Monthly Archives: November 2018

Matt McCall Recovers From Mid Race Spin to Win Second Thanksgiving Classic

Matt McCall and track owner Michael Diaz in victory lane following McCall’s thrilling 2018 Thanksgiving Classic win. (Justin Kern/TheWeeklyRacer.com)

Lucama, NC– When you only get to race once a year you have to make the most it. Matt McCall most certainly did so yet again this weekend at Southern National Motorsports Park for the 2018 Thanksgiving Classic. Because of obvious reasons, the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series crew chief only gets to run one race a year and for the past two he has taken the hardware and the money back home with him.

Coming into the weekend McCall picked up right where he left off last year showing the fastest time in final practice on Friday afternoon. All on track activity for Saturday was completely washed out due to hours worth of rain so we did not get to see if anyone could make adjustments and post a faster time. With that being said as well as missing some of the heavy hitters like Lee Pulliam, Tommy Lemons Jr., Josh Berry, and Peyton Sellers, McCall – along with four time track champion Deac McCaskill – was an obvious favorite to take home the checkered. He backed up his practice efforts with a third place qualifying effort.

When it was go time McCall spent most of the race in the runner up position chasing around Deac McCaskil, who was running just fast enough to stay out in front of the field. Things, however, took a turn for the worse for McCall just past the halfway point of the feature when we got turned around exiting turn two after a lapped car spun in front of the leaders. Because he was deemed as part of the caution, race control moved him to the back of the lead lap cars, ultimately creating one of the best comebacks in recent Thanksgiving Classics.

“They pay out money at lap one-hundred and I got a little greedy trying to get that money and it put me in a bad spot,”McCall said in victory lane. “Fortunately I knew there were enough laps. I even tried to fight it [the call to the rear] there to keep our position but we were not able to. We knew we had to pick them off and try to save, but there wasn’t a whole lot of saving there for the last run. Fortunately it ran green and I believe all the guys that got the outside had the advantage. All in all it was a lot of fun.”

This years race, though it featured the same Racing Roulette rules, once again added a new element to the race – controlled cautions. These would be caution periods where teams could come down pit road and not lose positions to the other cars that decided to pit. Officials would slow the pace of the cars left on the speedway and give those on pit road four laps to go to work. One of the ideas here is to take away the traditional break you always see in some of these big races. We asked McCall after the race if that changed the way he and his team approached the race.

“It was going to change it big in my opinion when the caution came out and we got put to the back,”McCall explained. “Potentially if that was not the last controlled caution we would have pitted and it would have looked like their was a little strategy involved. I think the way it played out it didn’t look as good as it could have been. I think it was still a little bit hard to under stand and a little open ended. I think there is potential there I just don’t think it can become a weekly thing.”

Once McCall was able to pick is way through the field with the help of an incredibly fast car and timely cautions things really started to heat up in the closing laps between he and McCaskill. The pass for the lead came with under five laps to go where fans got to witness some of the closes and cleanest racing for a win all year long.

“That’s Deac,”McCall said when asked about how close the two raced each other in the closing laps. “He always does [races clean] and he even raced me clean when I piled drove the wall there. I got loose off two and decided there was no reason to lift because it was going to get ugly. It was enough to get through three and four to get the checkered.”

2018 Thanksgiving Classic OFFICIAL Results;

1          #51     Matt McCall; 200

2          #08     Deac McCskill; 200

3          #07     Bradley McCaskill; 200

4          #22     Bobby McCarty; 200

5          #99     Layne Riggs; 200

6          #12     Brandon Pierce; 200

7          #01     Philip Morris; 200

8          #17     Stacey Puryear; 200

9          #63     Tyler Matthews; 200

10       #03     Brenden Queen; 200

11       #17     Taylor Gray; 200

12       #54     Drew Dollar; 200

13       #44     Justin Johnson; 200

14       #21     Mike Darne; 200

15       #30     Clifton Daniels; 200

16       #24     Colin Garrett; 199

17       #8       Tyler Hughes; 199

18       #55     Mark Wertz; 199

19       #82     Mike Ganoe; 198

20       #92     Casey Wyatt; 198

21       #2       Dennis Holdren; 195

22       #36     Chris Johnson; 195

23       #06     Davin Scites; 194

24       #9       Thomas Burbage; 193

25       #94     Robbie Babb; 169

26       #12     Ryan Wilson; 161

27       #4       Jonathan Findley; 161

28       #81     Mini Tyrell; 146

29       #19     Cameron Bowen; 138

30       #01b   Camden Gullie; 91

31       #06     Terry Dease; 90

32       #23     Terry Brooks; 64

Karl Budzevski Wins Friday Nights Limited Late Model Dash to Kick off the 2018 Thanksgiving Classic

Karl Budzevski in Solid Rock Carriers Victory Lane Friday night at Southern National. (Justin Kern/TheWeeklyRacer.com)

Lucama, NC –  Bradley McCaskill was the fastest of sixteen cars earlier in the evening during final Limited Late Model practice for the Friday portion of the Thanksgiving Classic. The grid was set by the fastest time in that final practice and McCaskill’s 15.830-second lap was enough to score him the pole. Mike Darne, filling in for last years Dash winner Mini Tyrell, qualified second while Brandon Clements, Karl Budzevski, and Stephen Jones rounded out the top five.

