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Jeff Sparks Holds Off Gary Ledbetter for First Victory in New Year's Bash

Jeff Sparks can add his name to the prestigious list of New Year's Bash winners, after dominating Sunday's event at Dillon Motor Speedway.


hero image for Jeff Sparks Holds Off Gary Ledbetter for First Victory in New Year's Bash

NOTE: Following the publication of this story, Jeff Sparks was disqualified in post-race technical inspection, with Gary Ledbetter, Jr. declared the winner of the race. The results in this story have been updated to reflect this. To read more about the disqualification, click here.

Jeff Sparks will finally be able to add his name to the prestigious list of New Year's Bash winners, after a dominant performance in Sunday's event from Dillon Motor Speedway, the 14th iteration of the 100-lap Street Stock event.

The Acworth, Georgia native became the ninth different winner of the event on Sunday, after holding Gary Ledbetter, the winning driver in the history of the New Year's Bash, behind him in the race's closing laps.

After starting the race from seventh place, Sparks moved through the field methodically, making passes on both the inside and outside lines in the opening 10 laps of the event, before the first two cautions were displayed back-to-back.

It would take just 13 laps for Sparks to challenge for the lead of the race, quickly making his way around Ricky Locklair, Jr. on an early-race restart, making use of a single-green flag lap to take control of the event.

From that point forward, despite the nine more caution flags and restarts that followed throughout the 100-lap contest, it was pretty clear that Sparks was going to be untouchable, as he quickly marched away from the pack on every single restart.

That was a testament to the strong piece underneath Sparks for Sunday's New Year's Bash, which he would later describe as the best vehicle he's ever driven.

"We had a really good car, thanks to Brendan Davis, he’s worked on it for two straight weeks. We reclipped it again after the throttle hung twice on it, it’s been destroyed," said Sparks after climbing from the car in Victory Lane.

"This is our second race of the year with this car, there’s been a lot of work done to it, but it was badass tonight. It hooked that bottom and it just – hell, I was afraid to let up, I felt like I was saving tires, it was just I could run it as far as I wanted, it was the best car I’ve ever had, it was badass."

Sparks managed to finish the 100-lap contest more than a half-second ahead of the runner-up, Gary Ledbetter, a five-time winner of the Dillon, South Carolina-based event.

"I mean, you always want more shots, but his car was pretty hooked up," said Ledbetter. "I was pretty good there, we'd get seven or eight laps and then the brakes started to get a little hard, but congratulations to them, and Ron. I thought we had the best car the last couple of years, and he had the best car this race, it just didn't work out like we needed it too."

After maintaining a spot up front throughout the entire race, Alby Ovitt finished in third place. Adam Gray was fourth, and Ricky Locklair, Jr., the race's early leader, rounded out the top five.

Josh Sage came home in sixth place, while Josh Way, driving the Tim Richmond-inspired throwback scheme, finished in seventh place, after his involvement in a pair of incidents throughout the event, including one with 15 laps remaining in the event.

Chris Buffone was another accident-prone driver who managed to rebound for a top-10 result, finishing in eighth place after being involved in three separate incidents throughout the afternoon, including one inside the final 20 laps.

Tommy O'Sullivan rebounded for a ninth-place result after sustaining some damage in a mid-race accident, while Joey Pontbriand rounded out the top-10. Joshua Way, the 13-year-old son of Josh Way, finished 11th, with Chris Riendeau, Adam Cartwright, and Adam Rowe rounding out the 14 lead-lap finishers in the event.

After scoring the pole on Saturday, Ronnie Bassett, Jr. didn't show the same speed throughout the event, drifting back to around the top five throughout most of the event, before a throttle linkage issue sent the No. 62 to the pit lane, finishing 23rd.

Adam Cartwright was the highest-finishing driver who didn't lock into the New Year's Bash via their qualifying time on Saturday, starting the race in 21st place after winning the first B-Main, and finishing on the lead-lap in 13th.

Race Results: 2024 New Year's Bash at Dillon Motor Speedway



4BLGary Ledbetter1000.661


48Alby Ovitt1003.682


97Adam Gray1006.921


12Ricky Locklair, Jr.1008.158


25Josh Sage1008.964


25BLJosh Way10010.324


2Chris Buffone10011.001


4ORGTommy O'Sullivan10011.768


7Joey Pontbriand10012.500
1051Joshua Way10012.668
114BTChris Riendeau10016.214
1242Adam Cartwright10017.270
130Adam Rowe10018.277
1411Josh Lundy991 lap
157BLShane Gendron991 lap
1613Steve Worthington964 laps
1716Kyle Lynch937 laps
1821Brian Brown8812 laps


96Maxx Porter8515 laps
2018Robert Filipak8515 laps
2107BLMike Cooper8515 laps
2262Ronnie Bassett, Jr.8218 laps
2350Ricky Locklair, Sr.7129 laps
24B00Boo Carlisle6733 laps
259Austin Somero6040 laps
2667Eric Plemmons5545 laps
2711BLCorey Flanning5456 laps
2849Jeff Melton5446 laps


20Rob Sullivan4753 laps
3004Shawn Swallow3367 laps
3114Darrin Wilson1288 laps
32017Alex Weber1090 laps
3312Cody Demarmels1090 laps
3427David Thomas1090 laps
3505Luther Johnson0100 laps
DQ07WHJeff Sparks----

Photo Credit -- Will Bellamy, Racing America

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