Mason Bailey Earns First Late Model Victory at Southside Speedway

Mason Bailey and crew celebrates in victory lane with family and crew after collecting his first Late Model victory. (Justin Kern/TheWeeklyRacer.com)

Midlothian, VA – Sometimes the fastest car does not always win the race. We see this week in and week out from local short tracks to the top tiers of NASCAR. This was not the case this past Friday night as Southside got in their second race of the 2017 season before most of the rain moved into the region. Mason Bailey, competing in his first full season in a Late Model after winning the Modified championship the year prior, set the fastest time of the night in qualifying. The only driver to post a time in the fourteen second bracket, Bailey qualified on the pole with a 14.955 second lap – an average of 80.233 mph around the all but flat .333-mile oval.

After drawing the number three pill Bailey was forced to give the pole over to Grayson Cullather, another young gun in the Late Model community in Richmond, VA. Eddie Johnson, who was a little more than a tenth slower than Bailey, was able to keep his second outside pole starting position when the race went green. He was followed by Daniel Thomas and Mike Payne – to make up the rest of the starting five.

When it was time to go green flag racing it appeared that the three car invert was going to work out well for Cullather. After taking a full lap to clear Johnson Grayson was able to get into a solid rhythm and focus on hitting his marks and clicking off laps. Cullather was able to put a little bit of distance on the field as Bailey worked his way around Johnson for second. Just as he started to reel in the rear bumper of the 22 we were slowed by the nights one and only caution to bunch up the field. Just as Hairfield and Ashworth pulled their cars down pit road and nose first into their stalls, Disavino went for a spin out of four.

Once the track was clear and the line-up was complete race control displayed the cone to the field on the front stretch. For those who may not be familiar with a “Cone Restart” it is very simple – a cone is placed on the track and those drivers on the lead lap and not involved in the caution are able to pick the high or low line. That being said, a car running six can be the first car to take the cone and will restart in the second position. Grayson Cullather and Eddie Johnson both elected to stay down on the bottom while Mason Bailey and Chris Dodson elected to go to the top.

Once the green flag was displayed from flagman Jody Adkins Cullather and Bailey sailed their machines down into turn one, hard! Bailey was able to get the car to stick and take the top spot as they came out of turn two and would be the new leader on lap twenty. Shortly after both Johnson and Dodson were able to get by Cullalther forcing him back to the fourth position. The restart also seemed to help both Alex Brock and J.D. Eversole who were able to take the fifth and sixth postions on the track respectfully.

Mason Bailey was not concerned with any of that however as he settled into a nice rhythm and started to put some distance on the two cars behind him. What made matters even better for the rookie was when Eddie and Chris started racing hard for the second spot. This really allowed Bailey to build up a good lead and take the checkered flag with no pressure. Eddie Johnson was able to hold off Dodson for second while Grayson Cullather and Alex Brock rounded out the top five – very similar results from opening night.

“We unloaded really quick and were top of the board in the first practice on hold tires,” Bailey said after the race. “The car felt really good. We made just a little bit of changes and picked up some more and we were fastest second round and qualified on the pole by a decent amount.”

When the race started Bailey was able to get to the second position pretty quick and track down the leader and start planning his move. Not that Bailey needed the caution to catch the rear bumper of Cullather it sure made things easier and set up the only restart of the race that allowed Bailey to use that outside to his advantage.

“We were going to go to the inside on that restart but I kind of like the outside,” Bailey explained. “In a situation like that the outside always works out for us and I just sent it in there. Now, I wont say it stuck but it stuck just enough to get a nose on him. From there on were able to open a decent lead and get the win.”

We asked Bailey if he felt the caution helped him get around Cullather for the win or if it was just something that was going to happen. He certainly gave credit to Cullather for driving a good race just cited he thinks he had the better car this weekend.

“We felt pretty good then the rain hit,” Bailey said. “I was scared it was going to just kill the track and we were going to lose any advantage we had. I do think that was the case but track position really helped us. We fell in line behind Grayson there who drove a nice race but I just think we had a little bit better of a car. The caution certainly helped us get back up to him and gave us a chance to get around him rather than having to work for it. Right before that caution came out though I was playing around with my line and think I really found something and was catching him a little bit.”

 

Trevor Stinson found himself in victory lane at the conclusion of the 25-lap UCAR feature that went green right after the track was dry. Joshua Thomas was the fastest car earlier in the afternoon however, posting a lap of 16.937 seconds – or an average of just over 70 mph. He was forced however, to give the pole position up to Ethan Ayers – driving the opening night winning car – who qualified third.

Ayers took that advantage and ran with it as he was the leader as they completed lap one. Stinson and Thomas were not going to let him get away to easy and it was an amazing three way battle for the lead while they drove away from the rest of the field. It wasn’t until lap eighteen of the total twenty-five laps that Stinson was able to make his way around the #87 of Ethan Ayers with the help of some contact. Nothing to bad just enough to get Ayers out of shape. Once Stinson was able to get into clean air that was all he needed to create a big gap to Ayers and Thomas who were battling for that second position down to the closing laps. Thomas was able to gain the advantage and would finish second to Stinson. Alex Ayers and Jamie Hite would round out the top five.

Southside Speedway will be back in action on May 12th. All scouts and scout leaders in FULL UNIFORM will get in FREE! Two parents per scout receive a $2 ticket discount. Front gates open at 6:00 p.m. Qualifying starts at 6:00 p.m. and racing gets underway at 7:30 p.m.

 

 

Late Model OFFICIAL Results;

1.#05 Mason Bailey; 40
2. #43 Eddie Johnson; 40
3. #0 Chris Dodson; 40
4. #22 Grayson Cullather; 40
5. #9 Alex Brock; 40
6. #98 J.D. Eversole; 40
7. #99 Daniel Thomas; 40
8. #79 Lane Janosik; 40
9. #42 Mike Payne; 40
10. #55 Howie Disavino; 40
11. #26 John Crews III; 40
12. #67 Cole Walker; 40
13. #25 Michael Sutphin; 39
14. #20 Sonny Allen; 29
15. #89 Matt Ashworth; 19
16. #04 Bugs Hairfield; 18

 

UCAR OFFICIAL Results;

1.#10 Trevor Stinson; 25
2. #72 Joshua Thomas; 25
3. #87 Ethan Ayers; 25
4. #96 Alex Ayers; 25
5. #12 Jamie Hite; 25
6. #13 Beejay Anderson; 25
7. #16 Thomas Stinson; 25
8. #04 Korey Lawson; 25
9. #1 Mike Frayser; 24
10. #3 Zachary Lindsey; 24
11. #58 Hunter Waldrop; 24
12. #51 Dillon Devenney; 9
13. #97 Richard Sisco; DNF

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