The Fort Payne Motor Speedway kicked off the Independence week early Saturday night with the 6th annual "FireCracker 50" presented by Complete Cash Discount Title Pawn. The 50-lap unsanctioned Super Late Model race drew one of the biggest crowds in the tracks history as racers for four states (AL, GA, TN & KY) battled for the $3,000 first place prize.
Qualifying saw 24 entrants at racetime attempt to take the "Tommy Smith Trucking" $100 pole for fast time. The 18th qualifier Jason Hiett (# 1) of nearby Oxford, AL was the class of the field clocking a 14:278 second lap, which would stand two-tenths quickest against the next fastest. With the entire field locked-in from their times to the feature, the fans were treated to a special American Flag four-wide salute from the racers on their parade lap.
Once the green flag flew over the start of the feature the fireworks immediately began. Hiett powered into the lead in his "Old Man's Garage, Freestyle Graphics" sponsored Warrior / Vinson Race Engines racecar as the dog-fight ensued in the back of the pack. Jamie Rowan would rear the first of many cautions, as the field seemed stuck on the opening laps, due to minor spins. Local favorites Bobby Pruitt and Tom Maddox fell from competition early, leaving two-time back to back recent winner Robert Gant to battle towards the front of the pack.
Chatsworth, Georgia's Aaron Ridley tried in vein the keep Hiett in his sights, but each and every double-file restart showed the leaders power. Brandon Kinzer whom pulled the farthest to race, from Allen, Kentucky, and Tyrone, GA's Jake Knowles both stayed glued to the Ridley racecar in second. The leaders worked lapped traffic diligently but Hiett was checked out with over a half-track lead at the end of the race. Crossville, Tennessee's Chris Wilson held off Gant for 5th as the checkers waved.
"I lost this race back in 2011, when I chose the wrong tires" stated Hiett in Victory Lane to the crowd. "The car was perfect all night and there wasn't anywhere on this surface we couldn't race." Heitt concluded by thanking the crowd for coming out and wished all a happy early 4th of July. The track announced during the event that Labor Day Weekend (Sat. Aug. 31st) the SLM's will return to FPMS for another $3,000 to-WIN / 50 Lap event.
The night concluded with a special Oliver FireWorks show for the fans. Next weekend no racing for the 4th of July holiday, racing returns Saturday July 13th. Visit FortPayneMotorSpeedway.com or on Facebook for more information.
1. Jason Hiett (# 1) of Oxford, AL
2. Aaron Ridley (# 81) of Chatsworth, GA
3. Brandon Kinzer (# 18) of Allen, KY
4. Jake Knowles (# 66) of Tyrone, GA
5. Chris Wilson (# 10) of Crossville, TN
6. Robert Gant (# 22) of Pisgah, AL
7. Jordy Nipper (# 1N) of Gray, GA
8. Kasey Hall (# 42) of Geraldine, AL
9. Elbert McCullough (# 19) of Cedar Bluff, AL
10. David Jackson (# 5) of Winchester, TN
11. Mark Green (# G19) of Rogersville, AL
12. Ron Bozarth (# 19) of Gurley, AL
13. Brent Rhodes (# 13) of Crossville, AL
14. Dewayne Treadwell (# 55) of La Grange, GA
15. Jeff Smith (# 17S) of Villanow, GA
16. Lucas Burns (# 27) of Atalla, AL
17. Aaron Wilson (# S14) of Chatsworth, GA
18. Kyle May (# 45) of Pisgah, AL
19. Bruce Fulmer (# 8) of Huntland, TN
20. Darrell Hayes (# 393) of Ider, AL
21. Bobby Pruitt (# 6) of Gadsden, AL
22. Tom Maddox (# 43) of Centre, AL
23. Johnny Cloer Jr. (# 41) of Chatsworth, GA
24. Jamie Rowan (# 20R) of Altoona, AL