Monthly Archives: March 2019

Chris Burns Takes the Checkers Carteret Late Model Opener

Chris Burns comes to the checkered flag to pick up the victory in the season-opening race at Carteret County Speedway. (Morgan Odum photo)

PELETIER, NC – Chris Burns picked up the biggest win of his career on Saturday afternoon, coming from the back to the front to pick up the victory in an instant classic at Bobby Watson’s Carteret County Speedway on Saturday afternoon.

Burns closed in on Stacy Puryear during the mid-stages of the Solid Rock Carriers 100 and, when the two battled for the lead, Puryear went around off Burns’ front bumper – resulting in both drivers going to the rear.  Burns quickly battled back and, with four laps to go, made the pass on Jason York to score the victory.

“I feel like we were just a little better on entry than Stacy,” Burns said in victory lane after the race.  “Definitely not intentional.  He’s a class act racer.  I try not to race that way.  Using the bumper’s okay but I definitely didn’t mean to spin him out.  This is huge for our little team.  Last year, we struggled with this car ever since we put it together.  Man, to get this win is awesome.”

Burns’ car came to life during long green flag runs as he, on two separate occasions, raced his way into contention for the lead – ultimately making the winning pass with four laps to go.  For Burns, it’s the biggest victory of his career as he raced against heavyweights and took home the $5,000 payout.

“It started out shoving the nose in the center,” Burns explained.  “I came over the radio and said, ‘it’s still early, I think we might have a chance.’  After that red flag over there, it was like a different racecar.  I’m tickled.  I couldn’t ask for more.  York and Puryear are no slouches, that’s for sure.  They’re some of the best in the business, been doing it a long time.  Having my little girl with me, that’s a life-changing deal.  I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”

Burns’ win came in a wild race which saw multiple incidents.  On a lap 43 restart, contenders Rusty Daniels, Tyler Horne, Brandon Clements, and Joshua Yeoman were all involved in a pileup in turn one.  Later, on lap 65, Clements and Daniels were again involved in an accident which also collected Thad Moffitt and Gerald Benton.

Jason York inherited the lead when Burns and Puryear got together and led for most of the second half until Burns came roaring past.  York settled for a runner-up finish.

“We were real good,”  York said. “We were pleased with the car.  Just a little free in the center.  We’ll fix it, get it back over here and get some wins here.  Congratulations to Chris though.  He did a hell of a job winning the race.”

Stacy Puryear, who felt the mid-race contact from Burns was just a racing incident, was able to rebound for a third-place finish.

“We just had gotten loose up off and, you know, we had a good racecar,” Puryear said. “If it had been a little tighter, [Burns] wouldn’t have known which way we went.  This is the first time we’ve ever been here.  This racecar’s been sitting since Martinsville 2016 and we’re very proud of it.”

Rusty Daniels and Tyler Horne finished fourth and fifth respectively while Thad Moffitt, Lexi Gay, Eric Winslow, Brandon Clements, and Gerald Benton rounded out the top-10.

The win for Chris Burns was his first since April 28, 2018.

Brenton Irving continued his dominance in the INEX Legends division, picking up the win in a thrilling INEX at the 4/10-mile track which will play host to the INEX Legends Asphalt Nationals later this year.

Irving raced his way past Brian Sullivan on lap 16 in the 35 lap feature and then survived challenges from Zack Brown, Brian Sullivan and Emily Day.  On the final turn of the last lap, Brown got loose which resulted in both cars getting together and spinning across the line to a second and third place finish respectively.

Irving, who won the track championship at Carteret in 2016 and 2017, was ecstatic after scoring the victory.

“I’m going to tell you, this win was for all of you fans who come out to watch a good race,” Irving said in victory lane.  “That’s why we came here, baby.  Jesus Christ loves every single one of you guys.  I was just playing [with Emily].  When I see someone in my mirror, we would have stepped it up.”

Brown took his second-place finish in stride after an eventful race – first when his windshield was covered with oil when Kevin Nowak blew an engine directly in front of him, then the finish with Sullivan.

“I was loose, just really loose,” Brown said.  “Hate that I did that right in front of pretty much the field, but you’ve got to dig when you’ve got a green-white-checkered.  The first half of the race was crazy.  I guess Herbie the Love Bug (Kevin Nowak) gave me some love as far as fluid goes all over the car.  Just a reallooseose racecar.  Appreciate all the fans coming out.”

