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BRONSON TAKES HISTORIC SECOND STRAIGHT WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP RACE WIN

Kyle Bronson of Brandon, FL celebrates his history-making NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series RockAuto.com Winter Shootout win on Saturday night at Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala, FL. Bronson became the first driver to take back-to-back wins in the Chevrolet Performance World Championship Race. The win was worth $10,000 to Bronson, who led 81 of the 100 laps in the Brandon Ford Special. (NeSmith Media Photo)

OCALA, FL – Kyle Bronson of Brandon, FL made history Saturday night at Bubba Raceway Park has he became the first driver in 14 Chevrolet Performance World Championship Races to win the prestigious event two years in a row as a part of the RockAuto.com Winter Shootout Series for the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series.

Bronson led 81 of 100 laps, including the last 77 laps, in the Brandon Ford Special, and joins Jimmy Owens of Newport, TN as a two-time winner of the Chevrolet Performance World Championship Race. When asked in Victory Lane which win was more memorable, Bronson paid homage to his mentor, the late Bo Hammond, the father of his car owner, Wayne Hammond.

“While this win is special in becoming the first driver to win two in a row, last year’s win was more memorable for me because Bo Hammond was here, and he’s the man that taught me how to work on these cars,” Bronson said. “Bo passed away recently, and I’m glad I got to share the win last year with him.”

The winner of $10,000 also thanked his crew and some familiar people in dirt late model racing that helped him pull off a dominant performance all week long at Bubba Raceway Park. Bronson started the week with a second-place finish on Thursday in Round 2 of the Rock Auto.com Winter Shootout Series, and he took the win on Friday night.

“We were good all week, and I have to thank my crew for all of their hard work because they worked their butts off,” Bronson said. “They were signaling me to slow down, but when I slowed down, the car got faster. I also want to thank Randy Weaver and Brandon Overton for their help with this Longhorn by Weaver Race Car. I kept them on the phone a lot this week, but it was time well spent.”

After taking the lead for good on lap 24, Bronson was never challenged for the point in the remainder of the race. Tyler Bare of Rockridge Bath, VA finished second in the May’s Recycling Rocket, 2.729 seconds behind Bronson. Hudson O’Neal of Martinsville, IN drove the Lineal Contracting Special to a third-place finish.

Michael Page of Douglasville, GA took the fourth spot in the Troy Baird Trucking Special, and Walker Arthur of Forest, VA started 20th in the Cecil B. Arthur Beef Farms Special and finished fifth to earn the Beyea Headers Hard Charger of the Race Award. Logan Roberson of Waynesville, VA was sixth in the Dirt Defender Rocket, coming back from a cut tire late in the race.

Polesitter Jeff Mathews of Brandon, FL came back from a cut tire on lap 60 to finish seventh driving the Vivid Graphics Special, and Devin Dixon of Apollo Beach, FL took the eighth spot in the Dave’s Towing Rocket. RockAuto.com Winter Shootout point leader Jimmy Elliott of Cleveland, TN was ninth in the Car Smart Auto Sales Special and Chase Edge of Lafayette, AL rounded out the top ten in the 44 Trading Special.

In preliminary action, Mathews took the Sunoco/Knowles Race Parts and Bodies Fast Time Award among the 46 entrants with a lap around the egg-shaped 3/8-mile clay oval in 14.722 seconds. The four 12-lap Heat Races that determined the first 12 starting spots were won by Mark Whitener of Middleburg, FL in the ULC Land Clearing Special, Mathews, O’Neal, and Bronson.

The two 15-lap B-Main Races that filled starting positions 13 through 22 were won by Sam Seawright of Fort Payne, AL in the J&R Lumber Special, and Ivedent Lloyd Jr. of Ocala, FL in the Vivid Graphics Special.

O’Neal took the lead at the start of the race from his outside front row starting spot followed by Bronson, who moved up to second from his inside second row starting spot, Matthews, Whitener, Edge. Bronson moved up alongside O’Neal to challenge for the lead on lap five, and then completed the pass for the point on the sixth lap.

The fast pace Bronson was setting brought him to the cars on the tail of the lead lap on the eighth tour of Chevrolet Performance World Championship Race. In heavy lapped traffic, Bronson, O’Neal and Whitener battled three-wide for the lead. O’Neal had the sea of lapped traffic part in his favor on lap ten and he took back the lead.

Whitener got around Bronson for second on lap 11 using a lapped car as a pick, but Bronson was able to chase Whitener back down on lap 16 and they battled side-by-side before Bronson reclaimed the second spot on lap 19. Bronson reeled in O’Neal and drove by him for the lead on lap 24 down the front straightaway.

