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
  • Report: Boggs now with Giants

    Dalton’s Mitchell Boggs has signed a minor league contract with the San Francisco Giants, according to baseballamerica.com. Contract information, along with which minor league affiliate Boggs, a pitcher, will start with, was not available in the report, and Boggs was not listed on any of the online rosters for any of the Giants’ minor league affiliates.

    July 21, 2014

  • SE wrestling practice 5 mlh.jpg Herndon leaving Raiders to coach at Calhoun; new coach named at SE Whitfield

    Michael Herndon’s successful three-year run as Southeast Whitfield High School’s wrestling coach has come to an end.

    July 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • Hipp makes cut at qualifying tourney

    Chatsworth golfer Colby Hipp earned the chance to play on today in a U.S. Amateur qualifying tournament at Reynolds Plantation-Great Waters in Eatonton.

    July 21, 2014

  • 7on7 day 2 '14 17 mlh.jpg Devin Golden: Friday signals gridiron days’ official start

    Seven-on-seven football was a good placeholder, but it’s time to begin talking about the real thing.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • CCAC-B&W.jpg CCAC has strong showing at 14-and-under state meet

    The Carpet Capital Aquatics Club had 16 club records broken in a 12th-place finish at the 2014 Georgia 14-and-under Long Course State Championship meet Saturday at Georgia Tech’s swimming facility.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Loran Smith: Golf now in era of McIlroy after Open

    Royal & Ancient officials, under whose auspices the Open championship is conducted each year, were blessed with a sun-kissed start of the final round of the 143rd playing of this historic event.

    July 21, 2014

  • Motocross kid 6 mlh.jpg Dirt, gas and guts

    Lucas Amos is like a lot of other 6-year-olds who will be going into first grade at Tunnel Hill Elementary this school year.
    He likes to play the video game sensation Minecraft, building different structures and fending off zombies when the sun goes down. He likes to spend time with his grandparents, traveling around the Southeast with them most every weekend.
    And he likes to play in the dirt.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Loran Smith: McIlroy at his peak at Hoylake

    HOYLAKE, England — It’s the setting which enraptures those who appreciate the things that accompany a championship, The British refuse to let a downpour or two, intermittent and inconvenient, to make them fret.

    July 20, 2014

  • MMA guys 1 mlh.jpg Up close and personal

    Dustin Dyer remembers his first fight — and he has wisdom to share with North Georgia Hayastan Mixed Martial Arts Academy’s three new mixed martial arts fighters.
    “It’s just another day in the gym,” Dyer said, “just with a bigger crowd. Here (in the gym) is where you work. Out there is fun.”

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Loran Smith: Change is needed for major titles

    HOYLAKE, England — This is a good time to be Bubba Watson — long off the tee which brings golf aficionados through the gates, two Masters titles which puts him in the pantheon of the greats at Augusta, deal-makers hovering about, more perks than a palace prince, exempt status to the end of the decade and a cash flow that resembles a raging river.

    July 19, 2014