Sullivan once again had one of the fastest cars but was unable to come away with the win.  This time, however, he was able to finish without any mechanical issues and is looking ahead to the next race.

“We didn’t blow up, that’s one way to look at it,” Sullivan remarked.  “Last year, we blew two motors, so we’re just happy to finish a race and not blow the thing up.  I didn’t know if [Day] got back by on the outside or not.  Zack got sideways, I checked up.  I thought he was going to save it.  He almost saved it then, last minute, I think he was trying to get to the line as well and he got back in the gas or something and just came across.  Luckily we didn’t do too much damage.”

Emily Day finished fourth while Jim Smith rounded out the top-five in the 16 car field.

Kris Hetu made a late race pass on Michael Rouse to pick up the victory in the Sportsman’s Wholesale Mini Stock Division.  Rouse dominated for much of the event but a late race caution tightened the field and Hetu was able to make the pass on the outside.

“Before that last caution, I noticed [Rouse] started smoking a little bit off his right side so I don’t know if it was getting on his tires or what but I think I used it to my advantage,” Hetu stated.  “I had to drive the piss out of this thing.  It’s been almost a year since I won.”

Rouse’s engine expired late.  Reigning division champion Stephen Sanders finished second over Travis Provost, Jason Adams and Andrew Deal.

Robert Arch picked up the win in an equally entertaining U-CAR feature.  Arch took the lead early and never looked back while Neil Mason, Steve Sullivan and Andrew Jackson engaged in a fierce battle for second behind him.  Arch went on to win and Mason prevailed in the battle while Sullivan, Joe Lanier and Jackson rounded out the top-five.

“It really came to life there,” Arch remarked.  “The longer we ran, the better it got.  I thought we were going to be okay, then at the end, the exhaust fell off the car and it lost a bunch of power.  I thought the Carteret Curse came back. I’ve tried so many times to win here.  That’s the main reason we’re coming down here.  We were coming to race until we won.  I guess we knocked that checklist off early in the year.”

Mike Cooper scored the victory in the Street Stock feature while Gary Rochelle rebounded from a mid-race incident to finish second.  Sean Wales picked up the win in a wild Champ Kart feature, defending a late race charge from Justin Mitchell which included an attempted pass in the grass from the eventual runner-up.  Justin Hall was victorious in the Mini Cup feature.  In the Jr. Mini Cup feature, Scotty Benford, in his first race, collected the victory over Caleb Braswell.

The 2019 season at Bobby Watson’s Carteret County Speedway will resume on Saturday, April 13th with the Spring Thaw.  The Spring Thaw will feature racing for the INEX Legends, Sportsman’s Wholesale Mini-Stocks, Street Stocks, Mini Cups, Champ Karts and the East Coast Flathead Fords.  Green flag will fly at 7pm.

For more information about Bobby Watson’s Carteret County Speedway, visit the track’s official website at www.carteretspeedway.com, “like” Carteret County Speedway on Facebook or follow @carteretcoswy on Twitter.

Carteret County 3/30/19 Results

Limited Late Model

  1. Chris Burns
  2. Jason York
  3. Stacy Puryear
  4. Rusty Daniels
  5. Tyler Horne
  6. Thad Moffitt
  7. Lexi Gay
  8. Eric Winslow
  9. Brandon Clements
  10. Gerald Benton
  11. T.J. Barron
  12. Joshua Yeoman

INEX Legends

  1. Brenton Irving
  2. Zack Brown
  3. Brian Sullivan
  4. Emily Day
  5. Jim Smith
  6. Jordan Lamoth
  7. Matt Haufe
  8. Aaron Crumpler
  9. Chris Hammett
  10. Josh Spence
  11. Tucker Jones
  12. Trevor Thacker
  13. Joel Carlyle
  14. Skyler Dean
  15. Kevin Nowak
  16. Eric Courtney

Sportsman’s Wholesale Mini Stock

  1. Kris Hetu
  2. Stephen Sanders
  3. Travis Provost
  4. Jason Adams
  5. Andrew Deal
  6. Michael Rouse
  7. Dub Fulford
  8. Jeremy Ottaway
  9. Adam Resnick
  10. Jesse Heath
  11. Jimmy Odum

U-CAR

  1. Robert Arch
  2. Neil Mason
  3. Steve Sullivan
  4. Joe Lanier
  5. Andrew Jackson
  6. Brian Mattice
  7. Abby Jolly
  8. Curtis Lanier