The only thing from here on out in the race that could slow Bronson down were six caution flags, with the first one coming out on lap 29 when Seawright stalled in turn four. Bronson led the field down for the Dixie-Style Double-File Restart followed by O’Neal, Whitener, Edge, Mathews, Roberson, Keith Barbara of South Park, PA in the Royal Flush, Inc. Rocket, Dixon, Bare and Elliott.

Whitener drove past O’Neal for the second spot on the restart and then Whitener set his sights on Bronson. Whitener was trying to close on the leader, but he jumped the cushion on lap 40 in turn two and tapped the outside retaining wall. Whitener was able to hang on to the second spot, and he had a big lead over the third-place car of O’Neal.

The second caution flag of the race came out on lap 59 when Rhett Carter of Blackshear, GA stalled his 44 Trading Rocket in turn one. Bronson led Whitener, O’Neal, Dixon, Edge, Roberson, Barbara, Bare, Mathews and Page down for the restart. Mathews slowed on lap 60 in turn two to bring out the third caution flag.

When the field returned to green flag racing, Bronson took off and began to pull away from Whitener, and on lap 61, Dixon moved up alongside O’Neal to contest the third spot. Dixon was able to claim the position on lap 62.

A multi-car incident in turn two on lap 73 in front of the leaders brought out the fourth yellow flag of the century grind. Bronson just made it through on the outside, but Whitener clipped one of the crashed cars and had to make a visit to the “body shop” to have officials pull some sheet metal back in place.

Whitener was able to restart in second behind Bronson and to the inside of third-place Dixon. When the green flag came out, Whitener and Dixon got together, and Whitener slowed off the pace with a cut tire. Instead of changing the tire in the infield “hot pit,” Whitener turned right off the track and out of the race.

Bronson led Dixon, O’Neal, Roberson, Bare, Page, Arthur, Mathews, Edge and Elliott down for the restart. Dixon and O’Neal raced side-by-side for second while Bronson pulled away. Bare quickly moved up to make it a three-car dance for the runner up spot. By lap 75, Bronson had a half straightaway lead over O’Neal, Bare, Dixon and Arthur.

The final caution flag of the race came out on lap 88 when Roberson cut down a tire while running seventh. Roberson returned the race in the ninth spot as the last car on the lead lap. Bronson took the green flag to pick up where he left off with O’Neal, Bare, Dixon, Page, Arthur, Mathews, Elliott, Roberson, and Edge in tow.

Bronson quickly checked out on the field when they went back to green flag action. Behind the leader, Bare stepped up and began to challenge O’Neal for second. Bare got by O’Neal for second on lap 93, but by that time, Bronson was in a different zip code from the rest of the field, and raced his way into history with his second-straight Golden Globe Trophy.

The next pair of races for the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series will be at Smoky Mountain Speedway in Maryville, TN for the Tennessee Tip-Off on March 9 and 10. There will be a $2,000-to-win 40-lap race on March 9, and a $2,500-to-win 50-lap event on March 10. The two races will be Rounds 5 and 6 of the RockAuto.com Winter Shootout Series.

For more information and rules about the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series, visit the series web site at www.nesmithracing.com, or visit the series on Facebook at NeSmith Racing. Becoming a fan of the NeSmith Racing Facebook page will make you eligible for special prizes that will be given away each month. You can follow us on Twitter @NeSmithRacing.

OFFICIAL RESULTS OF ROUND 4 OF THE ROCKAUTO.COM WINTER SHOOTOUT AT BUBBA RACEWAY PARK IN OCALA, FL (The 14th Annual Chevrolet Performance World Championship Race):

POS STRT CAR # DRIVER HOMETOWN LAPS $ WON
1. 3 40 Kyle Bronson Brandon, FL 100 $10,000
2. 7 30 Tyler Bare Rockridge Bath, VA 100 $5,000
3. 2 24r Hudson O’Neal Martinsville, IN 100 $3,000
4. 11 18x Michael Page Douglasville, GA 100 $2,000
5. 20 87 Walker Arthur Forest, VA 100 $1,750
6. 6 17 Logan Roberson Waynesboro, VA 100 $1,500
7. 1 33 Jeff Mathews Brandon, FL 100 $1,300
8. 12 58 Devin Dixon Apollo Beach, FL 100 $1,200
9. 8 J39 Jimmy Elliott Cleveland, TN 100 $1,100
10. 5 18e Chase Edge Lafayette, AL 99 $1,000
11. 19 1 Conner Meade Clay City, KY 98 $800
12. 24 P1 Andy Picklesimer Ooltewah, TN 98 $700
13. 15 89 Justin Williams Concord, VA 98 $600
14. 21 23 Ahnna Parkhurst Evans, GA 98 $500
15. 4 5w Mark Whitener Middleburg, FL 72 $450
16. 10 RJ1 Keith Barbara South Park, PA 71 $440
17. 9 44 Rhett Carter Blackshear, GA 70 $420
18. 23 85 Ronnie Johnson Chattanooga, TN 69 $400
19. 16 14 Don O’Neal Martinsville, IN 56 $400
20. 22 17ss Shan Smith Dade City, FL 45 $400
21. 18 2 Dennis Franklin Gaffney, SC 40 $400
22. 17 32 Chad Stapleton Edinburgh, IN 31 $400
23. 14 33x Ivedent Lloyd Jr. Ocala, FL 28 $400
24. 13 16 Sam Seawright Fort Payne, AL 27 $400

