Joiner, Smith put up dominating wins at Southern Raceway

Special to the Press Gazette

Over 3,000 packed the stands at Southern Raceway on Saturday night to kick off the 2020 season and the action on the track didn’t disappoint.

Tony Stewart stole the show early by winning the sprint car dash for cash, but he would lose his dominance when it came to the feature.

Danny Smith got off to a slow start and Mark Smith took advantage for his sixth starting position and jumped out to a quick lead that he did not relinquish the entire night.

The only time Mark Smith was challenged for the lead was on lap 27 of the 30-lap feature when Dale Howard and Kyle Amerson made contact coming off turn four to bring out the only caution.

Mark Smith’s half lap lead was erased but it did not matter as the green waived for the restart he left Stewart in the distance as he took the checkered flag while Stewart finished second. Rounding out the top five were Dale Howard, Danny Martin Jr., and Danny Smith.

Pace’s Johnathon Joiner took the 604 Crate Late Model field to school as he posted fast time and led wire to wire in the feature, which was slowed by five cautions.

One of those cautions on lap 15 came when second place Cole Cameron broke going into turn one.

Rounding out the top five were D. G. Hawkins, Scott Ladner, Tim Anderson, and Kyle Bryant.

Brewton’s Micha McCall worked his way through the field for the win after starting fifth in the 600cc Winged Micro Sprints.

McCall worked his way around Kyle Amerson and Mike Hall to take the lead early in the 15-lap event.

The caution flag flew three times and twice for Navarre’s Jim Kradel who got tangled up with fellow Navarre driver Jim McNulty on lap seven and then pulled the car to the infield after bringing out the second caution on lap nine.

Rounding out the top five were Hall, Justin Rabon, Bobby Zaiontz, and McNulty.

Josh Howell took a very special victory in the Pure Stock as they memorialized his father Rodney Howell, the original driver of the triple nickel, before the race after he lost his battle with cancer.

Rodney Howell was smiling down from above as Josh put on a clinic leading the feature wire to wire for the checkered flag.

The rest of the field was battling for second place, which went to Dillon Ussery. Rounding out the top five were Dustin Boothe, Henry Bailey, and Kurt Horne.

Thomas Owens won the stinger feature, but it was not as easy as he would have liked it.

Owens needed some help after starting inside the fifth row. On lap 15 Owens had worked his way to second but was way behind the leader Charlie Simmons.

Suddenly Simmons car lost power and Owens took the lead and never looked back.

Rounding out the top five were Brandin Sidner, Jessie Savage, Brett Pack, and Josh Douglas.

In the vintage feature Kraig Crossley picked up where he left off last season as he won after leading wire to wire.

Crossley dominated while Tommy Gilmore finished second. Rounding out the top five were JD Fuqua, Caden White, and Jeremy Fuqua.

On March 21, racing will return to Southern Raceway as they will decide who is King of the Dirt along with other classes.

For more information on Southern Raceway, go to or check out the track on its Facebook page.

Heat Races

600cc Winged Micro Sprints Hoosier Dash for Cash – 1. Mike Hall, 2. Jim Kradel, 3. Bobby Zaiontz, and 4. Jim McNulty.

360 Outlaw Sprint Cars Hoosier Dash for Cash – 1. Tony Stewart, 2. Mark Smith, 3. Dale Howard, 4. Terry Gray, 5. Connor Leoffler, and 6. Danny Martin Jr.

600cc Winged Micro Sprint Heat 1 – Kyle Amerson, 2. Mike Hall, 3. Micha McCall, 4. Seth Gransbury, and 5. Jim Kradel.

360 Outlaw Sprint Cars Heat 1 – 1. Dale Howard, 2. Mark Smith, 3. Conner Leoffler, 4. Jake Knight, and 5. Greg Wilson.

360 Outlaw Sprint Cars Heat 2 – 1. Kyle Amerson, 2. Danny Martin Jr., 3. Jim Shuster, 4. Max Stambaugh, and 5. Shane Morgan.

360 Outlaw Sprint Cars Heat 3 – 1. Danny Smith, 2. Tony Stewart, 3. Ronny Howard, 4. Terry Gray, and 5. Morgan Turpin.

604 Crate Late Model Qualifying Top 10 – 1. Johnathon Joiner, 2. Cole Cameron, 3. Cody Smith, 4. Bo Slay, 5. Kyle Bryant, 6. Scott Ladner, 7. James Gilmore, 8. Tim Anderson, 9. Pace Cameron, and 10. Chris O’Connor.

Pure Stock Heat 1 – 1. Josh Howell, 2. Dillon Ussery, 3. Henry Bailey, 4. Dustin Booth, and 5. Josh Mathis.

Pure Stock Heat 2 – 1. Kurt Horne, 2. Link Powell, 3. Gary Lippincott, 4. Owen Barnhill, and 5. Joseph Richbourg.

Vintage Heat 1 – 1. JD Fuqua, 2. Caden White, 3. Don Hall, and 4. Victoria Shaw.

Vintage Heat 2 – 1. Kraig Crossley, 2. Tommy Gilmore, 3. Jeremy Fuqua, and 4. Robin Christensen.

Stinger Heat 1 – 1. Jessie Savage, 2. Seam Guntner, 3. Dee Alford, 4. Tyler Cofield, and 5. Jason Philyaw.

Stinger Heat 2 – 1. Charlie Simmons, 2. Bobby Suarez, 3. TJ Hennis, 4. Brandin Sidner, and 5. Steven Hill.

Stinger Heat 3 – 1. Sean McGuirk, 2. Tony Southard, 3. Thomas Owens, 4. Josh Douglas, and 5. Brett Pack.