Darne, who is no rookie to Southern National, looked like he was going to take control of things early and use that outside line to his advantage. He was able to lead the first two laps before having to give the lead back to McCaskill. Darne would get hung out to dry on that top groove but ultimately would only fall back to third. Budzevski ultimately taking over the second spot and the pursuit for the lead.

The only caution would come on lap seventeen when the power plant under the hood of Louis Whites No. 7 would expire coming off turn two. It couldn’t come at a better time for Budzevski as he would be scored as the race leader when the caution car picked up the field. Track workers cleaned up the mess rather quickly and the race saw its first and only cone restart.

When the green flag was displayed Budzevski took sole possession of the race lead with McCaskill hot on his tracks for about two laps before falling back a handful of car lengths and ultimately losing the second spot to Darne with just under twenty laps to go in the feature. Try as they might it was ultimately Karl Budzevski taking home the checkered flag and the trophy.

 

  1. #26 Karl Budzevski; 40
  2. #81 Mike Darne; 40
  3. #07 Bradley McCaskill; 40
  4. #1 Andrew Grady; 40
  5. #91 Stephen Jones; 40
  6. #31 Wayne Goss; 40
  7. #29 Paul Williamson; 40
  8. #15 Clay Jones; 40
  9. #29 Brian Obiedzenski; 40
  10. #42 Amber Slagle; 40
  11. #31 Cole Bruce; 40
  12. #43 Sam Pacitti; 40
  13. #7 Brandon Clements; 40
  14. #17 Jason Meyers; 40
  15. #33 Franklin Caricofe; 40
  16. #7 Louis White; 17

 

Action picked up quickly in the evening opening Mod 4 15-lap feature when pole-sitter Kevin Jeffries went for a spin in turn two on the initial start. Randy Ayers also spinning to more than likely miss tearing up his car. This allowed the No. 63 of Dennis Capps to start from the pole position and boy did he not waste his shot.

When the green flag was displayed back to the field Capps jumped out to an early lead. All the while Jeffries worked his way back up through the field. With just a five-car field it did not take long and we saw a battle for the top spot with just three laps to go. Capps, however, was able to hold on for the victory.

  1. #63 Dennis Capps
  2. #21 Kevin Jeffries
  3. #12 Justin Marsan
  4. #6 Mark Hood
  5. #23 Randy Ayers

 

Jeremy Bohne was the second driver of the evening to win their feature from the pole position. However, unlike the race before him, he was unable to lead every lap of the race. He was pretty darn close until a lap nineteen caution bunched the field up and allowed them to take the cone. Kornegay was the first to take the bait and would not only restart on the outside of Bohne but lead a couple laps before having to settle for second then eventually third.

The chargers will race once more on Sunday afternoon along with the Limited Late Models and the headlining Late Model Stock Cars.

  1. #72 Jeremy Bohne; 35
  2. #61 Michael Obrien; 35
  3. #33 Jonathan Kornegay; 35
  4. #81 Davis Warren; 35
  5. #84 Brandon Head; 35
  6. #51 Doug Warren; 35
  7. #61 Damon Stroud; 35

 

Alek Andrecs started the trend of “lets win the race from the pole” in the 20-lap Bando feature when we went on to lead every single lap. Andrecs had got off to a great start but would have his lead erased after Riley Music spun out in turn two. The restart, however, seemed to be nothing for Alec as he held off two separate charges from Derrick.

  1. #4 Alek Andrecs; 20
  2. #8 Jacob Derrick; 20
  3. #12 Bradan Andrecs; 20
  4. #8 Conner Weddell; 20
  5. #47 Riley Music; 20
  6. #9 Ayden Millette; 20

Late Model Stock Cars Hit the High Banks of Southern National for a Chance at $20,000 – Eleven Division Set to Run Over Three Days

The 18thAnnual Thanksgiving Classic at Southern National Motorsports Park is once again upon us. After we have had the day to sit back and reflect on what we are truly thankful for it is time to go racing for one final time here in the Mid-Atlantic region.

11 different divisions are set to hit the high-banked .400-mile speedway this weekend with the Late Model Stock Cars highlighting the weekend with a 200-lap, $20,000 to win feature – if you are brave enough to spin the roulette wheel that is. For the second year in a row, teams will have the opportunity to gamble with their race entry in the hopes of taking more money home with them.

“We took everyone’s thoughts and looked at how to implement them into this year,” said Diaz. “The drivers really gave us great feedback last year. The biggest thing they wanted was an increase in second through fifth position in the purse for the additional entry fee. That was an easy thing to fix and we think the drivers and teams will be happy with the additional money we’ve added to the purse.”

