a good team. If the cards fall right, we can win wherever we go, I feel confident in that. My car owner, Wayman McMillan, provides us with great stuff. I am just going to get out there, win all I can, then they can't say anything about it," Bagley expressed.
 

Morgan Bagley takes the checkered at the end of a wild CCSDS main event at USA Speedway. (Woody Hampton)

Bagley's four Comp Cams Super Dirt Series events he has entered, has netted him two wins at USA Speedway, a 10th-place at Drew County Speedway in Monticello, Ark., and a 14th-place at ArkLaTex Speedway in Vivian, La., falling out late with a flat tire while running fifth.
The checkered flags flew on the 40-minute feature at 12:40am and was slowed by four cautions, with twelve cars running at the end of the race.
Bagley would also take hard charger honors with the fourteen position leap to victory, completing the 15th-to-first feat.
Other big top 10 movers in the race, was Brandon Smith, going from 11th-to fourth and B.J. Robinson with a 12th-to-fifth run.
Curtis Cook's runner-up finish still places him atop the Comp Cams Super Dirt Series Rookie of the Year points lead, over Shane Harris, Ian Samuel and teammate Keith Lawson.
"I was riding around there just taking my time. I looked at the top a couple of times, but it looked like this place we drivers had blowed through it and not consistently there. I thought if I could maintain that bottom, that I had this in the bag. I thought I heard somebody out there, so I was cutting down and
 

Morgan Bagley and crew at USA Speedway

Morgan Bagley and his team celebrate their first CCSDS win at USA Speedway. (Woody Hampton)

 getting a good drive off. I was sliding up there and cutting that line off. I rolled in there, hit that bottom and it was some slime  down there, it got that nose to push and it let him (Bagley) pull out there. I couldn't really believe it, it was kind of disheartening a little bit," said Cook.
"It was nice to get a win early in our Late Model career, but we sure wanted to pick up another one tonight. It was a good points night for us I guess, it is still second! I know some of these guys had some bad luck (in the accident). I would have liked to have gotten the big check, guess we will take the little bit smaller one," Cook added.
Cook is in his first full year in the Late Model division, picking up his first series win on May 14th, at Drew County Speedway in Monticello, Arkansas.
"I started modified racing in '05 and went through a few years of kind of learning, then we picked up a few wins in '08. Then in '09 we went through a time when we got the car right where we wanted it and picked up 20-something wins in the modified. We got teamed up with Keith Lawson and helping him with a modified and then he decided he wanted to get a Late Model, so he bought us a Late Model. We ran it about eight to ten times last year and he (Keith) wanted to run this Comp Cams Series for points and Rookie of the Year this season, so we put a brand new car together over the winter and that is how the Late Model deal come about.
 
It is a lot of fun, it is different and a big challenge for me. There is a lot of aspects to the car that is the same as far as suspension-wise. Tuning it is a lot different, it wasn't what I expected when I first come into it. As good as I got with the modified in '09, I was thinking I would be able to stroll into this Late Model and keep the momentum going. I believe I gave another interview where we had a good run the first night out in the car and we decided to miss one of these MSRA/Comp Cams race and we went to the Diamond Nationals -that was very humbling there! It put us back into perspective, but we did learn a lot from the experience, it was good for us. Between Joe (Garrison) helping us at GRT Race Cars, trying to get this new car going, we have been up-and-down and chasing it. But on the nights when we have been good, we have been pretty consistent, had some top ten runs. It is a lot more fun than the modified, I still like to race my modified and to go back to my hometown track & fans, but I like this late model deal better. Hopefully we can get a little more consistent, run some bigger shows and try some Lucas Oil Series races," Cook said.
The Comp Cams Super Dirt Series victory at Drew County Speedway came 18 days after Cook's hometown of Vilonia, Arkansas was devastated by a tornado and killed seven people. The EF2 tornado narrowly missed Cook's residence, but nearly destroyed the entire town of 3,800, located 15 miles north of Little Rock.
Cook said, "The tornado missed my house by about a mile, but it tore a lot of stuff up. I have some friends that it damaged a lot of their stuff up, but my shop is on the other side of Conway, so it didn't effect our racing stuff."
Bill Frye won the first ever Late Model event held at USA Speedway in May 2010 and has finished no worse than third in three series appearances at the quarter-mile track.
Jon Mitchell of Texarkana, Tex., has raced in all four Comp Cams Super Dirt Series events held at USA Speedway in the last 15 months and has finished in the top 10 in all (6th, 5th, 7th & 4th).
Johnny Virden of Russellville, Ark., became part of a 3-car, heat race accident that gave his car some significant damage. Virden and his crew received many helping hands in the pits to get him repaired for the feature. Virden would make the effort worthwhile, rebounding from 19th-starting position and finishing ninth.
 
Bill Frye at USA Speedway

Popular Arkansas veteran Bill Srye posted a third place finish at USA Speedway. (Woody Hampton)

 feature. He was joined on the front row by Dewaine Hottinger, and as the race went green it was Cook, who shot to the lead with Hottinger, Trey Beene, and Jon Mitchell close behind.

A lap six caution saw a dozen competitors tangle on the front stretch, and Bagley would be a benefactor of the incident as he would dodge the accident after advancing from his 15th position to the third spot behind leader Cook and Beene as the field prepared to resume green flag conditions.

The top three in the running order would remain the same for the next several laps. However, lap 26 would see bad luck strike for Beene as mechanical woes forced him pitside, moving Bagley up to the second spot. Bagley stalked Cook for the next several laps before using a daring move on the high side to claim the lead on the final lap. Bagley was followed across the line by Cook, Bill Frye, Brandon Smith, and B.J. Robinson.

The Quarter Master Hard Luck Award went to Trey Beene. Bagley was the recipient of the Larry Shaw Race Cars Hard Charger Award after advancing from his 15th starting spot to claim the win.

The COMP Cams Super Dirt Series will conclude their weekend on Saturday night , July 30th with a $2,000 to win/$400 to start event at 67 Speedway (Texarkana, Arkansas).

July 29 - USA Speedway CCSDS
1) Morgan Bagley, 2) Curtis Cook, 3) Bill Frye, 4) Brandon Smith, 5) B.J. Robinson , 6) Jon Mitchell, 7) Jon Kirby, 8) Kyle Beard, 9) Johnny Virden, 10) Dewaine Hottinger, 11) Ian Samuels, 12) Zach McMillan, 13) Darin Patrick, 14) Trey Beene, 15) Michael Jay Brunson, Jr., 16) Shane Harris, 17) Allen Murray, 18) Keith Lawson, 19) Mark Underwood, 20) Timothy Culp
Heat winners (20 entries): Cook, Hottinger, Beene

Keenes photography 

 

 

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