Street Stock

  1. Mike Cooper
  2. Gary Rochelle, Jr.
  3. Billy Slater
  4. John Sharp
  5. Ronald Shephard

Champ Kart

  1. Sean Wales
  2. Justin Mitchell
  3. Mike Tyndall
  4. Cory Dimauro

Mini Cup

  1. Justin Hall
  2. Chase Singletary
  3. Charles Pudenz
  4. Scotty Benford (JR)
  5. Caleb Braswell (JR)
  6. Alexis Steffan (JR)

Connor Hall Kicks Off 2019 in Dale Lemonds Victory Lane at Langley Speedway

Conner Hall shakes the car down one final time in final practice at Langley Speedway for opening night March 30, 2019. He would later end up in victory lane. (Justin Kern/TheWeeklyRacer.com)

Hampton, VA– Connor Hall has been one of the most active drivers from the Hampton Roads area over the off-season and it might have shown tonight in the Langley Speedway opener. After making an impressive debut in the ARCA racing series at Daytona, picked up a brand new Hedgecock racecar (we cannot confirm if that was the car he was running tonight), along with a new crewmember – Mark Wertz – and came into Langley Speedway with something to prove.

Hall took the green flag from the fifth position but had no plans on staying there long. Falk had similar thoughts as well as he took the lead from pole sitter Brenden Queen before the field got back around to the flag stand. Once things got settled in it only took a handful of laps for Hall to get around Greg Edwards for second setting his eyes on the race lead. Hall caught his first break of the evening on lap nineteen when the No. 4 of Duane Shreeves went for a spin in turn three creating the nights first cone restart.

Hall elected to stay on the bottom along with race leader C.E. Falk that put him in a great position to hang onto second. The second caution of the evening would follow just about ten laps later after contact between the No. 90 of Terry Carroll and defending track champion Danny Edwards. Edwards went for a spin out of turn four and down the front stretch. He would retire early from the race citing break issues. A third caution would come after Rick Gdovic spun out of turn two, not sure if contact was the result of that.

Things took a turn for the interesting when the fourth caution of the evening came out of turn two when Connor Hall just got into the right rear of Falk sending him for a spin. Race Control did not deem it as aggressive driving and Hall was able to keep his position. Falk was able to get the car fired, down pit road for a good look over, and return to the racing surface. Once Hall was able to choose what lane to restart in, and get the clean air, it was essentially lights out. He did have to defend the lead one final restart with thirty-six laps to go but once he got out front there was no stopping him.

Pole sitter Brenden Queen was able to rally back to a second place finish after falling as far back as eighth on the night. Greg Edwards, C.E. Falk, and Duane Shreeves rounded out the top five.

“It was a really good opening night,” Hall said in Dale Lemonds victory lane. “To be able to just get revenge on last year. I really feel bad about what happened between C.E. and I, but I knew it was going to come down between the two of us, I really hate that we didn’t get to race it out.”

Hall went on to talk about the incident between him and Falk on lap forty-five.

“I don’t know if he was kind of checking up a little bit to make sure Greg and I stayed side by side until he could get a chance to go,”Hall explained. “But I apologize to the whole 02 team. I never like winning one that way but at the same time I am sure he has made an accident in his career too.”

Hall went on to thank his crew, his family, and all the sponsors that helped make him into who he is today.

“I have to thank Towne Bank, Blue Water Yacht Sales, Charles Barker Auto Sales, Western Branch Diesel, and Hedgecock for building bad to the bone cars.”

 

Late Model Stock Car OFFICIAL Restults;

  1. #77 Connor Hall; 100
  2. #03 Brenden Queen; 100
  3. #21 Greg Edwards; 100
  4. #02 C.E. Falk; 100
  5. #4 Duane Shreeves; 100
  6. #90 Terry Carroll; 100
  7. #25 Craig Eastep; 100
  8. #9 Rodney Boyd; 99
  9. #71 Rick Gdvovic; 99
  10. #88 Thomas Marks; 68
  11. #91 Justin Carroll; 63
  12. #7 Zach Lightfoot (R); 45
  13. #26 Danny Edwards, Jr.; 28

Mason Bailey Dominates Southside Speedway J.M. Wilkinson Opening Night; Snaping Chris Dodson’s Six Race Win Streak

Mason Bailey dives into turn one at Southside Speedway during round two of practice Friday afternoon March 29th, 2019. (Justin Kern/TheWeeklyRacer.com)

Midlothian, Virginia– You could have not asked for better weather yesterday just south of the state capital. Light cloud cover, a nice low breeze and about 70 degrees all day long. Something Southside Speedway was probably owed after dealing with the amount of “The R Word” that came through the state last year. Fans and drivers alike packed the pits and the grandstands to make Opening Night 2019 one for the record books.

