Monthly Archives: May 2019

Late Model Stock Competition Much Deeper Than Expected At South Boston Speedway This Season

Teenager Daniel Silvestri (97) has been one of the big Late Model Stock surprises at South Boston Speedway this season.

SOUTH BOSTON, VA – The racing season is young at South Boston Speedway, with just four race dates in the books so far. But there have already been some solid story lines revealed.

As expected, the three NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national champions, Peyton Sellers, Philip Morris, and Lee Pulliam have dominated victory lane.

What may be unexpected though, is the depth of the competition. Ten different drivers … Pulliam, Sellers, Morris, Mike Looney, Austin Thaxton, Jason Barnes, Trey Crews, Thomas Scott, Mike Jones, and Daniel Silvestri have all posted top-5 finishes in just five races this season.

Thaxton and Crews have been solid enough to elbow their way into the top-5 in the point standings, despite the winning ways of the big three. With second, fourth and fifth-place finishes, Thaxton is tied for second with Morris in the Late Model points standings, trailing only Sellers.

Late Model rookie Crews is fourth in the standings after a pair of third-place finishes and four top-10 efforts. Pulliam, who won the season-opener, is fifth in points.

Morris and Sellers have two wins apiece.

Silvestri is perhaps the biggest surprise of the season. The 16-year-old rookie finished second to Sellers on April 20 in just his third Late Model start. He also has a sixth to his credit this season.

The Limited Sportsman Division has seen parity as well early in 2019. There have been three different winners … Danny Willis Jr., Jacob Borst, and Daniel Moss … in three races this year.

There is just a 10-point difference between first and fourth in the Limited points standings. Moss leads the way with 106 points, followed by Willis with 99, Jessica Dana with 98 and Borst with 96.

Nathan Crews, behind a pair of victories, leads the Budweiser Pure Stock Points by 17 over Jordan Pickrel and Bruce Mayo, who are tied for second. Crews captured the first two races of the season and Pickrel won the most recent Pure Stock race.

Steven Layne leads the Budweiser Hornets Division in victories with two but trails Kevin Currin, who has one victory, in points. Currin has a five-point, 122-117 lead over Layne.

All divisions will be back in action Saturday night with the Bojangles NASCAR Late Model 100, featuring a 100-lap Late Model Stock race, twin 25-lap races for the Limited Sportsman Division, twin 15-lap races for the Budweiser Pure Stock Division and a15-lap race for the Budweiser Hornets Division.

Admission is $10 for adults with children 12-and-under admitted free. Grandstand gates open at 5:30 p.m. with the green flag falling at 7 p.m.

Spencer Saunders Scored Impressive Second Place Finish in Carteret County Speedway Short Track Shoot Out; Builds Strong Notebook for Fall Nationals

Saunders sails into turn one at Carteret County Speedway during a practice session ahead of the INEX Legends $2,500 to-win Short Track Shoot Out. (📸 Justin Kern/TheWeeklyRacer.com)

Carrollton, VA– For the second time in a row Spencer Saunders is leaving Carteret County Speedway with a second-place finish. Two weeks ago the team called it sheer luck and being in the right place at the right time citing they had a top-five car but certainly not one to compete for the win. Fast forward two weeks and Saunders Motorsports would once again leave the Emerald Coast with a second place finish. However, this podium finish was more than just luck, it was in front of a much better field of cars, and created a pretty stout notebook for fall nationals.

Saunders was one of twenty-four INEX Legend cars to make the trip down to the 4/10-mile flat track searching for speed. Luckily for the No. 7 machine, they were able to unload out of the box with a pretty fast piece. This allowed him and his father, the crew chief on the Smoke BBQ, Taylor Waste Services, Crush Con Aggregates machine, to make only minor adjustments throughout the weekend to find the speed they needed to stay up front.

“I didn’t have to put it [the car] back in the box in pieces so that was like a win for us,” Saunders went on to say. “Our goal was to unload Friday and run somewhere in the threes. When we ended up hitting a one on the stopwatch during practice I knew we had something.”

