Sports

July 26, 2013

Dirt doesn’t bother Ridley

Chatsworth driver wins in front of home crowd at Nationals

In a race with drivers from as far away as California, a local racer was ahead of the pack Tuesday at North Georgia Speedway.

Chatsworth’s Aaron Ridley grabbed the checkered flag in the Schaeffer Oil Southern Nationals Series race, which included 22 drivers speeding around the oval dirt track in Super Late Model cars.

Ridley competes regularly in the speedway’s Saturday night points series, and makes an annual entrance whenever the track hosts the traveling series, which holds 10 races through July in Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and Virginia. The series started coming to Chatsworth in 2011, and Ridley is the first local to make the most of a home-track advantage.

“I wouldn’t say dominated, but we were pretty good,” Ridley said. “It felt good for the win, because a lot of our sponsors are from the area. It feels good to win close to home because people can watch it. When we go off and race elsewhere, a lot of people miss it.”

Jason Jones, the North Georgia Speedway promoter, said a local driver bringing home the win in a travel series was fun to watch.

“When you face up against professional drivers — and I consider Aaron a professional driver — it’s a big accomplishment,” Jones said. “He really accomplished something the other night.”

The hometown winner started on the front row and grabbed an early lead, holding on for all 35 laps. Billy Ogle Jr., of Knoxville, Tenn., won the pole position but finished second. Eric Jacobson, of Santa Cruz, Calif., finished third. Chris Madden, of Gray Court, S.C., and William Thomas, of Phenix City, Ala., rounded out the top five.

The win propelled Ridley to 202 points in the series and 27th place, although he didn’t run in any of the previous five races and doesn’t plan to race in future events. The only other local racer to finish in the top 10 was Chip Brindle in ninth. Gary McPhearson, also of Chatsworth, has the highest ranking of local drivers in the series standings, 25th, with 226 points after a 16th-place finish Tuesday.

The purse was $3,500 to the winner.

“We beat those guys on tires,” Ridley said. “A lot of people went with harder tires, and we went softer on tires and it worked in our advantage. It took harder tires a lot longer to get going. The top three cars all had softer tires, and we drove off from the rest of the field.”

Ridley said he doesn’t travel for races as much as he used to. He owns Ridley Racecars and Custom Fab, which makes and sells cars. He’s won two races at the speedway since the racing season started in April, and one race at the Talladega Superspeedway dirt track in Alabama.

Still, he believes this race is the biggest he has won in terms of the skill of the opposing drivers.

“The caliber of cars was a lot better,” Ridley said. “It was probably the best caliber that we’ve beaten. We’ve won some big races, but as far as the caliber of racing, that was probably the biggest one.”

Jones was pleased with fan turnout for the event. This was the first of two travel series events coming to the track in less than two weeks.

“We have another traveling circuit, the Ultimate Super Late Model Series, coming in Aug. 3,” Jones said.

1
Text Only
Sports
  • CHS Lowe_Bartley 3 mlh.jpg Let’s keep playing

    Academic offerings played a big part in which college football program nabbed Christian Heritage School’s Nich Bartley, one of the area’s top players in 2013.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Prep roundup: Coahulla Creek hurts N. Murray’s playoff hopes

    One play in the fifth inning, during which the sun got in pitcher Braiden Jacobs’ eyes, seemed to encapsulate the entire season for Coahulla Creek High School’s baseball team.
    But it could be one rule misinterpretation that defines the season for North Murray.

    April 17, 2014

  • NW region tennis 3 mlh.jpg Region tennis roundup: Six area teams clinch spots in state

    Dalton High School’s tennis teams finished their business quickly on the first day of the Region 7-4A tournament.
    Coach David Hilley had no problem with that.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • Region track day 2 2 mlh.jpg All the way to the top

    En route to the Region 7-4A track and field championship Wednesday as the host school, Dalton High’s boys team found out what a difference a year makes.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • Area middle school roundup: CHS girls soccer team earns shutout win

    Olivia Idom had the lone goal as Christian Heritage’s middle school girls soccer team beat Gladden 1-0 on Monday.

    April 17, 2014

  • After Deadline episode 21 (free)

    This week on “After Deadline,” The Daily Citizen sports writers Devin Golden and Chris Whitfield discuss the Northwest Whitfield High School baseball team’s prospects in the state playoffs now that the Bruins have clinched the Sub-region 7B-4A title and will compete next week for a region championship.

    April 16, 2014

  • Region track '14 8 mlh.jpg Battling the elements

    A bitterly cold wind was disruptive enough to shake up the schedule Tuesday at the opening day of the Region 7-4A track and field meet at Dalton High School.
    But those tough conditions didn’t stop some local athletes from excelling.

    April 15, 2014 2 Photos

  • Raiders clinch spot in soccer state tournament

    With the formalities of earning a GHSA Class 4A boys state soccer berth out of the way, Southeast Whitfield immediately turned its attention to a little sibling rivalry.

    April 15, 2014

  • Prep roundup: Bruins set up region semis vs. Southeast

    With a roller coaster regular season behind it, Northwest Whitfield High School’s boys soccer team is back in its comfort zone.

    April 15, 2014

  • ‘After Deadline’ turns focus on Morris soccer

    This week on “After Deadline,” The Daily Citizen sports writers Devin Golden and Chris Whitfield discuss the Northwest Whitfield High School baseball team’s prospects in the state playoffs now that the Bruins have clinched the Sub-region 7B-4A title and will compete next week for a region championship.

    April 15, 2014