Craving More Track Time, Daniel Makes Big Jump To Limited Sportsman Division At South Boston Speedway
SOUTH BOSTON, VA – Kenny Daniel enjoyed his rookie season in the entry-level Hornet Division at South Boston Speedway last year and was fairly successful, finishing fifth in the points.
But there was something missing for the 36-year-old Daniel that prompted a big jump up for the 2019 season which begins Saturday afternoon with the Danville Toyota NASCAR Late Model Twin 100s.
The sod farmer from Sutherlin will strap into a Limited Sportsman car for Saturday’s 50-lap Limited race. And it’s those 50 laps that prompted Daniel to make the move.
It’s a real big jump from the Hornets to Limiteds. There’s a lot more motor … four cylinders more,” Daniel joked. “But mainly it’s to run more laps. You get a lot more laps in the Limiteds. It was only 15-lap races in the Hornets. By the time you get going, it’s time to quit.”
So, while Daniel and his crew were keeping his Hornet Division car race-ready last year, they were also building a Limited Sportsman car for this season. They probably did 90 percent of the work themselves, farming out only the set up to Midnight Performance and the shocks to Puryear Racing Parts.
The car was finished a couple of weeks ago and they’ve managed to get to the track twice to test already. And as Daniel had expected, it’s a huge step up for him.
“We’re happy with the car and the way it’s handling. We’ve still got some adjustments and fine tuning,” said Daniel. “The driver has still got a lot of adjusting to do. I’ve got to get more seat time and get info back to the crew.
“The power has been an adjustment, but I like the power. The biggest adjustment has probably been the grip with the bigger tires,” said Daniel, who plans to start at the rear of the field for the “first two or three races” until he gets a good feel for the car.
For older race fans, Daniel’s car will look familiar: it’s the same bright yellow with the No. 2 on the door that the late Goo Fallen’s cars ran at South Boston with driver Danny Willis Sr. back in the 1990s.
“It’s a throwback to Goo’s car and to my daddy. That was the number my daddy ran when he raced sprint cars and that was the number and color Goo ran. My dad worked on Goo’s pit crew,” said Daniel, who is sponsored by White Appraisals, Southern Restorations, Nutrient Solutions, and of course, his family’s farm, Daniel’s Sod Farm. “I was just a little kid, but I used to go to Goo’s shop with my dad some nights and roll around on a creeper while they worked on the car.”
There will be another familiar look to the car: it will carry the bright blue angel wings his Hornet car carried last year. They are a tribute to his young daughter Kendal, who was diagnosed with Angelman syndrome when she was two. Angelman syndrome is a rare neuro-genetic disorder with symptoms that include developmental delay, lack of speech, seizures and walking and balance disorders. Children with Angelman syndrome typically have a happy, excitable demeanor with frequent smiling, laughter and hand-flapping movements.
South Boston Speedway’s season opens Saturday afternoon with twin 100-lap Late Model Stock races, a 50-lap Limited Sportsman race, a 30-lap Pure Stock race and a 15-lap Hornets race. Grandstands open at 12:30 p.m. and the first race begins at 2 p.m.
Tickets are just $10 for adults and children 12-and-under admitted free. Advance tickets may be purchased by calling 877.440.1540 or by stopping by the South Boston Speedway office between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.