Not only did they make the trip with the hopes of bringing $2,500 big ones back to the Hampton Roads Area, but it was also a way for the team to get a feel for the asphalt nationals at the end of the year. Saunders, who currently sits ninth in the national points for the Pro division, is expected to go into that event come October sitting pretty well in the points standings with more than thirty races on this schedule. After this weekends events, they feel like they might have an even better shot at a win when it really counts.

“This one feels pretty good,” Saunders said following his second-place finish Saturday night. “We had a good night tonight.  Second place is a good run for us.  This means a lot more than a couple weeks ago the first time we ran here. I felt like we had a car to win, we just got to beating and banging there on those restarts. That’s just how it goes. When you are stuck on the outside you are pretty much done.”

Crew Chief, Car Owner, and Father David Saunders follows his driver out of turn four looking to see where he can find just a little more speed as practice was finishing up Friday night. (Justin Kern/TheWeeklyRacer.com)

Saturday Saunders backed that up again by posting the third and second fastest times during final practice. That speed ultimately transferred over to qualifying when he clocked the fifth fastest time of the afternoon. When it was time to go racing Saunders didn’t really have plans to stay that far back and shot up to the second position almost as quick as the green flag was displayed. The 29-year old driver from Carrolton, Virginia was able to keep that track position for most of the night, falling only as far back as the seventh position on a mid-race restart.

“This weekend was really good for us,” Saunders commented. “We did come away as the highest finishing pro driver so that essentially is a win for us and 100 points towards our national total. It really a testament to the work just my dad and I do on the car coming down here with all these big teams. Plus we are leaving here with a really solid notebook for October.”

Saunders, who entered the weekend ninth in Pro national points standings, finished ahead of Caleb Heady so he will make ground up there. The runner-up spot was also the highest finish for all Virginia drivers who made the trip – a region that we cover quite the most based on our location.

Saunders will return to his home track of Langley Speedway – the same speedway he has multiple wins and a track championship – to compete for the win next week, Saturday, May 18th. The Weekly Racer will have LIVE updates on Twitter of that 25-lap feature. To keep up with everything that is Spencer Saunders make sure to follow his racing page ‘Spencer Saunders’ on Facebook as well as on Instagram.

 

Jerald Harris Clinches Virginia Sprint Series Win at Dixieland Speedway

Elizabeth City, NC – Jerald Harris muscled his way around the 3/8-mile dirt oval on Friday by leading the most circuits in the 25-lap event, en route to the victory.  Harris, of Dayton, Virginia, became the fourth different winner of the Virginia Sprint Series in as many races in the 2019 season.

“I’ve got to thank French Grimes.  He walked me around here and showed me where no one else would run,” said Harris in victory lane following the event.  “He said it’s big rewards, but big risks.  He helped me set the car up high, which has a lot of grip. I have to thank French, Jim Haines, and the speedway.  I would drive down here every weekend if we had a race down here.”

Harris held off John Karklin of Waxhaw, North Carolina, who finished second and Andy Best of Dover, Delaware, rounded out the podium finishers in third.

One yellow flag slowed the event when defending race winner from last June, Daren Bolac, of Moyock, spun in turn two while running inside the top six on lap 13.  The event featured a first-time racer, Matthew Mullins of Hampton, who prior to Friday, hadn’t competed on a dirt track in more than 30 years.

Karklin who finished runner up featured the only father-son duo in the race.  Karklin’s son, Jake Karklin, made his first start at Dixieland and finished the event in fourth place.

Racers who competed in the event traveled from across North Carolina, and other states including Virginia, Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

In addition to Dixieland, the series competes at Langley Speedway in Hampton and other tracks in Virginia including Natural Bridge and Shenandoah. Drivers also navigate a raceway in Hagerstown, Maryland and the national championships are contested in Eagle, Nebraska.

In other feature races, Larry Jackson ended a long winless streak by grabbing the checkers in the Budweiser Allstar Late Model 30-lap race.  He dominated the event, leading flag to flag to earn his first win in more than three years. Jackson held off last week’s winner and dominator at the track, Billy Hubbard.

“There is a lot of people that helped this car, and no one is more important than the other,” said Jackson following the race in victory lane.  “The car is getting faster. It seemed like the Daytona 500, but it could have been the Dixieland 500.”

