Roberts Sprints To Tri-County Win

Casey Roberts, pictured celebrating after winning the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series feature at Smoky Mountain Speedway, had another reason to celebrate on Friday. (Michael Moats Photo)

BRASSTOWN, N.C. — The adage of “taking the bull by the horns” applied to Casey Roberts on Friday evening at Tri-County Race Track, as he led all 40 laps of the Circuit World Independence Day Championship for the Southern Nationals Bonus Series.

The win by Roberts made him the fourth different winner in four Southern Nationals Bonus Series events so far in 2014, but the victory was not easy for Roberts as Kennie Compton, Jr., who started 15th, charged his way to second and pressured Roberts over the final few laps, but would come up a bit short in his charge to the front.

The start of the event would see a pair of cautions on the opening lap slow things, but once action got going, Roberts would take the race lead, with David Payne, Jamie Oliver, Shawn Chastain, and Kenny Collins giving chase. Chastain would pressure Oliver for third on lap 4, as Roberts would enter slower traffic one lap later. Lavon Sparks would slow on the back-chute on lap 6 to draw the next caution. Once action resumed, Chastain would get by Oliver for third, while Collins and Austin Smith would battle for fifth.

Caution waved again for Randy Nichols on lap 12 as his mount slowed on the front-chute entering turn one. The restart would see Chastain pressure Payne for second, while Roberts again motored away from the pack, while Preston Graves got by Collins for fifth on lap 18.

Meanwhile, Kennie Compton, Jr. was charging his way through the field on the low side of the racing surface and would make his way to fifth on lap 21. Ronnie Payne would slow on the track on lap 25 to draw the next caution of the event and the restart would see Compton take fourth over Oliver.

The final caution of the race flew on lap 28 for a turn-two spin by George Mashburn, setting up Compton’s final charge toward the front. The restart would see Payne slow in turn two for a moment, with Chastain and Compton, Jr. slipping past, but Payne would regroup and continue. Compton, Jr. would sail past Chastain on lap 30 and set his sights on Roberts.

Payne would slip past Chastain on the final lap to take third, while Graves would complete the top five.

The finish:

Casey Roberts; Kennie Compton Jr.; David Payne; Shawn Chastain; Preston Graves; Kenny Collins; Austin Smith;  Gabe Wilson; Gar Dickson; Jamie Oliver; Lavon Sparks; George Mashburn; Bo Eaton; David Conley; odney Weeks; Charlie Parker; Michael Barnett; Ronnie Payne;  Benji Shaw; Randy Nichold; Jacob Grizzle;  Glen Barnett