Monthly Archives: May 2016

Brenden Queen & Louis White Split Twin Bill in a Thriller at East Carolina

_PanoRobersonville, NC – Racing returned to the high banks of East Carolina Motor Speedway this weekend for a pair of Late Model Stock twin races for the Lets Find a Cure 200. Thomas Burbage entered the evening coming off a victory the last time out as well as the point’s leader. Sixteen Late Model Stocks, plus two start and parks, were in attendance for East Carolina’s first full field, points paying race since running under the NASCAR banner.

The field for race number was set by your traditional single car-qualifying format. Of course the field for the second race would be determined by the finishing order from the first. A six-car invert was scratched from the agenda after drivers expressed concern with such few laps being run in each race. One of the tightest Late Model fields of the year, outside of the Ronnie Barnett Memorial race, with the top ten being separated by just about two-hundredths of a second. Brenden Queen was able to lay down the fastest lap of the afternoon with a 15.482 second lap to win his second ever career pole. Thomas Burbage, Rusty Daniels, Kenneth Mercer, and Tyler Matthews would make up the rest of the starting five.

It did take quite a few laps to get things started after Tyler Matthews crew was lobbying to officials they were the second fastest qualifier, siting a popular scoring app showed him running a time that was second fastest. As I use this app rather frequently to see times, running orders, and drivers names, I must say there is a disclaimer at the bottom of every screen that says the timing and scoring being displayed is not official. Luckily for Matthews and his crew they dropped back to where he was supposed to be so he could be scored in the first race.

 

Race 1

Thomas Burbage got the start of his life and immediately jumped out in front of Queen to take the lead. Phil Warren, Queen’s crew chief, tried arguing to the officials that Burbabge jumped the start as he did beat the leader to the line. Race control called the start good; it was on from there. It was quite easy to see early that Burbage and Queen were going to be the cars to beat as they opened up an easy ten car lead over third place.

Racing nose to tail was just what the rest of the field wants to see. The more those two put pressure on each other, the easier it is to catch up. In addition, just in front of the leaders, about halfway through the race, Evan Horne fell off the pace but was able to get the car down to the apron, out of the way of the leaders and off the track.

The top five stayed pretty consistent throughout the first twenty laps with some good racing throughout sixth through tenth. Things looked to be calming down as laps ticked down. With just ten to go, every position looked to be separated by about two cars each when leaders started to approach the slower machine of Cameron Bowen. Bowen would yield the low line into three allowing the leaders to get by pretty smoothly from our vantage point.

It was about five to go, Burbage still leading Queen, started to light up the front break rotors. We later found out that the car had started to get tight and Burbage had to start using the break to get the car turned. The battle was on with just three laps to go! In typical short track fashion Queen put the bumper to Burbage, moved him up the track and took the lead with two laps to go. The following lap Burbage returned the favor, once in turns one and two, and then again in turns three and four. Both cars jacked up and sideways coming off four and it was a drag race to the stripe.

Queen and Burbage were able to keep the cars straights and would finish first and second respectfully, Tyler Matthews drove back to a third place finish followed by Rusty Daniels and Kenneth Mercer would round out the top five.

Brenden Queen victorious in first Late Model Stock Feature. (Justin Kern/TheWeeklyRacer.com)

Brenden Queen victorious in first Late Model Stock Feature. (Justin Kern/TheWeeklyRacer.com)

 

Race 2

The starting order for race two was of course set by the finishing order of race number one. With no invert, this left Brenden Queen & Thomas Burbage, who just had the battle of season, and an interesting conversation on the front stretch during podium celebrations, to pick up where they left off. It was a repeat start from race one.

Burbage getting the better jump again and was able to get by Queen again to take the lead before diving into turn one. Race control paying extra close attention to this start, after complaints from race number one that Burbage jumped the start, called it a good start and we were green flag racing. While the top two again started to check out on the field a great battle between Matthews and White started to heat up. White, who had pretty dormant in race one, was really turning up the heat and making passes where they count. Do want to point out that it was either the break in the action or the changes made to the car in the break but Matthews was going the wrong way and fast.

Certainly didn’t take long for things to get interesting up front. We found Queen and Burbage battling hard for the top spot. The two would make contact entering turn one sending Burbage up and around. Tyler Matthews, Kenneth Mercer, Melvin Langley looked like they all got a piece of the action. One of the longer caution periods of the night to clean up the carnage in two and review footage of the incident going in one. After East Carolina officials were able to take a look at the video it was deemed that Queen would keep his position on the speedway. “After taking a look at two separate videos it just looked like a racing incident,” Race Director Dalford Briley said after the race. “Nothing was intentional which is why we let Brenden keep his position.”

