RWI Speedblog: World Crown 300 Action From Gresham

Gresham Motorsports Park in Jefferson, GA is the site of tonight’s Commerce Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram World Crown 300 to crown the “King of the Short Tracks”. Photo by Brandon Reed

We’re here at Gresham Motorsports Park in Jefferson, GA for the 29th annual World Crown 300, where tonight we’ll see who will wear the crown and earn the title of “King of the Short Tracks”.

Check back often for live updates.

10:25 p.m. — That will do it for our live coverage of the World Crown 300. Stay tuned to Raceweek Illustrated for complete coverage and any updates from post-race inspection.

10:20 p.m. — Elliott on the win:

“We just had a really good car tonight. Everyone has been working really hard on these cars this year, and I feel like our cars get better and better.”

“The caution worked out (in the second segment) and we were able to get tires. That really worked out for us.”

What will he do with the money? “We’re going to put it back in these race cars and see if we can make them even faster.”

Pollard on his run:

“We didn’t have a second place car tonight, but we caught a few breaks. I don’t like running second, but I’ll run second to (Elliott). He’s a good little racecar driver.”

Ragan:

“I think we worked as hard as anyone tonight. I was glad to bring it home here with a top-three finish.”

CHECKERED FLAG — Elliott wins. He earns all $20,000 tonight. Pollard is second, followed by Ragan, Theriault and Gale.

Lap 297 — Theriault has moved away from Gale, while Elliott has left the rest of the field behind. He’s about to close this out and sweep the World Crown 300.

Lap 292 — Gale moves to fourth and he’s looking for more. Theriault is in his sights.

Lap 289 — Elliott jumps to the lead and clears Pollard by a few car lengths.

RESTART Lap 289 — 12 laps to go — Top 5: Elliott – Pollard – Ragan – Mitchell – Theriault

10:08 p.m. — CAUTION FLAG — 8-minute red flag. There are eight cars still running. 28 cars started.

10:05 p.m. — Interesting. During the last caution, the radio broadcast talked to Pollard and asked if he had a chance to win this thing.

“Negative,” Pollard said.

Of course, he was sixth then. He may have a different opinion now that he’s second.

10:03 p.m. — A very hot day has given way to a pleasant evening, and race fans have packed the trackside parking and grandstands. They’re about to see a heck of a show — Pollard and Elliott will restart on the front row.

10 p.m. — RED FLAG — All the drivers are OK, but debris and fluids litter turn 2 right now.

CAUTION Lap 288 — Kelley and Benjamin tangle and spin in turn 2. Gale spins to miss them, but Alexander has nowhere to go. He plows into the front end of Benjamin.

Lap 287 — Elliott gets the break and drives away from Benjamin. Pollard loses third to Kelley.

RESTART Lap 287 — Top 5: Elliott – Benjamin – Pollard – Kelley – Gale

CAUTION Lap 286 — Debris.

Lap 281 — Pollard looks under Kelley for third. Give him the spot off turn 2.

Lap 276 — 25 laps to go — Elliott has opened up a 1.5-second lead.

Lap 271 — Pollard works his way under Gale and takes the fourth position.

Lap 267 — Kelley jumps past Gale on the restart.

RESTART Lap 267 — Top 5: Elliott – Benjamin – Gale – Kelley – Pollard

Lap 266 — Theriault pits for tires.

CAUTION Lap 266 — Blaney cuts a tire and spins off turn 2.

Lap 264 — Kelley ducks back under Pollard and takes fifth away.

Lap 263 — Pollard uses a fading Theriault as a pick and jumps from seventh to fifth.

Lap 260 — Move Gale to fourth past Theriault.

Lap 259 — Pollard and Kelley battle for sixth behind Gale. Give the spot to Kelley for now.

Lap 255 — Elliott to the lead. He moves under Blaney in turn 2.

Lap 253 — Elliott takes care of Theriault for second. Blaney leads, but he doesn’t have new tires.

RESTART Lap 251 — 50 laps to go — $10,000 to win. Top 5: Theriault – Blaney – Elliott – Benjamin – Gale

9:35 p.m. — Pit road opens and the leaders — sans Blaney — pit for tires and fuel. Elliott wins the race off pit road.

