Franklin Conquers "American Air
50"; Cooke Takes Road Show Points Lead
RICHBURG, S.C. - May 1. On a night where the intensity paralleled the warm May
temperatures, Dennis “Rambo” Franklin prevailed over a stellar field to win Saturday's "American Air 50" at
I-77 Speedway. It was the second stop in 2010 for the Heintz Brothers Performance
Road Show as the “Little Diamond of The South” hosted its inaugural NDRA touring event.
Jeff Cooke, off his 2nd place finish at Westminster, set quick time in GM
Performance Qualifying. Cooke, Franklin, “Kid Quick” Zack Mitchell, and Round 1 winner
Ron Parker secured the first four positions in time trials and locked themselves into the GazZu Energy
Top four redraw. Parker and Mitchell drew the front row for the feature with
Franklin and Cooke settling for the second row. The remainder of the starting grid was
set by time trials and two City Chevrolet heat races.
Parker wasted no time in asserting himself on the first of 50 laps, bringing Franklin with
him. While the leaders raced nose to tail out front, side by side racing emerged
throughout the remainder of the field until caution flags emerged for the first time on lap seven
setting the stage for the first deleware double file restart.
On the restart, Parker and Franklin resumed their battle for the lead as Mitchell and
Cooke did likewise for the third position. After another caution flag on lap 11, the
field embarked on a 15 lap green flag segment, highlighted by the two duels up front and the advancing Ross
Bailes. Bailes, who started seventh, began making his way to the front in the middle
stages of the event.
Lap 26 brought out the fifth caution flag as race leader Ron Parker slowed with a flat
tire. After a quick visit to pit road, Parker rejoined the field with his hopes for back
to back tour victories all but eliminated. Franklin, who had consistently pursued the
race leader, now found himself at the point for the restart.
As Franklin continued to lead, Bailes began his pursuit of Cooke for the second
position. Mitchell held the fourth position as Brandon Overton, Kent Peckham, Timbo
Mangum, Mitchell Coble, and Matt Long battled in an attempt to join the top three. As
Parker rebounded and made his way back into the top 10, Bailes and Cooke waged war behind the race
leader. In the end, Franklin would emerge victorious, capturing the $2500.00 winner’s
check. He was followed by to the line by Cooke, Bailes, Mitchell, and Overton.
With his second consecutive runner up finish, Jeff Cooke assumes the Road Show points lead
after 2 events.