Hungry Weaver gobbles up $5,000 at Cleveland
By Richard AllenTennesseeRacer.com
CLEVELAND, Tenn. (Nov. 17) — With a comfortable points lead entering the weekend’s Southern All Star Dirt Racing Series season-ending doubleheader, Randy Weaver didn’t need any heroic performances to wrap up his third championship on the regional tour. | Video
That didn’t curb the Crossville, Tenn., driver's appetite for victory during the first round of the two-race weekend at Cleveland Speedway’s Gobbler 50 Saturday night.
Starting outside the front row, Weaver earned $5,000 in the traditional November special, outrunning polesitter Dale McDowell of nearby Chickamauga Ga., and red-hot Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., who entered the race on a five-race winning streak.
Weaver bolted to the top spot on the start of the 50-lap race and held the position when Mike Weeks of Friendsville, Tenn., came to a stop on lap three to bring out the race’s only caution.
The top three cars of Weaver, McDowell and Owens broke away from the pack as the race ran green and worked their way through traffic. Weaver opened a slight lead through the middle portions of the race, but McDowell and Owens closed the gap as the leaders worked their way through heavy traffic in the race’s late stages.
McDowell looked underneath Weaver in an attempt to take the lead on a couple of different occasions in the closing laps, but Weaver turned back each challenge and took the checkered flag.
Jamie Lathroum of Mechanicsville, Md., was fourth in his first-ever Southern All Star appearance while Jake Knowles of Tyrone, Ga., rounded out the top five.
Weaver and the Southern All Stars head to Cherokee Speedway in Gaffney, S.C., for Sunday’s $10,000-to-win Blue-Gray 100, where he’ll wrap up his third series championship in four years.
Notes: Weaver’s GRT Race Car is powered by a Cornett Racing Engine and sponsored by Outlaw Race Parts. ... Weaver has nine victories overall. ... Cleveland marked just his second home-state victory of the season. ... Weaver’s previous Southern All Star victories came in Mississippi (Whynot Motorsports Park and Magnolia Motor Speedway) and Alabama (three victories at Talladega Short Track). ... Jonathan Davenport finished seventh in the Warrior Race Cars house car; he was fired by Clint Bowyer Racing earlier in the week. ... David Payne of Brasstown, N.C., the previous Southern All Star winner at Toccoa, Ga., was 10th. ... Cleveland’s season-ending event drew a whopping 196 cars among seven divisions.
Gobbler: (1) Randy Weaver, (2) Dale McDowell, (3) Jimmy Owens, (4) Jamie Lathroum, (5) Jake Knowles, (6) Jason Hiett, (7) Jonathan Davenport, (8) Billy Ogle Jr., (9) Derek Ellis, (10) David Payne, (11) Riley Hickman, (12) Jason Welshan, (13) T.J. Alford, (14) Johnny Chastain, (15) Mack McCarter, (16) Brent Holmes, (17) Kayne Hickman, (18) Josh Henry, (19) Skip Arp, (20) Jackson Hale, (21) Gabe Wilson, (22) Mike Weeks, (23) Jason Wilson, (24) Kurt English. Fast qualifier (among 32 cars): McDowell, 13.21 seconds. Consolation race winners: Hickman, Alford.
Correction: Fixes that Jason Hiett finished sixth.