Rusty Daniels & Louis White Split Twin Bill At East Carolina In Wild Late Model Twin
Robersonville, VA – With a few weeks off to make some needed track repairs racing was back underway this weekend at East Carolina with 8 races in 6 divisions. Late Models – the featured divisions of the night would take to the track in two fifty-lap features that would see some great racing as well as some tempers flaring! Thomas Burbage was the fastest man in qualifying time trials earlier in the evening with a time of 15.585 seconds or 81.399 MPH! Giving him the honor to bring the field to the green at the start of the first race.
Burbage tried wasting no time at the drop of the green flag to put some distance between he and the rest of the pack. Burbage had something going for him early but Daniels was able to work past by Louis much sooner than Burbage would have liked and capture the lead on lap 9. Leaving the wide door open Jeff Shiflett took the chance while he could and advanced to the second position.
Shiflett, now running in the second position, gave race leader Rusty Daniels a good run for his money for a few laps but would eventually peak and gain no more ground. Behind them were some pretty impressive battles though – Tyler Matthews had some good moves to work his way around the #51 of Taylor Howard and into the fifth spot. Louis White would also work on the rear bumper of Burbage for a lap before taking the third position away.
The yellow flag was only displayed once in the race for a pre-planned competition caution. With laps not counting a couple drivers would take the chance to hit pit road and make some much-needed adjustments for the final twenty laps.
With the green flag back in the air Rusty Daniels hit the go fast pedal and hit it hard! Within three laps Daniels had already built a five-car lead leaving Shiflett to try and fight of White, which ultimately wouldn’t work out and Shiflett be regulated to third. Bobby Gower, in probably one of the best-looking cars of the night, was able to fight back through the field after his lap 30 pit stop to finish fifth.
With East Carolina electing not to go with the invert race number two picked up right where race one left off. Rusty Daniels by the virtue of the win would start on the pole, White, Shiflett, Burbage, and Gower all lined up behind him. Getting back to the action with the final 50-laps on deck flagman Terry Bullock displayed the green to the field and they were off like a pack of hungry animals!
Daniels looking to go two-for-two on the night jumped out to an early lead but Louis White was not going to let him get to far out of his sights this time. Just three laps is all White needed to catch and pass the machine of Daniels. Not going down without a fight, Daniels able to hang with White at his door, Shiflett in the cat bird seat waiting to see what happens. A little bump from Shiflett to Daniels is what happened sending Daniels around out of two placing the field under the yellow for the first time in the second race. I will have to give Mr. Daniels a tip of the hat for looping that car, keeping it off the wall, off other cars and kepping her going right to the attention of his crew.
With the track clear, Shiflett now up to second, and Daniels rejoining the field at the tail end, we were back to green flag racing.
White had a huge restart, not sure if he caught Shiflett sleeping or just timed it out perfect either way White was gone, Shiflett was left to play catch up and a three way battle for the third spot between Gower, Howard and Burbage was heating up like a mid-August morning! And what happens after you have one caution and a bunch of guys fighting for the same spot? That’s right. More cautions!
The 51 of Taylor Howard gets into the back of Gower, does back off to let him try and collect it, but does send him around down the back stretch. With no damage or debris the lights were off on the caution car pretty quick and we were ready for some more green flag racing!
White, as the control car has the option to restart in the confines of East Carolina’s restart box, took the field to a very slow crawl through three and four. White finally decides to get her going but points leader Jeff Shiftlett said “I know how to play this game too” and hangs tough with White down the stretch. It wasn’t till out of turn two White took off creating at least a five car gap. His efforts would be halted on lap nine – Daniels off the pace and coming to a stop in turn two. He was able to drive the car back to the garage but a broken spindle would take him out of the race.
Things would string out and settle down with a few battles for positions deeper in the field until lap that is when the yellow flag was displayed yet again for the second competition caution. Only two drivers took the time to peel of the racing surface and get some adjustments and that was Tyler Matthews & Bobby Gower. Other than that it was a quickie caution and back to what would pan out to be one hell of a race and some pretty interesting tempers.
