Ross Bailes Captures 5th Carolina Clash Checkers In
16th Annual Skyler Trull Memorial Race
Bailes gains lead in final laps to secure first
Skyler Trull win.
By Mark Huey, Carolina Clash Press
Gastonia, North Carolina (3/12/16) - Once again, the
weather was perfect. Once again, the race track and
facility were perfect. For the first time, Ross
Bailes takes the Skyler Trull Memorial Race at the
Carolina Speedway in Gastonia, NC.
The winner of one past Shrine 100 race at Carolina
Speedway, one of the Carolina's most coveted events,
Ross Bailes was all smiles and had so many people to
thank from victory lane in his fifth Carolina Clash
Bailes, of Clover, South Carolina, was able to power
to the lead in the final three laps and overcome a
white-flag caution flag restart to lead the final
lap of the event, a race that he has wanted to
"There are so many people that I need to thank,"
said Bailes with an apparent quiver in his voice
caused by the elation of this once elusive win. "I
hope I didn't leave anyone out, but the one that has
stood by me through all of this is this man (Ronnie
McCarter), who has been with me forever!" The #87
Longhorn racer is owned by Ronnie McCarter, a
Clover-area businessman, who has helped Bailes field
late model racecars since the mid-2000s. Bailes
Construction and FK Rod Ends also supports Bailes on
However, one of the most significant out-takes of
this victory was a strong showing by American Racer
racing tires, which were mounted on Bailes car.
Scott McAdoo of American Race Tire was equally as
excited in victory lane to celebrate the return of
American Racer to Carolina Clash victory lane.
26 cars signed up for the event, with the top 8
qualifiers locked into the feature. Two heat races
were run and the top 6 finishers advanced into the
race. Anthony Sanders and Kevin Wilson each used a
point provisional from 2015 points to start 21st and
22nd. The Carolina Clash reduced its starting field
to 22 cars, down from 24 in years past.
The Carolina Clash would like to thank all who
attended this first race of the season and give
praises to the Skyler Trull race committee and Mr.
Lowry Trull and family for this great event to begin
the season for the Clash since 2009. Also, the
Carolina Clash would like to extend thanks to the
management and staff of Carolina Speedway in
Gastonia, NC for hosting this event annually. Prior
to the race, each of the 22 starters were gathered
on the frontstretch as the Skyler Trull ceremony
began. Trull addressed the drivers and the crowd.
After driver introductions, Doug Sanders made his
parade lap and the event began.
Chris Ferguson started from the Heintz Performance
pole position from his fastest qualifying time of
14.910. Fergy led the first 22 laps of the race
until a problem with a control arm on the right
front sidelined him for the event just past halfway.
Third-place starter G.R. Smith of Cornelius, NC made
his return to Carolina Clash action with a fast
start from the second row. Smith and Bailes battled
among the top five for the first half of the race,
with both drivers making hard side contact as they
raced in turn three. The damage was more visible on
Smith's car, but was able to continue.
Ross Bailes started fifth and moved up to second on
lap 12 when a caution came out. They both drove
their cars hard into three and both were fast on
exit and made hard contact. It surely made for an
exciting moment for the massive crowd of fans.
The race began with an opening lap caution that
began developing in turn two when front-row starter
Brett Hamm of Newberry, SC drifted high on exit and
ran up into the back of Ferguson's car. That caused
a back-up among the cars behind them and created a
jockeying of competitors to avoid crashing. As the
field came through turn four, Johnny Pursley made
contact with Ben Watkins and the result was
catastrophe for the defending series champion.
Watkins sustained severe damage to the left front of
his Cartersville Country, Sandwood Enterprises #16.
He and first time entrant Bryan Mullis and Anthony
Sanders were resigned from the event on lap 1.
Pursley was able to continue after a pit stop forced
him to restart in the rear.
Other competitors from the Skyler Trull included
Michael Rouse from Rocky Mount, NC. In his first
ever Carolina Clash Skyler Trull appearance, he
managed to avoid the mishaps and place a respectable
9th finish, one behind the Hard Charger of the Race
- Dobson, NC Chase McCormick. Chase started the race
from 18th advancing 10 spots.
Five time series champion Ricky Weeks and three-time
champion Dennis Franklin have a combined 75 Carolina
Clash victories among themselves. Weeks started 12th
and raced his way to a top 5 finish. Franklin scored
a win in the American Racer Heat Race #1. Franklin
worked throughout the event to improve his car and
they were in the top three at the drop of the white
flag. Franklin and Brett Hamm were in a fierce
battle for third as they approached the white flag.
They would tangle with both cars spinning to the
inside of turn one. They finished 11th and 12th
Race officials were forced to throw a red flag on
the field, which occurred on lap 39, setting up a
one lap shootout for the win. Bailes got a great
start off turn four, which shuffled the field on the
Dennis Franklin and Dean Bowen captured checkered
flags in the American Racer and Hoosier Race Tire
Heat Races, which set the field after the top-eight
qualifiers were locked in to the feature. Dean
Bowen, the 2010 winner of the Skyler Trull, made his
return to Clash competition at the track where he
collected his first career win six years ago.
Colbert, GA driver Kenny Collins and Donald Bradsher
of Burlington, NC scored top 10 finishes. Each
driver has hopes to run most of the Carolina Clash
season, along with returning Lancaster, SC driver
Josh Langley, who scored 13th after pitting on lap
33 while running 8th. Other drivers to enter the
event to have mechanical problems were Doug Sanders,
Ferguson, Kevin Wilson, Brock Morris of Charleston,
West Virginia, Jonathan Edwards, and Ken Rominger,
Jr. Four other cars did not transfer into the
16th Annual Skyler Trull Memorial Race Results
1. 87 Ross Bailes
2. 15 Dean Bowen
3. O9 Johnny Pursley
4. 22 GR Smith
5. 1W Ricky Weeks
6. 1C Kenny Collins
7. 93 Donald Bradsher
8. 15M Chase McCormick
9. 23 Michael Rouse
10. 39 Greg Clark
11. 18 Brett Hamm
12. 2F Dennis Franklin
13. 7 Josh Langley
14. 42 Doug Sanders
15. 22 Chris Ferguson
16. 618 Kevin Wilson
17. 529 Brock Morris
18. 32 Jonathan Edwards
19. 448 Ken Rominger, Jr.
20. 16 Ben Watkins
21. 421 Anthony Sanders
22. 67 Bryan Mullis