CLEVELAND, Tenn. – The Southern All Star Racing Series finally got to kick off the month of July with racing action at Cleveland Speedway Saturday with the Stars and Stripes 40.
Ray Cook became the seventh different winner in 10 series events to date in 2013, claiming the $4,000 payday aboard his A Plus Moving and Storage/American Racer/Integra Shocks sponsored No. 53 MasterSbilt Race Car powered by a Jay Dickens Race Engine.
The victory by Cook was his 11th career win with the Southern All Star Racing Series for the 42-year-old Tarheel State native and his first Southern All Star Racing Series since winning The Gobbler at Cleveland Speedway in November of 2011.
Derek Ellis and Ray Cook would bring the field to the green flag, with Cook taking the early lead with Ellis nipping at his heels, with Clint Smith, Jason Hiett, and Skip Arp giving chase. Cook would begin to build his lead as the front three would start to work traffic by lap eight, with Smith taking second from Ellis.
Smith would close in on Cook in heavy traffic on lap 15, with Cook finally able to put a pair of lapped cars between himself and Smith prior to the caution waving on lap 19 for Riley Hickman who slowed in turn three with a flat right rear tire, with fifth place running Arp pulling pitside for the evening during the caution.
The restart would see Cook and Smith motor away from the pack while Hiett would begin to mount a charge on Smith from his third position as the final caution appeared on lap 27 for a spin by Michael Asberry. Cook motored away from the field once again, while Smith had his hands full with Hiett, with Hiett taking the second position from Smith on lap 33.
Hiett would close in on Cook and pull alongside in turn two on lap 37, but Cook would keep Hiett of at bay to claim the victory. Hiett would take runner-up honors, while Smith claimed third. Ninth-place starter Jake Knowles would roll home in the fourth position, while Ellis would finish in the fifth position.