Back to green flag racing with Queen and White battling for the top spot. The two sail it down into turn one, touch a little bit but were able to keep things going. The contact upset Louis’ car just a bit. White was able together things back up and not only track the leader back down but also make the pass for the lead on lap twelve.

Thomas Marks, making his first career starts in a Late Model Stock Car, had to be the biggest mover of the race fighting his way back from a break issue in race one up to a second place finish. In the last ten laps Marks was able to drive his way all the way from outside the top five all the way up to second. Meanwhile Louis White had opened up a solid ten-car lead over the field. Queen would hang onto the third spot for this second podium of the night, Michael Fose and Rusty Daniels rounded out the top five.

We caught up with Louis after his victory to talk about both races; we also asked if that was his plan to ride in race one to save tires. “When we got here tonight we had a fast car,” White said after his victory in race two. “It’s a brand new car, it’s only the third time we have run it and I haven’t quite got these bump stumps figured out. The driver had a better car than he qualified in. It was a pretty tight field so I ended up starting ninth. I saw the leaders sliding all over the place but from ninth its pretty hard to win a Late Model race in just 35 laps. I figured we would just pick off what we could there in first race and save my tires for the second one. We made a couple of adjustments there between races and the guys up front used up their tires and it worked out in our favor.”

Louis White Steals a Win at East Carolina in second Late Model Feature.

Louis White Steals a Win at East Carolina in second Late Model Feature.

We also caught up with Brenden Queen at the end of the evening. Queen certainly had one of the most interesting nights ultimately coming home with a win in race one and a third in race two. “You know it was a great night for the first time this car has been on the track since September,” Queen spoke after the race. “We set it on the pole but had to use the tires up in the first race after they let the nine get away with the start. We had to run pretty hard there to catch him [Burbage] and I have to be honest we did move him for the win but we were just rolling the center better. He tried to move us up the hill which I totally understand, its for the win and that’s what your supposed to do but we came out on top. Just gotta thank the man above and my parents and this crew for all the hard work.”

We also asked Queen about the events of the second race with a similar initial start and then the contact between the two as they were battling for the lead. Queen had this to say.

“The same thing happened there on the start and they let him get away with it after saying they were going to watch it more closely,” Queen mentioned. “We had a little bit better car than him and we got under him and rolling the center better again. That was the lowest I had seen him run the straightaway there and I was inside. I like Thomas, he is a great guy and all, but we just ran out of track. It was we get into the grass or stay on the pavement. I hate that he went around, especially after what happened in the first race. I don’t wanna come down here to tear up cars and certainly don’t want mine torn up. Louis just had better tires there and we couldn’t hold him off.

We also caught up with Burbage at the end of the night after working on the car to get back in the trailer after his lap nine spin to hear what happened from his point of view.

“I got a great start,” Burbage said about the first race. “Some argue that I jumped but it wasn’t ruled that way by the track. The car was really good for about ten laps but started to tighten up on me. I knew Brenden was good so I was trying save a little. I was getting good runs off of 4 but he was making up good time down in one and two. Towards the end of the race I think we had a four or five car length advantage on him but I got held up a little by his teammate and that enabled him to pull back up on my bumper.”

Of course we had to ask Burbage about the thrilling end of the first feature and what things looked from his windshield. To be perfectly honest, looks like both Queen and Brenden had somewhat equal views in the closing laps.

“With two to go I knew he was there because he put the bumper to me and was able to move me up the racetrack,” Burbage said. “That’s racing. I race people how they race me and I returned the favor going into one. I got him loose through the center and pushed up so I wasn’t able to capitalize on the move. I stayed tucked up under him and tried it again in three and four. Not once did I try to wreck him. I could have done that back in one. It was good hard racing I guess but his team surely didn’t see it that way. Since I’ve been home tonight I’ve played that race back over and over in my head trying to figure out what I would have done differently. It’s always disappointing to lose the race on the last lap.”

We also asked his view on what happened in the second race. Of course Burbage wasn’t the happiest but he did have this to say.

“Very frustrated with how things went,” Burbage told us. “I feel like I was dumbed in the second race and everyone I talked to said the same thing. Doesn’t look like I’ll make the next race tough. The car had a lot of left front damage. With my budget I don’t have spare parts to bolt on and it will probably take a while to get what I need from the chassis builder to replace them.”

