SWANSBORO, NC – Brandon Clements, who is the winningest driver in Carteret County Speedway history, clinched the track championship in style on Saturday night, with a victory.
Clements surrendered the lead early in the 50-lap race after starting on the pole – first to Eric Winslow then to Justin Carroll. With 11 laps to go, Clements made the pass to get back around Carroll to take the lead and the win – his fifth Late Model win of the year.
“This really means a lot to me,” an emotional Clements said in victory lane. “I was a little kid and my dad told me I was going to be a champion here. I’ve been here every year and been a champion [in Mini-Stocks] but really, this one’s good. We got this one.”
Carroll finished second in his first career Carteret County Speedway start while Joshua Yeoman finished third.
Stephen Sanders, also known as the Midway Missile, became a popular presence at Carteret County Speedway among fellow drivers and fans throughout the season. Sanders made a five-hour drive every race to Carteret County Speedway with hopes of winning races and winning a championship. On Saturday night, he did both – clinching the division championship with a victory.
“It’s been a long road this year,” Sanders said. “Bobby Watson, this is his racetrack and he always told me that, it’s his track but it’s our drivers’ racetrack. This race is for Bobby. He meant a lot to me. I looked at him as a grandfather figure. There were weeks I didn’t have the money to make it home and he’d slide me a little bit of money.”
Sanders was surrounded in victory lane by an army of supporters, which included fans, competitors, family and friends. Having often raced at Bowman Gray Stadium, Sanders was a polarizing figure at the start of the season, but quickly became a friend to many and the outpouring of support in victory lane meant the world to him.
“This means a lot to me because a lot of people don’t like me,” Sanders remarked. “I am a rough driver. I like to get to the front and winning races. I told everybody tonight I wasn’t worried about the championship, I came to win the race and we got the championship. It means a lot. Dedication paid off.”
The always exciting and sometimes polarizing James Horner finished second to Mike Cooper in the Street Stock feature race. That second place finish allowed him to clinch the division championship – his first at Carteret County Speedway.
“It’s definitely been an emotional season,” Horner stated. “A lot of ups and downs all the way around. We fought back and forth with getting suspended and people crying about our car. It is what it is, we’re here and we got the championship. We didn’t get the win tonight but we put on a show I do believe.”
All Adam Resnick had to do to clinch the U-CAR championship was start the race, which he did. Ultimately finishing seventh, Resnick walked away with the division title while Andrew Jackson won the race in a thriller over Robert Arch and Neil Mason.
“I can’t describe it,” Resnick commented. “I wish Bobby was here. We supported him every week and these guys are awesome. I can’t explain it. I cannot believe Bobby didn’t make it to the last one. Thank you, Bob Lowery and Judy [Hailey] for keeping it going. Everybody doesn’t understand, this is huge for me to win a championship. To be at Carteret County, it’s a big thing for my family, my wife, and all of us.”
Justin Mitchell led wire-to-wire in the Legends feature race, winning over Ryan Matthews and Brenton Irving. Shane Irving, father of Brenton Irving, won the division championship marking the third consecutive championship in Legends competition for the Irving family.
“In a couple months, I’ll be 59-years-old,” Irving said. “It’s probably going to be my last one. I’m not going to quit racing. I do it because I enjoy it.”
Justin Hall won the championship in the Mini Cup class while also scoring the overall win in the Mini Cup race on Saturday night.
“We worked hard all year,” Hall stated. “This is the first time my dad’s come out here and competed with us. He won last week at Coastal Plains. Just happy to be here. I hate my mom and sister weren’t able to make it but I know they’re happy with where I’m at.”
Chase Singletary officially picked up his sixth Jr. Mini Cup win of the season, but one missed race proved to be the difference in points as Carmen Odum took home the division championship. With the title, the Jacksonville teenager became the first woman to win a championship at Carteret County Speedway.
“Don’t be afraid to do something, even when they say it’s a guy’s sport,” Odum remarked. “Look at this. Second year of racing and I won the championship. I’d like to thank God for all of this and Bobby Watson for letting the Mini Cups race here, as well as Mini Cup director Frankie Corbett, my dad [Jimmy Odum] and everyone who helped.”
Sean Wales won the race and the championship in Champ Karts; Dwight Sauls scored the overall victory in Southern Ground Pounders competition, and Johnny Johnson won the East Coast Flathead Feature race.
The next race at Carteret County Speedway will be held on Saturday, November 17th, headlined by the $2,000-to-win, 100-lap Carolina Mini-Stock Challenge 4-Cylinder Nationals. Mini-Cups, Mod-4s, and Champ Karts will also be a part of the 4-Cylinder Nationals.