Mason Bailey was the fastest man in town in both divisions he raced in last night during the final round of practice, and for those who might not know Southside Speedway uses their final practice round as a form of group qualifying known as “Practifying.” It took Bailey just seven laps to lay down a 14.816 and take the pole position away from 2018 Rookie of the Year, John Goin. Chris Dodson, Howie Disavino, and Bugs Hairfield rounded out the fastest five qualifiers. Only the top two were inverted.

Starting the 40-lap feature on the outside front row was no problem for the young Chesterfield native. He was able to take the lead early from Goin, just before problems arose in turn three involving Howie DiSavino and Chris Johnson. Both cars ended up with some front end damage, however, DiSavino was the only one that did not return to the race. The caution set up the night’s first cone restart where Bailey elected to stay on the bottom, Goin took the chance to go topside but had some issues, and pardon the pun, getting ‘goin.’ Somehow he only fell back to fourth.

That allowed Bailey a clean shot in and out of two, which allowed him to open up a decent amount of space between himself and the rest of the field. Building almost a full second lead over the rest of the field allowing them to battle things out while he drove away. The second official caution of the evening came when Eddie Johnson and Justin Martz make contact, and by contact I mean Martz goes up and over the left front fender of Johnson. Just before that on the other end of the track, however, John Goin was able to get around Hairfield for second, setting up another great restart between two young drivers, so we thought!

Once the green was displayed things went downhill quick for Goin. Both he and Bailey spun their tires, which stakes up the field behind them. However, Goin got the worst end of the deal because he also had a left front tire go down. Once the carnage was cleared Cameron Jarrel found himself facing the wrong direction. Luckily for everyone involved, no one received any serious damage. Bailey once again elected to take the bottom on the ensuing restart but it was called off after race control deemed Hairfield jumped the start.

Once we finally got going again Bailey did a phenomenal job clearing the field and leaving the veterans to battle things out. Dodson was able to clear Hairfield for second but by the time he got some open track to work with, Bailey was long gone and collecting his second checkered flag of the evening and snapping one of, if not the longest, winning streaks in Southside history. Dodson, who had won the previous six J.M. Wilkinson Opening Night’s finished second, Bugs Hairfield, Michael Sutphin, and John Goin rounded out the top five finishers.

 

Late Model OFFICIAL Results;

  1. #05 Mason Bailey; 40
  2. #0 Chris Dodson; 40
  3. #04 Bugs Hairfield; 40
  4. #25 Michael Sutphin; 40
  5. #90 John Goin; 40
  6. #36 Chris Johnson; 40
  7. #29 Andrew Dean; 40
  8. #57 Eddie Johnson; 40
  9. #56 Cameron Jarrel; 40
  10. #09 Michael Rogers; 40
  11. #51 Mike Bender; 38
  12. #22 Justin Martz; 30
  13. #89 Kyle Wood; 18
  14. #11 Woody Ellington; 18
  15. #55 Howie DiSavino; 2

 

 

Ethan Ayers Wins UCAR Opener; Proves Yet Again to be the Division of Excitement

Beejay Anderson was the quickest of thirteen cars during practifying clocking in at 16.553 (72.487 MPH). However, the invert was not on his side once he pulled a six out of the cooler, handing the front row to Ronnie Vance and Joshua Thomas.

Vance again used the invert to his advantage and took off running when the green flag was displayed. Behind him was a completely different story, I am not sure if hornets nest is the right description because they took it three wide early, which cause some contact and damage. Ryan Paul’s No. 5 car probably took the worst of it after getting hit in the back and taking what looked like the front bumper cover of Brookfield with him. Somehow we remained green.

