Thrash Rallies To Challenge Series Win



Special to The Dispatch 


Chad Thrash could have driven his 1C Super Late Model car even faster Saturday. 


But he didn't need to, even as Spencer Hughes battled him from the top-side for the final 10 laps of the Mississippi State Championship Challenge Series race at Magnolia Motor Speedway. 


Thrash started eighth and first passed Hughes for the lead on lap 18, holding him off through lap-traffic for his first State Series win of the year. Thrash, who finished second in the State Series race last week at Whynot, has three podium finishes through four series races this year. 


"The car was phenomenal after we made a couple of changes after the heat race," Thrash said. "I was actually driving it slower than it needed to go - it could have gone a lot faster." 


Thrash stayed on the bottom of the track and quickly moved through the field, passing national racers Billy Moyer, Jr. and Tyler Erb - who has won two of four State Series races this year - before picking off Hughes. 


"Right there about lap 10, I felt [the bottom] latching up, so I knew that would be the place for me," Thrash said. "Luckily, [other drivers] didn't do it. I just stayed down there and was able to pick them off." 


Hughes finished second after starting on the pole. He has another runner-up and an eighth-place finish to his credit in his first season with Henderson Motorsports. Hughes said that, though he ran the top for much of the race, it wasn't as consistent of a line as he needed it to be. 


"It kept going away a little bit," Hughes said. "I never really ran the cushion ... I was just up there scraping. There toward the end of the race, I was better than Chad through (turns) 3 and 4, but he could get me pretty good on Turn 2. 


"It's nothing to complain about - it's our third race as a team, so we're definitely getting a lot better." 


Hughes looked to have made the move of the race on lap 30 when lap traffic bogged down the race leaders. Hughes shot through the middle in turns 1 and 2, splitting Thrash and lap-car Shelby Sheedy to take the lead. 


Hughes said he didn't second-guess the move at the moment, in part because he knew he could, "make it clean." 


Thrash said he knew Hughes would pull it off by "the way he drove in there so hard." 


"It was streaking rubber on the bottom, so I wasn't going to move," Thrash said. "[Sheedy] finally slipped up and let me get up beside him, and I knew, once I cleared him, if Spencer didn't come to the bottom, it was pretty much over with." 


Rick Rickman finished third and briefly held down second place. Rickman, who started seventh, said he feels good about his race program but hopes to improve qualifying numbers to turn a recent string of top 5s into wins.  


"I'm having to race my way up too much," said Rickman, who won the first Super Late Model race of the season at Magnolia. "We can be a lot better." 


Moyer finished fourth, while Neil Baggett took fifth. 

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