East Carolina Motor Speedway will be back in action next weekend May 21st with Late Models, Street Stocks, UCAR, Bando’s, Legends, on top of Grand Stocks and Pro Six. Registration and Pit Gates open at 2:00 PM, Practice begins at 3:00 PM with green flag racing at 7:00 PM.

 

Race #1 Results:

P1. #03 Brenden Queen; 35
P2. #9 Thomas Burbage; 35
P3. # #63 Tyler Matthews; 35
P4. #16 Rusty Daniels; 35
P5. #25 Kenneth Mercer; 35
P6. #7 Louis White; 35
P7. #54 Michael Fose; 35
P8. #01 Jeff Shiflett; 35
P9. #12 Wesley Johnson; 35
P10. #88 Thomas Marks; 35
P11. #29 Melvin Langley; 35
P12. #77 Malik Koonce; 35
P13. #51 Doug Warren; 35
P14. #19b Cameron Bowen; 34
P15. #28 Tyler Horne; 23
P16. #6 Evan Horne; 15
P17. #29b Chet Christman; 2
P18 #03b Mike Queen; 1

Race #2 Results:

P1. #7 Louis White; 35
P2. #88 Thomas Marks; 35
P3. #03 Brenden Queen; 35
P4. #54 Michael Fose; 35
P5. #16 Rusty Daniels; 35
P6. #01 Jeff Shiflett; 35
P7. #12 Wesley Johnson; 35
P8. #77 Malik Koonce; 35
P9. #63 Tyler Matthews; 35
P10. #19b Cameron Bowen; 35
P11. #29 Chet Christman; 35
P12. #25 Kenneth Mercer; 13
P13. #9 Thomas Burbage; 9
P14. #51 Doug Warren; 9
P15. #6 Evan Horne; 2
P16. #03b Mike Queen; 1

Brenden Queen Grabs Second Career Pole of Late Model Career at East Carolina Motor Speedway

(📸: TheWeeklyRacer.com)

(📸: TheWeeklyRacer.com)

Robersonville, NC – Brenden “Butterbean” Queen, from Chesapeake Virginia, was fast all day in practice in the #03 Atlantic Plumbing machine, with the sun beaming on over the speedway. In one of the hottest days of the season Queen was able to carry that over into qualifying. Earning the honors of fast qualifier and the number one starting position in race number one tonight with a time of 15.482.

Thomas Burbage, your current points leader, was able to clock in second fastest followed by Rusty Daniels, Kenneth Mercer, and Tyler Matthews to round out the starting five. “The car felt good,” Queen said after qualifying. “I thought I may have messed up the lap that got the pole but it worked out.” The Late Model Stock division should have 18 cars roll off the starting grid this evening as they run fourth and sixth in tonight’s seven race feature.

“The plan is to try and conserve a little but go for the win,” Queen said about the twin features this evening. “Then we will go for it in the second race and try and come home with two wins.” We will have both 35-lap LMSC features LIVE on our Twitter feed – @theweeklyracer

 

Late Model Stock Starting Order

P1. #03 Brenden Queen
P2. #9 Thomas Burbage
P3. #16 Rusty Daniels
P4. #25 Kenneth Mercer
P5 #63 Tyler Matthews
P6. #54 Michael Fose
P7. #88 Thomas Marks
P8. #28 Tyler Horne
P9. #7 Louis White
P10. #51 Doug Warren
P11 #01 Jeff Shiflett
P12. #77 Malik Koonce
P13. #12 Wesley Johnson
P14. #29 Melvin Langley
P15. #19 Cameron Bowen
P16. Evan Horne – DNQ

Chris Dodson Rallies to Second Victory in a Row at Southside Speedway

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Dodson talking with Buck Reuss in victory lane Friday, May 13, 2016. (Justin Kern/TheWeeklyRacer.com)

Midlothian, VA ­– Mother Nature tried to play the spoiler this weekend dumping plenty of water over Southside Speedway just as practice got underway. Luckily, track drying operations only took about an hour and racing was underway just past eight o’clock. Chris Dodson, Southside Speedway track champ, set the fastest time earlier in the afternoon with a time of 14.643 second lap, or 81.868 MPH, around the .333 mile track. However, due to the pesky invert, Dodson drew a number two and would swap places with Brad Davis (14.723).

