Recording Setting Crowd on Hand for Opening Night: Round 2 in Robersonville
Robersonville, NC – A record setting number of fans piled into the wooden bleachers this past weekend down in Robersonville, North Carolina to watch a second attempt at an Opening Night. The fans were not the only ones trying to cram their way into the high banked 3/8-mile D-shape oval, haulers were lined up from the sign in window down to the highway. Finding a spot to park your rig and unload the car at one point was turning into a team effort. Wondering where your going to park the next racecar… a problem no track wouldn’t mind having.
Late Models were not the only divisions to get things “popping” in Robersonville USA – Street Stocks, Mini Stocks, UCAR, Bando’s, and the very elegant Southern Ground Pounders (SGP) were all chomping at the bit to get things kicked off for the 2015 season – SGP are a separate racing club governed by their own rules and schedule.
Southern Ground Pounders
Speaking of the SGP guys, if you are a old school, vintage car nut, then you need to track these guys down and visit one of their races! They had everything from a primer color Chevrolet Bel Air down to a Ford Pinto racing. No not some old car taken off the street, these are big engine, purpose built racecars! Ten cars were able to make the green flag, though not all ten were there at the end.
Pole sitter Rodney Dye not able to make it two laps before his motor expired and sending him into the inside retraining wall. Beat the car up pretty bad but driver was able to walk away with no issues. Once the field was allowed to go back to green flag racing is was all the Jimmy Rice show – with the exception of almost going three wide in turn two & a car with no practice almost running the leader down – Rice would go on to take the victory.
Just about twenty UCARs were on hand for their two 20-lap features and these boys never seem to disappoint. I would like to point out on thing, and I know different tracks have different rules on what type of car is allowed, but this is the first time I had ever seen a Civic Si turned into a UCAR. Now after seeing it, and what “it” and a driver can do with “it,” I have a strange feeling more and more people will be building one of these bad boys. Tyler Horne and his Toyota Celica – who has already said he is going to try and run for a championship this year at both SNMP & ECMS – was about the only car who had anything to show for Lynn Waller, driver of that #5 Civic Si.
Waller grabbed the pole earlier in the afternoon during group qualifying but lost the lead early to Horne – I am going to attribute that to lake of track time. Horne was able to hold the top spot for nine solid laps before the power of that K20 motor really started to kick. Once Waller got around the 28 it was all she wrote for race number one. Waller would power through to victory lane picking up his first trophy. Horne, Pitman, Jones, Horner would round out your top five in race one.
A five-car invert put ended up putting Lee Horner on the pole for the start of the second race. When the green flag was displayed not sure if it was a bad start or just a tad bit lack of power but Horner would surrender the lead pretty quickly to the #4 of “Buckshot” Jones, who would clear the field by a car and a half out of two. It only took Tyler Horne five laps to move up through the field and take the top spot while the #5 of Waller was a little slower through the field.
Things were looking just peachy keen for the 28 car as lap traffic helped him put some distance on the 5, however, all of those hopes and dreams came crashing down… no literally, on lap 13 when two cars got together and went around bringing out the nights only caution.
On the restart, because East Carolina has not adapted the cone rule just yet, Horne and Waller would start heads up for a seven-lap dash to the finish! Horne able to keep Waller at bay through one and two as they clear the field but an excellent cross over executed in turn four let Waller take the lead and he never looked back, except for in victory lane thank Tyler Horne for a fun and clean race.
Travis Roberson back in 2015 with what looked to be a new car, well at least a new paint job, to grab the pole for the evening. Looked like he was out to grab more than just the pole – he was out for blood! When the green flag dropped so did his right foot, it did not take him long to distance his #3 machine from the rest of the field.
We were only faced with one caution during the thirty lap feature, that was for the #18 of Benny Oakley who looked to have broken something in the right front because he sat in turn three up against the guard rail dead in the water. A quick and easy clean up though allowed for racing to continue and Roberson to go head and build another big lead. Best battle, or move, or progression on the track was from the #38 of Chris Connor who charged through the field grabbing a top five before everything was said and done. Benton, Council, Christman, would also make up your top five finishers.
Blaise Brinkley would go on and grab the victory in the Bando division after some pretty interesting racing. Andy Ipock would go on to put a hurting on the field in the Mini Stock division to grab the first victory of the season, putting his name at the top of the championship standings. East Carolina Motor Speedway will be back in action Saturday May 16th Late Models on tap for a 75-lap feature along with the Modifieds for their 20-lap twin bill. Street Stocks, Mini Stocks and UCARS are all set to hit the track for more Saturday night racing action!