9:32 p.m. — Kelley pits for four tires. So do Pollard and Ragan. But pit road is still closed.

9:30 p.m. — There will not be an invert, and the top 12 cars will transfer into the 50-lap final segment. These final pit stops will also be live.

SECOND SEGMENT FINISH — Elliott cruises to another win and another $6,000. He’s made $10,000 so far tonight.

Lap 240 — Theriault grabs second from Benjamin. Kelley follows through and takes third. Benjamin was one of the few who did not take tires during the last caution.

Lap 236 — Elliott has checked out with the lead, which has grown to 3 seconds over Benjamin and Theriault.

Lap 231 — Blaney is now seventh, 4.5 seconds behind Elliott. He has to be seeing nuts and bolts right now.

Lap 226 — Elliott rockets to the front. He was one of the six cars that were ready for the previous restart.

RESTART Lap 225 — 26 laps until the final break — Top 5: Benjamin – Pollard – Ragan – Elliott – Mitchell

The field goes green while several cars had not caught up, including Blaney.

Lap 224 — Elliott, Blaney, Theriault, Kenseth, Gale, Mitchell and others pit for tires. Benjamin, Pollard and Ragan stay out.

CAUTION Lap 224 — Debris in turn 1.

Lap 223 — Pollard moves past Ragan to take sixth.

Lap 220 — When this race restarted 70 laps ago, Tifft had the lead. Now, he’s a lap down in 10th.

Lap 214 — With just 36 laps left in the second segment, Blaney is within striking distance of Benjamin for the lead. Elliott is closing on both of them, but he still needs to make up 2 seconds.

Lap 210 — Elliott uses a lap car as a pick and moves to third past Kelley.

Lap 188–Elliott around Ragan for fourth.

Lap 186 — Kelley works on Ragan, makes the pass off turn two for third.

Lap 180 — Elliott looks under Tifft in turn 3. Give him fifth off turn 4.

Lap 176 — Kelley jumps up on the high line and rolls past Tifft for fourth.

Lap 174 — The top six cars have spread out. Benjamin – Blaney – Ragan – Tifft – Kelley – Elliott

Lap 168 — Elliott has gone to the whip. He’s up to sixth, disposing of Pollard and Mitchell.

Lap 162 — Ragan slides up the track in turn 3 and Blaney pounces. Give him the second position.

Lap 160 — Elliott is still 10th, mired back in traffic. Kelley has charged back to sixth.

Lap 156 — After Benjamin takes the lead from Tifft, Ragan takes second from him.

Lap 154 — Ragan has moved to third, Blaney to fourth.

RESTART Lap 151 — Tifft jumps to the lead after Boswell pits.

8:50 p.m. — Your new lineup:

  1. Mason Mitchell
  2. Brady Boswell
  3. Matt Tifft
  4. Jimmy Henderson
  5. Donnie Wilson
  6. Kyle Benjamin
  7. Clay Alexander
  8. David Ragan
  9. Cale Gale
  10. Ryan Blaney
  11. Bubba Pollard
  12. Austin Theriault
  13. Paul Kelley
  14. Chase Elliott

8:47 p.m. — All of the lead lap cars (all 14 of them) will be inverted. That puts Mitchell on the point.

8:45 p.m. — Kelley is out of gas on the frontstretch, but he should be able to get his spot back. Meanwhile, the rest of the field pits for tires and fuel.

FIRST SEGMENT FINISH — Elliott wins the first segment and bags $4,000.

RESTART Lap 148 — Elliott jumps to the lead over Kelley.

CAUTION Lap 147 — Smith blows an engine on the restart.

RESTART Lap 146 — 5 laps to go in this segment — Top 5: Elliott – Smith – Blaney – Kelley – Pollard

CAUTION Lap 146 — Caution is for Kenseth’s stopped car on pit road.

Lap 144 — Kenseth slows on the track. He’s out of gas.

Lap 137 — By the way, Garvey is now 2 laps down after serving his black flag penalty.

Lap 135 — Ruston pits with engine issues.

Lap 131 — But Elliott wears Smith out and takes the lead off turn 4.

Lap 127 — Elliott pulls below Smith, but Smith won’t roll over. He holds the lead off turn 4.

