A Night of Twists, Turns, and Plenty of Caution in Reverb's Hickory opener
14 Jul 2023
In a thrilling, and somewhat chaotic in the second half, start to the Output Racing League's Reverb Series, the season opener at Hickory Speedway left fans and drivers alike on the edge of their seats. The twin 50-lap races in late model stock cars promised intense battles, with the field inverted for the second race, and the largest field in Reverb Series history added an extra dose of excitement.
Race one saw the new kid on the block, Ryan Honeycutt, seize the pole position and assert his dominance by leading every single lap. The mostly green flag race seemed to be progressing smoothly until a midway caution, triggered by an unfortunate encounter between Zach Skotnicki and TJ Crampton battling for 7th place. Crampton found himself spinning towards the inside wall on the front stretch, leaving Crampton fuming and spectators wondering if he thought he was auditioning for a new figure skating routine.
Several drivers, including the likes of Joseph Madigan, Andrew Griesbaum, Austin Collins, and Jonathon Hernandez, decided to make a pit stop after the long opening green run for fresh tires. Meanwhile, others opted to stay out, hoping to jumble up the field for an epic restart. Alas, the racing gods had different plans, and a third caution interrupted proceedings due to a multi-car pileup in turn one at the back of the pack. Confusion seemed to set in amidst the calamity as several drivers appeared like they mistook the race for a demolition derby. The first race came to an end under the control of the pace car and robbed Skotnicki and Hennessy of one last chance to battle for the win, leaving fans craving more green flag action.
Onto the second race, where the inversion shuffled the starting order and put TJ Crampton alongside Frank Isaacson on the front row. With faster drivers attempting to claw their way through the field, chaos ensued. The tight track and ambitious passing attempts resulted in a flurry of cautions, making it a rough outing for drivers like Madigan, Collins, and Griesbaum as they got caught up in the melee. However, Crampton held his ground, capitalizing on good pace and taking advantage of the six caution periods to cling onto the top spot and secure the victory.
While Crampton cruised to victory lane, Andrew Hennessy wowed fans with impressive maneuvering between the repeated cautions, negotiating his way from the back of the field to finish in a solid second place. Frank Isaacson, after the inversion, fought tooth and nail and narrowly edged out Kyle Crouse for third at the checkered flag. Bryan Pizzichemi managed to fend off the charging James Watson for fifth. As for race one's winner, Honeycutt, his playful beef with Corey Steinhauser proved to be a distraction, limiting him to a seventh-place finish. Guess he learned that beef is best left on the grill, not the race track.
With the first night of racing in the books, Andrew Hennessy finds himself at the top of the point standings, leading by a mere three points over the talented Ryan Honeycutt. Meanwhile, Jonathon Hernandez and James Watson are tied for third, setting the stage for an exciting battle in the coming races.
Hold onto your hats, folks, because the Reverb Series is just getting started, and if the opener was any indication, we're in for a wild ride next week as the series visits New Smyrna for the first time. Buckle up, enjoy the Thursday short track action, and let the drama continue to unfold as drivers bumper car each other all over the track.