In the biggest event of his pro late model career, Dennis “Rambo” Franklin scored a FASTRAK World Championship victory at the “Pinnacle Dirt Racing Weekend 2013,” part of FASTRAK’s “Decade of Speed Tour” at the 3/8 mile Beckley Motorsports Park in Prosperity, West Virginia. The veteran racer took home $17,000 in the process.
The World Championships 75 race recap is follows:
Brandon Umberger (#44) started on pole before jumping ahead to the front during the first 14 circuits. The first yellow flag flew when World Challenge champ Rick Williams (#12) was making his way to the front of the pack battling for the top spot with Brandon Umberger, Dennis Franklin and Max Blair.
Williams made contact with the outside wall and had to retire to pit road. Then again problems surfaced as Umberger, Franklin and Meadows fought it out for the lead. David Smith, two-time and defending SE Champion, would bounce off the wall on turn 2 during lap 19 damaging his rear spoiler.
The “Big One” of the race took place during lap 33 when Eddie Hambrick and Dale Timms were door to door battling it out when contact was made resulting in a fishtail sending both cars sideways and careening out of control. Hambrick took a beating against the outside wall and drivers Max Blair and David Smith had nowhere else to go on the track during the crash.
On the restart, Barry Wright of Umberger was fighting for second when he was spun around in turn 1 while battling Meadows and Franklin for the lead. That’s when the second yellow flag was thrown while he lost a rear tire along the backstretch causing him early retirement from the race, or so we thought.
A few more yellows were thrown involving Caleb Lester, Tate Hughes and Max Blair (last year’s World Champion). Everyone was still trying to run down Chris Meadows (#33) and on lap 43 on the Hughes caution Umberger returned to the track to restart in the rear of the pack.
The next seven laps past halfway and Chris Meadows was still in the lead fending off Franklin, Cooper as well as some hard chargers shooting to the front of TNT Chassis’ Jensen Ford (#83) who started 18th and also in front of 22nc starter Wayne Robertson (#20).
Here’s when things started getting crazy. Meadows then attempted to close up the back marker where Umberger drifted up in front of him on the front stretch. While coming down the back stretch, Umberger hooked Meadows left rear quarter panel at full throttle sending both cars careening hard into the outside wall taking both out of the race indefinitely. A red flag was thrown while the track was cleaned up and the decision was made for Umberger to exit the track immediately.
Dennis Franklin continued the race as the new leader and was fending off Jensen Ford and Wayne Robertson who were hot on his tail. Lee Cooper in his Barry Wright was close behind looking for an upset. Andrew Saterlee (#2), Marion Center, PA, Speedway FASTRCK Weekly Late Model Champion, was ready to jump ahead and make something happen. Franklin was still leading with a few more cautions involving Caleb Lester (#98) and Tyler Cox (#68). Kyle Thomas (#32) hit the wall and stalled in turn 1. With two laps left, the shootout continued between Ford, Robertson, Cooper and Blair all tried to run down “Rambo” but just couldn’t overtake him. Team AES Racing Barry Write as Gaffney, South Carolina’s Dennis Franklin took home a healthy $17,000 for his World Championship win at Beckley, West Virginia.
Race Results - Dennis Franklin, Jensen Ford, Wayne Robertson, Lee Cooper, Andrew Satterlee, Max Blair, Corey Gordon, Tim Dohm, Jonathan Davenport, Chad Wright, Aaron Barley, Ryan Atkins, Tate Hughes, David Smith, Taylor Hicks, Caleb Lester, Colby Cannon, Kyle Thomas, Tyler Cox, Chris Meadows, HotRod Lamance, Rick Williams, Dale Timms, Eddie Hambrick.