Monthly Archives: April 2015

Wertz Battles Back To Grab Podium Finish In The Denny Hamlin Showdown

#56 Mark Wertz6

Poquoson, VA – Better late than never is a saying that my mother always used to tell me growing up, and its something that I can relate to Mark Wertz’s performance at this years edition of the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown. Not to mention growing up I heard a lot of “never say never” or “don’t give up on something so easy.” Something that goes hand in hand with on of our awards we like to honor a hand-selected drive during our Touring Series events. The Weekly Racer Hard Charger Award is given to a driver who decided to not give up when the odds were not in their favor. Its given to the driver who gives it their all no matter what. A driver who essentially makes something out of nothing.

After running into some, well lets call it issues, during the first heat race, Mark Wertz was presented with the awesome job of starting shotgun on the field. Yup, that’s right Mark Wertz had to start thirty-sixth out of a thirty-six car field. Certainty not what he and his crew were expecting. During the test session the day before Wertz hung around the top ten all day in practice where more than thirty cars took time. “When we took off in that heat race there was a wreck in front of us that we just couldn’t miss,” Wertz told The Weekly Racer. “Luckily we were able to make the field and were able to make some adjustments when we could and when the green flag finally dropped the car was steadily moving forward.”

Come to find out the pitman arm ended up getting bent during after Wertz cars collided with the other. Not being able to change any hard parts on the car after qualifying the only other option was to adjust the toe to compensate. Wertz was able to steadily pick off positions while working his way to the lap 150 break where teams would be able to not only make more adjustments to the car, and change all four tires. “By half way we were like fifteenth or sixteenth just picking our battles,” Wertz said. “We just had to be patient and pick our battles and it worked out, we had a little luck and a lot of good things happen!”

With a little bit of luck and a whole lot of perseverance, Wertz was able to put himself in a position to be there in the end. After a few late race yellow flags, you could all but guarantee a top ten finish for Wertz until we had the big one! As the field was coming out of four to the checkered flag the leaders went wrecking. Wertz was able to work his way through the carnage and come home with a third place finish! “I saw a bunch of cars and a bunch of smoke but we were coming to the checkers,” Wertz told me. “I gassed her up and just tried to get through there, and here we are with a third place finish.”

After gaining thirty-three spots on the night in a field stacked with some of the best late model drivers, not to mention the cup drivers in attendance, you can see why Mark Wertz is the hands down winner of the Hard Charger. Wertz will be focusing on a track championship this year at Langley Speedway in Hampton, Virginia, with the occasional trip out of town to hunt for some trophies.

 

NASCAR Places Pulliam On Probation After Post Race Incident At South Boston

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NASCAR has now made it official, Lee Pulliam has been placed on probation through the end of this year, December 31, 2015 for his actions at the end of the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown at South Boston Speedway. Pulliam was cited as violating Section 12-4A: “Actions detrimental to stock car racing.” Hitting another Competitor’s car after the Race has concluded.

Pulliam was involved in a final turn, final lap crash off the nose of Josh Berry which ultimately took the driver of the #5 Kiker Tree services machine out of contention for the race. Berry, drove the daylights out of his machine into turn three and buried his nose into the left rear quarter panel of Pulliam. This sent Pulliam around, bottled up the rest of the field creating complete mayhem, allowed for Peters to lock down the win, and forced Pulliam to settle for a tenth place finish.

Josh Berry would later be penalized for aggressive driving and be placed at the end of the “running cars line” as NASCAR put it, long story short he was put back to the 17th spot. After the race was over and Pulliam did his 360 coming off of four he gassed his car back up and headed into turns one and two where he met the driver’s side door as the rest of the field was pulling down into pit road. Just when you thought it was over sources were telling us in the media booth that Pulliam & Berry were now involved in an out of car confrontation let’s call it.