While all that was going on around mid back, Ethan Ayers was on the hunt for the lead. He was able to close the gap and make the pass just past the halfway point of the feature. Ayers had to hold off the rest of the field for a handful of restarts with less than ten laps to go but, he was able to do so and take home the victory

UCAR OFFICIAL Results;

  1. #87 Ethan Ayers; 25
  2. #32 Ronnie Vance; 25
  3. #72 Joshua Thomas; 25
  4. #13 Beejay Anderson; 25
  5. #03 Zachary Lindsey; 25
  6. #12 Jamie Hite; 25
  7. #98 James Gelina; 25
  8. #89 Kyle Bunn; 25
  9. #4 Thomas Stinson; 22
  10. #5 Ryan Paul; 20
  11. #27 Parker Brookfield; 20
  12. #96 Alex Ayers; 18
  13. #8 Richard Sisco; 18

Larry King Law’s Langley Speedway Returns to NASCAR Racing Saturday March 30th

Danny Edwards Jr. works down the backstretch of Langley Speedway during final a final practice session towards the end of 2018. (Justin Kern/TheWeeklyRacer.com)

As the cold heads out of the region, NASCAR racing makes its wonderful return to one of the longest running short tracks in both Virginia and the country. Race fans have already gotten a taste of the action earlier this month when people packed the grandstands for the Day of Destruction to watch cars compete in different styles of racing, crews trying to stuff vehicles with washing machines, guys and gals racing around flag poles, and of course the one million car Enduro — okay so it wasn’t a million cars but it sure did seem like it. Now race fans will get to cheer on their favorite Late Model, Grand Stock, Legends, driver this week as they either start their title defense or start their hunt for one. One thing is for certain, The Weekly Racer will be their to bring you all the action as it unfolds!

For the most part things will look the same for returning race fans. The speedway will host eleven divisions of racing from late March into the September when the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series (NWAAS) wraps up. Late Model Stock Cars will also return as the tracks Tier 1 division while the Modifieds should remain Division II. In addition, Grand Stocks should remain Div. III, Super Streets Div. IV, and the always exciting Enduro’s will return as Div. V. UCAR, Super Trucks, and Pro Six will all return to the schedule and race for a local track championship, they will not earn points towards a national title. Legends and Bando’s will also return to an alternating weekend under the INEX sanction.

You can expect to see some of the same familiar faces, cars, and rivalries from previous years. You will most certainly see the Edwards Brothers make their return, however, with vastly different looks. Defending champion Danny Edwards picked up a primary sponsor of Pomoco Nissan and will be the first-ever Nissan GTR Late Model Stock Car. Brother Greg Edwards will revert back to car owner James Long’s No. 21 machine instead of the 97. Brenden Queen had a small shuffle over the offseason where he and longtime car owner Andre Grier formed a partnership where Queen will pilot his car for a handful of races.

Things will certainly be interesting to watch in the Modified division as well. Not just because it’s fun to watch these high horsepower, lightweight machines, work their magic but, the growing story lines that are already developing. Can Shawn Balluzzo continue his dominance over the division like he has over the past decade. Will up and coming drivers enter the division and just blow the doors off the rest of the field. One driver who is certainly looking to put a stop to Balluzzo’s reign came on strong towards the end of the season and that is the No. 78 of Matt Carter. He and his crew have been hard at work over the off season letting everyone know on social media they were ready to go mouse hunting. To be honest, we cannot wait to see how this unfolds!

Late Model’s are not the only division to see a little bit of change has drivers decide to either move up or make lateral moves to other divisions. We are hearing some rumblings that the Modifieds will see a handful of new drivers, saw a few photos of new Super Streets being built, and have heard conversations about a battle for the ages in the Legends division. Only one way to find out if all his talk is true, make sure your butts in the grand stands this Saturday, March, 30th at 2:00 PM EDT when the gates open.

The 2019 season at Langley Speedway is going to be a spectacular one. Us over at The Weekly Racer believe there will be some of the closest points battles in track history especially in the Late Models, Modifieds, Super Streets, and Legends. In addition to the weekly shows, Langley is hosting an impressive six special events this year all kicking off April 11th with the Visit Hampton VA Grass Roots 200. Both the CARS Tour and Monster Truck tour will be making their debuts at the historic .400-mile speedway. Along with the return of the VA Sprint Cars, Southern Ground Pounders, the Commanders Cup, and the highly anticipated 11th Annual Hampton Heat 200.

General Admission gates and rotating practice for all divisions this weekend is schedule for 2:00 PM. Qualifying to follow the drivers meeting at 4:30 and the first green flag of 2019 is scheduled to drop approx. 7:00 PM. The Weekly Racer, as we have been the past two weeks, will have you covered for Pomoco Opening night should you not be able to attend. Or if you are able to attend and you would like more information while at the speedway. Our coverage will begin roughly around 4:30 along with qualifying. On the docket for the evening will be the INEX Bando’s & Legends, the Harris Truck Shop Super Trucks, Pepsi Grand Stocks, Bojangles UCAR, and the Taylor Waste Services Late Model Stock Cars for 100-laps.