The additional money has been added specifically to second through fifth position for the drivers who take the gamble in Racing Roulette. Second position will increase from $2,500 to $4,500, third position will increase from $2,000 to $3,500, fourth position will increase from $1,500 to $2,750 and fifth position will increase from $1,200 to $2,250. An increase of $19,800 to the top five positions (including the $14,000 increase for first position) for the drivers who take the gamble.

“We really think after talking to the drivers that this will increase participation in Racing Roulette and give the drivers something to shoot for if they can’t win the race,”said track General Manager Charlie Hansen. “We’re adding nearly $20,000 to the purse no matter how many drivers try Racing Roulette. We’re hoping everyone tries to go for it but we want this to be something for the drivers to shoot for and something fun for the fans to play along within the stands.”

The Friday portion of the weekend, which is scheduled to take the green later this evening around 8:00 PM, will feature Bando’s, Mod 4, Chargers, and a 40-lap Limited Late Model Dash. A full weekend schedule can be found below. The Weekly Racer will once again provide you with LIVE coverage all weekend long. Keep an eye out on our social platforms for the links to the coverage.

 

Third Place Finish at INEX Legends Nationals Secures Runner-up Finish for Daniel Silvestri in the Young Lions National Championship

Daniel Silvestri (97) and eventual race winner Jaron Giannini (25) battle for the lead in the 35-lap Young Lions National Feature. (Photo: Rob Street/Rob Street Racing Photography)

On a typical weekday morning Daniel Silvestri, a soon to be 16-year old Sophomore in high school in Fairfax, Virginia, is usually up early and getting ready to head out the door for another fun full day of classes. However, this last weekend his schedule was a little bit different as the young INEX Legends driver as he and his race team made the cross-country trek out to Las Vegas for the INEX Legends Nationals with the hopes of bringing an INEX Young Lions National Title back to Virginia.

Because of his efforts throughout the 2018 season, Silvestri followed up his Rookie of the Year performance and second place finish in the points standings at his home track of Southside Speedway – located in Midlothian, Virginia – by winning the track championship. Silvestri was also crowned the Virginia State Champion in the Young Lions division due to his efforts at both Southside and Langley Speedway.

Silvestri found himself entering the weekend tied with Isaak Love of North Carolina for the national points lead in the Young Lions division. Just three points behind them was Jake Matheson from New Hampshire. Because of the points structure used for US Legends Cars and how close the top three were in points, it would essentially come down to if Silvestri could finish ahead of the other two drivers.

The weekend was split into three days of racing where drivers would have a chance to earn a maximum 300 points. 100 points would be given to the fastest car in qualifying (then a one point difference for each position), 100 points given to the winner of their respective heat race (three points per position), and of course 100 points to the feature winner (three points spread per position).  Silvestri got off to a strong start qualifying third (earning 98 points) and winning his heat race (earning 100 points).

Because of his qualifying efforts and heat race win, he would start the feature from the third position. Silvestri got a great start making a pass for the lead early. He would go on to lead 28 out of the total 35 laps. However, Bullring Legends track champion Jaron Giannini would get by Silvestri with just two laps to go to score the race win. Matheson would also squeak by Silvestri in the closing laps to finish second and win the national title. Silvestri would ultimately finish the feature third in the feature and second in the national standings.

You would think after being so dominate all weekend, earning the points you needed, and having the national title slip through your hands there at the end, you would be furious. Silvestri, however, seemed to take the glass half full approach and chalked it up to an overall good weekend.

“It’s huge for me,” Silvestri explained even after missing the national title by only a few points.“I never expected to hop into a Legend [car] and be able to do so well in my first year. To be able to compete for a National Championship was a really cool experience for me. It gives me some confidence to know that I can compete with some of the best legends guys in the country and that I can drive one of the hardest cars to drive on ovals. There are people who have driven many different types of cars and they say that the legend cars are the hardest car to drive with its short wheelbase and weight to power ratio.”

Of course, the success that Silvestri had over the weekend and throughout the 2018 season was no solo adventure. Daniel was very thankful of his parents, team, and CJ from 860 Motorsports.

“We surrounded ourselves with good people,” Silvestri told The Weekly Racer. “The person we bought our first legend car from told us to talk to Scotty Edwards, past Legends racer at Southside Speedway, who taught me how to drive the Legend. He introduced us to CJ at 860 Motorsports. There are many other people that helped along the way but with that base, it helped me get better quicker. All the awards, wins, and championships were just the result. I couldn’t have gotten as far without those people helping me. It just clicked and we took off and I was able to win a few races my first season and I was a very strong competitor on the national circuit with 4 poles in 5 races at Winter Nationals back in February and was able to lead 28 of the 35 laps at the Asphalt Nationals and coming one position short of the championship.”

With 2018 all but in the rearview mirror, Silvestri and team will turn their attention towards next season where some pretty big changes could take place. Silvestri let The Weekly Racer know that they have some ideas on what and where they will be racing and that they are looking into the idea of possibly running a handful of Late Model Stock Car races throughout the Commonwealth.

You can follow Daniel and his racing journey at http://www.danielsilvestriracing.com or on Facebook by searching Daniel Silvestri Racing as well on Instagram @danielsilvestri97.