Pulliam declined any interviews at the conclusion of the race but did take to social media to express his discontent with the driver of the 88 machine. Those posts have since been removed. This is not Pulliam’s first penalty of this magnitude either. Remember back to the end of the 2011 season where Pulliam got into it with acclaimed Late Model King Phillip Morris and was suspended indefinitely from NASCAR for the 2012 season. However, that penalty was since revoked and Pulliam would go on to win 20+ races along with a National Championship.

Peters Masters Denny Hamlin Showdown In Wild Finish

#17 Timothy Peters5

South Boston, VA – So I waited around on purpose to write this story on our trip to the 2015 Denny Hamlin Short Short Track Showdown. Waiting to see if NASCAR would make a statement or access any penalties to teams/drivers after what happened well after the checkered flag. With Tuesday is usually penalty day in our sport, but I have not seen any so the show must go on.

For the second year in a row the star-studded race was held at one of America’s premier short track on the east coast if not in the country, South Boston Speedway. Just over 40 Late Model drivers took the trip for the 8th annual charity race raising money for cystic fibrosis. Charity race or not, this was no walk in the park boy let me tell ya what!

Throughout the heat of the day William Byron – coming off of a K&N Pro Series East win at Greenville Pickens – kept his #91 Liberty University machine at the top of the speed charts beating out names like Denny Hamlin, Timothy Peters, Lee Pulliam! Not saying those names were not fast in practice, every one of those drivers posted a time at least in the top ten between first and second practice.

Byron was able to carry some of that speed over during the euro style qualifying session has he posted the third fastest time behind the likes of Timothy Peters (15.752 – 91.417 MPH) and Denny Hamlin. Josh Berry & Peyton Sellers would round out the most meaningless top five ever as the heat races were what set your starting position for the feature. I know I’m just the little guy here but I feel the front two positions, if you are going to run qualifying races, should be locked in on time, they deserve it! Peters, Sellers and Thaxton (all SoBo regulars if I may point out) won their heat races, which granted them the right to the top three starting positions. William Byron would start ninth while Josh Berry rolled off thirty-third, after running into issues with Lee Pulliam in their heat race.

It did not take long for things to heat up on the track, shoot things got pretty wild in the heat races to set the feature. What do you expect though when you have some of the best driver on the east coast, all going after $10,000 and a trophy presented to you by Denny Hamlin… I would expect things to get pretty crazy.

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Driver Series S02E05: Peyton Ferree Working To Make It To The Top

PF3Peyton Ferree
Born: May 8, 2004 (10)
Fredericksburg, VA
Hometown: Fredericksburg, VA
Education: 5th grade (Conway Elementary School)

Sponsors: Jones Utilities, Sprelly, Bugsy’s Auto Body, Warren Edwards and Son Heating and Air, Xtreamclean Washes, Ultra Lube, K1 Racegear, Amsoil East Coast Synthetics Affiliate Racer.

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This week we try something new to the table here at The Weekly Racer. Now before you go and say “you guys bring a new driver to the table every week, duh!” Which my reply to you would be, “that is correct!” This time we are bringing in a new division, for the first time we are featuring a driver from the INEX Bandolero division. An excellent developmental series for young kids to get the feel of being in a full body machine on larger tracks.

We had some time to chat with a young man who has just started his climb up the racks of the racing world. Peyton got his first taste of speed at the age of seven competing in a cross-country dirt bike race at Actiontown MX Park in Dillwyn, Virginia. From that point Peyton was hooked only thing was he wanted to follow in his grandfathers footsteps racing circle tracks. Peyton asked his parents at the age of eight to sell his dirt bike so they could by a go-kart, needless to say they obliged.

Ferree ran his very first kart race at King George Speedway, located in King George, Virginia. Having a solid year Ferree finished second in his class in points. The team made the decision to go from asphalt to dirt the next year running one of the most competitive dirt tracks in the region, Capital City Speedway in Richmond, Virginia and grabbing five points win along with the big money race at the end of the season. 2014 was the year for Peyton however; he was crowned the 2014 Jr Sportsman Champ track champion notching another five wins.