For a full schedule of events visit the track’s website http://www.langley-speedway.com.

Southside Speedway Gearing Up for Spectacular Season: Celebrates 60th Anniversary This Friday

That’s right ladies and gentleman, Friday night short track racing returns this weekend at the historic Southside Speedway located in Midlothian, Virginia. Southside first opened its doors to drivers and fans back in April of 1959 by J.M. Wilkinson and is currently being run by his daughter, Sue Clements, and granddaughter, Jennifer Mullis. March 29th will mark 60 years at “The Toughest Short Track in the South” and has the potential to be yet another historic event in the tracks already rich history.

Southside currently hosts six divisions of racing — Late Models, IMCA style asphalt Modifieds, Grand Stocks, UCARS, as well as the INEX Legends and Bandolero division — that will typically run each night. Hosting races just about every other Friday night from March to August it allows for teams to compete throughout the summer but also save a little bit of cash from operating week in and week out. Another unique feature about Southside Speedway is they open their season with a bang, J.M. Wilkinson Opening Night is not just a date, it’s not just the start of the season, it’s an annual event that every driver wants to win. Speaking of winning, no modern day driver has done more of that at Southside than Late Model legend, Chris Dodson.

Dodson closed out 2018 strong winning his seventy-second race and winning an impressive ninth series championship. During victory lane and trophy presentation, a very emotional Dodson was unclear of his 2019 plans and if he would return for a full season. If we may speak honestly here, and our readers know we do, Dodson has nothing to be ashamed of if he were to hang his helmet up. Whether you like the guy or hate the guy he will go down as one of the greats at Southside Speedway. Don’t let your hard down to soon, however, because Dodson did hint that he would make an attempt at winning his seventh J.M. Wilkinson Opening Night in a row.

There will be plenty of other drivers to look out for this season and the first one to come to mind is Eddie Johnson. Driving most of the 2018 season in the No. 43 Richard Petty look-a-like and eventually transitioning into the 00, Johnson has been racing at Southside Speedway longer than I have been on this earth and certainly knows how to get around. We haven’t heard yet if Johnson will be driving for another owner or for himself yet. A few other names to look out for; Mason Bailey, Howie DiSavino, and Chris Hopkins. No doubt Bailey struggled last season to find speed in the car but the kid has raw talent and it won’t take him long to find his way back into victory lane. DiSavino is another young driver to keep an eye on. As the season came to an end he came on strong. Hopefully, that team can keep the momentum up and find their way to victory lane. Chris Hopkins, what’s not to say about Hopkins? Running double duty often in the Modified and Late Model towards the end of the year, Hopkins got on a hot streak and never cooled down, expect to see similar results this year.

In other divisions, Dan Rogers is expected to return to the Grand Stock division and defend his title after dominating 2018 in a historic way. Hopefully, we also see the return of Chris Hopkins in the Modified division after such a killer performance last season. The UCAR series, of course, will be nothing less than spectacular. With so many drivers in and out of cars, the championship battle will be one to watch of course. In the INEX Legends series, we expect to see Daniel Silvestri make his return. We are not 100% certain want landing that ride with Burton-Sellers Racing in the Late Model will do to his Legend career, however, Silvestri is our early pick for the Legend Championship. In the Bando’s Layton Harrison, among others, should make their return. With last year’s championship battle coming down to the wire, we can’t even make a prediction on this series.

Front gates are slated to open for fans at 6:00 PM EDT. Qualifying is scheduled to get underway at the same time. The green flag is expected to drop at 7:45 PM EDT. We will have LIVE coverage, as always; on our Twitter feed starting with qualifying and leading into the feature. Please note that we will not be able to cover every division in detail due to the nature of the event.

 

2019 SEASON SCHEDULE

Friday, March 29
Friday, April 5
Friday, April 19 (75-lap Late Models)
Friday, May 3
Friday, May 10
Friday, May 31
Friday, June 14
Friday, June 28
Friday, July 12 (75-lap Late Models)
Friday, July 26
Friday, August 9
Friday, August 23

Louis White Scores Emotional Victory in East Carolina Motor Speedway’s Season Opener; Jeremy Bohne Dominates Physical Charger Race

Louis White and crew celebrate their first win of 2019 in victory lane at East Carolina Motor Speedway. (Justin Kern/TheWeeklyRacer.com

Robersonville, North Carolina – Thirty years ago East Carolina Motor Speedway opened its doors for racing in the small North Carolina town as a 3/8-mile oval. Louis White was one of the first competitors to make laps here at the speedway in a Super Late Model. Matter of fact, Louis White ended up winning the track championship that year. Fast forward to 2019 and he hasn’t really slowed down.

