SEYMOUR, TN - Adam Beeler of Knoxville, TN finally got it all together to win his first NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series race in the Ole Smoky Moonshine 50 on Saturday night at 411 Motor Speedway in Seymour, TN driving the Mighty Muffler and Brakes CVR. Beeler swept the program as fast qualifier, and then led all 50 laps for the $3,000 victory.
"These NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series races are hard to win," Beeler said. "We've been fast qualifier a couple of times and led a few races, but we could never put it all together to win one of these races, so it feels really good to finally do it."
The defending NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series National Champion Ronnie Johnson of Chattanooga, TN got back into the 2014 title hunt with a last lap, last turn pass to finish second. Jered Hawkins of Fairmont, WV held off Johnson for several laps, but had to settle for third.
Friday night 411 Motor Speedway winner Jimmy Elliott of Cleveland, TN finished fourth, and Ashley Newman of Ripley, TN was fifth. Point leader Walker Arthur of Forest, VA took the sixth spot. Arthur now holds a 24-point lead in the standings.
Todd Coffman of Parksville, KY charged from the 22nd starting spot to finish seventh, and Brett Wyatt of Crossville, TN was eighth. Matt Henderson of Loudon, TN took the ninth spot and Josh Adkins of Talladega, AL rounded out the top ten.
In preliminary action, Beeler earned the pole position for the Ole Smoky Moonshine 50 by out-qualifying the 27-car field with a lap around the 3/8-mile high-banked clay oval in 14.128 seconds. The two ten-lap B-Main Races were won by Ryan King of Seymour, TN and Brad Coffey of Maryville, TN.
The first start of the race was marred by a multi-car pile-up in turn two that sidelined Evan Taylor of Clarksville, TN and forced a complete restart. Beeler took the lead on the next try followed by Elliott, Jensen Ford of Piney Flats, TN, Hawkins and Jacob Anderson of Murphy, NC.
The red flag was displayed on lap two when Coffey spun in turn two collecting King, Wyatt, and Rusty Ballenger of Sevierville, TN. King flipped his race car, but was uninjured.
On the restart, Ford and Anderson passed Elliott to move up to second and third respectively. A quick lap three debris caution reset the field, and on the restart, Ford pulled under Beeler, and the lead duo raced side-by-side until Beeler powered off the outside of turn four to take the lead outright.
The caution flag came out on lap six when Brian Courtney of Knoxville, TN spun in turn two. On the restart, Elliott was able to drive around the outside of Anderson to reclaim the fourth spot. Johnson moved into the top five by lap eight. Courtney spun for the second time on lap 11 in turn three, and was done for the night.
Beeler had Ford, Hawkins, Elliott, Johnson, Anderson, Ballenger, Newman, Henderson and Arthur stacked up behind him for the "Dixie-Style" double-file restart. When the green flag came back out, Hawkins got by Ford for second, and Johnson passed Elliott for the fourth spot.
Mack McCarter of Gatlinburg, TN stalled in turn four on lap 16 to bring out the caution flag. Ford spun out of the fourth spot on the restart. On the next restart, Hawkins challenged Beeler for the lead, but Beeler was not to be denied the point. By the halfway point in the race, Beeler had stretched his lead over Hawkins to a half-straightaway advantage.
The race stayed green until lap 32 when Henderson spun with help from Anderson, who was ticketed with the caution flag. Beeler led the field down for the restart, followed by Hawkins, Johnson, Elliott, Newman, Arthur, Coffman, Wyatt, Henderson, and Ballenger. Johnson turned up the wick to challenge Hawkins for the second spot.
Johnson looked to the inside of Hawkins for several laps, but could not get a good enough run to take the second spot. While Hawkins and Johnson battled for second, Beeler pulled out to another half-straightaway lead by lap 45.
On the last lap of the race, Johnson scrapped the inside strategy and stepped to the outside of Hawkins in turn three, and made the pass for second coming off the fourth turn headed for the checkered flag.
The next pair of races for the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series Touring Division will be on May 2-3 for the Ozark Nationals at Batesville Motor Speedway in Batesville, AR featuring a pair of 50-lap $2,500-to-win races.
NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series
411 Motor Speedway