The event was mired with caution flags as various cars ran into one another and tagged the safety walls.  The start of the race was a challenge as it took three attempts to begin due to drivers near the rear of the field spinning on the course.  Once the race officially started, it was slowed six times due to wrecks or debris.  The last yellow came on lap 28, setting up a two-lap dash to the finish line. Jackson was able to hold off Hubbard and third place finisher Tom Wilson.

Hubbard and Jackson are now tied in the 2019 championship chase after two of 15 races.

He started on the outside pole and finished second last week. On Friday, Mark Gonzales finished one spot better to claim his first win of the season in the Rapid Ron’s Racing Sportsman.  Gonzales led flag to flag to claim his first win since August 24th, 2018. The battle on the track for most of the evening was for the second position between outside pole sitter and last week’s winner Joe Weiss, and Troy Brickhouse.  Brickhouse started the race in fourth and quickly moved his way towards the front of the field.  He would ultimately outduel Wiess to claim the runner up position.

For the second week in a row, the struggle in advancing this year from the Little Caesars Super Streets to the Rapid Ron’s Racing Sportsman continued for Devin Weatherly.  The 33-year old spun in turns three and four and soon pitted following that. He would go on to finish in sixth place.

Following his win, Gonzales now leads the point standings by two points over Weiss.

Dennis Barnes earned his first victory of 2019, holding off last weeks winner, Justin Pruitt, to claim the Little Caesars Super Street win. Barnes started the 20-lap race on the outside pole and wasted no time to move his number 20 Chevrolet Monte Carlo to the point.  The 53-year-old from Camden hit his marks perfectly throughout the race that was slowed twice due to a couple of single-car spins by Howard Bradshaw on opposite ends of the track.  Allen Shiflett rounded out the top three finishers, despite the fact he competed with no power steering.  Friday nights race was the first start of the season for the 54-year old Elizabeth City racer.  Shiflett attempted to start last week, however mechanical problems sidelined the fierce competitor who visited victory lane twice in 2018 and finished second in the points race.

The fate of another first-time racer this season didn’t fare as well as Shiflett.  Josh Letson, 43, of Chesapeake, started the event in third and ran inside the top four until lap six.  At that point while under caution conditions, he retired from the event due to mechanical issues and finished the race in 10thplace.

Pruitt and Barnes are now tied for the lead in the championship point standings headed into this weekend’s races.

On his birthday, James Hissom, Jr. became the only driver at Dixieland to have multiple wins in 2019.  The racer from Moyock started on the pole and led all 15-laps on his way to victory lane.  AJ Smith made his first start in 2019 by capturing a heat race win and started the main on the outside pole.  The Chesapeake racer kept his Acura Integra in the runner up spot until he cut a tire and was forced to pit, ending his hopes of a possible win.  Capitalizing on Smith’s misfortune, Harrison Moore who earned a career-best finish of third last week, was able to better his racing statistics with a runner up finish.  In only his second career start, Kolten Stevens finished in third place.

Hissom continues to lead the points chase by six markers over Moore.

Racing continues this Friday, May 17th.  All four divisions, including the Budweiser Late Models, Rapid Ron’s Racing Sportsman, Little Caesars Super Streets, and the Biggs Cadillac Buick GMC Stock Fours will return in addition to the R & D Excavating Super Fours.  A special foot race with a cash prize will be held.  Gates open at 5:00 p.m.  Practice kicks off at 6:30 p.m. followed by qualifying and racing begins at 8:00 p.m.

 

About Dixieland Speedway:

Dixieland Speedway is northeastern North Carolina’s premier action track.  The 3/8-mile dirt oval has hosted exciting Friday night racing since 1983.  Long straightaways and tight turns lead to the intense on-track action.  The clay track is 55 feet wide and turns one and two are banked at 12 degrees, while turns three and four are eight-degrees.  Race fans from all over the region have come to witness spectacular side by side racing through the years.  The family-friendly facility offers something for everyone as on-track action keeps fans on the edge of their seats all night long. Refreshment and souvenir stands are on site.  Tickets for all events are available for purchase in person.  Don’t miss your chance to see why they call Dixieland, the track that started it all.  To learn more, visit dixielandspeedway.net or follow Dixieland Speedway on Facebook (Dixieland Speedway), Twitter (@DixielandSpdwy) and Instagram (@dixielandspeedway).  Information by phone, dial 252-771-5151.  Dixieland Speedway is located at 1520 Northside Road in Elizabeth City.