After struggling so much in 2018 battling a tight race car as well as sending one through the guard rail in turn one, victory lane was just what the doctor ordered to get the 2019 season started.

After qualifying third earlier in the afternoon it didn’t take long for White to take the second position from Wesley Johnson and set his sites on Burbage, who actually set the pole earlier in single-car qualifying with a 15.098 – just one-thousandth of a second quicker than Johnson. White settled into a rhythm knowing that tire management is probably the single most important thing here on this worn out surface. However, White would catch a huge break when a large puff of smoke erupted from the nine-car forcing NASCAR to throw the yellow and for Burbage to come down pit road.

On the ensuing restart, White lined up on the inside of Jeff Shifflett and wasted zero time getting back to the gas once they entered the restart zone. From there it was lights out. Shifflett made an honest attempt and pulled within about three cars of White but you could see the car get visibly tight which caused him to fade. From there, it was lights out. Louis White would cruise to victory while Kenneth Mercer and Wesley Johnson put on a hell of a show for third.

During White’s victory lap, he drove the car right over to the spot he went through just last year as a reminder that he was still victorious.

“After last year this win ranks right there at the top after all we went through last year,” White said in victory lane. “We destroyed a brand new car. I didn’t know if I was going to race again. I said I was done. Then we had a deal with our business where we lost a contract so between that and losing this brand new car I didn’t know what I was going to do.”

Come back and win. That’s what Louis White does. He has been winning races here for thirty years now and still enjoys doing it even at 60.

“I have been fortunate to have good cars and great guys to help me work on,” Louis went on to say. “You can take a bad driver and put him in a good car and he can do good with it, maybe that’s what it is.”

One thing we know at The Weekly Racer is that when it comes to Louis White and East Carolina Motor Speedway, there isn’t anything bad when it comes to his driving.

“After what happened going through the wall I just wanted to go over there and park it to let it know it didn’t win.”

As we concluded we asked Louis if this win means he will compete here full time this season and go for another championship.

“I don’t know. Whatever the crowd wants to do. We have another race track we want to run at some. I have been coming here so long and like to support Mr. Perry because he has put so much money into this track and I am going to do all I can to support him.”

Louis White walks back from the spot he went through the outside guardrail over a year ago. (Justin Kern/TheWeeklyRacer.com)

Late Model Stock Car UNOFFICIAL Results;

  1. Louis White; 50
  2. Jeff Shifflett; 50
  3. Wesley Johnson; 50
  4. Kenneth Mercer; 50
  5. Madyson Mulligan; 49
  6. Thomas Burbage; 15

 

Chargers

At the end of the day, it was Jeremy Bohne who landed in victory lane for the 35-lap Charger feature. Though he was not the fastest car during qualifying – that honor went to former Bando driver Ethan Johnson – he was the one to get out front and avoid the mess that went on behind him.

It took Bohne over half the race to actually catch and pass Johnson for the lead and when that happened it seemed like things went south quick for the young guy as Bohne set sail. On a restart following a caution for fluid from the 14 of Ryan Miller things seemed to go downhill for Johnson who was slow to the restart which forced a three-wide situation between him, Roberson, and Langley and let me tell you something, three wide doesn’t work out of turn two.

Johnson’s car got the worst of it with heavy front-end damage, however, it wasn’t over there. Johnson struggling to get the car back under him looked to make contact with Mike Jones who was plowed into by Bill Price putting fluid all over the speedway. As the cars were going through the mess under caution Melvin Langley and Travis Roberson decided to exchange a few words, using their cars.

Once the track was clean and racing resumed Jeremy Bohne jumped back out to the lead and never looked back. Travis Roberson took over second place with Langley behind him. Ethan Johnson was able to make it back up to fourth with Greg Worley rounding out the top five.

