ASA Southern Super Series
Jackson Boone Riding Momentum Into Five Flags Night of Champions
Sep 23, 2023
After a dramatic Allen Turner Pro Late Model finale at Five Flags Speedway that saw its fair share of twists and turns, Jackson Boone stood in victory lane as the winner of the 100-lap race while John Bolen won the series championship with a fifth-place finish.
The night started with Dylan Fetcho in the points lead, with a 14-point advantage over Bolen and a 26-point lead over Dawson Sutton. Sutton started on the pole and led the way early, but Fetcho ran in the top five for the first 41 laps while Bolen was outside the top 10. At this point, Fetcho enjoyed a comfortable points lead.
That advantage grew more precarious as Fetcho began to fade around the halfway point of the race. By lap 75, Fetcho was in a side-by-side battle with Bolen for 10th, while Sutton was trying to lap both drivers.
The situation reached its tipping point on lap 76, as Fetcho spun and hit the outside wall in turns one and two. With that, Fetcho's race, and championship hopes, were over, and Sutton held the points lead.
That proved to also be the turning point for John Bolen, who pitted for adjustments under the caution. When the race restarted, his car came to life and Bolen began a charge through the field. He worked his way up to eighth when the next dramatic turn in the championship battle unfolded.
Battling for sixth, Seth Christensen and Bryson Shaffer made contact and spun on lap 83. Bolen masterfully avoided the spinning cars, driving between them to move up to sixth ... and taking a one-point lead over Sutton.
The following 17 laps saw all eyes focused on two battles at the same time. Up front, Dawson Sutton and Jackson Boone battled for the race lead, with Sutton knowing his championship hopes were in the balance. Further back, Bolen fell to eighth on the restart and needed to get back into the sixth position to win the title if Sutton won the race.
Bolen did more than enough, driving up to the fifth position by race's end to claim the championship. Meanwhile, Jackson Boone took the lead with five laps to go for his second consecutive Allen Turner Pro Late Model Series race win.
"I'm not even going to lie, we kind of missed it tonight," said Boone in victory lane. "We struggled all day in practice today, just trying a bunch of stuff. This team prevails and this team is stubborn. That's what I love about them, is they're stubborn even when we struggle. That's what makes you resilient and makes you a winning race team."
For Bolen, the Allen Turner championship comes after a long journey, racing frequently at Five Flags over the years in Late Model competition and finally leaving with some highly coveted hardware.
"We've been coming here a long time," Bolen told Racing America. "I'd say 18 or 20 years now. To finally seal the deal means a lot. We're still looking for a win here, but we've been close.
"I messed up qualifying and set us back pretty bad. I knew we had a good car in race trim, I just had to drive up through there. I had to lean on a few boys. I just didn't have a lot of time, I had to go.
"We knew going in, me and Dylan had been under a blanket all year. Right in front of each other, finishing third and fourth or whatever it might be. As close as it was, one of us was going to have a bad night and the other was going to win it."
With the championship, Bolen became the first Allen Turner Pro Late Model Series champion from the state of Alabama since 2016, when Bret Holmes claimed the title.
While the title ultimately eluded Sutton, his second-place finish was enough to secure second in the Allen Turner points, putting him in line for an all-important provisional starting spot in the Allen Turner Snowflake 100 during Snowball Derby week if he is unable to qualify in on time.
"We're going to come down here in a couple of months for the Snowflake," said Sutton. "This is great practice for that. We've won two races for that, and I think we finished second in the championship points, so we're locked into the Snowflake. That was really the goal the whole time.
"I've learned a lot. I ran the whole season, so I've learned over the time about how technical this track is and how much tire wear there is."
-Photo credit: Will Bellamy/Racing America
|12||17||Hudson Bulger||99||1 Lap|
|13||91||Jim Wall||99||1 Lap|
|14||77||Jensen Jorgensen||99||1 Lap|
|15||11||Jolynn Wilkinson||90||10 Laps|
|16||12S||Bryson Shaffer||82||18 Laps|
|17||89||Dylan Fetcho||74||26 Laps|
|18||4||Elliott Massey||73||27 Laps|
|19||10||Johanna Robbins||58||42 Laps|
|20||71||Luke Yarbrough||51||49 Laps|
|21||36||Keith Thorpe||43||57 Laps|