Chris Ferguson kept charging toward the front in Saturday night’s Rattlesnake Rumble at Dublin Motor Speedway, hoping to give his mother the ultimate birthday present.
Meanwhile, G.R. Smith, comfortably ahead from the start, began to slow his pace. When Smith clipped the inside wall while trying to pass a slower car with six laps remaining, it was the opening that Ferguson needed.
Ferguson took the lead between turns three and four and went on to win the $5,000 top prize in the Ultimate Super Late Model Series event by 0.735 seconds over Smith. Willie Milliken was third in the 50-lap event followed by Dennis “Rambo” Franklin and series points leader Kenny Collins. Doug Sanders was the only other driver to finish on the lead lap.
“My mind is blowing right now,” said Ferugson, who also won last year’s Rattlesnake Rumble. “I can’t believe it happened.
“I’ve got to give a hats off to this track and the crew because there was a top side tonight, and any time we can come to a track and race like that for the lead it’s just awesome. My car was flawless. I couldn’t quite run the same line as them down low, so I had to make something else happen. I can’t thank my crew enough.”
Ferguson’s win came on his mother’s birthday. Allison Ferguson said she was “celebrating the anniversary of my 29th birthday.”
“(Chris) sent me a text message yesterday. He said, ‘Mom, we’re going to win this race for you.’ I said, ‘Well, son, just do the best you can and that will be good enough, but a win would be an extra bonus.’
Allison Ferguson had to watch her son overcome a spinout on lap eight of the 50-lap race and continually power around the 4/10ths-mile dirt track on the high side before finally taking the lead.
“I never count him out,” Allison Ferguson said. “He proved me wrong one time when he had to come from the rear and won a race.”
For Smith, it was an opportunity lost after being the fastest in qualifying and leading the first 43 laps.
“I was worried about my tires,” Smith said. “I saw the track getting black. I just took it too easy. I was in conservation mode and I had plenty of tire left. I should have picked it up. When I clipped the inside wall that ruined our chances of getting back. We could have made it a fun race. (Chris) earned it, but I feel like I could have put up more of play.”
Smith and Ferguson started on the front row, but, on the drop of the green flag, Milliken, who was starting on the inside of the second row, beat Ferguson out of the second turn.
A three-car wreck along the front stretch on lap 2 took out Dean Bowen, Zack Mitchell and Glenn Elliott. None of the drivers were injured.
Ferguson was in fourth place on lap 14, but passed Franklin for third place on lap 15. Ferguson and Milliken traded second and third place a couple of time during the middle part of the race as Smith slowly pulled away from the field. Ferguson moved into second place for good with seven laps left and set his sights on Smith. A lap later, Ferguson was in the lead.
The Ultimate Super Late Model Series will return to Dublin for a two-day event Oct. 7-8.
In Saturday’s other races, Dean Bowen won in Late Model, Andy Boahn won in Open Wheel Modified, Ryan Gilbert in Pure Stock, Benji Thompson in Super Street, and Brandon Jacobs in U-Car.
Dublin Motor Speedway will not have races during the July 4th weekend. The track’s next race sis cheduled for July 9.
Ultimate Super Late Model: 1. Chris Ferguson; 2. G.R. Smith; 3. Willie Milliken; 4. Dennis “Rambo” Franklin; 5. Kenny Collins; 6. Doug Sanders; 7. Anthony Sanders; 8. Mike Parker; 9. Michael Rouse; 10. Ben Watkins; 11. Josh Langley; 12. Lance Brasington; 13. Glenn Elliott; 14. Zack Mitchell; 15. Dean Bowen; 16. Brian Ledbetter; 17. Greg Clark.
Late Model: 1. Dean Bowen; 2. Brian Strickland; 3. Shaun Sewell; 4. Johnny Pridgen; 5. Woodie Cromartie; 6. Jeremy Cumbee.
Open Wheel Modified: 1. Andy Boahn; 2. John Marshall; 3. Carlos Jaramillo; 4. Robbie Turner; 5. Derrick Ramey; 6. David Taylor; 7. Wayne Gray; 8. Jordan Taylor; 9. Mike Grantham; 10. Dennis Brewer; 11. Steve Strickland.
Pure Stock: 1. Ryan Gilbert; 2. Dustin Watkins; 3. Jimmy Capps; 4. Rick Razillard; 5. Elvin Matthews; 6. Robbie Williams; 7. Jeffrey Batten; 8. Spencer Euler; 9. Martin Sweatt.
Super Street: 1. Benji Thompson; 2. Johnny Moore; 3. Jerry Dove; 4. Michael Freeman; 5. Jamie Barnes; 6. John Dyson.
U-Car: 1. Brandon Jacobs; 2. James Gardner: 3. Glenn Register; 4. Chris Bron; 5. Sarah Benson; 6. Greg Strickland.