The next twenty laps was like watching a high speed battle royal on the WWE network between race leader Louis White and second place man Taylor Howard. Now, I am going to go out there and tell you that I saw absolutely nothing wrong with either move from either driver… while under the green flag! I can tell you what if you were not in Robersonville this past Saturday night you missed what short track racing was all about, well for the most part!
White and Howard spent the next twenty laps running each other like it was going to decide the championship! Both drivers giving nudges on corner exit, driving in a little deep on corner entry to see if they can’t make the man up front mess up, both had their shot at the lead and both adjusted their lines to take away the bottom. Both drivers with their cars sideways coming off either corner!
Howard would set up one hell of a run through three and four coming to lap 41 and peak his nose under the #7 machine down the front stretch and hold it there through one – mind you for the last several laps to us it looked like White was really having a hard time getting off of two so we thought this was going to be Howards shot – as the two came out of the dip both cars broke loose at the same time! White able to gather his back up however Howard would end up spinning down to the inside retaining wall. From where we were it looked like he was able to keep it off the wall though.
What kept him from finishing the race though was his temper. After the crew gave the car a good look over and sent him back out Howard made a B-Line for the front. Pulls up next to White then moves his car in front of White forcing Louis to move towards the outside wall and eventually come to a stop, causing everyone behind him to jam on the breaks and almost tear up some front ends. The race director would ultimately call for Howards return to his garage area and to kindly exit his machine because he was done for the evening.
Only one more caution would fly with a wreck in four where everyone was able to continue it wasn’t enough to keep Louis out of victory lane! Jeff Shiflett, Kenneth Mercer, Thomas Burbage, and Tyler Matthews would round out the top five.
“Car was real tight in the first race,” Louis told us during post-race. “We moved the track bar from where we usually run it and it was just real tight. Ended up moving the front tires to the back and putting the track bar to where we usually have it, she was still a little tight but I just correct that with a lot of rear break. Helps the car turn.”
White went on to talk about what happened with him and Howard there towards the end of the race. “He just run half the first race or something like that so he had a lot fresher tires.” White said. “He was fast! You know Taylor is a good friend of mine, I think a lot of Taylor I guess he was just upset. We have race close before, Im not for wrecking Taylor, we have raced good before.” White went on to say he [Howard got by him after he pushed up in the corner and the next time he was real loose so he got back by him but wast really sure what happened after that. “He was behind me, I felt a little bump, and I saw the caution come out and he spun.”
Caught up with Rusty Daniels who was very impressed with the car in the first race. “The car was great there in the first race,“ Daniels said. “It was just as good in the second race if we didn’t get taken out.” Daniels also spoke about the plans for running for that NASCAR state title but was a little dejected at this past weekend’s efforts.
East Carolina will be back in two weeks on August 22 for what I am going to call Twin Night! Twin Late Models, Twin Modifieds, and Twin UCARS. Street Stock, Mini Stock and Legends will all be back in action as well. For more information on the races and/or tickets visit them on Facebook or check outecspeedway.com
P1 #16 Rusty Daniels
P2 #7 Louis White
P3 #01 Jeff Shiflett
P4 #9 Thomas Burbage
P5 #5 Bobby Gower
P6 #63 Tyler Matthews
P7 #12 Wesley Johnson
P8 #24 Kenneth Mercer
P9 #99 Zach Henshaw
P10 #51 Taylor Howard
P1 #7 Louis White
P2 #01 Jeff Shiflett
P3 #24 Kenneth Mercer
P4 #9 Thomas Burbage
P5 #63 Tyler Matthews
P6 #12 Wesley Johnson
P7 #99 Zach Henshaw
P8 #51 Taylor Howard
P9 #5 Bobby Gower
P10 #16 Rusty Daniels