MANY, Louisiana (May 27, 2022) — Veteran Factory Stock pilots Jason Ingalls, Dalton Faulkner and Neil Kemp won their respective qualifying heats, as officials hosted Qualifying Night in preparation for tonight's rich $7,500-to-win Battle on the Bend on Friday evening at Sabine Speedway.
With 63 teams on hand, two rounds of six heats were run based on passing points to determine who would have a shot at the big money on Saturday evening. Corey Neil Jr. (Limited Modified); Jack Dupont (FWD); and Brian Ray (Faster Pastor) were also feature winners on a perfect night for racing.
Dalton Dubois (Robeline, La.) kicked off Factory Stock qualifying with his victory in Heat No. 1 of the first round. Other first-round heat winners include Mike Lavaspere, John Parker Jr. (Dry Prong, La.); Ingalls (Longview, TX); JT Turner (Minden, La.); and Justin Whitehead (Texarkana, TX).
In the second round, Rodney Howell (Pineville, La.); Faulkner (Cut and Shoot, TX); Donald Cain (Willis, TX); Kemp (Mineral Springs, AR); Josh Ellender and Shawn Graham (Shreveport, La.) all picked up wins, with Kemp advancing eight positions in his quest to earn passing points.
Chris Henigan (Marshall, TX) held off Nicholas Kirby to win the 'Bottom 20' Factory Stock race.
“I think this helped us a lot, being the first night we've run this car,” Henigan said. “We'll take all the laps we can get. We've been having water pump problems, but Cody got it fixed. I need to thank Southern Roofing and bobby's Body Shop; there's a lot of good people who make this all possible.”
Neil, of Bridge City, Texas, drove around the outside of early leader Ralo Pilkington to take command at lap seven and pulled steadily away to earn top honors. Pilkington settled for second, while Justin Whitehead filled out the podium.
Andrew Rossum (Texarkana, TX) and RC Hagan (Glenmora, La.) completed the top five.
“I was trying to be patient and wait for the right opportunity,” Neil told veteran announcer Joshua Bell in Joel's Auto Sales Victory Lane. “On that restart, I knew it was my time to go and I bailed it off into Turns 1 and 2 as hard as it would go and it stuck. I could see Ralo there, and knew he would be tough.”
Finishing sixth through 10th in the 15-lap ACS Limited Modified A Main were Tracy Denby Jr., Logan Crayon, Robert Metz, Matt Ebarb and Christopher Freeland. Three cautions slowed the pace (laps 4, 11, 13), all for minor incidents.
Neil's margin of victory over Pilkington was a scant .559 seconds, as this one was decided by a thread.
Dupont, of Shreveport, La., held off Hunter Armstrong in that FWD contest after winning his Heat a little earlier in the evening. Luke Dupont crossed the stripe in third, while Collin Jones and Trevor Wright rounded out the top five.
Finishing sixth through 10th in Friday night's 12-lap FWD feature were Robert Vanderwaters, Marcel Green, Hunter Hollis, Tyler Deville and earlier heat winner Bryan Guice. The FWD warriors always put on a solid show at Sabine, adding their own brand of curb appeal to any given program.
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By Phil Whipple, RaceOnTexas.com Staff Writer