Monthly Archives: March 2018

Event Preview – RGS Products 125 at Caraway Speedway

Modified’s on the front stretch at Caraway Speedway. (Photo: NASCAR Hometracks)

The RGS Products 125 this Sunday at Caraway Speedway will officially kick off the 2018 season for the Southern Modified Racing Series, 602 Tour Super Limiteds and 602 Modifieds.  The race will also feature a Pro All Stars Series (PASS) South Super Late Model feature as well as the local Caraway Speedway Limited Late Models for what will be one of the biggest tickets of the 2018 season at any track.


Clifton Ready to Tour

Michael Clifton’s name isn’t new to Southern Modified racing fans but his name will roll off the tongue of Southern Modified Racing Series fans for the first time as part of the tour in 2018.  Clifton has been racing Modifieds since 1990 at Bowman Gray Stadium with appearances on the now-defunct NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified tour and SMART (SMRT) Modified tours over the years but this season he’ll embark on his first foray into the Southern Modified Racing Series.

Clifton isn’t coming in looking to log laps either, he’s looking to win races and be competitive with the best that the Southern Modified Racing Series has to offer.  Clifton has 21 wins in Modifieds at Bowman Gray Stadium and he has a lone win at Caraway Speedway on the SMART Modified tour in 2004. Entering his 31st year of Modified racing, Clifton isn’t looking to fill any fields.

“We’re going to give it a shot this year,” Clifton stated.  “I’ve always ran good in the past and we’ve got as good of equipment as anyone. We’ll be in contention but we might get off to a slower start than we want but we’ll be in contention.”

One reason Clifton is running the Southern Modified Racing Series this season is the opportunity to be freed up on the weekends more than when he was full time at Bowman Gray.

“Honestly, we didn’t want to tie up our whole summer at the stadium.  Running the tour frees up our summer. We don’t have to race every week.  If we want to go out on a boat or go camping or whatever, we can do that and not have to worry about missing a race.  They have a good schedule and it’s spread out and gives us our summer back.”

Clifton is also excited about the tire change the tour will have this year moving to a harder compound tire to help save teams money and give them something they race more on.

“We ran these tires at Martinsville in 2005 I believe,” commented Clifton.  “They’re a real good tire.  My only concern will be the softer compound on the left rear and burning it off but I think we’ll be ok.”


Double Duty

Kodie Conner will be a busy young man this coming weekend as he attempts to do double duty.  Conner will compete in the Kodie Conner Racing #45 Super Late Model in the PASS South race and will also run the #78 for Hillbilly Racing in the Southern Modified Racing Series feature.  Conner is no stranger to either car as he competes regularly in the Super Late Model and has a few starts in the Modified.


Super Late Model Debut

Fletcher Whaley, who competes part-time in the 602 Tour Super Limiteds and at Bowman Gray Stadium, will make his Super Late Model debut in the PASS South feature.  Whaley will be driving a car for Rudy Roberts.  The car will be setup by Jay Hedgecock and they hope to have a strong performance right out of the gate this weekend.


602 Modifieds Take Flight

After a couple of exhibition races last year for the 602 Modifieds the series is ready to take flight this season.  The brainchild of former 602 Tour owner David Sell, the 602 Tour Modifieds is expected to grow significantly over the years as an introductory series for those wanting to compete in Modifieds but they’re not quite ready for a full-blown tour car.  Brian Loftin, Cody Norman, Dean Lowder and Brad Robbins are among the drivers expected to compete this weekend.


Pole Money

Precision Built Spindles and New Day Motorsports have posted $900 in Pole Award money for this weekends festivities at Caraway Speedway.  $500 of that money goes to the pole winner in the Southern Modified Racing Series with $300 to the fastest Super Late Model in PASS South qualifying.  $50 each will go to the 602 Tour’s fastest qualifiers in both the Super Limiteds and the Modifieds.


Like a Rock

Veteran Late Model Stock Car driver Rock Harris won the championship last year in the 602 Tour Super Limiteds and this year he’s going to be gunning for his second straight title.  Harris will be looking to fend off younger challengers for the championship trophy as well as chasing wins.  His son Austin Harris will be one of those younger challengers and he’s coming fresh off a victory in the Charger division at Caraway Speedway two weeks ago.


Brothers Compete

When the green flag drops on the 602 Tour Super Limiteds two brothers will be looking to see who can outrun who.  Ryan Robertson, who over the years has competed in the UARA-STARS Series and has won Sportsman races at Bowman Gray Stadium will be looking to keep his younger brother Chase Robertson behind him as they both compete in the Super Limited series.


Super Ticket

With four touring series and the feature division for Caraway Speedway, the ticket for this Sunday’s RGS Products 125 is an exceptional value at $20 for adults, $5 for kids 6-12 and five and under free.  Where else could you see the PASS South, Southern Modified Racing Series, 602 Tour Super Limiteds and Modifieds and the local contingent of Limited Late Models in one race for just $20?