Some other pretty notable finishes for Peyton, 1 VDK State race win, finished second there in state points. Two poles along with two victories and a fourth place finish at the first race of the Rocky Top Summer Series in Tennesse.

2015 will be a big change for Peyton while he transitions back to asphalt but also getting used to a more power, full body machine. You can expect to see Peyton running select races at Southside, Shenanadoah, and Lagnley Speedway this year. The ultimate plan is to just work there way up through the ranks allowing Peyton to learn as much as possible and one day being able to take on the guys and gals of the NWAAS Late Model series with the ultimate dream of one day making it onto the NASCAR circuit.

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What is your favorite class/subject in school?

Math, only if recess is not an option. 

I feel like recess is a perfect option. I think I would have picked naptime; boy do I sure miss naptime now. So what do you tell your teachers or parents you want to be when you grow up?

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2015 Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown: Who To Watch For

 

Photo: South Boston Speedway Facebook

Photo: South Boston Speedway Facebook

South Boston Speedway has yet again been chosen to host the 2015 edition of the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown. Which by now all of you reading this already have a pretty good understanding what the showdown is all about, and who all has been invited. If you don’t well here is a very brief run down of what it is; a fundraising race for the Denny Hamlin Foundation and its research for cystic fibroses. If your not to sure on who has at least been invited you can find a list below, you may also follow this link, Click Here, to see who was fastest in the open test held yesterday.

Grandstands are set to open at 10 AM with the first of three practice sessions rolling off at 11 AM. Thirty-seven cars took to the track today to lay some laps down in preparation for this evening’s race. Timothy Peters was the fastest car through out the day, which really is no surprise, Peters already has one win this season at South Boston along with plenty more in the past. For those fans wanting to join in the festivities, like mentioned above grandstands will open bright and early at 10 AM. Practice will start at 11 AM, qualifying to begin around 5:20 PM, drop of the green flag approximately 7:30 PM EDT.

Can’t make it out to the race? Don’t worry we have you covered here at The Weekly Racer. We invite you to follow along on our Twitter page (@theweeklyracer) for LIVE up to the minute updates from pit road and on the track, presented by Rhonnda Claiborne Relators! We will begin over coverage approximately around 5:00 PM through qualifying as well as the feature event!

The Weekly Racer’s “Who To Watch For” Drivers;

5. Matt Bowling:

Won the 2014 showdown after running down Matt Waltz in the closing laps to claim the victory. Though not showing all that much speed yesterday in practice, Bowling calls South Boston home for his weekly racing. Bowling who has been off to a great start this year has actually already claimed one victory here at South Boston in 2015. You can believe he will be looking to not only make it back-to-back victories at SoBo, but also take the Denny Hamlin Showdown trophy home for the second year in a row.

4. Peyton Sellers:

2014 was a great year for Peyton Sellers in the #99 machine as he was able to wrap up his second LMSC division title at none other than South Boston Speedway. One could argue that Sellers could be the Xfinity representative this weekend during the showdown after he has run in a few races on the Xfinity circuit. Look for Sellers to run a very smart race and be there at the end at a track he is very familiar and comfortable with.

3. Chase Elliot:

No stranger to short track racing or victory lane, Chase Elliot will have some of the best equipment under him while he pilots his way around South Boston Speedway. Last years Xfinity champion will be running a car for the Lee Pulliam stables. Finding himself around the middle of the speed charts in yesterdays practice tells me he was just getting a feel for the car. You can all but guarantee he and his team will find some extra speed later today in practice. Am I calling for a NASCAR guest to take home the trophy? Not so much, but if one does this is who I would put my money on to do it.

