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Hedgecock Earns Sweetheart Victory

Hedgecock Earns Sweetheart Victory

Cory Hedgecock Earns Sweetheart Victory

SEYMOUR, Tenn. (Feb. 18) — Making a move underneath Hayden Cardwell on the 31st circuit after a side-by-side battle between the pair during an afternoon event at 411 Motor Speedway, Loudon, Tenn., driver Cory Hedgecock secured a $3,023 victory in the annual Sweetheart event at the 4/10-mile oval.

The 40-lap race served as the season finale for the Crate Racin’ USA Winter Shootout Series, and was added to the miniseries schedule after the prestigious Hangover, slated Jan. 1 at the facility, was canceled by inclement weather. The Hangover was scheduled to be part of the Winter Shootout Series for the first time.

Hedgecock and Cardwell started from the front row, and Cardwell raced into the top spot after the pair battled door to door for the opening circuits. He paced the first 30 circuits, while Jason Welshan squirted toward the front from ninth-starting spot in his Savage Chassis entry, and emerged with a solid grip on third place. Welshan, who was last year's Newsome/Raceway Parts Network Crate Racin' USA Dirt Late Model Series champion, entered the event trailing Hedgecock in the chase for the $2,500 miniseries championship, and the duo squared off in the finale for the title.

Cardwell consistently ran a high line at the racy track, while Hedgecock kept his BMF Race Cars machine mostly on the low side in pursuit of the early race leader. One opportunity was all it took for Hedgecock to steal away with the lead. Trapped by lapped cars momentarily between turns three and four, Cardwell could only watch as Hedgecock sailed past him on the high side, taking a lead he never relinquished.

“He rolled through lapped traffic better than me for most of the race,” Hedgecock said. “Then he chose wrong just one time in one corner while we were in lapped traffic, and fortunately I was able to make a move and get the lead. It’s always nice to win at home, but I probably get more nervous racing here than anywhere else. We’ve raced here so much that it seems we can have a bad night and still manage a good finish, but people expect us to win here and I end up putting more pressure on myself.”

The victory earned Hedgecock the championship by a 34-point margin after the miniseries criss-crossed the region from Talladega Short Track in Talladega, Ala., to Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Fla., to East Bay Raceway Park in Gibsonton, Fla., and finally landed in upper East Tennessee for its finale at the Mitch and Tanya McCarter-owned 411 Motor Speedway.

Hedgecock led Cardwell to the stripe, while Welshan settled for a distant third over Mack McCarter and Rusty Ballenger.

Sweetheart 40: 1. Cory Hedgecock, 2. Hayden Cardwell, 3. Jason Welshan, 4. Mack McCarter, 5. Rusty Ballenger, 6. Heath Alvey, 7. Chip Brindle, 8. Tucker Anderson, 9. Brandon Miller, 10. Mario Gresham, 11. Bradley Lewelling, 12. Mitchell Stanley, 13. Addison Cardwell, 14. Bailey Cardwell, 15. Brian Smith, 16. Rye Faulk, 17. Tyler Price, 18. Brodie Sharp, 19. Daniel Dial, 20. Keaton Smith, 21. Joe Mike, 22. Matthew Smith, 23. Kyle Courtney, 24. Jake Knowles.

Entries: 38
Fast qualifier: Cory Hedgecock, 14.476 seconds.
Lap leaders: Hayden Cardwell, 1-30; Cory Hedgecock, 31-40.
Cautions: 1
KRC B-main winners: Brodie Sharp, Rusty Ballenger

Crate Racin’ USA Winter Shootout Series (final points): 1. Cory Hedgecock, 570; 2. Jason Welshan, 536; 3. Jake Knowles, 414; 4. Joshua Bishop, 406; 5. Mack McCarter, 386; 6. Hayden Cardwell, 376; 7. (tie) Randy Weaver and Mario Gresham, 360; 9. Brian Smith, 336; 10. Trevor Collins, 332.

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