• 48°

Francis wins #8216;Engines 50#8217; at Rocky Top Raceway

COAL GROVE — With a record crowd and some of the top Dirt Late Model drivers in attendance, the eighth race on the Independent Racing Series season was able to get under way in the “Engines Inc./Carl Grover Motorsports 50.”

San Diego Chargers rookie offensive lineman Jeremy Sheffey waved the green flag to get the race under way.

The racing early on was furious as the first seven laps saw Steve Shaver, Steve Francis, and Rick Aukland battle two- and three-wide for the lead.

On lap nine, after working the high side well, Ashland, Ky., native Francis took the lead over Shaver. With Francis leading, the racing continued two and three wide through the field as Tim Dohm charged up to the second position.

While racing through traffic at the midway point, Francis got caught up with a lapped car and that allowed Dohm to get past him for the lead. Francis regained his No. 11 and settled back to the third position.

With Dohm leading and Francis back up to the second position, a caution flag flew on lap 38 to allow for a 12-lap dash for the $5,000.

On the restart, Francis put his machine back up on the high side and battled side by side for the lead with Dohm.

With inside 10 laps to go, Francis made the pass on Dohm after a few laps of battling side by side to take the lead.

Nobody had anything for Francis in the final five laps as he went on to win.

Dohm held on for second with Eddie Carrier Jr. third, Josh McGuire fourth, and Rick Aukland fifth.

Preliminary action saw Steve Shaver, Tim Dohm, Shannon Thornsberry, and Jared Hawkins take heat race wins.

Shaver also won the pole dash with D. Jay Miller winning the B-Main.

Eddie Carrier Jr. was fast qualifier of the 30 IRS Late Models. With the win, Francis became the seventh different winner in eight Independent Racing Series races.

Before the races, fans were entertained with a live radio remote from 93.7 “The Dawg” and a live concert from the Joe Freeman Band.

A strong field of 28 Bombers was in attendance for their $1,000 to win “Bomber Bash 25” which started with polesitter Jeremie Bretz taking the lead. Second place runner Danny Hamilton stayed right behind Bretz for the first 19 laps.

With the five to go signal given, Hamilton’s No. 36 seemed to come on stronger as he was now up on Bretz’s bumper and battling side by side for the lead.

While racing for the lead off of turn four with three laps to go, Bretz slowed with a flat tire as now Brian Sammons went to battle Hamilton for the lead.

With two laps to go, Hamilton and Sammons were still side by side for the lead with nobody giving an inch. On the final lap, into turn one, the duo still battled side by side with Hamilton getting a strong run off of turn two.

That was all Hamilton needed as he came to the checkered flag to take his first career RTR win in the biggest race ever held for the Bomber class at the track.

Sammons finished second with Wayne Hughes third, Perry Dearing fourth, and John Rayburn fifth. Bretz won the dash race while Hughes, Nub Ross, and Bo Howard took heat race wins. Mark Cazad won the B-Main.

Rocky Top continues on Friday with a full racing program of Late Models, Modifieds, and Bombers.

General admission is $12 with pit admission $25. Gates open at 4 p.m. with hot lap at 7:30. For more information go to www.rockytopraceway.net.