Race Recap: Collins, Whitehead, Easley notch wins at Sabine

MANY, Louisiana (March 29, 2024) — Regional open-wheel ace Justin Collins; respected car builder and versatile racer Justin Whitehead, and skilled wheel-man Michael Easley all won features in their respective divisions, as Shane Hebert and his staff hosted Opening night on Friday at Sabine Speedway.

Collins powered to victory in the 20-lap A Main for USRA Limited Modifieds; Whitehead prevailed in a talent-filled affair for Factory Stocks, while Easley was triumphant in a hotly-contested tilt for Pro Mods. 

Jeff Lavespere (FWD) and Jonah Powell (Sportsters) were also feature winners on Friday.

Collins, of Cleveland, Texas, started second on a 19-car grid and led all 20 laps in convincing fashion. Justin Whitehead (doing double duty) drove up from eighth to claim second, while Tracy Denby Sr. powered his way up from 10th to fill out the podium. 

Joel Couvillion (Alexandria) and Kale Murphrey (Tullos) finished fourth and fifth, respectively. 

This was Collins’ third win of 2024 in four starts after earning nine wins last year in 33 races. He took home $1,000 for his efforts at Sabine on Friday evening.  

Finishing sixth through 10th in the USRA Limited Modified A Main were Colby Williams, Jeremy Haddox (who started 18th), R.C. Hagan, Ethan Bailes and Connor Williams. Three cautions slowed the pace, all for minor incidents. Collins’ margin of victory over Whitehead was a scant .458 of a second. 

Whitehead, of Texarkana, Texas, started fifth on a 20-car Factory Stock grid, drove to the inside of Mickey Steele coming off Turn 2 to take command at lap seven and pulled steadily away to earn top honors. Dalton Faulkner crossed the stripe in second, while C.J. Howell filled out the podium. 

Mark Underwood Jr. (Ruston) and Travis Hudnall (Liberty, Texas) completed the top five. Whitehead took home a cool $1,100 payday for his efforts. 

Finishing sixth through 10th in the USRA Factory Stock feature were Dakoda Wyatt, Dalton DuBois, Tyler Burnett, John Parker Jr. and Ross Cook. With no cautions to slow his pace, Whitehead set sail once he was up front. His margin of victory over Faulkner was a comfortable 1.451 seconds. 

Easley, of Keithville, started from the pole on a 13-car grid and led all 17 laps (cut by three due to time constraints) to score the victory. Julie Whitney had a fantastic effort to earn a runner-up finish, while Cory Nolen filled out the podium. Dustin Turnage (Lacamp) and William Brooks (Carthage) rounded out the top five. 

Finishing sixth through 10th in the Pro Mod A Feature were Clay McWilliams, Jay Norman Jr., Wade Bolton, Jon Norman III and Matt Deville. Six cautions slowed the pace, all for minor spins. Easley’s margin of victory over Whitney was a mere .434 of a second, as the two drivers battled for supremacy. 

Open night at Sabine Speedway drew a respectable 99 entries among five divisions. Led by the mighty Limited Modifieds with 32 and Factory Stocks with 30, talent was everywhere in the pits on Friday. Fans were treated to the usual two and three-wide battles for position throughout the entire program. 

Officials knocked out 13 qualifying Heats, four B Features and five entertaining A Mains with little delay. For his debut, Hebert and his officials ran off an exciting full show in three and a half hours. With just under 100 cars in the pits, that’s hustling along to help get folks home at a reasonable hour. 

You can replay every lap of Friday night’s full USRA weekly program at Sabine Speedway with a subscription at Newly re-branded with a commitment to promote local racing, RaceON (formerly RaceON) has over 400 Live events on tap this year from tracks in several states. 

When you sign up today, select one of two options (OnDemand or All Access), choose your favorite (or hometown) track and start enjoying great content while supporting your local track even when you can’t attend in person.

By Phil Whipple, Staff Writer