ENTRIES: 46
SUNOCO/KNOWLES RACE PARTS FAST QUALIFIER: Mathews, 14.722 Seconds
PROVISIONALS: Johnson and Picklesimer
LEAD CHANGES: 3
LAP LEADERS: H. O’Neal, 1-5; Bronson, 6-9; H. O’Neal, 10-23; Bronson, 24-100
LAPS LED: Bronson 81, H. O’Neal, 19
BEYEA HEADERS HARD CHARGER OF THE RACE: Arthur (started 20th and finished 5th)
CAUTIONS: 6
MARGIN OF VICTORY: 2.729 Seconds
TIME OF THE RACE: 1 Hour and 30.762 Seconds
NEXT EVENTS: Tennessee Tip-Off, Smoky Mountain Speedway, Maryville, TN, March 9, $2,000-to-win, 40 Laps, March 10, $2,500-to-win, 50 Laps

SUNOCO/KNOWLES RACE PARTS AND BODIES GROUP QUALIFYING:

GROUP 1:
POS CAR # DRIVER HOMETOWN CHASSIS TIME
1 J39 Jimmy Elliott Cleveland, TN Longhorn 15.154
2 11 John Waters Whitesville, NY Mastersbilt 15.229
3 5w Mark Whitener Middleburg, FL Barry Wright 15.299
4 58 Devin Dixon Apollo Beach, FL Rocket 15.332
5 33x Ivedent Lloyd Jr. Ocala, FL Capital 15.337
6 R1 Riley Hickman Ooltewah, TN CVR 15.350
7 2 Dennis Franklin Gaffney, SC Swartz 15.362
8 00 Ruben Mayfield Lenoir City, TN CVR 15.366
9 J0 John Ownby Cleveland, TN Longhorn 15.390
10 87 Walker Arthur Forest, VA Mastersbilt 15.543
11 88 Trent Ivey Union, SC Mastersbilt 15.710
12 5 Rodgerick Dykes Smith Station, AL Warrior 15.978

GROUP 2:
POS CAR # DRIVER HOMETOWN CHASSIS TIME
1 33 Jeff Mathews Brandon, FL Capital 14.722
2 18e Chase Edge Lafayette, AL Mastersbilt 14.998
3 23 Ahnna Parkhurst Evans, GA Warrior 15.334
4 44 Rhett Carter Blackshear, GA Rocket 15.346
5 16 Sam Seawright Fort Payne, AL Kryptonite 15.375
6 101 Forrest Trent Talbot, TN Rocket 15.439
7 32 Chad Stapleton Edinburg, IN Club 29 15.457
8 6 Dillon Brown Gaffney, SC Longhorn 15.488
9 9 Ches Chester Twin City, GA Rocket 15.846
10 4 Joe Mike Mayfield, KY CVR 15.853
11 F36 Cale Finley Athens, AL CVR 15.870
12 11f Ryan Frazee Addison, PA Rocket 16.007

GROUP 3:
POS CAR # DRIVER HOMETOWN CHASSIS TIME
1 24r Hudson O’Neal Martinsville, IN Capital 15.006
2 17 Logan Roberson Waynesboro, VA Rocket 15.129
3 RJ1 Keith Barbara South Park, PA Rocket 15.232
4 6r Shane Riner Guyton, GA Rocket 15.362
5 1m Kevin Maher McDavid, FL Barry Wright 15.689
6 93 Derrick Shaw Buckhannon, WV Rocket 15.699
7 14 Don O’Neal Martinsville, IN Rocket 15.708
8 00 Ben Garner Greenfield, TN Blk Diamond 15.722
9 17ss Shan Smith Dade City, FL CVR 15.765
10 09 Billy Kessler Freedom, PA Rocket 16.039
11 04 Colby Boyett Bainbridge, GA Rocket 18.356