Lap 119 — Elliott snatches second from Blaney. He’s 0.8 seconds behind Smith.

Lap 118 — Elliott is back to fourth — make that third.

Lap 115 — Smith ducks under Kelley to take the lead. Blaney follows through for second.

Lap 111 — Garvey jumps the restart. He’s getting the BLACK FLAG. He’ll have to pit.

RESTART Lap 111 — Top 5: Garvey – Kelley – Benjamin – Smith – Kenseth

Lap 110 — Jones is out of his car. He’s OK. His car, however, is missing its entire right side.

CAUTION Lap 110 — Mitchell spins in turn 3. Jones bounces off another car and piles into the outside wall. His car almost flips from the impact.

RESTART Lap 109 — Benjamin and Garvey are now on the front row. Elliott and the others restart around 12th. Garvey goes to the lead with Kelley in tow.

Lap 109 — Elliott, Smith, Jones and Pollard all pit for four tires and fuel. Elliott wins the race off pit road.

CAUTION Lap 109 — Henderson spins down the frontstretch and throws up a blanket of tire smoke right in front of the leaders. He keeps his car off the wall, and everyone — somehow — misses him. Wow.

Lap 109 – -Smith has closed the gap on Elliott. The lead is only a few car lengths.

Lap 100 — Elliott leads Smith by about a second. There are still 21 cars on the track and 16 on the lead lap.

Lap 94 — Taking a page from Garvey’s playbook, Theriault uses the same move in turn 1 and grabs the fourth position. But Benjamin rallies back on the outside and takes the spot back. Kelley has joined the fight.

Lap 90 — Garvey gets under Benjamin in turn 1. He takes third off turn 2.

Lap 86 — Wilson’s time in the top 10 is short-lived, however. He overcooks turn 3 and gives the position back to Blaney, not to mention 11th to Ragan.

Lap 82 — Now back on the lead lap, Wilson is knocking on Blaney’s door for 10th. Wilson muscles Blaney up the track in turn 3 and takes the position.

Lap 76 — Smith makes a power move on the outside and grabs third from Garvey. Heck, he takes second from Benjamin and he’s looking for more.

RESTART Lap 76 — Elliott – Benjamin – Garvey – Smith – Jones

Lap 76 — Wilson gets the free pass back onto the lead lap. Kelley is up to sixth.

CAUTION Lap 76 — Ragan, Boswell and Benefield tangle off turn 4 and spin. No one hits the wall, but all have some minor body damage.

Lap 75 — Blaney and Ruston can’t get away from each other, and they’re losing spots because of it. They now run 7th and 8th.

Lap 69 — The outside line moves on the restart and Garvey jumps to third. He brings Smith to fourth.

RESTART Lap 69 — Top 5: Elliott – Benjamin – Ruston – Garvey – Blaney

Lap 69 — Smith, Ragan and Theriault are the only lead lap cars to pit.

CAUTION Lap 69 — Odell spins off turn 2 and backs into the wall. Everyone else misses him.

Lap 60 — Garvey and Blaney have caught up to Ruston. The battle for third is heating up.

Lap 51 — Several contenders are in danger of being lapped by Elliott. Kenseth, Gale and Mitchell are all in the cross hairs. Only 18 cars are still on the lead lap.

Lap 47 — Ragan has fallen to eighth.

Lap 40 — After starting shotgun on the field, Kelley is up to 14th.

Lap 34 — Ragan has dropped anchor. He’s lost third to Ruston, fourth to Garvey and fifth to Blaney.

Lap 28 — Benjamin finally takes second from Ragan in turn 3.

Lap 22 — Ragan has lost touch with Elliott and now has a mirror full of Benjamin. The battle for second is on.

Lap 18 — Gresham is off the pace. He’ll head to the pits. Meanwhile, Pollard has moved up to eighth.

RESTART Lap 12 — Top 5: Elliott – Ragan – Benjamin – Ruston – Garvey

Nasse is still on pit road.

Lap 12 — Grindle is walking through the pits. He’s fine. Nasse’s car is now on jackstands, while Reaid is back on pit road as well.

Lap 12 — Reaid is back on the track, one lap down. Meanwhile, Nasse has made it to pit road, and the hood is coming off.

