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Love wins Renegade special at I-77...by Brian Autry

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This past Saturday Night, I-77 Speedway hosted the Renegades $500 to win special event sponsored by Interstate Towing and Recovery out of Rock Hill. Tyler Love and Pebo Johnson started on the front row for the main event. When the green flag fell, Love and Johnson raced side-by-side to the first turn with Love grabbing the lead out of two. Johnson would fight back a lap later getting door-to-door with Love exiting turn four. These two would battle just the same throughout the entire event. Johnson would make one last run at the win on the final lap, but would come up just inches short at the line. The rest of the top five was Shannon Adams, Lester Robinson and Donnie Clark.

In the NDRA GM Performance Late Model main event, Ron Parker and Matt Long would lead the field to the green flag. Those two would be side-by-side entering turns one and two. Parker would take sole possession of the top spot coming out of two and he would set sail for another win. Matt Long had the second spot all to himself at the finish. Steve Banal and Brett Hamm would battle each other for third and fourth with Banal taking third at the end. Brett Hamm and Mike Huey rounded out the top five.

In the Super Street main event, Rusty Broome and Travis Mosley would sit on the front row. When the green flag dropped, Broome and Mosley would go nose-to-nose through turns one and two with neither giving an inch. Broome would grab the top spot, but Mosley would be in his tracks most of the way. As the race wore on Broome would extend his lead over Mosley and go on to pick up the victory. Josh Wilkerson, who started in the third spot seemed to come on late in the race and would eventually take the second spot from Mosley. Rounding out the top 5 was Travis Mosley, Dustin Smith from Augusta, Ga. and Schoen Christman.

In the Sportsman Crate main event, Ronnie Mosley and Brandan Blackmon would sit on the front row. The field roared to turns one and two after the green flag. Mosley would grab the lead out of turn two with Bryan Mullis in tow. They had the fans on their feet lap-after-lap as these  two cars battled door-to-door the entire way with each car gaining the advantage at different times. Every attempt that Mullis made to take the lead all to himself was thwarted by the efforts of Mosley on the high side of the track. When the checkered flag flew, it was Mosley getting his second win of the year. Mullis would finish second, followed by Trey Tarlton, Chad Adams Jr. and Kyle Norwood.

The Semi-Mod 4 main event which had 18 cars start the race was led to the green by veteran Shannon Barnhill and newcomer Justin Mintz.  When the initial green flag dropped, it was Mintz grabbing the lead. That wouldn’t last as the caution would fly. After resetting the field, the restart would see Mintz pull out in front of Barnhill once again. He would never get further than a few feet away from Barnhill as they would race side by side on almost every lap.  About midway through the main, Barnhill from got the opening he was looking for. He made his move and was able to hold off Mintz to take the checkers. Behind the top two, Brandon Lambert and Wes Helms, both whom started from the rear after being involved in the first caution would put on a show for the fans as they would pick off position after position on their way to the front.  They would run out of laps, but their efforts were applauded by many. Rounding out the top five was Mintz, Lambert, Helms and Robbie Louthan.

In the U-Car main event, Scott Cloninger would use his front row starting position to gain a big enough advantage over eventual second place finisher Shorty Lacey to pick up the win.  Lacey was in a battle all race long with youngster Tyler Bennett. The rest of the top five was Bennett, Mike Baucom and David Motes.

Even with the tremendous support thus far for the efforts of Daryl Trull and Melissa Ervin, Drivers and fans all around have had concerns about the track conditions the first two events of the season.  The I-77 Speedway staff was even wondering if all the hard work would ever pay off.  Well that question was answered Saturday Night as the drivers and fans were treated with a racing surface that hasn’t been seen at I-77 Speedway in quite a while. It was super smooth all night long and after all events were completed drivers, team members and fans were allcomplimenting the efforts of the I-77 Speedway crew.  There was nothing but smiling faces all over. I had a chance to get reaction from some of the drivers personally and here is what they had to say. Ron Parker stated that “"It was great. Us and everyone we talked to loved it." Matt Long told me “It was 110% better and this is the best I have seen the track surface in a long time.” Kent Peckham said “I loved it. It was a million times better."  One driver that races at another venue that wasn’t racing this week even said that he was going to speed up repairs on his car just so he could get on the track. He went on to say that he expects this to be the turning point for I-77 Speedway with both the fans and drivers.

This Saturday Night April 28th, I-77 Speedway will be in action with a regular racing program. On the card this week will be:

NDRA GMPLM
SUPER STREET
SPORTSMAN CRATE
RENEGADE
SEMI-MOD 4
U-CARS

Pit Gates Open At 4PM
Grandstands Open At 5PM
Pit Admission $20
Grandstands $12
12 And Under Free

Hot Laps Will Begin Between 6:45 and 7 p.m.