GROUP 4
POS CAR # DRIVER HOMETOWN CHASSIS TIME
1 40b Kyle Bronson Brandon, FL Longhorn 15.022
2 30 Tyler Bare Rockridge Baths. VA Rocket 15.305
3 18 Michael Page Douglasville, GA Stinger 15.353
4 7a Corey Almond Appomattox, VA Longhorn 15.366
5 89 Justin Williams Concord, VA Rocket 15.368
6 1 Connor Meade Clay City, KY Club 29 15.494
7 P1 Andy Picklesimer Ooltewah, TN Longhorn 15.509
8 12s Brian Swank Morgantown, WV Rocket 15.607
9 85 Ronnie Johnson Chattanooga, TN Capital 15.868
10 6h Jimmy Halford Atwood, TN CVR 16.021
11 03 Joey Coulter Concord, NC HRRC 16.122

HEAT RACES (12 Laps – Top 3 Transfer To Main Event):

1ST HEAT: 1. Whitener; 2. Elliott; 3. Dixon; 4. Lloyd; 5. Waters; 6. Arthur; 7. Franklin; 8. Ownby; 9. Ivey; 10. Mayfield; 11. Hickman; Dykes.

2ND HEAT: 1. Mathews; 2. Edge; 3. Carter; 4. Seawright; 5. Stapleton; 6. Parkhurst; 7. Brown; 8. Trent; 9. Chester; 10. Finley; 11. Mike; 12. Frazee.

3RD HEAT: 1. H. O’Neal; 2. Roberson; 3. Barbara; 4. Riner; 5. D. O’Neal; 6. Shaw; 7. Smith; 8. Maher; 9. Garner; 10. Kessler; 11. Boyett.

4TH HEAT: 1. Bronson; 2. Bare; 3. Page; 4. Williams; 5. Almond; 6. Picklesimer; 7. Johnson; 8. Swank; 9. Halford; 10. Coulter; 11. Meade.

B-MAINS (15 Laps – Top 5 Transfer To Main Event):

1ST B-MAIN: 1. Seawright; 2. Williams; 3. Stapleton; 4. Meade; 5. Parkhurst; 6. Swank; 7. Brown; 8. Mike; 9. Almond; 10. Chester; 11. Halford; 12. Finley; 13. Coulter; 14. Picklesimer; 15. Johnson; 16. Trent; 17. Frazee.

2ND B-MAIN: 1. Lloyd; 2. D. O’Neal; 3. Franklin; 4. Arthur; 5. Smith; 6. Ownby; 7. Riner; 8. Ivey; 9. Waters; 10. Shaw; 11. Maher; 12. Mayfield; 13. Kessler; 14. Garner; 15. Boyett; 16. Hickman; 17. Dykes.

ROCKAUTO.COM WINTER SHOOTOUT POINT STANDINGS THROUGH 2/24/18: 1. J39 Jimmy Elliott, 334; 2. 5 Ronnie Johnson, 304; 3. P1 Andy Picklesimer, 300; 4. 40b Kyle Bronson, 296; 5. 16 Sam Seawright, 286; 6. 18x Michael Page, 280; 7. 5w Mark Whitener, 266; 7. 24r Hudson O’Neal, 266; 9. 30 Tyler Bare, 264; 10. 17 Logan Roberson, 260; 11. 89 Justin Williams, 246; 12. 17ss Shan Smith, 236; 13. 33 Jeff Mathews, 216; 14. 87 Walker Arthur, 214; 15. 1 Conner Meade, 208; 16. 58 Devin Dixon, 206; 17. 2 Dennis Franklin, 204; 17. 14 Don O’Neal, 204; 19. RJ1 Keith Barbara, 178; 20. 5d Rodgerick Dykes, 174.

NeSmith Chevrolet, Buick, GMC of Claxton, GA is the Title Sponsor of the NeSmith Late Models. NeSmith Chevrolet, Buick, GMC is one of the nation’s top GM Powertrain and Performance Dealer seven years running, with free delivery anywhere in the Southeast. Chevrolet Performance Parts is an Official Sponsor of the NeSmith Late Models. Hoosier Racing Tire is the Official Tire Sponsor of the NeSmith Late Models. Sunoco Race Fuels is the Official Race Fuel of the NeSmith Late Models. RockAuto.com is an Associate Sponsor of the NeSmith Late Models. Beyea Headers the NeSmith Late Model Hard Charger Sponsor. Knowles Race Parts and Bodies is the Official Parts Supplier for the NeSmith Late Models. Cruise With The Champions is the Official Vacation and Rookie of the Year Sponsor for the NeSmith Late Models. David Smith Carburetors is the Official Carburetor of NeSmith Racing. Freestyle Graphix is the Official Wrap, Banner, and Sign Company of NeSmith Racing. NeSmith Late Model Contingency Sponsors for 2017 are Out-Pace Performance, CrateInsider.Com, Gresham Racing Parts, Knowles Racing Parts and Bodies, and FreeStyle Graphix. 2017 Chassis Sponsors are Trak-Star Race Cars, Warrior Race Cars, Rocket Chassis, GRT Race Cars, and CVR Race Cars.

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