When it was time to drop the green flag, Davis held the advantage over Dodson running the low groove and would lead lap one. Dodson would hang out topside for just a couple laps before falling in line behind Davis and just in front of Fernandez. Some good racing just a few cars behind them for the top five spot. Raymond Pittman and Kyle Wood would battle door to door for just a couple laps before Kyle fell in line behind him to run in sixth, pretty sure looking to save some tires.

Almost had a bit of an interesting moment up front for the leaders approaching slower traffic. Dodson, who was not really battling for the lead, did get slowed up and lost some distance to the leader, but was able to regroup and reel Davis back in. It was just past halfway when lap traffic actually played in Dodson’s favor, using the slower car of Payne, Dodson was able to get around Brad Davis out of turn two. The lap car also helped Steve Zuskin, who had been running fourth behind Fernandez to catch the rear bumper of the #02. The two would battle door to door coming to the closing laps with Fernandez hanging onto the third spot by the checkered.

Once Dodson got into clean air it was about all she wrote for the final half of the race – building up to about a half straightaway lead. Brad Davis would cross the line second; Fernandez did a great job and was able to hold off Zuskin for third. Kyle Wood, who pulls double duty in the Modified division, was able to save enough tires to get around Pittman – bringing Sonny Allen with him – to grab the final top five spot.

“The car was good tonight,” Dodson said in victory lane. “I was quite content riding behind Davis there to be honest. I wasn’t going to hit him or anything, he is a great guy. I was just getting hot there and the car started to over heat so I had to get around him. The track was a little bit wet there and we got into once but were okay.” Because of Dodson’s second win in a row he will have to start at the rear of the field regardless of his qualifying position.

 

Late Model Stock OFFICIAL Results:

P1. #0 Chris Dodson; 40
P2. #18 Brad Davis; 40
P3. #02 Greg Fernandez; 40
P4. #71 Steve Zuskin; 40
P5. #19 Kyle Wood; 40
P6. #20 Sonny Allen; 40
P7. #50 Raymond Pittman III; 40
P8. #22 Grayson Cullather; 39
P9. #42 Mike Payne; 39
P10. #41 Doug Mundy; 38
P11. #5 Michelle Willingham; 38
P12. #89 Irving Cook; 37
P13. #67 Cole Walker; 15
P14 #99 Daniel Thomas; S&P

 

Sergio Pena Third Different Winner at the New Dominion Raceway

Sergio Pena Celebrates in Victory Lane at Dominion Raceway as the third different winner in 2016. (📸: Dominion Raceway)

Sergio Pena Celebrates in Victory Lane at Dominion Raceway as the third different winner in 2016. (📸: Dominion Raceway)

Thornburg, VA – Home of the brand new Dominion Raceway, a multifaceted racing facility hosting Saturday night NASCAR Whelen All-American Series features. If that was not enough, Dominion Raceway will host a slew of road racing events on their two-mile road course, not even to mention the 1/8th mile drag strip. It took us just a little over a month to make the trip up north, after Mother Nature and her rain tantrums put a hold on our plans, to the newly created 4/10th mile banked oval.

Tonight’s McCreary 100 marked just the third race in 2016 for Dominion’s oval program. Two different winners have been crowne, Tyler Hughes & Nick Smith, respectively. It was no surprise to us to see the two at the top of the speed charts after qualifying, however, a pesky six-car invert would take the two fastest cars and place them on third row for the start of the race.

It didn’t take but a couple of hundred feet to see our first of what would be eight yellow flags of the night. Not sure if our leader Trent Barnes spun the tires or just didn’t get the power down to the rear wheels like he wanted to but, it caused a pretty big traffic jam from about middle of the pack on back. The #79 of Berry Dean getting the worst end of the deal, heavy right front damage would put an end to his night.

Once clean up was complete in turn one we got back to some green flag racing where it did not take long for the cream of the crop to rise to the top. Only took a little over ten laps for both Nick Smith and Tyler Hughes to take the lead and start putting some distance on the rest of the field, picking up where they left off the past two races, until what was that from the flag stand? You guessed it, that darn yellow flag! The slower car of Zeb Pixley reached out and tagged the outside wall just past the flag stand, which looked to cut down the right rear tire, sending him for a spin into one. Jeff Oakley, who actually set the car on the pole and was currently running in third, really had nowhere to do and plowed right into the rear of Pixley. Needless to say both drivers were done for the night.

