Race Recap: Grigsby, Faulkner, Neil win at Sabine Speedway

MANY, Louisiana (May 24, 2024) — Regional open-wheel stalwart Derick Grigsby, Texas Stock car master Dalton Faulkner and rising star Corey Neil Jr. all won features in their respective divisions, as Shane Hebert and his staff hosted Night 1 of Triple Crown Throwdown on Friday at Sabine Speedway.

Grigsby powered to victory in a 20-lap A Main for USRA Limited Modifieds; Faulkner prevailed in a talent-filled affair for Factory Stocks; while Neil was triumphant in a hotly-contested tilt for Gulf South Crate Late Models. 

Bubba McEachern (Sportsters) and Bailey Taylor (FWD) were also feature winners on a beautiful night for racing in Northwest Louisiana. 

Grigsby, of Marshall, Texas, started second on a 20-car grid and led all 20 laps in convincing fashion. Joel Couvillion crossed the stripe in second, while longtime veteran Skeet Amason filled out the podium. Jake Haddox and Chace Hebert finished fourth and fifth, respectively. 

“We’re feeling good about our chances this weekend,” Grigsby said in Victory Lane as he picked up $1,000 for his efforts. “We’ve run strong down here. We had a few second-place finishes, and got involved in a little mishap one time. But the car has had good speed, just like it has everywhere we go.

“I have a lot of confidence in the car and myself right now, and we’re ready to go. When I raced 15 years ago, we raced every Friday and Saturday night. We had some strong starts back then, but this year is probably our highest wins-to-starts ratio. This is without a doubt the best race car I’ve ever driven.” 

Finishing sixth through 10th in the USRA Limited Modified A Main were Conner Williams, Bryce Bordelon (who drove up from 18th); ageless veteran Howard Willis, Justin Collins and Michael Stafford (who drove up from 20th on the grid). Four cautions slowed the pace, all for minor spins. 

Grigsby’s margin of victory over Couvillion was .973 of a second, as he had the field easily covered. 

Faulkner, of Cut and Shoot, Texas, started second on a 22-car grid, drove to the inside of C.J. Howell coming off Turn 4 to take command at lap six and pulled away to earn top honors. Howell settled for the runner-up position, while Dalton Dubois filled out the podium. 

Dakota Wyatt and Logan Gordon completed the top five. 

“That was a blast out there tonight,” Faulkner said after he bagged another $1,000 payday. “I served him what he served me; there were no bad intentions. When you have the lead taken from you like that, you have to take it back somehow. That was some good racing out there, I hope the fans enjoyed it. 

“Man, I want to thank RaceON for putting this thing on for us. It’s kind of of a long trip from my house, but it’s fun to travel around to these tracks in Louisiana a little bit. It’s always nice to win one, and we came here to win all three. They have a point fund, so hopefully we can take that home to Texas.” 

Finishing sixth through 10th in the USRA Factory Stock feature were Joshua Martin, Josh Baucom, KC Jimerson, Blayne Nolen and Jeremy Crumpler. Five cautions slowed the pace (laps 1, 3, 4, 14, 19), none for serious incident. Faulkner’s margin of victory over Howell was a comfortable 1.113 seconds. 

Neil Jr., of Bridge City, Texas, started second on a 20-car grid, drove around the outside of Mikey Kile coming off Turn 4 to take command at lap two and hung on to earn top honors. Young Mississippi native chase Holland crossed the stripe in second, while Kile finished third after setting Fast Time earlier in the evening with a blistering lap of 14.765 seconds. 

Late Model strongman Beau Begnaud finished fourth, while Robbie Stuart rounded out the top five. 

“I was hoping it wasn’t rubbered up too early,” Neil Jr. said. “Luckily, I made some momentum on the top and got around Mikey early for the lead. From there I was kind of a sitting duck; I was just trying to watch the bottom and see how clean it got. I felt like it was pretty clean, so I went down there.

“It was a lot better. I don’t know what the deal was with this car tonight; it ran good but fuel was pouring into my face the whole time. I’m sorry I got into that lapped car, I was just doing everything I could to keep it up front. This is a great finish for our team; our first win of the year. It feels awesome.”

Finishing sixth through 10th in the Gulf South Crate Racing Association A Main were Rob Litton, Mark Underwood Jr., Austin Storm, Dakota Smith (who drove up from 19th on the grid) and Tracy Denby Sr. Five cautions slowed the pace (laps 8, 9, 9, 13, 14), all for quick spins. 

Neil’s margin of victory over Holland was a scant .924 of a second, as the ‘Young Guns’ duked it out. 

Night 1 of the second annual Louisiana Triple Crown Throwdown drew an even 100 entries spread across five divisions. Led by the mighty Limited Modifieds with 30 teams on hand, there was ample talent in every corner of Shane Hebert’s pits on Friday night. Fans saw good racing all evening long. 

Officials knocked out 14 qualifying Heats and three B Mains in short order, then presented five entertaining features with little delay. If tonight’s program at Ark-La-Tex and Sunday night’s show at Boothill come close to duplicating this fine show, the Triple Crown will have been a huge success. 

You can replay every lap of Night 1 of the second annual Triple Crown Throwdown 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.  

When you become a Member, choose your favorite (or hometown) track and start enjoying great content while supporting that facility even when you can’t attend in person.

By Phil Whipple, Staff Writer