Chargers UNOFFICIAL Results;

  1. Jeremy Bohne; 35
  2. Travis Roberson; 35
  3. Melvin Langley; 35
  4. Ethan Johnson; 35
  5. Greg Worley; 35
  6. Mike Jones; 23
  7. Daniel Vuncannon; 23
  8. Bill Price; 23
  9. Ryan Miller; 20
  10. Austin Ferrell; 17

In the Legends division, Cameron Murray took home the hardware. Chris Conner won his first ever Street Stock race of his career and Patrick Arch was victorious in the Mini Stock class.

Thomas Burbage Ready to Defend East Carolina Motor Speedway Title – Sets His Eyes on a Threepeat

Thomas Burbage works off Turn 4 during an afternoon practice session at East Carolina Motor Speedway. (Justin Kern/TheWeeklyRacer.com)

With spring officially upon us here in the Mid-Atlantic Racing region it means two things; 1) We are all going to be sneezing uncontrollably for the next month and a half and, 2) Its time to go back racing! Hickory Motor Speedway kicked off their, and North Carolina’s, NASCAR Whelen All-American Series (NWAAS) last weekend with Jacob Heafner and Adam Lemke finding their way into victory lane. One week later East Carolina Motor Speedway (ECMS) is ready to dust off the marbles and get back to racing. One driver in particular is certainly ready to get back on track and defend his title.

ECMS is a rather unique, 3/8-mile high banked D-shape oval located in the small town of Robersonville, North Carolina just off route 64. The speedway was built back in the early ’90s and has a track surface that would rival that of Myrtle Beach. However, that’s not really it’s a most unique feature, in ours and most drivers we talk to opinion. How one navigates turn two can be the key to landing you in victory lane or it can be the reason you find yourself stuffed in the outside retaining wall.

Over the last two years, Thomas Burbage has really hit on something at ECMS and with some of the changes over the offseason, he looks to keep that momentum going.

“We changed a few things,” Burbage told The Weekly Racer when asked about the offseason. “Been looking at different setup packages to try and get better. We get the super sucker carb plate back and we changed a few things on the engine package to give us a little more horsepower.  Hopefully, everything works out and we can defend our title.”

Even though Burbage is going into 2019 as the two-time defending LMSC champion he knows that he and his team has to be on their game week in and week out if they want a third.

“I would say there are three to four good teams that are front runners,” Burbage said about the competition. “Louis White is always strong when it counts. Kenneth Mercer really came on strong last year and has a great long run car. Wesley Johnson fought hard all year long last year and I’m sure will be up there again this year.  We always go to the race track with the mindset of being on our game because any given weekend we can be the one chasing the leader for a win.”

 

Jesse Council Hangs Up Helmet to Spend Time with Family

For the past few years, the Street Stock division at East Carolina has been dominated by Hobgood, North Carolina driver Jesse Council. However, in 2019 we are guaranteed to see new faces in victory lane as well as the opportunity for a brand new champion. Council has decided to hang up the helmet and driving suit to spend more time with his family.

“I have sold my car and most everything I had associated with racing,” Council told The Weekly Racer. “Last year was a high note to end on. We only lost two races at East Carolina all season. Everything is great. I just want to spend more time with my wife and kids.”

With Council not returning this season, it will certainly open the door for new faces to make their trip to victory lane. Could we see Travis Roberson pull double duty in both the Street Stock and Chargers? Will Chris Connor come back from the offseason stronger than before? One thing is for certain, we will find out this Saturday afternoon when the green flag waves.

 

Charger Division Open for the Taking as Well

Doug Warren, who won the 2018 Charger track champion, will not return full time in 2019 to defend his title. In fact, Warren will make the step up to running a limited schedule in the Late Model Stock Car division. Can Travis Roberson take the top spot this year at his home track? Or, will Jeremy Bohne or Michael O’Brien step up to the plate to take the title?

Of course, titles are on the line for the Bando’s, Mini Stocks, and Bombers starting this Saturday. Cameron Murray, David Willis, Mike Parrish are all looking to defend their titles this summer respectfully. Also, making their return to East Carolina will be the INEX Legends.

Registration will open Saturday morning at 9:00 AM EDT with a two-hour practice session starting at 10:00. Qualifying is scheduled to get underway at 1:00. Bando’s will start based on their practice time, Jr Bombers & Bombers will draw for positions. Mini Stock and UCAR’s will group qualify while Street Stock, Legend, Chargers, and Late Model will all go out for single-car qualifying.

Racing is scheduled to kick off at 3:00 PM EDT. Make sure to follow The Weekly Racer’s Twitter feed for LIVE coverage beginning with qualifying.

 

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