For more information on Caraway Speedway, visit their newly redesigned website at or visit them on Facebook at @caraway.speedway. You can also call the track office at 336.629.5803

CARS Response Energy Tour Returns to Dual Division Format at Myrtle Beach with $10,000 on the Line for Super Late Models

Photo: CARS Tour

Mooresville, NC – The 2018 season for the CARS Response Energy Tour kicks into high gear with the season kick-off for the Super Late Model division next weekend March 24th at Myrtle Beach (SC) Speedway. The $10,000 to win 200 pres. by Honeywell is expected to draw a hefty car count to the half-mile beachside South Carolina track.

The race will feature 100 green flag laps of racing for both divisions, however; the Super Late Model feature will feature a six-tire strategy element, with a four-minute break for tires and adjustment on lap 70 of 100. While all teams in attendance know that name of the game at Myrtle Beach is tire conservation, the element of the two tire change could really mix things up in the final thirty laps.

A few of the early entries include Raphael Lessard, now driving for Kyle Busch Motorsports. Lessard will compete full time on the tour in hopes of becoming the first driver in CARS history to win two championship titles. Jared Fryar transitions from the Late Model Stock division to the Super Late Models for the 2018 season. The Trinity, NC driver captured a Late Model Stock victory a season ago at Dominion Raceway. Preston Peltier will travel from his home, now located in snowy Colorado, to pilot the #33 Newton Concrete Chevrolet for the Roger Lee Newton owned team. Series newcomer Molly Hulmuth will also travel from “out West”, as she makes her series debut driving for Will Jones in 2018. Ryan Moore is another driver in the fold that comes to the Beach to make his series debut.

In addition to the Super Late Models, the Late Model Stock Cars will be in action as well, getting the tour back to its traditional two premier division format. Bobby McCarty, with his big win at Tri-County, carries all kinds of momentum into the race. However; the early favorite for the 100 lap race has to be JR Motorsports driver Josh Berry. Berry won the 2016 CARS Tour event and did the same last year at the track’s own Myrtle Beach 400 race in November. Several local drivers like Matt Cox will be taking advantage of the Staubli Hometown Hero Awards, receiving free Hoosier tires for competing against the touring stars. The addition of the track regulars can’t be ignored as Sam Yarbrough in 2015, schooled the series regulars at his home track enroot the race win.

Fans planning on making a weekend of it at the Beach can take advantage of free infield camping with purchase of a pit pass. Not camping, but want to watch the race from the infield? A special combo of two general admission tickets and one infield parking pass is also available for $50. For a complete listing of ticket options and prices, as well as the complete event schedule can be found by visit


For additional information on the CARS Response Energy Tout and its Late Model Stock and Super Late Model divisions visit Be sure to stay active and social with the tour by liking “CARS Tour” on Facebook, following @CARSTour on Twitter, and scrolling through photos on Instagram cars_tour. Additional series information can be obtained by calling the CARS Response Energy Tour series office, located in Mooresville, NC, at 704.662.9212.

Wesley Johnson Kicks off 2018 with a Win

Robersonville, NC – Thomas Burbage looked like he was the man to beat early on through both morning practices but the 2017 track champion couldn’t find the top spot once qualifying rolled around. Wesley Johnson ran the fastest lap out of the seven cars on hand with a 15.055 second lap, Burbage ran a 15.061.

Once the green flag flew Johnson showed how strong he would be for the 50 lap feature. Burbage tried making a move on the first lap but could not get the leader out of the best line. Starting last in the field Rusty Daniels started his push to the top-3.

Former track champ Jeff Shiflett moved into second place seventeen laps in and Daniels followed him and took third pushing Burbage back to 4th. It looked like Burbage maybe guessed wrong on the setup for the race. At almost the halfway mark Daniels was able to move into second place and looked at a big 2.7 second gap to close on Johnson who enjoyed everyone battling behind him.

With eight laps to go Daniels cut that lead down to just a second but as the leaders started going through lapped traffic Rusty couldn’t get by that easily. Johnson’s lead stretched out enough for him to be able to cruise the last couple of laps to start his season off with grabbing a win.


In the charger division Jeremy Bohne won the opener after a caution filled but entertaining race where it looks like some rivalries might have been born.

The street stock division saw Jesse Council, who took 2017 off, lead from green to checkers after a very fast qualifying lap laid down earlier in the day.


Late Model Results:

1. Wesley Johnson

2. Rusty Daniels

3. Jeff Shiflett

4. Thomas Burbage

5. Justin Gill

6. Maddy Ryan -1

7. Kenneth Mercer -42

Philip Morris Dominates for Victory at Southern National

Philip Morris celebrates in victory lane after winning the Dogwood 265 at Southern National Motorsports Park on Saturday. (Photo credit: Andy Marquis/SNMP)

LUCAMA, NC – Philip Morris scored his first win at Southern National Motorsports Park in nearly two decades, dominating the 150-lap Late Model Stock Car portion of the Dogwood 265 presented by Solid Rock Carriers on Saturday afternoon.