2. Timothy Peters:

Fastest in the open test yesterday was #17 of Timothy Peters. Who will be representing the Camping World Truck Series Thursday night during the showdown. Peters, who has run in select races in the truck series has his fair share of wins on the four-tenths mile. Not to mention he already has one victory this season during South Bostons opening night. Look for Peters to hang around the front of the pack all night and being a major contender at the end.

1. Lee Pulliam:

There is no doubt in anyone’s mind in the short track community that when Lee Pulliam rolls through town he is an instant contender. He has shown that numerous times already (2nd place finish in 2014 at Greenville Pickens in first appearance and most recent, two 2nd place finish at Langley Speedway in first appearance). Pulliam, much like Sellers and Peters have had their fair share of time in victory lane here at South Boston and I am predicting Pulliam will find the needed speed this after noon to make his #5 Kiker Motorsports machine a factor at the end of the race.

 

TWR Sleeper Picks: Presented by King Charles Photography

Matt Waltz:

Coming off such an incredible 2014 where it was hard to keep the #2 out of victory lane at Langley Speedway, however, that has not been the story as of late for Matt Waltz and his crew. Granted the first two races of 2015 were in a different car, running a different series, with a whole new set of rules, Waltz Racing has found themselves struggling. Matt Waltz will finally climb back into “ole faithful” for the lack of better terms, with just one thing in mind… Victory Lane! Waltz lead all but the last 5 laps in 2014 so there is no denying he knows his way around the speedway.

C.E. Faulk:

No stranger to victory lane is the #40 of Faulk. It is also very apparent that time away from the seat means nothing to this driver. Faulk took most of the 2014 season off, running in only a few select races; mostly the higher “market” races if you will was able to battle not only the weather but also 37 other drivers to win the very rain delayed Hampton Heat. Faulk may spend most of his days now out of sight, but you better not keep him out of mind because he is a sure fire threat to be there at the end of this one.

Tyler Ankrum:

I know we have talked about this young man a lot so far this year and that is for good reason – the boy is a wheelman! Coming off a very disappointing weekend at Orange County Speedway where a car ran into him under yellow and ending his night. After seeing this young man come back from adversity, run down seasoned veterans at a track he has never been to, and know the determination this driver has, makes him an instant threat at any track they pull into.

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2015 Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown Invitees:

#00 Brian Pembelton
#01 GR Waldrop
#02 Matt Waltz
#03 Brenden Queen
#04 Bugs Harfield
#06 Davin Scites*
#08 Deac McCaskill*
#1 Lin O’Neill
#1 Burt Myers*
#2 Myatt Snider
#2 Paige Decker*
#3 Thomas Scott*
#4 Sergio Pena*
#4 Adam Resnick
#5 Lee Pulliam
#6 Bobby McCarty*
#6 Devon Amos*
#7 Dude Gibbs
#7 Michael Maresca*
#8 Josh Oakley*
#8 David Garbo
#10 Kelly Kingery*
#11 Nick Smith
#11 Andy Seuss*
#12 Austin Thaxton
#12 Garrett Campbell
#12 Ryan Wilson*
#12 Trey Gibson
#15 Dennis Holdren*
#15 Kres VanDyke*
#16 Dustin Storm
#16 Ryan Preece*
#17 Stacy Puyear
#18 Quinn Houff
#19 Chad Finchum
#20 Sam Yarborough*
#20 Gray Gaulding*
#22 Ryan Stiltner*
#23 Payton Ryan
#26 Danny Edwards, Jr.*
#26 Phillip Morris*
#27 Tommy Lemons,Jr.*
#28 George Brunnhoelzl III*
#29 Casey Wyatt*
#29 Brandon Butler
#31 Kaz Grala*
#34 Dylan Smith
#36 Anthony Anders*
#38 Duane Schreeves*
#40 CE Falk
#41 Brayton Haws
#44 Dillon Bassett*
#44 Justin Johnson*
#46 Brandon Gdovic*
#51 Dalton Sargeant
#55 Mark Wertz
#57 Eddie Johnson
#58 Tyler Ankrum
#69 Andrew Thomas*
#71 Stephen Berry
#72 Brad Eddy
#73 Bruce Anderson
#77 Blake Stallings
#77 Conner Hall*
#80 Anderson Bowen*
#83 Matt Bowling
#88 Dustin Rumley
#88 Keith Rocco*
#90 Terry Carroll
#91 Justin Carroll
#97 Greg Edwards*
#98 BJ Mackey
#99 Peyton Sellers

