Lee Ray (2) battles three wide with Jamie Sudduth (11) and Eddie Rickman (68). Photo by: Chris McDill/Special to The Dispatch Buy this photo.
September 25, 2017 9:59:05 AM
With less than five laps left in the race to decide the Mississippi Street Stock Series points title, Lee Ray's bid to repeat as champion appeared dashed after he spun in turns three and four following contact with Eddie Rickman.
Ray, who entered the $2,000-to-win race Saturday at Magnolia Motor Speedway trailing Rodney Wing by one point in the state points race, wasn't at fault for the spin, though, and his car was intact.
All Ray needed to do was stay in third place ahead of Wing and behind Johnny Stokes, who was running second behind eventual race winner, Justin McCree.
When the checkered flag dropped, Ray's third-place finish helped him clinch the state championship. Stokes finished second and Wing took fourth.
"Eddie (Rickman) just got in there a little too hard. We rubbed a bit and spun out, but it wasn't nothing intentional there," Ray said. "I knew I was in good shape as long as my car wasn't torn up.
"Last year, it was between me and Spencer (Hughes), and he had a flat that let me win it last year. I've had some good luck on my side."
Ray continues to add to a banner season that has seen him win 15 feature races and track points titles at Magnolia, Columbus Speedway, and Whynot Motorsports Park.
Ray rebounded from a mid-season quandary during a race at Columbus when he ran over track debris and tore up his drive shaft and shocks. He also broke a gear that night. Two weeks later, during a race at Whynot, he discovered a bent rear-end.
"I really have to thank Trak-Star for helping me get everything ironed out on that deal," Ray said. "And I can't thank (Magnolia owner) Johnny Stokes, (Columbus promoter) Rod Taylor and (Whynot promoter) Rodney Wing for what they do. It's really nice having three home tracks."
Stokes, who will turn 64 in November, said racing Street Stocks is a "getaway" from his ownership responsibilities at Magnolia, where, as "Dr. Dirt," he manicures the race surface and handles all the logistics and promotions.
"I figured I'd already be done racing," Stokes said. "I've been very fortunate. I started in 1970 when I was 15. I've had a lot of fun racing, and it's really fun at my age, to still be competitive with them. I thank the good Lord and I can still do it."
In other race action, Kyle Shaw won his first NeSmith Late Model race at Magnolia this season and $3,000. Monte Skinner, Jeremy Shaw, Grant Pearl, and Scott Dedwylder rounded out the top five.
Mike Shaw won the Factory Stocks feature. Bill Sudduth, Wayne Medders, Scooter Ware, and John Beard rounded out the top five.
Ryan King won the 602 Sportsman feature. Jamie Pickard, Eric Mazingo, Mike Ross, and Justin Lee rounded out the top five.
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