The dust was a flyin' Sunday night between St. Clairsville and Morristown.
Cannonball Speedway made its return to the dirt track racing circuit in grand fashion as the "Resurrection Opener" attracted nearly 3,000 fans to the Belmont County facility.
"This was a real big surprise," track spokesman Cody Barack said of the huge crowd. "We had a really good turnout, both in the pits and the general admission.
"The racing was also quality," he said. "I haven't heard any negative feedbacks."
Although no 'local' drivers took the checkered flag, a locally sponsored car crossed the finish line first in the TSMA Modified main event.
Bobby Kitchens, who hails from Columbus, piloted the '2 Brothers Motorsports' No. 13 car to an easy victory in the 20-lap feature.
He started on the inside and never trailed en route to the win.
"It's good to win for these guys in their hometown," Kitchens said.
Kyle Strickler, from Mooresville, N.C., passed Wellsburg's Corey Conley on the third lap, but could never catch the high-flying Kitchens.
Fairmont's Jared Hawkins was the big winner on the night when he took the checkered flag in the Super Late Model "Topless 35" to earn a cool $3,000.
Hawkins' triumph was the result of some bad luck on Eddie Carrier's behalf.
Carrier, the 'Salt Rock Rocket,' cruised away from the field, having built a very comfortable 25-car length edge only to have Hawkins start whittling away lap-by-lap. When Hawkins got to within two car lengths, Carrier's car couldn't handle the pressure and the engine blew with 18 laps remaining.
With four laps left, Donnie Moran pulled up to Hawkins' bumper, but couldn't find the hole to get around.
Jacobsburg teen Brian Baumberger didn't win his EDGE Crate Late Model feature, but he did finish respectfully in his debut on the track.
"It was pretty good. The track was really slick and it was tough to pass, but I was happy with my performance," the Union Local junior said. "The car is in one piece and I'm going home happy tonight. There's not much work to do on it for next week."
This was my first experience at dirt track racing, but I found it to be exciting, as well as very entertaining.
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