Saturday May 28th, 2016 2:25AM

Griffin wins Chevy Super Series opener at Talladega Short Track

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EASTABOGA, AL - Dingus Griffin of Ohatchee, AL drove the Tommy Pope Construction Special to victory on Saturday night in the Chevrolet Performance Super Late Model Series season opener at Talladega Short Track in Eastaboga, AL. After starting third, Griffin took the lead on lap three and never looked back to take the $3,000 win.

"This is a big win for us, as we have worked some long hours during the last week just to get the car ready," Griffin said. "I have to thank Tommy Pope for giving me this opportunity because I haven't been racing a lot, and I only raced one time last year. This was a great car to drive tonight."

Ronnie Johnson of Chattanooga, TN started sixth and finished second after an exciting battle with Jake Knowles of Tyrone, GA, who took the third spot. Knowles was the fast qualifier among the 25 entrants with a lap of 13.347 seconds around the ¼-mile clay oval.

Tyler Crowder of Lamont, FL came from the 12th starting spot to finish fourth and Josh Adkins of Talladega, AL was the Rookie of the Race with a fifth-place effort.

Jacob Grizzle of Blairsville, GA drove the Carolina Performance Special to a sixth place finish and Ross Martin of Talladega, AL took the seventh spot after leading the first two laps of the race. Lavon Sparks of Phenix City, AL was eighth and 15-year-old Jadon Frame of Winchester, TN finished ninth. Adam Martin of Talladega, AL rounded out the top 10.

Griffin, Knowles, Crowder, Grizzle, Sparks and Frame were all making their first career starts with the Chevrolet Performance Super Late Model Series. In preliminary action, the two 10-lap B-Main races were won by Tim Busha of Boaz, AL and Ted Lackey of Munford, AL.

Ross Martin took the lead from his outside front row starting spot at the start of the race followed by Knowles, Griffin, Grizzle and Adam Martin. The first of eight caution flags came out on lap three when Steve Kirk of Munford, AL stalled in turn three.

Martin had Knowles and Griffin side-by-side behind him for the "Dixie-Style" double-file restart. When the field went back to green flag action, Griffin cleared Knowles off the second turn to take the second spot, and then got around Martin for the lead coming off the fourth turn to complete lap three.

On lap four, Busha charged from seventh to fifth, and then climbed into the fourth spot on lap six. Griffin began to put some distance between himself and Martin in second. Just as Griffin began to encounter the cars on the tail end of the lead lap, the caution flag came out on lap nine when Jake Teague of Oliver Springs, TN spun in turn two.

Griffin had Martin, Busha, Knowles, Grizzle, Johnson, Adam Martin, Adkins, Jason Fitzgerald of Middleburg, FL and Crowder doubled up behind him for the restart. When the green flag waved, Martin and Busha raced side-by-side for second. Busha drove around the outside of Martin to claim the position on lap 10.

The field was slowed for the third time on lap 12 when Brent Barrett of Cleveland, MS stalled on the backstretch. The top 10 for the double-file restart had Griffin leading followed by Busha, Ross Martin, Grizzle, Knowles, Johnson, Adam Martin, Fitzgerald, Adkins and Sparks.

Caution flag number four came out on lap 13 when Fitzgerald spun out of the eighth spot in turn one. In the one lap of green flag racing, Ross Martin was able to wrestle the second spot back from Busha on the lap 12 restart. Ross Martin would give it all back and then some on the lap 13 restart.

The restart saw Ross Martin drop back to the fifth spot, as Busha, Knowles, and Johnson took over the second through fourth spots respectively behind the leader Griffin. Grizzle was running sixth and spun in turn fourth on lap 15 to bring out the fifth caution flag of the race. The next restart saw the top four drivers picking different racing grooves around the "Hornet's Nest."

Race leader Griffin was planted on the bottom groove of the track, while second-place Busha sailed around the outside. Knowles also took up residence on the inside groove in the third spot, while Johnson was a high flyer in fourth. Griffin began to encounter lapped traffic on lap 22, but Busha, Knowles and Johnson were not able to close in.

