Horton Takes Round 5 of the Southern Nationals at Rome

Austin Horton poses with family at Rome after his win. (Trevor Gonzales Photo)

July 21, 2019 at Rome Speedway ($5,300 to win)

Austin Horton’s favorite track is Rome Speedway, why? Probably because he wins there. The Newnan, Georgia driver won his second career Schaffer’s Oil Southern Nationals event at Rome Speedway for the second consecutive year, this time in dominant fashion leading all 53 laps en route to another $5,300 payday. Horton also won the most recent race at Rome before that, a $3,000 to win unsanctioned event back on June 30th.

There would be 23 late models signed in as the top four qualifiers in each group would be locked into the feature. Horton would set fast time in Group A with a 14.859 second lap around “The World’s Fastest Half Mike Clay Banked Track”. Following Horton would be former track champion Jason Croft, Brandon Overton, and Cla Knight.

Donald McIntosh would set the overall fast time as he was fastest in Group B with a lap of 14.737 seconds. Also locking themselves into the feature based off of time trials would be Michael Page, Zach Leonhardi, and Will Roland.

Tyler Millwood would win Heat Race One over Matt Dooley, Tyler Clem, Tanner English, Joey Armistead, and Ahnna Parkhurst. Hometown driver Jake Knowles would win Heat Two over Austin Smith, Mark Page, Aaron Ridley, Cody King, and Craig Greer.

Bo Eaton and Buster Goss would take the provisionals to compete the 22 car starting field as Kingston, Georgia driver Granger Howell would be a scratch after qualifying.

The green flag would wave and the first yellow would follow as Tyler Clem and Bo Eaton spun out in Turn 4 to bring out the caution on the opening lap. After the complete restart, Horton would lead Lap 1 over McIntosh, Croft, Page, and Overton. Horton would lead the first 16 circuits easily as he would eventually encounter a wad of lapped traffic that would allow McIntosh to catch the back bumper of Horton. However by Lap 20, Horton would get around the traffic and begin to pull away. Page would get around Croft as we on the same lap. The second caution of the race would fly on Lap 20 as Bo Eaton would spin his mount in Turn 2.

When the green came back out, Page passed McIntosh on the outside for second and would then try to get around Horton for the lead on the outside. Overton would also pass Croft for fourth and Jake Knowles would pass Leonhardi for sixth as the outside lane got a good jump on the restart. On Lap 24, Page would drive in a little too deep battling for the lead with Horton as Page would wash up the track in Turn 4 and lose a ton of momentum yet he would still hold down the second spot. Two laps later on Lap 26, Overton would get around McIntosh for third. Croft would take fourth from McIntosh one lap later at the halfway mark as Horton lead over Page and Overton. There would be no drama filled race like last year in 2018 when Horton would go from fourth to the lead in one lap as he would continue to lead on the long green flag run. Croft would get around Overton for third on Lap 34 as that was the lone pass inside the top five for the rest of the race. Horton would beat out Page and Croft to the line by almost a straightaway as he would capture his second career Southern Nationals Series victory in his Wood Motorsports Rocket Chassis XR1. Page and Croft would take the podium finishes with series regulars Overton, McIntosh, and Knowles finishing fourth, fifth, and sixth.

Feature Finish:

1.16 Austin Horton- Newnan, GA

2.18x Michael Page- Douglasville, GA

3.9 Jason Croft- Woodstock, GA

4.2 Brandon Overton- Evans, GA

5.7m Donald McIntosh- Dawsonville, GA

6.66 Jake Knowles- Rome, GA

7.24 Zach Leonhardi- Cartersville, GA

8.22 Will Roland- Jasper, GA

9.42 Cla Knight- North Augusta, SC

10.84 Austin Smith- Rome, GA

11.58 Tanner English- Benton, KY

12.18 Matt Dooley- Fayetteville, GA

13.23 Ahnna Parkhurst- Evans, GA

14.62 Cody King- McDonough, GA

15.58T Tyler Clem- Ocala, FL

16.81 Aaron Ridley- Chatsworth, GA

17.31 Tyler Millwood- Kingston, GA

18.3x Bo Eaton- Blue Ridge, GA

19.7G Craig Greer- Cleveland, TN

20.24 Buster Goss- Rome, GA

21.9A Joey Armistead- Senoia, GA

22.5 Mark Page- Villa Rica, GA

The next Southern Nationals Series event will be Tuesday, July 23rd at Tri-County Race Track I’m Brasstown, North Carolina for Round 6 of the series paying $3,500 to win.