Will Bristle Earns Biggest Win of Legends Career in Carteret County Speedway Legends Short Track Shoot Out

Will Bristle powers down the front stretch at Carteret County Speedway Friday afternoon in preparation for Saturday nights $2,500 to win feature. (Justin Kern/TheWeeklyRacer.com)

Swansboro, NC – When you offer up $2,500 to the winner of any race you are going to attract a crowd. When that same race just happens to be at the same venue as your series national finals towards the end of the year you really attract a crowd. That crowd was in the tune of thirty-eight Legend cars converging on the .400-mile speedway of Carteret County Speedway and for one driver he, or she, would walk away with a wad of cash and a decent amount of national points.

Daniel Silvestri was the fastest man on the property during group qualifying as the sun set over turn three and earned the right to lead the field to the green flag. However, as the field sailed off into turns one and two and raced down the backstretch it was the pair of sevens of Zach Miller and Spencer Saunders leading. Miller was able to hang onto that lead until lap eight when Dillon Spain Motorsports driver Will Bristle was able to power around him.

Once Bristle, who showed considerable speed throughout the weekend, got the lead and clean track in front of him, he was lights out. Restart after restart Bristle had to hold off charges from Hampton, Virginia’s Spencer Saunders who was already coming off an impressive second-place finish a couple weeks prior during his Carteret debut. One restart in particular with five laps to go got rather wild when everyone in the top five got jacked up. Bristle went airborne; Saunders went spinning right round through the grass. After officials reviewed the video on hand from Legends Nations, officials deemed it to be a bad start overall and decided to re-rack the field and try it all over again.

That following restart was much better and Bristle yet again powered to the lead. Saunders was able to recover and drive his way back up to the second position after a brief battle with Daniel Silvestri. Zach Miller was also able to get around Silvestri to take the third and final podium finish.

“First off I have to thank Carteret County Speedway, God, Dillon Spain Motorsports for putting this piece together for me,” an excited Bristle said in victory lane. “We worked extremely hard on our stuff to make it this fast and it’s really showing. I gotta thank all of these guys for racing me really clean there, except when they tried to run me over that one restart. It’s a huge win and I think it really prepared us for nationals.”

The win was no doubt one of the biggest in Bristle’s Legends career and set him and his team up with some pretty high hopes going into the Nationals that will be making their debut at the speedway later in October.

“I would say this is the closest race that would compare to what the nationals will be like here in October,” Bristle said. “Really stiff competition. Just a fun race overall. Came from fourth to the front and never looked back.”

The race was slowed eight times for cautions and stopped three due to red flags. There was only one lead change between two drivers. Carteret County Speedway will return to action in two weeks on Sunday, May 26thof the Memorial Day Classic. Check out their website for more details.

 

INEX Legends Short Track Shoot Out UNOFFICIAL Results

  1. #91 Will Bristle; 35
  2. #7 Spencer Saunders; 35
  3. #7M Zach Miller; 35
  4. #97 Daniel Silvestri; 35
  5. #82 Caleb Heady; 35
  6. #8 Sam Butler; 35
  7. #99 Cody Hall; 35
  8. #01 Tyler Lester; 35
  9. #51M Ryan Matthews; 35
  10. #16 Jordan Lamothe; 35
  11. #14J Conner Jones; 35
  12. #24 Bryson Ruff; 35
  13. #29 DJ Canipe; 35
  14. #28 Landon Rapp; 35
  15. #50 Peter Bennett; 35
  16. #88 Zach Brown; 35
  17. #14TJ Tucker Jones; 35
  18. #00 Aaron Crumpler; 35
  19. #51 Jim Smith; 30
  20. #22 Ryan DeMartini; 29
  21. #10 Alex McCollum; 29
  22. #84 Kyle Beattie; 27
  23. #8 Mike Alcaro; 24
  24. #72A Jason Austin; 23
  25. #1S Brian Sullivan; 15
  26. #21 Eric Courtney; 15
  27. #B1 Brenton Irving; 8
  28. #4 Chase Scott; 2

Virginia Sprint Series Returns to Dixieland Speedway on Friday

The sprint car of Jerald Harris of Dayton, Virginia, sits in the pit area prior to last years Virginia Sprint Series event at Dixieland Speedway.

