latemodelamerica.com - May 1 - I-77 Speedway
LateModelAmerica.com by Sam Holbrooks

 
 
 

Franklin Conquers "American Air 50"; Cooke Takes Road Show Points Lead

NDRA Report

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.

NDRA Finish - May 1

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