Haley Moody Hopes to Win Race Honoring Her Father at SNMP

Haley  Moody displays a poster of Jamey Caudill's championship winning car and team, a car owned by her father Jerry Moody. (Southern National Motorsports Park photo)

Haley Moody displays a poster of Jamey Caudill’s championship winning car and team, a car owned by her father Jerry Moody. (Southern National Motorsports Park photo)

LUCAMA, NC – Jerry Moody, who is being honored at Southern National Motorsports Park in Lucama, North Carolina on Sunday, touched a lot of lives, none more so than Haley Moody.

Haley Moody, 20, from Kinston, North Carolina, is the daughter of the late Jerry Moody, who passed away on November 24, 2013.  For Haley, a win in Sunday’s race would mean the world.  Last season, she won the Limited Late Model division championship at Southern National Motorsports Park – a track her father won many races and championships at as a car owner.

“I think it’s pretty cool that they have it here because this is where he started and everybody that has ran his car has ran here,” Moody said.  “I basically started here myself and I won the championship last year and it’s pretty cool.  He would love it.  I’m pretty sure that he’s going to be looking down and be happy and I think he’ll be excited.  I really want to win that race.”

Despite the loss of her father, Moody raced into the pages of history in 2014.  Her championship was the first of any kind for a female Late Model racer in the region where NASCAR Late Model Stock Car racing is most predominant.  Along with that, Moody also won the NASCAR Diverse Driver Award which she accepted at the Daytona International Speedway on February 20, 2015.

“I’m pretty sure he was pretty excited looking down,” Moody stated when asked how her father would feel about her on-track accomplishments.  “That’s all he wanted me to do was do good and I’m pretty sure that’s a big accomplishment for him and for me.”

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Brandon Gdovic to Drive Richmond for Viva Following Impressive Xfinity Debut

China Grove, NC – Brandon Gdovic is going home! Following his successful debut at Texas Motor Speedway, Yorktown, Virginia based driver Brandon Gdovic has been signed by Viva Motorsports to drive the No. 55 WindStax™ Wind Power Systems Chevrolet Camaro in the NASCAR Xfinity Series ToyotaCare 250 at Richmond International Raceway on Friday, April 24th. Gdovic has a high comfort level at his home track, having a number of strong finishes in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, including a 2nd in 2013. With a race in the Xfinity series under his belt with Viva Motorsports, Brandon has a better understanding of what to expect from the team and the car, but this time on a track he’s familiar with.

4915_texas1771tkp“I’m very thankful that Viva Motorsports is bringing me back for Richmond. Being able to race on a track I’m familiar with, and to do it in front of friends and family is something I’ve looked forward to for a long time.” Gdovic continues, “Having the experience to carry over from Texas will go a long way, especially on my home track. Richmond places a lot of demands on the driver, and I’m looking forward to delivering for Viva Motorsports and WindStax™ Wind Power Systems. Thank you to everyone involved for the opportunity, my goal this weekend is a clean race and a Top-20 finish!”

Friday will be very long for all the Xfinity Series drivers, encompassing practice, qualifying, and the race in one day. The NASCAR Xfinity Series ToyotaCare 250 at Richmond International Raceway kicks off Friday, April 24th with Final Practice at 8:15 am EST. Qualifying will take place at 3:45 pm EST with live coverage on Fox Sports 1. The green flag will drop for the race at 7:30 pm EST, also carried live on Fox Sports 1.

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