- Mar. 19 - Florence Speedway by Sam Holbrooks


Eddie Carrier, Jr. Corrals First Ever Win at Florence Speedway in "Spring 50"  

James Essex

UNION, Ky. - Mar. 19. Eddie Carrier Jr. of Salt Rock, W.V. capitalized on a penalty levied on race leader, Don O’Neal of Martinsville, Ind. on a lap 29 restart and went on to score his first ever win at Florence Speedway. Carrier earned $5,000 for capturing the 35th annual "Spring 50".  The 40-year-old second generation racer led the remaining 21 laps of the event to take the win over Scott James of Lawrenceburg, Ind., O’Neal, Rod Conley of Wheelersburg, Oh., and Chad Simpson of Mount Vernon, Ia. 

Eddie Carrier - Florence Speedway Spring 50 

Eddie Carrier, Jr.'s first career win at Florence Speedway came in the track's annual season-opening "Spring 50" on Saturday. (Drew England)

“It feels great to finally get a win here at Florence. The track was real good, considering all the rain they have had,” said Carrier as emerged from his Rocket Ford Fusion.  Carrier, who was born and raised in Kentucky, spent the first 31 years of his life in the Bluegrass State until moving to West Virginia in 2002 to drive for Carl Grover Motorsports based out of Ona, W.V.

James and Kent Robinson paced the field at the start of the race with James grabbing the lead.  The first caution of the race appeared on lap five for 2010 UMP Late Model Champion Rusty Schlenk, who slowed on the frontstretch. 

The restart saw James continue to lead with Carrier, who started fourth, running in second.  Eric Wells, who started seventh, quickly made his way to the front, grabbing the second slot from Carrier on lap six. Wells then started to challenge James for the lead as the top four cars of James, Wells, Carrier, and O’Neal were tightly bunched in the race for the top spot until the second caution appeared on lap eight for defending Florence track champion, Jason Jameson, who came to a halt in turn two.

On the restart, Carrier split both James and Wells to take the lead off of turn two.  O’Neal then started to get wound up as the veteran pilot came from fourth to second on the restart to challenge Carrier for the lead.  A caution on lap 14 would once again slow the field.

On the restart James, who was running third, clipped the inside burm in turn two, causing him to spin.  James restarted on the tail, but he would become a factor again late in the race.

Carrier and O’Neal then put on a fantastic battle for the lead, running side-by-side on several occasions until O’Neal was able to forge ahead on lap 19.  O’Neal then started to pull away from Carrier and Wells, who were battling for second.  O’Neal’s good sized advantage would disappear by lap 27 though when the caution came out for Frank Heckenast ,Jr., who slowed on the main straightaway with an oil leak and a right rear flat tire. 

The restart of the race would be called back when officials said O’Neal fired before the cone in turn four. The ensuing penalty caused O’Neal to lose one spot in the running order.  Carrier became the new leader of the race on the restart, with O’Neal and 12th starting Steve Casebolt lined up side-by-side for the Delaware double file restart.  Casebolt’s run through the field came to an end when he lost his brakes. He pulled out of the race.

Carrier then took command of the race with O’Neal now in second, followed by James, who had come all the way from the back to third. Simpson, who was making his first ever start at Florence, was fourth, followed by Conley, who like James, had come from the tail after hitting the cone early in the race and suffering a penalty. 

Carrier started to enter some lapped traffic by lap 38, but two laps later that would all clear out as Christian Rayburn could not quite make it to the infield pit area on lap 40, which brought out the final caution of the race. 

The final restart saw Carrier sprint away from the field as O’Neal and James went door-to-door to settle the second spot.  James would clear O’Neal on lap 42, with eight laps to try and track down Carrier. 

It was not to be for either James and O’Neal athough, s the two Hoosier State drivers had no luck in chasing down Carrier, who sailed on for his first win at Florence Speedway in his Carl Grover Motorsports, Engines, Inc., Cox Wrecker Service, Hess, Stewart and Campbell, Blue Ridge Machinery and Tools and Ohlins sponsored car. 

Florence Speedway "Spring 50"
1) Eddie Carrier, Jr., 2) Scott James, 3) Don O’Neal, 4) Rod Conley, 5) Chad Simpson, 6) Jesse Lay, 7) Bobby Pierce, 8) Robby Hensley, 9) Corey McKenzie, 10) Jarrod Breeding, 11) Brian Gray, 12) Christian Rayburn, 13) John Gill, 14) Steve Casebolt, 15) Justin Rattliff, 16) Kent Robinson, 17) Eric Wells, 18) Frank Heckenast, Jr., 19) Kenneth Howell, 20) Jason Jameson, 21) Rusty Schlenk
Fast Time (28 entries): Eddie Carrier, Jr. (15.555 secs.) Heat winners: James, Robinson, Simpson.

Thomas Hendrickson photo


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