After a long off-season, the Friday, April 5 opening night of the 2019 season for Hilltop has arrived and included some spectacular side-by-side racing with the Dirt Car Renegades of Dirt Modified Touring Series making their first appearance at the Hill since 2013.
Making Hilltop the second stop on their 15-race tour season, the Renegades of Dirt Modifieds featured a 36-car field set to do battle for the title of King of the Hill. Setting overall fast time was Mooresville, North Carolina’s Nick Hoffman with a time of 15.117, who also would go on to pick up the win in heat race one. Heat race two went to “Kamikaze Kid” Tyler Carpenter, third heat to Travis Dickson and the final heat to Chris Basich. With two last chance races, wins went to DJ Cline and Brayden Berry.
After redrawing, the field of 22 Renegades were set to battle it out for the $2,000 to win King of the Hill title. Bringing the field to the green was Basich and Dickson, where Dickson would take the early lead over the field. As the laps passed, the top five would battle for positions, Basich working the bumper of Dickson while “The Hitman” Jess Hartman would make his move on the high side around Basich with six laps down. With nine laps in the books, Dickson would begin to work his way through lap traffic as a three-way battle for third would ensue between Basich, Rick Aukland and ninth-place starter Mike Altobelli. On lap 17 Altobelli would drive around Hartman to claim second and on the bumper of Dickson. As the battle between the front runners heated up, caution would come out with a mere 10 to go. With the racing back under way, Altobelli would get the run down the backstretch to take the lead from Dickson. Aukland, who also would have a good restart, pressured Dickson, claiming second and setting his sights on Altobelli. However, after multiple cautions took out a number of front runners, the green would once again come out with four to go. Altobelli would remain out front, defending his position from challenger Aukland. Successfully doing so as the checkered flag dropped, picking up the title of King of the Hill, was Altobelli, celebrating in victory lane. Rounding out the top five was Aukland, Richard Michael, Jr, Seth Daniels and Kyle Moore.
Along with Rigz Towing, Snyder Hot Shot Truck and Trailer came on board to co-sponsor the modlite division, which had a field of 19 for opening night. Heat race winners were “Toboso Bullet” Jimmy Smith and Braden Tucke, setting the front row for the night’s 15-lap feature event. With the drop of the green, Smith would jump out over the field in dominating fashion, leading green to checker, picking up the feature win, followed by Chris Robinson, Tanner McLoughlin, Shawn Marin and Clint Snyder.
Rolling out with a field of eight, the Holmes Tire late models would see the “Kamikaze Kid” Tyler Carpenter setting fast time with a 13.622 as well as picking up the only heat race win. Bringing the field to the green, the battle for the lead ensued between Carpenter and “Flyin” Ryan Markham. Side by side off turn four, Carpenter would take the early lead. Battling back, Markham would pressure Carpenter, taking the lead four laps down with a difference of 0.019 second between them. Back and fourth the two swapped leads, slicing through lap traffic with Markham gaining the lead on lap 16 as caution would come out. After single-file restart, Markham would again retain the lead as Carpenter would pressure from second. Unfortunately trouble for Carpenter off four would cause him to fall back to third and allow Markham to pull away. Putting a straight away between himself and second DJ Troutman, Markham would park it in victory lane, followed by Troutman, Carpenter, Drew Wilkerson and Todd Brennan.
The Holmes Pest Control Street Stocks featured a field of 11 with heat wins going to Michael Amick and Bob Daugherty. With the field set, Amick and Daugherty would battle side by side off turn two with Daugherty ultimately claiming the lead with one lap down. As the laps dwindled, Daugherty would maintain his position at the front of the field, putting nearly a half straight away between himself and Amick. Coming to the white flag, caution would come out, setting up a green checkered finish. With a single file to the restart, Daugherty would again jump out front, and that is where he would remain, picking up the first feature win of the season. Second went to Michael Amick, third David Potts, fourth Kevin Potts and fifth Tyler Nicely.
Another new sponsor stepping up this year is Newfast Motorsports with a field of 22 in the mini stock division. Heat race winners Brad Hensel and Billy Parsons set the front row for the night’s feature event. Taking the green, Hensel would take the early lead as Parsons would pressure from second. Meanwhile, Blaine Markey, Wes Staley and Corey Staley would battle for top five. Unfortunately troubles for third-place Markey would bring out the caution, bunching the field up for the restart. Back under green, Hensel would again retain the top spot, and that is where he would remain, fending off Parsons to claim the win. Third went to Wes Staley, followed by Corey Staley and Wyatt Zimmerman.