Duck River Raceway Park
Slower faster for Morrow in victory at Duck River
By Robert HolmanDirtonDirt.com correspondent
WHEEL, Tenn. (June 28) — Todd Morrow was just looking for a solid finish on the first night of a long holiday weekend of racing. He got that and then some.
Morrow, of Cleveland, Tenn., overtook polesitter Chad Winkles on lap 19 and held on to win the first leg of a two-night Southern Regional Racing Series stint at Duck River Raceway Park on Thursday. Morrow led the final 21 laps, fending off challenges from Riley Hickman and Winkles, and earned $3,000 for his win. | Slideshow
With a goal of keeping his car in one piece, the sixth-starting Morrow took his time getting to the point.
“I was just riding ... trying to evaluate everything,” Morrow said. “I went in trying to get a top five where I would be able to race tomorrow. It’s weird, the slower I drove, the better I got.”
Winkles, of Falkville, Ala., led the first 19 laps from the pole before falling into the clutches of Morrow and Hickman. As Morrow made his move for the lead, Hickman, of Ooltewah, Tenn., made it a three-wide battle. The pair dropped Winkles to third after a two-lap scuffle for the top spot.
Hickman chased Morrow to the finish but settled for second, ahead of Ronnie Johnson, of Chattanooga, Tenn., and Ronny Lee Hollingsworth, of Northport, Ala. Former track champion Daniel Miller, of Lynchburg, Tenn., finished fifth.
Winkles was running third when the seventh and final caution came out on lap 34, but a slowly deflating right rear tire dropped him to eighth at the finish.
“I fell back so fast I couldn’t count them,” Winkles said. “They banzaid me on that restart. I would have been happy with a top-three (finish)."
Winkles jumped to a comfortable lead over Josh Putnam at the start, while Morrow was up to third when the first caution flag waved on lap 11. But following a restart on lap 14 their fortunes changed thanks to a mishap by Putnam.
On the restart, Putnam tagged a large tractor tire in turns one and two, pushing the tire some 4 feet into the infield, while damaging his own car.
The incident inadvertently shifted the racing grove down a half width, while creating a dust bin in the corners.
“As soon as Putnam knocked that tire down, my car got running better,” Morrow said. “That’s what I was needing. Then there was so much loose dirt down there, when everyone got down there it was pretty much one grooved.”
Winkles said he simply didn’t take advantage of the new groove in time.
“I just didn’t get down there quick enough; that’s my own fault,” he said. “When they moved around me, they were cleaning the track off around the tires. I seen Todd do it, and I kinda learned from him.”
Morrow, meanwhile, kept waiting for a challenger. But he was never seriously threatened over the final five laps.
“I could hear Riley out there and I kept driving so slow I thought he would just drive by me,” Morrow said. “And anytime Ronnie Johnson is in the race, he’s a threat. He’s just an incredible racer; I knew I had to look out for him.”
Notes: Morrow’s MasterSbilt Race Car is sponsored by A&K Transportation, Cherokee Farms RV Center, Wilson Auto Sales and Base Fuel. It carries power from a PMI Performance Masters engine. ... Ronnie Johnson won the eight-car dash, but was 30 pounds light at the scales and dropped from the pole to eighth on the starting grid. ... Rodney Wing, promoter of Whynot Raceway in Meridian, Miss., made the trip to Duck River to drive a Donnie Pogue-owned Rocket. ... Fifth-starting Ray McElhiney brought out the second caution when his broke a driveshaft. ... The night’s biggest mover was Eric Hickerson, who started 21st and finished 11th. Both Brandon Kinzer (15th to sixth) and Jeff Watson (16th to seventh) improved nine positions. ... Vic Hill of Mosheim, Tenn., entered in Brett Miller’s No. 47, but the engine had a miss all night and he hit a tractor tire, and another car, in the feature for an early exit; if the team gets the car fixed, Miller plans to drive Friday. ... Besides Hill, drivers failing to make the feature included Mark Mears, Tim Busha, Scott Cook, Robert Stutts, Tony Morris, Carnell Parker III and David Brannon. ... Friday’s feature pays $3,000 as well and is the second race of five SRRS races in a six-day stretch.
SRRS Showdown @ Duck River: (1) Todd Morrow, (2) Riley Hickman, (3) Ronnie Johnson, (4) Ronny Lee Hollingsworth, (5) Daniel Miller, (6) Brandon Kinzer, (7) Jeff Watson, (8) Chad Winkles, (9) Aaron Ridley, (10) D.J. Myers, (11) Eric Hickerson, (12) Rodney Wing, (13) Todd Hernandez, (14) Michael Asberry, (15) Josh Henry, (16) Jason Wilson, (17) Pierce McCarter, (18) Brad Skinner, (19) Randy Todd, (20) Josh Putnam, (21) Dave Seibers, (22) Vic Hill, (23) Ray McElhiney, (24) Skylar Marler. Fast qualifier (among 36 cars): Winkles, 13.285 seconds. Heat race winners: Hill, Ridley, Wing, Watson. Dash winner: Winkles.
Corrections: Fixes spelling of Ronny Lee Hollingsworth; fixes that Vic Hill started the feature and adds detail; restores missing Winkles quote.