Morris took the lead from 2015 track champion Jonathan Findley on lap 71 and checked out. He was able to hold off multiple restart challenges and hold on to score the victory in his first race of the 2018 season.

“I think it was just good strategy right there, to be able to ride behind Mike Darne and some of those guys who race here all the time to show me what a good speed is and to keep tires on the car up until we thought it was go time,” Morris said. “Once they said it was a cone restart at the lap 100 break, I knew it would be good to be in first or second. The car just wanted to be out front, you know.”

“I’m glad to start our year off at Mike [Diaz]’s track,” Morris continued. “This is a great place to win a race.”

Morris scored the victory driving for former racer and longtime Southern National mainstay Adam Murray.

“It didn’t really matter about car count or anything else because he’s done so much to help me last year,” Morris commented. “To win for him and his company here at Southern National is making it really special for us.”

While Morris was dominant, the win didn’t come easily. After he had driven away from the field, a late race spin by Garrett Bunch set up an overtime finish – something that Morris says is always stressful even with all his experience.

“It’s hard on anybody’s nerves, especially a 52-year-old out here racing against teenagers,” Morris explained. “What a great job they did today. Some of these guys race here all the time just ran really well today. It’s fun to race around guys who know what they’re doing and you can trust them and know these restarts aren’t as bad as they normally could be.”

Tyler Hughes finished the race in the second position.

“I was sitting back, saving, and it was just a little snug in the center when I was saving it had good drive off all race long,” Hughes stated. “I was really just babying the throttle and figured I might be able to have something there at the end. Apparently, Philip had a lot more tire when he got out front and was able to ride. Things happen, and I’m glad we can come away with at least a second.”

While Hughes was disappointed to finish second, he took some solace in the fact that his runner-up finish came to the “King of Late Model Stock Car racing.”

“We are still a young team and I am still a young driver in the Late Model Stock series,” Hughes explained. “We’re slowly progressing and getting to the point where we are running with Philip [Morris] and guys like Peyton [Sellers], and Lee [Pulliam]. I am really proud of where our program is going and I look forward to bettering ourselves in the future.”

Veteran racer and four-time Orange County Speedway track champion Terry Dease finished third in his first start at Southern National since 2014.

“I knew Philip was saving there because I knew he was pretty quick,” Dease remarked. “I just tried to ride right there for those first hundred and I saw these guys up there and they were dicing around up there before lap 100 then things got a little hectic and we finally got up there a little bit and something happened and I got spun and got balled up. Luckily, I got to the bottom and what happened there at the end, nobody went to the high side, and I tried and what happened was I got trash on my tires and it washed up in the corner, but hey, I’ll take third.”

Jonathan Findley finished fourth while Ryan Wilson rounded out the top-five.

Brian Obiedzenski scored the victory in the Charger feature race, holding off Jonathan Kornegay, AJ Sanders scored the victory in the Mini-Stock feature and Cameron Murray held off Parker Frazier to win the Bandolero feature.

The next race at Southern National Motorsports Park is scheduled for March 31st headlined by Limited Late Model racing and featuring USAC Eastern Midgets, Mini-Stocks, Legends, Bandoleros and Any Cars.

For more information about Southern National Motorsports Park, check out SNMP’s website at, “like” Southern National Motorsports Park on Facebook or “follow” @SNM_Park on Twitter.




Southern National Motorsports Park

Late Model Stock Car

  1. Philip Morris
  2. Tyler Hughes
  3. Terry Dease
  4. Jonathan Findley
  5. Ryan Wilson
  6. Mike Darne
  7. Rusty Daniels
  8. Garrett Bunch
  9. Bobby Morris
  10. Ryan Haddock
  11. Timmy Phipps
  12. Eric Gerchek


  1. AJ Sanders
  2. Lee Kozikowski
  3. James Stroud
  4. Joseph Pittman
  5. Duane Walker
  6. Johnny Baker
  7. Mickey Connor
  8. Patrick Mullen
  9. Mark Baker
  10. Michael Rouse
  11. Jesse Jones
  12. Dylan Newsome


  1. Brian Obiedzenski
  2. Jonathan Kornegay
  3. Thomas Chappell
  4. Shotgun Miller


  1. Cameron Murray
  2. Parker Frazier
  3. Matthew Gurganus
  4. Camryn Rice
  5. Jacob O’Neal
  6. David Snook, Jr.

S02E11 – 2018 Season and Series Previews from the Mid Atlantic

The guys get back together for the first time in 2018 to talk about the recent races in the national series, ARCA, as well as the K&N Pro Series East season opener in Florida. We also take a look at six different tracks schedules throughout the Mid-Atlantic region along with the CARS Tour. Jesse announces he will be spotting full-time for #TeamRacingVirginia driver Grayson Cullather in the CARS Tour LMSC program.

Facebook: The Weekly Racer

Twitter: @shorttrackrpt@theweeklyracer@justten_2@VaughanJD


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