Saturday May 28th, 2016 4:25AM

Nicholson scores first USCS win of season at Smoky Mountain

By Jacob Seelman
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MARYVILLE, TN - Anthony Nicholson from Bartlett, Tennessee, stormed by early race leader Danny Smith on lap three of Saturday night's 30-lap USCS Outlaw Thunder Sprint Car Tour main at Smoky Mountain Speedway in Maryville, TN and took command of the race from there, driving away to his first win of the 2014 season despite a late-race caution. It was Nicholson's career fourth USCS feature win.

"Man, this means a lot," Nicholson said in victory lane. "We had an awesome race car tonight, and once we got by Danny there right before the caution, we were cooking. The car was so good out front that I could work through traffic well. What an awesome night."

Danny Smith survived a 10 lap duel with Terry Gray just past halfway to claim the runner-up spot. Gray completed the podium in third place.

Morgan Turpen charged from a 12th place starting position to finish fourth in the main event one night after her car was nearly destroyed in an opening lap crash on Friday night at the 411 Motor Speedway. Lance Moss, who was in the same crash with Turpen on Friday night, completed the top five drivers at the finish.

Eric Riggins, Jr., Brandon McLain, Greg Merritt, Terry Witherspoon and Bob Auld rounded out the top ten.

The feature was slowed early by a handful of caution periods, with Terry Witherspoon losing the lead to Danny Smith on lap two before looping the car in turn 4 and stalling at the base of the corner. On the ensuing restart, Nicholson surged into the lead on the high side of turn 2 before the caution flew for Riggins' stopped his car on the front straightaway. Riggins' flat tire came while the Charlotte native was running fifth.

Once Riggins' car was re-fired after a tire change, the field formed up again and the race's most serious accident occurred on the backstretch when Turpen and Freddie McCall, Jr. made slight contact which sent McCall flipping violently down the backstretch and into the entrance of turn 3. The force of the crash dislodged the motor from the car, but McCall climbed out of the car under his own power with no injury.

From there, Nicholson blasted away from the field and was unchallenged the rest of the night despite the late-race caution for the stalled car of Shawn Murray in turn 4.

Danny Smith kicked off the evening's action by winning the six car, six-lap Hoosier Speed Dash. Nicholson then came from sixth to win the first heat, while Terry Gray took the checkered flag in the second heat. After Nicholson pulled a four in the inversion draw, Terry Witherspoon grabbed the K&N Filters Pole Position.

The next event for the United Sprint Car Series Outlaw Thunder Tour is the kickoff for the 9th annual USCS Sprint Speedweek at Jackson Motor Speedway in Jackson, MS on Saturday, May 24.

USCS Outlaw Thunder Sprint Car Tour
Smoky Mountain Speedway - Maryville, TN
Race Results
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