Etheridge eventually lost second place to a hard-charging Matt Hawkins and finished the race in the third position.

“We had a 10th place car and we finished third with it so I am pretty happy,” added Etheridge. “We just weren’t that good.  I was good for the first 50 laps, then Joey would pull away from me on the restarts and I would run him down so I finally burnt the tires up about 75 laps into it. After that I just tried to hold Matt off for as long as I could and he finally got by.” 

That was when the race started to get interesting.  On lap 108, Matt Hawkins was able to get past Etheridge and claim the second position.  After claiming that position

From the Green All the Way to the Checkered, Nobody Could Stop Senter
The Georgia Asphalt Series event at Lanier National Speedway was supposed to be 125-lap event, but it took to, oh about lap-115 for the real action to get started.

Joey Senter started from the pole, after fast-time qualifier Richie Etheridge rolled a three for the inversion.  Once Joey took off after the first green flag, he never looked back.  For most of the evening he didn’t have to, as he set a pace that the rest of the field found hard to keep up with and he drove it that way all the way to the checkered flag.
The first part of the race was marred with cautions as the 30-car field tried to sort and weed itself out as the race went on. Senter jumped out from the start of the race, with Richie Etheridge and Matt Hawkins following suit.  Those three were in a race of their own for most of the night.

“I was getting so mad because every time I got up there to Joey, another caution would come out,” said Etheridge.  “And then we would have another restart and he would pull away again but oh well, you can’t win ‘em all.”
By lap 123 Hawkins was all over Senter again but there wasn’t enough time left as the two were side by side coming out of turn four and Senter beat Hawkins to the line by the nose of his car.

“The car just took a little bit too long to come in. Getting by Richie took me a little too long too and then that last caution just killed me when I was getting under Joey.   But as bad as we have ran here to come out with a second place finish is awesome.

“It was pretty cool to race like that with Joey,” added Hawkins.  “We ran clean and hard, and with as many
“I am really excited about this win,” said Senter.  “We have made a lot of changes, the car hasn’t been running that great the past few months but this win here certainly helps us out.

“I am from right around this area, so this is my home track and it does mean a lot to win here, especially a big race like this GAS one.  I have won here before, but never won a lot of big races here.  So we got the first GAS one this year and then to get this one certainly means a lot to us.

“Maybe whatever we are hitting on here will transfer down to Peach State.”

Joey Senter in victory lane.  (51 Photos)
No one could keep up with Senter (#12) on the track.
Hawkins then set his sights on Joey Senter who had taken off like a rocket through the field.

Such a large field had attempted the race, and 30 spots were awarded so that it didn’t take long after the 11 cautions and 11 restarts for the leaders to catch up with the lapped traffic on the 3/8th mile oval.  And Hawkins had to dig through that lapped traffic to catch up to Senter.

“If there had been more green flag runs we might have been able to get up there sooner,” said Hawkins.  “It just took about 10 or 15 laps after the restart for the car to come in and after that it was pretty good.”

Once Hawkins was able to catch up to Senter, time ticked away as he attempted to get around him, trying from both the inside and the outside.  At one point during the race Hawkins was actually under Senter coming out of the turn and was poised to make his move when the caution came out on lap 112.

cautions as we had throughout the night the rest of the field should have sat back and watched how we ran, because that’s how racing should be.

Senter agreed with Hawkins opinion and had some kind words for the young driver as well.

“The top four were probably some of the best cars the whole weekend,” added Senter.  “Bubba (Pollard) might have qualified bad but it just showed how good his car was coming up through the field and not one of the top-four were involved in anything.

“But I couldn’t be any happier with who finished second.  Me and Matt have raced together for a long time in go-karts and Legends and if I have to have someone running second with me with two to go I would want him, He is as clean of a driver as there was out there.”

Matt Hawkins.