After settling for a sixth place finish there was nothing that Ruble could do but just load up the car and prepare for the next race which will come in two weeks at Lanier National Speedway (GA).
“We will be back, and I hope I do better at Lanier. I like this track, we were good it looked like we were really fast but we were a little off. We would have been better if we would have had the same set up that we did as before. Last time we had that deal in the pits and we bent the right front up and we were junk after that.
“Tonight we would have finished second or third, I don’t know if I could have held Hawkins off but we had a top-
HAWKINS HAS A TASTE FOR PEACHES by Amy Hayes
Youngster Claims Second Career GAS Win at Peach State
The Georgia Asphalt Series returned to the Peach State Speedway this weekend for the second time this summer and for the second time 18-year-old Matt Hawkins was able to claim the victory after all was said and done.
But there was a lot said, and a lot done, out on the track.
before it ended. Korey Ruble started from the fourth position and by lap two he was able to move up into the lead. Once he got up there he checked out. The first half of the 100-lap event was a green flag run and Ruble had a half-straight away lead on the rest of the field. The long green flag run just helped him to extend that lead, until the caution came out on lap 54.
The caution came out after Ruble made contact with a lapped car, and that contact sent the lapped car spinning. The GAS Series officials determined that to be rough driving and sent Ruble to the back of the field for the restart.
“There were just lapped cars all over the place, the whole race,” said a clearly disappointed Ruble. “They tell you in the drivers meeting that the lapped cars are supposed to give way to the leaders and the lapped cars are supposed to move out of the way and if the lapped cars don’t move out of the way then whatever happens to them happens. So me and a lapped car got together and they call it rough driving and sent me to the back.
“I think I ended up finishing sixth, the car was really going away even when I was in the lead we tried a few different things with our setup and it was better at the beginning but just kind of went away at the end. We still probably could have at least finished in the top three if we hadn’t of gotten sent to the back.
In the end it was Matt Hawkins who was able to bring home the checkered flag. He took the lead on lap 87 and didn’t look back until after he crossed the finish line.
“That was awesome,” said Hawkins. “To come from 18th to first, just says a whole lot. The car was just awesome. There weren’t really any special things that played out we were just fast enough to pass everyone under green. We just had an awesome car.
“It was a lot more fun than leading every lap because we did have to work hard to get around all the lead lap cars and the lapped cars to get up there. But we will take them any way that we can get them.”
The evening got started off differently when qualifying was canceled. With four cars in the 31 car field left to qualify, the rain began pouring down. By the time the track was dry the decision had been made by the officials to start the top-16 by points and to have the rest of the field draw to start the race.
This knocked Bubba Pollard off of the pole and relegated him to a ninth place starting position.
So while the fastest cars didn’t start on the pole, the real story of the night came after the race started and way
Matt Hawkins in victory lane. (51 Photos)
Ruble's #73 was one of fastest cars but a penalty prevented him from getting the win.
three finish and I just didn’t think it was right what they did to me, but whatever they are the ones that make the rules.”
With Ruble in the back of the field, Bubba Pollard was able to take his car and check out on the rest of the field. It looked as though he would be able to claim his second GAS Series victory in a row, but little did he know that Matt Hawkins was charging through the field from his 18th place starting position.
“Korey (Ruble) was fast, I don’t see why they put him in the back. The lapped cars need to get out of the way. “We [also] had a fast car but I guess the fastest car doesn’t always win,” said Pollard. “Unfortunately we had to start by points and that put us ninth. And that hurt us. I believe if we could have got out front and maybe set our own pace we might have had some tires left but we had to burn our tires up coming from ninth.
“Hawkins had a good race car but mine was kind of loose. Whoever was out front had it best, they could just sit there and ride and not be really pressured. The lapped cars did cause some problems, Hawkins probably wouldn’t have gained on me so much if we hadn’t of caught up with a couple of lapped cars, because I think that our race cars were pretty equal I don’t think he was any faster than mine, and I don’t think that mine was any faster than his.”
The last 30 laps or so of the race consisted of Hawkins working Pollard for the lead, and it was nothing but some good, clean and hard short track racing and Hawkins was able to get the lead on lap 87..
“Me and Bubba (Pollard) race together a lot, and we always race together really clean," added Hawkins. "His car went away pretty bad at the end but mine stayed pretty consistent, and it was good race.”
Once he got up front, it was smooth sailing for Hawkins and while nothing about the race went Ruble’s way, everything went Hawkins’ way, except for the burnout.
“The burn out didn’t go too good,” laughed Hawkins. “I burned the clutch up and the throttle hung up on it, but everything else was perfect, and I hope to make it two in a row in two weeks at Lanier.”