Lap 12 — Still under caution, Nasse has stopped on the backstretch.

Lap 12 — Grindle appears to be OK, but his car is destroyed.

CAUTION Lap 12 — Grindle pounds the wall in turn 2.

Lap 12 — Trouble for Reaid. He’s off the pace and heading to the pits.

Lap 9 — The battle is on for third. Nasse has it; Ragan wants it. Give it to Ragan in turn 2.

Lap 3 — Move Reaid to second past Nasse.

Lap 1 — Elliott jumps to the lead with Nasse in tow.

7:15 p.m. — GREEN FLAG.

7:12 p.m. — The first segment is 150 laps. Only green flag laps will count.

7:10 p.m. — The engines roar to life here at Gresham Motorsports Park. The 29th annual World Crown 300 is next.

7:05 p.m. — Spencer Davis’ car has been pulled off the grid. His crew is working on it.

7 p.m. — We’re about ready for the command. There is $20,000 on the line. Remember, this race is broken into three segments.

6:45 p.m. — The starting field for the World Crown 300 is lining up on the frontstretch for driver introductions. Here’s your starting lineup:

  1. Chase Elliott
  2. Stephen Nasse
  3. TJ Reaid
  4. Clay Alexander
  5. David Ragan
  6. Kenzie Ruston
  7. Kyle Benjamin
  8. Erik Jones
  9. Matt Tifft
  10. Ryan Blaney
  11. Mason Mitchell
  12. Mike Garvey
  13. Bubba Pollard
  14. Spencer Davis
  15. David Odell
  16. Austin Theriault
  17. Casey Smith
  18. Johnny Henderson
  19. Max Gresham
  20. Brady Boswell
  21. Donnie Wilson
  22. Dalton Grindle
  23. Rodney Benefield
  24. Brandon Jones
  25. Allen Karnes
  26. Ross Kenseth
  27. Paul Kelley
  28. Cale Gale

We’ll step away for just a moment.

6:35 p.m. — Fleeman, who lost his father two months ago, on the win:

“This one’s for him.”

On his three-wide move to make the winning pass:

“I heard my spotter say we were three-wide, and I knew I had to bury it down in the corner. And it worked.”

CHECKERED FLAG — Fleeman takes the win, his first in two years. Bates finishes second, with Wragg, Murphy and Davidson rounding out the top five.

Lap 32 — Fleeman is just clicking off the laps. He leads by more than 3 seconds now.

Lap 21 — Bates has pulled away from Wragg, but Fleeman has left them both behind. His lead is up to 2 seconds and growing.

Lap 16 — Wragg is running down Bates while Fleeman continues to run away. He has a 1.6-second lead.

Lap 11 — Wragg has moved back to third past Davidson, who seems to be battling an ill-handling car.

Lap 8 — Bates marches past Davidson to take second in turn 1.

RESTART Lap 6 — As Murphy rejoins the field, Fleeman and Davidson split Bates on the restart and move to first and second.

Lap 5 — Murphy pits under the caution. The hood is off of his car.

CAUTION Lap 5 — Trey White is off the pace and takes his car to the pits.

Lap 4 — Fleeman looks under Davidson in turn 3. Move Fleeman to second off turn 4.

Lap 1 — Bates grabs the lead and Davidson moves to second.

6:20 p.m. — Nine outlaw late models will take the green flag. Your lineup:

  1. Matthew Wragg
  2. Jason Bates
  3. Russell Fleeman
  4. Mike Davidson
  5. David Murphy
  6. Terry Martin
  7. Trey White
  8. Michael Silvey
  9. BJ Fisher

6:10 p.m. — The outlaw late model feature is next, followed by the World Crown 300.

CHECKERED FLAG — Haskins cruises to the win. Wall is second, followed by Gaddis, Compton and Calvert.

Lap 29 — Haskins may have been holding back. His truck has come to life and he is putting some distance on Wall.

Lap 27 — Compton moves to third on the restart.

RESTART Lap 27 — Top 5: Haskins (will start on the outside) – Wall – Gaddis – Riley – Compton

Lap 27 — This is the break Wall needed. He has been consistently faster than Haskins during the last 15 laps.