Elizabeth City, NC – The Virginia Sprint Series makes its 2019 debut at northeastern North Carolina’s action track in Elizabeth City on Friday.  The event marks the fourth race of the season for the sprint series, which has visited tracks across the region, and the second at Dixieland.  Drivers that participate in the wing sprints come from Virginia, North Carolina, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

“We look forward to welcoming back the drivers, crews and fans of the popular Virginia Sprint Series, many of whom have traveled a great distance,” said Red Swain, owner and promoter of Dixieland Speedway. “These high-powered race cars are fast and put on a great show for fans to watch with racers jockeying back and forth for position throughout the night.”

In addition to Dixieland, the series competes at Langley Speedway in Hampton and other tracks in Virginia including Natural Bridge and Shenandoah.  Drivers also navigate a raceway in Hagerstown, Maryland and the national championships are contested in Eagle, Nebraska.

Four other divisions will compete on Friday, including the Budweiser Allstar Late Models, Rapid Ron’s Racing Sportsman, Little Caesars Super Streets and the Biggs Cadillac, Buick, GMC Stock Fours.  The event follows an exciting season opener last week that saw a first-time winner, Justin Pruitt, two past champions, Billy Hubbard and Joe Weiss, along with a previous race winner James Hissom, Jr., visit victory lane.  Gates open at 5:00 p.m.  Practice kicks off at 6:30 p.m. followed by qualifying and racing begins at 8:00 p.m.

The non-profit of the evening, Albemarle Area United Way, will be on hand for fans to learn more about the organization and what it does to support residents of the region.

 

About Dixieland Speedway:

Dixieland Speedway is northeastern North Carolina’s premier action track.  The 3/8-mile dirt oval has hosted exciting Friday night racing since 1983.  Long straightaways and tight turns lead to intense on-track action.  The clay track is 55 feet wide and turns one and two are banked at 12 degrees, while turns three and four are eight-degrees.  Race fans from all over the region have come to witness spectacular side by side racing through the years.  The family-friendly facility offers something for everyone as on-track action keeps fans on the edge of their seats all night long.  Refreshment and souvenir stands are on site.  Tickets for all events are available for purchase in person.  Don’t miss your chance to see why they call Dixieland, the track that started it all.  To learn more, visit dixielandspeedway.net or follow Dixieland Speedway on Facebook (Dixieland Speedway), Twitter (@DixielandSpdwy) and Instagram (@dixielandspeedway).  Information by phone, dial 252-771-5151.  Dixieland Speedway is located at 1520 Northside Road in Elizabeth City.

Will Bristle Expecting Strong Performance in Carteret Shootout

PELETIER, NC – Will Bristle has had a lot of success at Bobby Watson’s Carteret County Speedway and he’s hoping to add one more Carteret trophy to his mantle on Saturday night in the $2,500-to-win Short Track Shootout.

Bristle, 18, from Raleigh, North Carolina has scored multiple victories at Carteret County Speedway – including a victory in a $2,500-to-win race in last year’s Labor Day Classic.  Saturday night, however, could be one of the biggest challenges he’s faced as an ultra-competitive field is set to converge upon Carteret County Speedway.

“A win this weekend would definitely be ranked pretty high up there with that strong competition coming in,” Bristle said.  “We have been very successful at Carteret in the past.  We plan on working on that and keeping the momentum going.”

While the $2,500 check that will go to the winner is incentive enough for many competitors, Saturday night’s event will also be a prime opportunity for racers to get dialed in for the INEX Legends Asphalt Nationals, the largest Legends event in North America, which will be held from October 17th through October 19th at Carteret County Speedway.

