latemodelamerica.com - May 8 - Central Mississippi Speedway
LateModelAmerica.com by Sam Holbrooks

 
 

Ragan Wins NeSmith "Mid-State 50 Nationals" at Central Mississippi

Series PR

WINONA, Miss. – May 8. Chris Ragan of Ramer, TN won the Mid-State Nationals 50 presented by Kirk Auto Group on Saturday night for the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series National Tour at Central Mississippi Speedway driving the Southeastern Ag Transport Trak-Star. Ragan led on two different occasions, and took the lead for good on lap 31 from Eric Cooley of Fulton , MS .  

Ragan made it a “clean sweep” after also being the fast qualifier with a lap around the ¼-mile clay oval in 14.798 seconds. Ragan led the first 24 laps of the race before being passed by Cooley, who led the next six laps. 

Larry Harrod of Plains, GA finished second in the Harrod Logging Scorpion, almost one second behind Ragan at the checkered flag, and was the VP Racing Fuels Rookie of the Race.  Cooley, the defending NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series National Champion, settled for third in the 78 Towing and Recovery Victory Circle 

Cooley was collected by a lapped car while leading the race in turn two on lap 30. Cooley was able to continue and restart as the leader, but the front end of his race car suffered enough damage to cause him to lose the lead to Ragan.  

A third-place finish for Cooley enabled him to extend his NeSmith Chevrolet DLMS National Tour point lead to 52 points overMatthew Turnerof Dawsonville, GA.  Turner was involved in a lap 14 multi-car pile-up on the front straightaway, and ended up finishing 19th in the Turner Excavating DWB. Turner was the recipient of the Dominator Race Products Hard Luck Award. 

Justin McReeof Cuba, AL took the fourth spot in the Century Dedicated, Inc. Trak-Star, coming from the back of the pack after an early-race pit stop.  Wesley Greene of Winona, MS grabbed the Race Car Engineering Fifth-Place Award in the Transport Service Center Trak-Star after starting 15th and improving ten spots to earn the GM Performance Parts Hard Charger of the Race Award. 

Jay Burchfield of Columbus, MS claimed theKRCSixth-Place Award in the Burchfield’s Body Shop Mastersbilt, and Chris McElhenney of Lake, MS picked up the Joe Gibbs Driven Oil Seventh-Place Award in the G&M Trucking Trak-Star after recovering from an early race spin.  Michael Blount of Sumrall, MS was the Race Car Engineering Eighth-Place Award winner in the Lamar Auto Salvage Trak-Star. 

Defending NeSmith Chevrolet Weekly Racing Series Track Champion Randall Beckwith of Kilmichael, MS took the Maximum Signs and Graphics Ninth-Place Award in the Beckwith Forestry Rocket, and Kevin Henderson of Cottondale, AL was theKRCTenth-Place Award winner in the Century Dedicated, Inc. Trak-Star. 

Jason Michau of Kilmichael, MS claimed the Mike’s Custom Tanks 11th-Place Award in the Michau Logging Warrior, and VP Racing Fuels Rookie of the Year point leader Charlie Henderson of Cottondale, AL won the Shorty’s Shock Service 12th-Place Award in the Century Dedicated, Inc. Mastersbilt. 

Ragan took the lead at the drop of the green flag followed by Harrod, Turner, McElhenney and Charlie Henderson. Cooley andJohnny Stokesof Columbus, MS in the TJC Mortgage/Maximum Signs and Graphics Mastersbilt passed Charlie Henderson for the fifth and sixth spots respectively on lap eight.  Ragan had reached lapped traffic by lap ten. 

Cooley went to the outside around the lapped traffic, and moved up to the third spot on lap 12, just before the first caution flag came out on lap 14 when a lapped car suddenly slowed in front of Turner causing a multi-car pile-up on the front straightaway.  

Turner drove under the lapped B&M Salvage Rocket of Marcus Minga of Shannon, MS, and Stokes drove under Turner. Charlie Henderson and Blount were also collected in the accident that brought out the red flag. The cars Turner and Stokes were towed to the pit area, while Minga, Charlie Henderson, and Blount were able to continue. Turner returned to the track later in the race several laps down after making repairs. 

On the restart, McElhenney spun in turn four while running fourth, and the field lined up again for another double-file restart with Ragan leading Harrod, Cooley, Charlie Henderson, Kyle Berry of Portageville, MO in the Black MountainGRT,Shannon Lee of Lumberton, MS in theBilly RielsRacingGRT, Blount, Burchfield, Michau, and Greene. 

Cooley got by Harrod for the second spot on the restart, andBerrygot by Charlie Henderson for the fourth spot.  Lee stalled in turn two on lap 16 with an ignition problem to bring out the caution flag. Ragan led Cooley, Harrod,Berry, Burchfield, Greene, Shay Knight ofEthelsville,MSin the Dunn’s Autos Mastersbilt, Michau, and Kevin Henderson down for the restart. 

Two drivers were making big moves after the field went green, as Greene moved into the top five by lap 17, and McRee raced from 11th to sixth by lap 18. Michau spun in turn four while running tenth on lap 21 to bring out the fourth caution flag of the race. 

After the restart, Cooley began to put pressure on Ragan to make a challenge for the lead. Cooley was able to get underneath Ragan on lap 25 to take the lead coming off the fourth turn. Harrod also got inside Ragan in turn two on lap 27 to take over the second spot. 

While Cooley was able to begin pulling away from Ragan, he began to encounter lapped traffic. As Cooley rolled into turn two, the lapped NorthCentral MSLogging Mastersbilt of Mike Campbell ofGrenada, MS spin right in front of the race leader.  Cooley had nowhere to go and t-boned Campbell’s car. 

Campbell was charged with the caution flag and Cooley was able to restart as the leader despite front end damage to his race car.  Ragan came back to life on the restart, as he went to the outside groove and passed Harrod for the second spot. Kevin Henderson spun in turn four on lap 31 to bring out the caution flag. 

When the field went back to green flag action, Ragan once again climbed the banking to run the outside groove, and powered around Cooley to take the lead coming off the fourth turn on lap 31. The next few laps saw Ragan open up a several car-length lead while Cooley and Harrod battled side-by-side for the second position, and Greene and McRee raced for the fourth spot. 

Harrod took over the second spot from Cooley on lap 40, and was able to close in on Ragan after the ninth and final caution flag of the race came out on lap 43 when Charlie Henderson spun in turn two. Ragan pulled away at the drop of the green flag, and Harrod was not able to mount a challenge for the lead in the final eight laps of the race.

OFFICIAL FINISH: (1) Eric Cooley, (2) Wesley Greene, (3) Matthew Turner, (4) Randall Beckwith, (5) Johnny Stokes, (6) Shannon Lee, (7) Michael Blount, (8) Brett Delk, (9) Justin McRee, (10) Kyle Berry, (11) Larry Harrod, (12) Charlie Henderson, (13) Evan Ellis, (14) Mike Palasini Jr., (15) Chris McElhenney, (16) Chris Ragan, (17) Bobby Jordan, (18) Eric Carr, (19) Marcus Minga, (20) Doug Sanchagrin, (21) Chad McCool, (22) Jason Michau, (23) Ronny Lee Hollingsworth, (24) Jerry Inmon. (31 entries)

Top qualifier: Cooley, 14.647 seconds. B-Main winners: McElhenney, McRee. Last Chance Race winner: Michau

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