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GPS Week 5 Recap 4/1/2017

April 1st 2017 GPS Week 5 Race Recap

By Matthew Henson 

The fifth week of points paying action at Greenville Pickens was sandwiched between the late model twin 50 lap features and warmer weather meant that qualifying runs for the late models would be without their dead lap to warm up the tires. As such, qualifying times were a little bit less consistent than in previous weeks. Even so the 41 and 5 of Will and Jeremy Burns started on the front row, but would not remain up front for long as two more drivers would challenge for and then take the lead only to give it up just as quickly: the 12 of Trey Gibson and the 2 of Cody Haskins. With several aggressive moves, Cody Haskins eventually took the lead for good from Trey Gibson and the race ran caution free, resulting in Cody’s third straight victory at Greenville-Pickens.

For the second event of the night, the Mid-Atlantic Street Stock series, a touring series, stopped by GPS for the first time and brought with them a deep field of drivers nearly thirty strong. Among them were local GPS super stock regular Jason McDowell in his now iconic black and orange hot rod, who won the pole position, but was forced to start in the rear due to failing post-qualifying tech inspection. That left the 75 of Sonny Schoffen and the 33 of Kevin Ellis on the front row and the two would dominate all night. Other than a few dust ups in the middle of the field the race was relatively clean, despite most of the drivers having never seen Greenville-Pickens Speedway until that day. Regular super stock competitors Austin Samero and Tim Sams fought hard and walked away with top tens, but Sonny Schoffen in his Davey Allison painted 75 lead every lap and won with Kevin Ellis right on his rear bumper.

The four cylinders took up the baton next and the 3 car of Don Tavernia won pole again, but avoided the missed shift from last week and took and sizeable lead. A spin on lap 2 by Thad Collins brought out the caution and on the ensuing restart, Don Tavernia had trouble again on the start, but remained the leader. However, on lap seven the ever-victorious Tommy Davis Jr. took the lead and wouldn’t let go, scoring his fifth win in a row in the division.

The renegades were up next, and Black Gregory, sporting new paint and a new number , 36, won the pole. Early on though, the 15 car of Ricky Burnett, who had engine trouble last week and only completed one lap, got up under the 36 and took the lead. Fast Eddie Ray in the 14, who started mid-pack, would quickly follow in Ricky’s tire tracks and moved to second as he tried desperately to catch the 15. Behind them though the 88 of Alex Breazele would shove Blake Gregory out of the way and shortly thereafter the 36 would call it quits for the night. Eddie Ray got his best shot at Ricky Burnett all night when, on lap 18 of 20, the 26 of Larry Nabors blew an engine in turn four and dove for the pits. A caution was never thrown, and as Ricky and Eddie slid through the final turn they were separated by less than a car length when Ricky Burnett took the checkered flag.

Pure stocks would be the last lower division to take to the track and Charlie Meinders in the 66 started on pole along with his brother Zack Meinders in the 1. Early after taking the green, Buck Simmons in the 71 bumped the 1 out of the way and set his sights on Charlie up front. Before he could put together an attack on the lead, the 7 of Freddy Hale spun, bringing out the caution. On the restart, Buck decided to take the low  lane behind the 66 and the 1 of Zack Meinders took the outside. Buck then had to deal with both Meinders’s all over again and by the time he got back to Charlie in the 66 it was all over and Charlie Meinders had scored his first win of the year.

The nightcap for the week was the second late model fifty lapper and the cars started according to how they finished their first race. Cody Haskins jumped out front quick, but was soon caught by the 51 of Kason Plott. Plott made a power move to the outside and was just about to get the run on the high side when the 2 car twitched and bumped into the side of the 51, causing that car to fall back. On lap 17 the battle came to a head once again as Kason and Cody got into it and smoke and sparks shot from both cars as they traded paint for the entire length of the front stretch. After a quick caution, the 51 car took the lead on the outside and tried to set sail, but the 41 of Will Burns was right behind and took the lead on lap 21 to never relinquish it again and became the only driver to best Cody Haskins in four races.

Next week the NASCAR K&N East Pro Series returns to Greenville-Pickens Speedway and all regular divisions will have the weekend off, save for the renegades who will hold a non-points race.

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