Race Recap: Bailes, Cook, Brooks win at Sabine Speedway

MANY, Louisiana (June 28, 2024) — Regional open-wheel stalwart Ethan Bailes; Stock car pilot Ross Cook and dirt oval veteran William Brooks all won feature races in their respective divisions, as Shane Hebert and his staff hosted a full card of racing on Friday evening at Sabine Speedway. 

Bailes powered to victory in the USRA Limited Modified feature; Cook prevailed in a talent-filled affair for Factory Stocks, while Brooks claimed the Pro Mod contest. Rodney Howell (Sportsters) and Lincoln Sweat (FWD) were also feature winners on a beautiful summer night for racing in Louisiana.

Bailes, of Elizabeth, started second on a 13-car grid and led all 20 laps of the caution-free feature in convincing fashion. Conner Williams crossed the stripe in second, while R.C. Hagan filled out the podium. Michael Stafford and Trevor Strother finished fourth and fifth, respectively. 

“The car was good, but it could have been a little better,” Bailes said in Joel’s Auto Sales Victory Lane. “Obviously, it was good enough to win tonight, but we have a little work to do to get it to where I feel like we were at the beginning of the year. 

“We hit the wall during the Triple Crown Throwdown; the car really hasn’t been right since then. It feels good to finally click one off; it’s been a while. I accidentally got into Brandon Perkins; it was not intentional at all. It was definitely a distraction to see my body panel flapping the rest of the race.” 

Finishing sixth through 10th in the USRA Sideline Sports Limited Modified A Main were Justin Robinson, Austyn Holloway, Darrell Bass, Braylon Dusang and Brandon Perkins. Bailes’ margin of victory over Williams was a comfortable 3.201 seconds, as he easily had them covered on this night.

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Cook, of Florine, started second on a 14-car grid and led all 20 laps in fine style. Dakoda Wyatt drove up from ninth at the start to claim second, while Dalton Dubois filled out the podium. Tyler Dubois and Dewayne Rains completed the top five. 

“The car felt really good at the start of the night,” Cook said after his victory. “The further the race went on, I wasn’t feeling as comfortable in it as I did earlier. I didn’t know where second place was at, and I really didn’t want to see that caution since I had kind of figured out a bit of rhythm.” 

Finishing sixth through 10th in the USRA Advanced Performance Engines Factory Stock feature were Michael Harlow, Blayne Nolen, Logan Davis, Jason Ford and Bryan Cook. Two cautions slowed the pace (lap 0, 14), one when CJ Howell’s machine broke down and one for a spin by Davis. 

Cook’s margin of victory over Wyatt was a significant 2.220 seconds, as he was on a roll Friday night. 

Brooks, of Carthage, started on the pole of his five-car Pro Mod grid and led all 15 laps with ease. Julie Whitney (Vivian) claimed the runner-up position, while Matt Burney (Forest Hill) filled out the podium. Dustin Turnage (Lacamp) and Wade Bolton (Hineston) rounded out the top five. 

“Man, it’s been good this year,” Brooks said in Victory Lane. “This guy right here, Evan Little, he’s my crew chief, he helps me out so much. I’m really enjoying the races this year. I just hate that a few of my guys couldn’t be here tonight. We’re going to be at Ark-La-Tex tomorrow night and try to repeat.” 

Only one caution slowed the pace at lap eight when Bolton went for a little spin in Turn 4. Brooks’ margin of victory over Whitney was a healthy 2.232 seconds, as he had them all covered on Friday. 

This week’s program at Sabine Speedway drew 57 entries spread across five divisions. With the fourth annual Billy Melton Memorial going on at the same time in Vivian, race teams in the state of Louisiana were spread a little thin this week. 

Consider the fact several major races were held in this area the past few weeks, and you’ll understand. 

You can replay every lap of Friday night’s weekly program at Sabine Speedway with a Membership at Newly re-branded with a commitment to promote local racing, RaceON (formerly RaceON) has over 450 Live events on tap this year.  

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By Phil Whipple, Staff Writer