CAUTION Lap 27 — Joel Townsend loses an engine off turn 4. There is some oil on the track.

Lap 27 — Wall ducks under Compton in turn 3 and takes second.

Lap 24 — Wall takes third from Gaddis on the high side off turn 2.

Lap 17 — The top 5 have stabilized. Haskins is still in control.

Lap 12 — Wall has moved back to fifth and is looking for fourth from Riley. Give him the position off turn 4.

Lap 8 — Haskins breaks with the lead, but Compton is in his tire tracks. Gaddis is keeping touch, too.

RESTART Lap 7 — Top 5: Haskins – Compton – Andy Gaddis – Joel Townsend – Riley

Lap 7 — Calvert clipped Wallace as the two were spinning. Wallace has a tire rub and some damage to the deck lid. Wall also has some damage.

CAUTION Lap 7 — Wallace spins under Haskins as the two battle for the lead. Riley and Calvert spin to avoid her off turn 2.

RESTART Lap 6 — Top 5: Wallace – Haskins – Wall – Aaron Calvert – Emilee Riley

CAUTION Lap 6 — Wall gets into Compton in turn 3. Compton spins up the track but keeps his truck off the wall.

Lap 1 — Wallace jumps to the lead while Haskins follows her in second.

5:48 p.m. — Your truck starting lineup (top 5):

  1. Kristen Wallace
  2. Conrad Compton
  3. Cody Haskins
  4. Kevin Vasser
  5. Jim Wall

5:45 p.m. — The trucks are the first feature on the schedule. Twelve of them will go for 35 laps (or 30 minutes).

5:40 p.m. — Kenseth, Gale and Kelley will start from the rear of the World Crown 300 field for making adjustments after the impound.

5:35 p.m. — Please excuse this editorial comment: A 17-year-old just played the National Anthem on the fiddle. It was the best Anthem I think I’ve ever heard.

5:30 p.m. — Opening ceremonies are underway.

5:20 p.m. — The World Crown 300 is not the only race on the schedule this evening. Gresham’s truck and outlaw late model divisions will race their features before the main event.

5:10 p.m. — Chase Elliott is on the pole for the World Crown 300. Your top 10:

  1. Chase Elliott
  2. Stephen Nasse
  3. TJ Reaid
  4. Clay Alexander
  5. David Ragan
  6. Kenzie Ruston
  7. Kyle Benjamin
  8. Paul Kelley
  9. Erik Jones
  10. Matt Tifft

28 cars are in the field.

4:57 p.m. — Qualifying is underway. See below for times:

Allen Karnes has stalled again on the track after taking the green flag.

Rodney Benefield — 17.242

Dalton Grindle — 17.121

Kyle Benjamin — 16.737

Spencer Davis — 16.941

Johnny Henderson — 17.027

Paul Kelley — 16.757

TJ Reaid — 16.663

Max Gresham — 17.036

Kenzie Ruston — 16.711

Stephen Nasse — 16.644

Brandon Jones — 17.289

Donnie Wilson — 17.049

Cale Gale — 16.874

David Ragan — 16.704

Chase Elliott — 16.609

Brady Boswell — 17.048

Allen Karnes has stalled on the track. He won’t take the green.

Erik Jones — 16.779

Ryan Blaney — 16.849

Clay Alexander — 16.703

Mike Garvey — 16.910

David Odell — 16.945

Bubba Pollard — 16.927

Casey Smith — 16.960

Matt Tifft — 16.849

Austin Theriault — 16.950

Mason Mitchell — 16.866

Ross Kenseth — 16.951 seconds

4:45 p.m. — Each car will get two laps to qualify. The fastest lap will count.

4:40 p.m. — The other worry is rain. There is a threat of scattered thunderstorms this afternoon, but the storms have missed the track so far.

4:35 p.m. — Of course, this race is usually held at the end of the season in November. Gresham Motorsports Park General Manager Dan Elliott said several fans called for the race date to move — it gets pretty cold here in November. Today, it may be a bit too hot. The temperature right now is 98.

4:30 p.m. — Qualifying is only 15 minutes away. A total of 23 cars have practiced today, and Kenzie Ruston is the fastest of them all.

 

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