2008 ASA Late Model Series South Division Rookie of the Year, Justin Larson, picked up his first victory of the 2009 season on Saturday night at New Senoia Raceway. Larson started on the outside of the front row and grabbed the lead away from David Odell before the first lap of the race was completed. The Clearwater, Florida native would never look back, leading all 100 laps. The race went caution free, which prevented any teams from making adjustments to their car during the race.
Keeton Hanks set the fast time during qualifying in his Zaxby's Ford. Hanks turned in a lap of 14.279. Hanks was the fastest driver in the first practice and opted not to participate in the second session. “Last time we were here we kind of adjusted ourselves out,” said Hanks after qualifying, “This time we just wanted to be a little smarter and remember that we have a night race.” Stephen Nasse and Drew Brannon were the second and third quickest qualifiers respectively.
After qualifying, Keeton Hanks drew a five for the inversion. This put the fifth fastest qualifier, David Odell on the pole position for the race. Justin Larson, who qualified fourth, lined up alongside Odell to bring the field to the green. Larson, who had the dominant car until getting caught up in a crash with a lapped car in April at Senoia, wasted no time getting around Odell into the lead.
While Larson stretched his lead at the front of the field, the race was on for second. David Odell, Keeton Hanks, Stephen Nasse, and fifteen year old Austin Hill waged a fierce battle for the runner up spot. The four drivers raced nose to tail and side by side for the majority of the race. Eventually, Hanks and Nasse were able to race their way by Odell, but Hill would have to settle for fifth behind the Lawrenceville, Georgia driver.
One driver who was never in contention was ASA Late Model Series South Division points leader Drew Brannon. Brannon came into the race at Senoia on a three race winning streak. However, without the aid of a caution, Brannon was unable to come down pit road to the attention of his Butch Miller led ASI Limited crew to make adjustments.
“We missed it,” said a frustrated Brannon after the race, “We are not going to get it right every time, so we just need to grasp that and move onto Charlotte County Motorsports Park.”
Brannon came home one lap down in ninth spot, his worst effort of the season.
At the checkered flag it was Justin Larson, followed by Hanks, Nasse, Odell, and Austin Hill. Jefferson, Georgia native Nick Potts came home in sixth, followed by Dustin Dunn in seventh. Dunn lost his brakes at lap 25 and was fortunate just to be running at the checkered flag. Warren Mobley, Drew Brannon, and Austin Kirkpatrick rounded out the top ten.
Larson's Ware Oil/Victory Marketing machine was clearly the dominant car of the night.
“This new LS3 engine is pretty awesome,” said an ecstatic Larson in victory lane, “The car was flawless.”
Fast qualifier Keeton Hanks came home second after starting fifth.
“It was a good race,” said Hanks afterwards, “The long green run was good for us, but at the same time we needed a caution to get caught back up to the leader.”
Fourteen year old Stephen Nasse finished third at New Senoia. Nasse qualified second and was near the top of the speed chart during both practices. “I had a great car,” stated Nasse, “It was a clean race. Hopefully we can get plenty more races like this.”
The ASA Late Model Series South Division returns to action on July 11th at Charlotte County Motorsports Park in Punta Gorda, Florida. Be sure to log onto www.asalatemodels.com and www.asalatemodelssouth.com for all of the latest information about the ASA Late Model Series.
The ASA Late Model Series is its own entity and not affiliated in any way with ASA Racing, American Speed Association or the ASA Member Track Program. The ASA Late Model Series is owned and operated by Ron and Sandy Varney as it has been for the past five years and will be for years to come.