LOCUST GROVE — Just about everyone in attendance got track time at Batesville Motor Speedway on Friday for the annual $20 carload night and meet and greet.
Drivers parked their race cars on the front stretch during intermission to give fans a chance to come down from the grandstands to get a closer look and interact. The kids were also treated to bus rides around the track and through the pits.
The action on the track produced repeat winners in two classes and new winners in modifieds and cruisers. Joe Payne took another win in the IMCA Stock Car class and Batesville’s David Hagler continued his complete dominance of the hobby class with his fourth-consecutive feature win and fifth of the season at Batesville.
The IMCA Modified class also looked as if there would be a repeat winner as Wendell Wallace won the heat race and seemed poised to run away with the feature again, but young Ashton Wilkey had other plans. Wilkey got past Wallace and Wayne Brooks on the opening lap and never looked back to take his first victory of the season. Brooks closed in on the white-flag lap but Wilkey was able to stay out front to secure the victory.
The field was small for the IMCA Stock Car feature with just three entries, but that did not stop Payne from putting on a clinic during the 15-lap race. Payne took the lead at the start over heat winner Peyton Taylor and Dover’s Tommy New and cruised to his third win of the season.
Hagler started fourth in the hobby feature but shot the gap between front-row starters Jason Goodman and Steven Morrow to claim the lead by Turn 2 of the opening lap. It wasn’t an easy cruise for Hagler, however, as Jesse Brooks quickly worked his way to second place and pressured Hagler throughout the race through a number or restarts.
The scariest moment of the night came on the white-flag lap as the 1T of Quincy Brooks and the 12 car of Madison Gillmore collided on the front stretch sending both cars into spins. Brooks was able to limp his wounded machine back to the pits while Gillmore’s car had to get the hook back to her hauler.
That gave Jesse Brooks one more shot at Hagler with a big run coming back to the restart, but Hagler was able to maintain the point and hold him off for the victory. Hagler celebrated by having a large contingent of kids come to the winner’s circle for the trophy presentation. Brooks was second while Goodman took third place.
In the cruisers, it was Judsonia’s Blake Dickerson who took the victory after starting in fifth place out of seven cars. Dickerson had the lead by Lap 4 and never looked back the rest of the way to claim his first victory of the season.
Emily Gay of Floral started in fourth and worked her way to a second-place finish while Timothy Williams finished third.
This Friday night at Batesville Motor Speedway will be a weekly points night and fireworks show with heat races starting at 8 p.m.