Franklin County Part Of McReynolds History by Wink Bodenhamer / UARA-STARS PR
17-Year-Old Racer Gets First UARA Victory
The UARA pulled into the super tough bullring known as Franklin County Speedway Saturday night, and we all knew that the veterans would benefit from the tight confines....or so we thought. Alex Yontz dominated early but in the end it was a rookie, or make that two of them that put on the show.
Seventeen year-old Brandon McReynolds now has a new title with his name, a UARA winner after winning the Unifirst 150 at Franklin County August 18, 2008.
The day started off with a strong field of 24 cars, with Franklin County regular Rodney Cook making his second consecutive start with the UARA bunch. Early indications from practice were that the cars of Alex Yontz, Darrell Wallace Jr., Brandon McReynolds and Clay Greenfield would be the ones to beat. Yontz backed it up in qualifying taking the Sunoco Pole at a time of 13.646, almost 2 tenths faster than last years pole time. The two rookies didn't disappoint as Wallace took the KLB Race Cars outside pole, followed by McReynolds in 3rd. The top ten was rounded out by Jamey Caudill, Richard Boswell II, rookie Garrett Campbell in 6th, Corey LaJoie, point leader Jake Crum, Kyle Grissom and Roger Lee Newton rounding out the top 10.
When the green waved, the field took off like a rocket but only for half a lap. Entering turn 3, the cars of B.J. Mackey, Rodney Cook, Thomas Hartensveld, Paddy Rodenbeck, Andrew Carlsen, Scott Andrews Jr. and Kyle Moon all pile up in the corner. Most cars would continue with minimal damage, with the exception of Rodenbeck and Moon. Their night would be done at this point.
Usually on such a small tight track, cautions are frequent. But not on this night, as the field put on some of the best racing of the year. Early on it was evident that Yontz would be the one to beat, Wallace could get to him on restarts, but after 5 laps the #55 of Yontz could get some breathing room. Wallace had his own problems, in the form of McReynolds, as Brandon was more or less pestering him the entire event. Behind them Jake Crum and LaJoie were having their own battle, while the car of Jamie Yelton was going in another direction, backwards. Yelton pits on an early caution, and the results of the adjustments were phenomenal, he would be a player later on.
As Yontz was cruising, point contender B.J. Mackey was having his own problems in the pack. Garrett Campbell and the lapped car of Scott Turlington got together down the frontstretch, spinning Campbell and knocking him from competition. In the melee Mackey gets left front fender damage and pits for repairs. On the restart Mackey gets into the side of Cook spinning him in turn 2. Cook would let B.J. know how he felt under caution, but it was fruitless as the #14 of Cook would park at lap 74, and Mackey would be involved in a later incident putting the #2 of Mackey 18th in the running order. This will make his championship quest much more challenging.
We get to lap 102 and Yontz is still cruising, Wallace is completely sideways every lap with shots from McReynolds, and McReynolds finally muscles past on lap 88. Caudill is just sitting there lurking in 4th, watching the rookies go at it. Yontz has had his way with the field all night, but as in two previous races this year, bad luck raises it's head on the #55. Yontz slows at the start finish line and almost comes to a stop in turn 1, another blown right front tire while leading. McReynolds inherits the lead with 50 to go, Wallace is now on offense, and this should be good. Would the rookies survive?
Brandon McReynolds became a first-time winner in the UARA Series at Franklin County. (photo: Jim Carson / Late Model Digest)
Alex Yontz's #55 sparks around the track. (photo: Jim Carson / Late Model Digest)
Entering the final stages of the event McReynolds shows why he was beating on Wallace's back bumper, he was much faster. Wallace gets pulled by 10 car lengths, and now has Caudill and Boswell all over him. On lap 119, Caudill smoothly passes Wallace for 2nd, only to have his car cut off 6 laps later letting Wallace and Boswell get by before the problem is corrected. Behind them Yelton who made the wholesale changes early, is coming like a bullet and moves into the top 7 with 25 to go. Alex Yontz, who changed the tire and stayed on the lead lap, moves himself back into the top 10 also.
With 15 to go things got a little hairy. Curtis Truex Jr. and Clay Greenfield get together off turn two battlling for 7th place, nearly grinding the two cars to a complete stop. The field behind them bunches up, and as they sort themselves into turn 3, Mackey and Truex get together making the field behind them come to a halt. As the red comes out, Mackey and Truex are done, Mackey is upset about points and Truex is just upset period. Truex will head home as the ARP Hard Luck driver for this event.
Ten laps to go McReynolds takes the green and pulls away from Wallace. With 4 to go Yontz, Kyle Grissom and LaJoie make contact, go 3 wide, and Yontz goes from 9th to 6th. At the line it's McReynolds taking his first win with the 14 year-old Wallace 10 cars back fending off Boswell.
A great night of racing. Anytime you go to a track like this, you look for rookies to make mistakes and cause damage. But this night, the rookies showed the vets how it's done. And just think, Brandon McReynolds raced his first ever Late-Model race ever at the UARA season opener back in March. Eleven races later he is a winner in the most competitive Late-Model series in the country. He has now served notice he is one to be reckoned with. McReynolds will come home not only with the RE Suspension win but also as the Melling Select Rookie of the Race. Timmy Petty will be the Comp Cams Engine Builder of the Race.
Dillon Smith of Waco, TX brings home the Holley Performer of the Race award. Smith has shown great improvement in the last few events and came from a 23rd place starting spot to his best UARA finish of tenth.
Michael Goard from Basset, VA was the lucky fan to win the Jeff Gordon driving experience. Goard said “This is the first race I have attended at FCS this year. I came out to see the UARA cars race and I had a blast. This is awesome. Thanks UARA, I’, hoping I can cash this in at Daytona because I really want to go fast.”
The UARA will give one more lucky fan a driving experience at the Bad Boy Mowers everythingattachment.com 150 at Tri County Speedway August 239, 2008.