Elizabeth City, NC – Billy Hubbard of Cobbs Creek, Virginia, found his way back to victory circle for the second time this season in the Budweiser Late Model event. Hubbard started on the outside pole, alongside Ryan Steeley of Elizabeth City, and quickly took off to the lead and never looked back in the 30-lap race.
The event was filled with five caution flags due to several racers spinning throughout the course, and it would ultimately set up a two-lap dash to the checkered flag. Last weeks winner, Larry Jackson was involved in an incident when Brian Hankins in car number 77 spun in turns one and two on lap 11. While Jackson was closing into Billy Hubbard and battling with Brent Robinson, he clipped the lapped car of Hankins. It would ultimately affect the handling of Jackson’s car, which he claimed cost him the shot at winning the event. Ironically during the caution and while running in third, Robinson would elect to park his car and end the night early.
In another series of weird events, on lap 12 Jackson experienced car issues and stopped on the front stretch. He would quickly regain momentum and move on. Despite the problems, Jackson would go on to finish the race in the runner up position and ahead of Tom Wilson. Polesitter Ryan Steeley rounded out the top four finishers.
With the victory, Hubbard broke the tie in the standings and moved atop the leaderboard by two points over Jackson headed into this weekend’s races.
It took him three races into the 2019 season, but Troy Brickhouse finally returned to winner’s circle on Friday night in the Rapid Ron’s Racing Sportsman division. Brickhouse and team owner Shelton Goodwin kicked off the season earlier this month at Elizabeth City’s Dixieland Speedway in a new car and quickly discovered they lacked handling and speed in their Chevrolet Camaro. The team, dubbed as Club 21, worked feverishly over the proceeding two weeks and slowly began dialing in their car. Despite the issues they faced early on, the team still managed podium results in the season-opening races with a third and second place finish before Friday’s victory.
Brickhouse, who started on the outside pole and quickly took the lead in the opening lap, led the entire 20-lap feature from flag-to-flag to claim the win, his first since July 27thof last year. He held off Elizabeth City racer, Mark Gonzales, who finished second, and Roger Bell earned third place in his first start of the season. Bell replaced Joe Weiss in the number 43 Chevrolet Camaro for the evening.
“It feels good; we about forgot what it felt like,” said Brickhouse in victory lane, referring to his win. “I have to thank Mark for a clean start. I know we never touched. I have been sick all week, and the crew put this car back together for me.”
Three cautions slowed the event, with the most notable one involving past champion Pat Gonzales, father of second place finisher, Mark Gonzales. While running in third, the elder Gonzales suddenly slowed and pulled off the racing groove on the backstretch just past the halfway point on lap 11. After a few seconds, he quickly re-fired his car and continued. After the event, it was discovered that he inadvertently engaged his kill switch, which powered down his Chevrolet racecar.
Mark Gonzales continues to lead the championship point standings by two markers over Brickhouse, who moves to the second position.
Longtime racer Josh Letson earned his first win in the Little Caesars Super Street division on Friday in dominating fashion. Letson, 43, led the entire 20-lap event to garner the victory. He was able to hold off points leader Justin Pruitt who finished in second and defending champion, Kevin Bray rounded out the top three. Friday’s race was Bray’s first appearance in 2019.
While Letson often had a half-straightaway lead, the battle was intense for the runner-up and third positions throughout much of the race. Pruitt, who has been the most consistent this season with one win and two second-place finishes, was able to maneuver around past champion, Ben Thomas on lap 14. Simultaneously Allen Shiflett was also trying to work around Thomas when the two made contact. The chain of event setoff controversy among the longtime rivals and their crew members. Both drivers were ultimately black flagged and parked for making contact and for aggressive driving under the yellow flag. The full moon surely had its effect on the short track Friday night race with tempers boiling over, which kept fans on the edge of their seat.
With his continued strong runs early in the season, Pruitt overtakes Barnes as the points leader by six points.
James Hissom, Jr. continued his winning ways by claiming his third straight win in the Biggs Cadillac Buick GMC Stock Fours. Hissom started deep in the qualifying heat race and would work his way up to finish fourth. In the feature, he started eighth, and by lap seven he was in command of the competition. Before that, it looked as if Harrison Moore would claim his first ever win. Moore won his heat race and led the opening laps. While he would fall into the clutches of Hissom, Moore would then face more significant problems later while battling for the second position. In turns one and two on lap 12, he went too high and over the cushion of the track. This would create problems for his 2002 Acura, forcing him to pit the next lap and costing him any chance of winning the race.
Following Hissom across the line on the 15thand final lap was Trevor Battoia for second and Kolten Stevens in third-place. In only three career starts, Stevens now has two back-to-back third-place podium finishes.
Hissom continues to lead the points by 20 markers over Stevens, who moves from fourth to second in the season-long standings.
Dale Ore, Jr. picked up his first win in the R & D Super Fours division, holding off Danny Bagwell who was involved in two single-car spins, and Robert Bailey rounded out the top three finishers. With the win, Ore leads the point standings.
Eric Kellar of Elizabeth City won the special one-lap foot race and earned $100 for his efforts.
During intermission, a remembrance service was held for Milton Gibbs, who passed away on March 20thof this year. Family and friends gathered to remember the kind and gentle businessman of Elizabeth City who enjoyed racing at Dixieland Speedway.
Racing resumes for the fourth time in 2019 on Friday, May 24th. The Budweiser Late Models will have special twin 20 race features. The Rapid Ron’s Racing Sportsman, Little Caesars Super Streets, and Biggs Cadillac Buick GMS Stock Fours will return to battle. For the first time this season, go-kart races will be held for kids 17 and under. Gates open at 5:00 p.m. Racing begins at 8:00 p.m. Tickets will be available for purchase in person.
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.