Griffin gave up a half straightaway lead on lap 31 when the caution flag came out for Teague who stalled in turn four. Doubled up behind Griffin for the restart were Busha, Knowles, Johnson, Ross Martin, Crowder, Adkins, Matthew Turner of Dawsonville, GA, Adam Martin and Sparks.

When the green flag came back out, the fur began to fly when the leaders reached turn one. Busha got a big run on Griffin down the front straightaway. When they got to turn one, Busha got into the left-rear of Griffin, and the leader spun. Race officials ticketed Busha with the caution flag, and Griffin was put back on the point for the restart.

Busha was done for the night with front end damage, and Turner drove to the pit area. The Top 10 behind Griffin was reshuffled for the restart with Knowles, Johnson, Ross Martin, Crowder, Adkins, Adam Martin, Sparks, Dana Eiland of Salem, AL and Grizzle running second through tenth respectively.

Griffin pulled away on the restart, while Johnson passed Knowles for the second spot. The field was slowed for the final time on lap 34 when Eiland spun in turn four. Griffin was once again able to pull away on the restart, but the action picked up behind him as the laps wound down to the finish of the race.

Knowles drove past Johnson on the restart to the second spot and Adkins got by Crowder for the fifth spot. Ross Martin began to fade after a three-car battle for fourth with Adkins and Crowder. On lap 36, Crowder was up to fourth with Adkins fifth and Ross Martin in sixth.

With ten laps to go, Griffin had pulled out to a half straightaway lead over Knowles and Johnson, who were racing side-by-side for the second spot. With five laps to go, Johnson cleared Knowles to take command of the second spot, but there was no catching Griffin, even though he was mired in heavy lapped traffic. Griffin took the checkered flag with a 1.516 second margin of victory.

The next event for the Chevrolet Performance Super Late Model Series will be on April 12 at East Alabama Motor Speedway in Phenix City, AL for a 50-lap $3,000-to-win $300-to-start race.

Chevrolet Performance Super Late Model Series
Talladega Short Track - Eastaboga, AL
Race Results - March 22, 2014

1. 3 53 Dingus Griffin Ohatchee, AL 50 $3,000
2. 6 5 Ronnie Johnson Chattanooga, TN 50 $1,500
3. 1 66 Jake Knowles Tyrone, GA 50 $1,000
4. 12 47c Tyler Crowder Lamont, FL 50 $850
5. 10 19m Josh Adkins (R) Talladega, AL 50 $750
6. 4 99g Jacob Grizzle Blairsville, GA 50 $700
7. 2 47r Ross Martin Talladega, AL 50 $650
8. 11 11 Lavon Sparks Phenix City, AL 50 $600
9. 18 J8 Jadon Frame (R) Winchester, TN 50 $550
10. 5 47a Adam Martin Talladega, AL 50 $500
11. 14 72 Frank Wilson Milton, FL 49 $475
12. 19 222 Carlton Freeman Eastaboga, AL 49 $450
13. 22 18 Chase Edge (R) LaFayette, AL 48 $425
14. 17 5c Mike Combs Odenville, AL 48 $400
15. 24 K9 Dana Eiland Salem, AL 32 $375
16. 16 33 David Brannon Elora, TN 32 $350
17. 7 15 Tim Busha Boaz, AL 30 $325
18. 13 10 Matthew Turner Dawsonville, GA 30 $300
19. 20 117 Jake Teague Oliver Springs, TN 28 $300
20. 9 7 Jason Fitzgerald Middleburg, FL 12 $300
21. 15 110 Brent Barrett (R) Cleveland, MS 10 $300
22. 23 B17 Steve Kirk Munford, AL 1 $300
23. 25 88d Mark Dowdy Waterloo, AL 1 $300
24. 21 6 Tim Roszell Anniston, AL DNS $50
25. 8 41 Ted Lackey Munford, AL DNS $50

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