“The money’s a really big factor that we’re going for,” Bristle remarked.  “We’re definitely expecting a lot of tough competition coming own.  Preparing for the Nationals as well.  It’s what we’re all here doing.  We want to find some good speed for the Nationals.  We’re expecting upwards of 150 cars that week so we have to be on our game that week, on point.  We’re making speed here preparing for May 11th and the Nationals in October.”

Bristle scored three victories at Carteret County Speedway in 2019 driving for the dominant Dillon Spain Motorsports team which has also racked up wins with Spain, Zach Lightfoot, Eric Courtney, and Mason Diaz in the past and been in contention for wins all season with Emily Day.  Bristle, who is a former Legends champion at Southern National Motorsports Park, does not race regularly himself and often spends much of his time working with other DSM drivers.

“We have a wonderful group of guys with us,” Bristle stated.  “Great drivers we work with.  We’ve got Emily.  Tucker Jones is rolling.  We’ve got Jason Austin.  We’ve got some good speed.  It should be a really great show.  We’re expecting a lot of cars.  It should be a blast.”

The Legends race will see a slightly altered format.  If there are more than 30 cars attempting to make the field, the top 20 starting positions will be determined in qualifying, which will commence at 5:30pm, and the rest will have an opportunity to race in a B-Main style event with the top eight finishers from that race transferring to the feature race.

The 35-lap, $2,500-to-win Legends feature will be the headline act in the Short Track Shootout on Saturday night, May 11th.  The green flag will fly at 7pm and will also feature racing for Street Stocks, Mini-Stocks, U-CARs, Champ Karts, and the Coastal Carolina Mini Cup Series.

Tickets are $15 for adults while kids 10 and under get in free.  In honor of Mother’s Day, moms will get $5 off general admission.

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.

Winner of Thunder Road Harley-Davidson Presented by Grand Atlantic Ocean Resort 200 At South Boston Will Take Home $10,000

Peyton Sellers celebrates his victory in the 2018 Thunder Road Harley-Davidson 200.

SOUTH BOSTON, VA – The winner of the Thunder Road Harley-Davidson presented by Grand Atlantic Ocean Resort 200 at South Boston Speedway on June 29 will go home with a much bigger check than in past years.

The track and the event sponsors, Thunder Road Harley-Davidson and Grand Atlantic Ocean Resort announced today that the winner’s share of the purse for the 200-lap Late Model Stock race had been increased to $10,000. In the past, the winner pocketed $6,500.

Grand Atlantic Ocean Resort located in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, committed to being the event’s presenting sponsor for the sole purpose of increasing the winner’s portion of the purse to $10,000.

“We are so very grateful that the folks with Grand Atlantic Ocean Resort made such a commitment to Late Model racing and South Boston Speedway,” said Cathy Rice, general manager of South Boston Speedway. “They have helped us take an already great event to the next level.”

Fans will soon be able to register to win a weekend getaway at the Grand Atlantic Ocean Resort and Harley-Davidson merchandise at both the Grand Atlantic Ocean Resort (www.grandatlanticresort.com/) and the Thunder Road Harley-Davidson (www.thunderroadhd.com/) websites.

The Thunder Road Harley-Davidson presented by Grand Atlantic Ocean Resort 200 is the first leg of the Virginia Late Model Triple Crown. The second race in the triple crown will be the Hampton Heat 200 at Langley Speedway on July 20 with the championship decided in the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 at Martinsville Speedway on October 5.

It was announced earlier this week that the top-three finishing positions in the Virginia Late Model Triple Crown would split a $10,000 bonus with $7,000 going to the winner, $2,000 to second and $1,000 to third. For the past few years, the winner of the triple crown had been awarded the entire $10,000.

Danville’s Peyton Sellers is the defending champion of both the Thunder Road Harley-Davidson 200 and the Virginia Late Model Triple Crown. There were 35 cars entered in last year’s event.

In addition to the 200-lap Late Model event, there will be a 75-lap Limited Sportsman race, a 40-lap Budweiser Pure Stock race, and a 20-lap Budweiser Hornets race on June 29.

And there will be more than racing. Following the final checkered flag of the night, there will be the largest fireworks display in the area.

Tickets for the Thunder Road Harley-Davidson presented by Grand Atlantic Ocean Resort 200 are $15 in advance and $20 at the gate.

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