Cook carves out $20,000 Crate win at Swainsboro
SWAINSBORO, Ga. (Nov. 23-24) — Super Late Model standout Ray Cook of Brasstown, N.C., had a big weekend driving a Crate Late Model.
Cook set fast time, won his heat race and captured the 50-lap feature at Swainsboro Raceway for a whopping $20,000 payday in the 12th annual Turkey 100. The polesitting Cook slipped under fellow front-row starter Dennis “Rambo” Franklin as the frontrunners entered lapped traffic and led the rest of the way. | Video | Slideshow
“I just don’t know what to say. I’m speechless really. I just thank the Lord for blessing us so much with this weekend, and thank all the fans for coming out in this cold weather,” Cook said in victory lane after receiving a hug from Swainsboro promoter Paul Purvis. “I’ve gotta thank MasterSbilt Race Cars. Keith and Tader spent a lot of time with me on the phone this weekend, trying to figure out a Crate setup, and it really paid off.”
Franklin settled for a second-place finish while Michael Page of Douglasville, Ga., was third. Mike Marlar of Winfield, Tenn., and Walker Arthur of Forest, Va., rounded out the top five in the Thanksgiving weekend special.
The feature was slowed by several cautions, most late in the race, including for a flat tire on the car of third-running Brandon Overton of Appling, Ga. Cook was able to make his tires last long enough to take the checkered flag.
“It’s just unbelievable to win a race like this at the end of the year,” Cook said. “(The car has) been on a rail really since we got here. It felt like anybody could’ve (driven) it. It’s just fun to drive a fast race car.”
Notes: Cook’s MasterSbilt Race Car is sponsored by Hicks and Ingle Construction, A+ Moving and Storage, D&R Motorsports, Integra Shocks and Rhino Wraps. ... Cook had 10 victories overall in 2012, including his first and last starts. ... Cook borrowed a Crate engine from Kenny Lamb for the event. ... Cook makes an annual summer trip to Swainsboro for the Schaeffer Oil Southern Nationals, a Super Late Model tour he promotes. Swainsboro will host the tour’s fifth event in 2013. ... Runner-up Dennis Franklin piloted an AES Racing entry; Jonathan Davenport also drove an AES-backed car. ... The event wraps up Swainsboro’s season.
Turkey 100: (1) Ray Cook, (2) Dennis Franklin, (3) Michael Page, (4) Mike Marlar, (5) Walker Arthur, (6) David McCoy, (7) Chris Wilson, (8) Eric Cooley, (9) Jason Fitzgerald, (10) Chris Ferguson, (11) Henry Carter, (12) Jonathan Davenport, (13) Daniel Baggerly, (14) Brent Dixon, (15) Austin Scarboro, (16) Tim Lance, (17) Mack McCarter, (18) Jeremy Faircloth, (19) Brandon Overton, (20) Josh Putnam, (21) Ches Chester, (22) Frank Ingram, (23) Wendell Chavous, (24) Mickey Trosclair, (25) Steve Roberts, (26) William Thomas, (27) Chris Taylor. Fast qualifier (among 73 cars): Cook, 15.03 seconds. Heat race winners: Cook, Franklin, Overton, Steven Roberts, Page, Lance, Marlar. Consolation winners: Carter, Fitzgerald, Putnam, Ferguson, Chavous. Non-qualifiers’ race winner: Matt Long.