Race Recap: Gaddis, Griffin, Turner notch wins at Ark-La-Tex

VIVIAN, Louisiana (April 26, 2024) — Touring Modified veteran Sean Gaddis, open-wheel stalwart Logan Griffin and Stock car phenom Austin Turner all won features in their respective divisions, as officials hosted the American Racer Modified Series (ARMS) on Friday at Ark-La-Tex Speedway. 

Gaddis powered to victory in the 25-lap A Main for ARMS teams; Griffin dominated a 15-lap tilt for USRA Limited Modifieds; while Turner thrilled fans with a last-corner, last-lap crossover pass to claim a talent-filled affair for Factory Stocks. 

Jason Beasley (Pro Mods) and Jeff Lewis (Sportsters) were also feature winners on Night 1 of 3 State Harley Davidson weekend at the popular oval known as the “Land of Three-Wide.” 

Gaddis, of Diana, Texas, started on the pole of a 24-car grid and held off former series champion Chris Henigan to earn top honors. Henigan, who started sixth, settled for the runner-up position, while Gary Christian filled out the podium. 

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Tanner Mullens (Wichita, Kansas) drove up from 10th top claim fourth, while Philip Houston (Odessa, Texas) completed the top five. Gaddis earned a cool $1,500 for his efforts. 

“I’ve always struggled here in the past, so this feels pretty good,” Gaddis said in Victory Lane. “Any time I’ve had one thing go right, something else always goes wrong. I’ve been wanting to win here forever, and we finally got it done. I knew I had to protect the bottom, since Chris always runs there.”  

Finishing sixth through 10th in the ARMS A Main were Jason Webb, Timothy Culp, Tyler Townsend, defending champion Joe Duvall and Jake Huckaby. Two cautions slowed the pace (with just one lap scored), both for quick spins. Gaddis beat a hard-charging Henigan to the line by .770 of a second. 

Houston, Christian, Duvall and Tim Eaves Jr. won their respective qualifying Heats earlier in the evening, while Kenny Gaddis won the lone B Main.  

Griffin, of Texarkana, Arkansas, started on the pole of a 15-car grid and led all 15 laps in convincing fashion. Rising star Kale Murphrey crossed the stripe in second, while Josh Baucom filled out the podium. Jeremy Haddox (Ruston) and Connor Mewborn (Texarkana, TX) rounded out the top five. 

Finishing sixth through 10th in the USRA Limited Modified feature were Adam Roy, Shannon Swilley, Carson Bradley, J.D. Ammons and former FWD standout Jack Dupont. Two cautions slowed the pace (laps 5, 8), both for minor incidents. Griffin’s margin of victory was only .707 of a second. 

Turner, of Ashdown, Arkansas, started second on a 13-car Factory Stock grid, followed Chase Hatton around for 14 laps then thrilled the crowd with a last-lap, last-corner crossover pass to record his first career feature win at Ark-La-Tex. Hatton settled for second, while Bo Perry filled out the podium. 

Josh Daugherty (Bossier City) and Garren Lipinski (Minden) finished fourth and fifth, respectively. 

Finishing sixth through 10th in the USRA Factory Stock feature were Chris Striplin, Logan Hughes, Mike Nelson, Kolton Chamberlain and Shelton Copeland. Four cautions slowed the pace (laps 5, 6, 6, 7), none for serious incident. Turner’s margin of victory was a minuscule .115 of a second.  

The first night of the ARMS Twin-bill at Ark-La-Tex was affected in car count due to severe weather conditions impacting nearby Texas on Friday. A line of Tornadoes tore through an area close to Waco, where many Texas teams are based. Despite the weather, Night 1 still drew a respectable 77 entries.

With a threat of rain looming on Friday evening in the Ark-La-Tex area, officials hustled through 10 qualifying Heats and one B Main for the ARMS teams before hosting their feature races. Limited Mod drivers waited out a 10-minute delay for a brief shower before their feature took the green flag.  

You can replay every lap of Friday night’s USRA American Racer Modified Series program at Ark-La-Tex Speedway with a Membership at Newly re-branded with a commitment to promote local racing, RaceON (formerly RaceON) has over 400 Live events on tap in 2024. 

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By Phil Whipple, Staff Writer