The top five was not the only place you needed to keep an eye on for some good racing. Long time Late Model drivers Eddie & Chris Johnson, who took the green flag about mid pack, were slowly picking positions off one by one, as was Michael Hardin – who spent some quality time testing here at Dominion during the off season. It just seemed right as the racing started to pick up anywhere throughout the field we would get a caution. Attrition & Restarts were the name of the game in the Late Model feature this weekend in our opinion.

Things started to get really interesting on one particular restart with twenty laps to go as Nick Smith, who had been the dominate car all night, was not able to get up to speed. Limping the car back around and down pit road to the attention of his crew he would hand the lead over to Tyler Hughes. We later find out a right rear tire was the culprit in the 12 of Smith. It was no cakewalk for Hughes once taking the lead however, as Michael Hardin started to turn up the wick as the laps ticked down. The racing would have to be halted after the #1 of Trent Barnes got into the machine of Liberman a little to much ultimately sending him around and which brought out yet another yellow flag.

On the ensuing restart Tyler Hughes would elect to use the cone and restart on the outside groove, leaving Hardin to his inside. Though in the past two races Dominion has proved to be a two-groove track, it was Hardin who made the bottom line look just a tad bit better – Hardin was able to power around Hughes and officially take the lead on lap 92. The field would be slowed yet again with about five laps to go after the #64 of Leutz collides rather hard with the inside retaining wall down on the front stretch.

With what would be the final restart of the night Hardin elected to stay down on the bottom, and in shocking fashion, so did Tyler Hughes. That allowed Sergio Pena and Doug Barnes to go topside for a five-lap shoot out for the win.

Hardin got the restart he needed and took the field into one with the lead. Things were looking good for Hardin there down the backstretch but Sergio Pena had other plans out of turn four. Getting around Hardin with just a handful of laps Pena put enough distance between he and the field to all but lock up the victory. Doug Barnes was also able to get by Hardin for the second spot. Tyler Hughes, who had a strong car all race, had a right front tire issue there late, causing him to fall all the way back to the ninth spot. Eddie & Chris Johnson, in the meantime, found themselves there in the top five after working through the short green flag runs and being in the right places at the right time there in the closing laps.

Dominion Raceway will be back in action next weekend, May 14th for the ALCOVA MORTGAGE 185. For more information head over to www.dominionraceway.com or visit them on Facebook.

 

McCreary 100 OFFICIAL Results:

1) #01 Seigio Pena; 100
2) #88 Doug Barnes; 100
3) #7 Michael Hardin; 100
4) #57 Eddie Johnson; 100
5) #5 Chris Johnson; 100
6) #77 Logan Jones; 100
7) #56 Doug Liberman; 100
8) #66 Zach Wells; 100
9) #8 Tyler Hughes; 100
10) #36 Owen Smith; 100
11) #1 Trent Barnes; 100
12) #23 Wes Green; 99
13) #18 Chandler Sherman; 99
14) #12 Nick Smith; 97
15) #64 Bill Leutz; 95
16) #9 Mark Miller; 93
17) #29 Robert Bruce; 68
18) #82B Cameron  Burke; 68
19) #45 Tyler Daniels; 65
20) #82 Mike Ganoe; 53
21) #07 Richard Storm; 53
22) #40 Jay Penny; 47
23) #11 Jeff Oakley; 17
24) #50 Zeb Pixley; 17
25) #17 Eric George; 14
26) #89 Irving Cook; 11
27) #79 Barry Dean; 0
28) #30 Tyler Gallup; 0

East Carolina Brings Super Trucks on to the Schedule

east carolinaWith the season for Langley Speedway still up in the air while negotiations are still ongoing, East Carolina Motor Speedway has added another division from the Hampton, VA track.

“I am very excited about these divisions. We are trying to keep all the rules just like they had at Langley, there is no doubt in my mind that Langley will reopen and expect that these guys will be back there very soon, that’s why we are trying to keep things the same”, track promoter John Vick commented. “Every single driver and fan that I have met has been great to work with and we are really excited about adding the trucks June 4th”.

The 3/8th mile D-shaped oval will host the Langley Speedway Super Trucks as well as the Orange County Speedway Mini Trucks on June 4th. The trucks that run are the smaller trucks you’d see on the road like Ford Rangers, Toyota Tacomas, and the Nissan Hardbody, and are powered by an inline-4 motor.

Also on the schedule for that night are the USAC Midgets and another division from Langley Speedway with the Super Streets. Altogether ECMS is hosting four divisions that would normally run in Hampton, the two previously mentioned along the Grand Stocks and the Pro Six cars. The track is a little over two hours south from the Hampton area in Robersonville, North Carolina.

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