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Matt Craig Dominates Super Late Model Portion of the Thanksgiving Classic Makeup

Matt Craig returns to Southern National Motorsports Victory Lane. Photo from 2017

Kenly, NC– In a field of 12 cars, Carson Kvapil laid down the fastest qualifying effort with a time of 14.785 (97.396 mph). Brandon Setzer, Kodie Conner, Matt Craig, and Mike Darne rounded out the fast five. After qualifying, Kvapil pulled an invert of six putting Josh Brock on the pole for the race.

Once the green flag flew, Josh Brock and Mike Darne had a short battle for the lead with Darne pulling ahead of the field. Craig took little time to get to Darne’s back bumper and took the lead on lap five. Darne would fall to second as Brock looked to take it from him. Darne held Brock off and went back on the charge to catch Craig. Lap 15 came on the scoreboard and it was Craig, Darne, Conner, Kvapil, and Brock rounding out the top five.

After starting last, Natalie Decker (Part-Time Gander Outdoor Truck Series Driver) worked her way up to seventh to battle Setzer for sixth. The two of them battled back and forth until Setzer got some distance between the two. Back up front, Brock had made his way around Kvapil for fourth. Lap 30 and Craig had a two-car length lead over Darne as the field went single file.

Suddenly, Darne fell off the pace and fell from second to tenth place on lap 40. Darne looked to be using strategy for the long run. A three-car battle ensued between Setzer, Decker and Hudson Halder for the fifth position. The first caution came out on lap 47 for Decker going for a spin in turn two after a hard battle for fifth. During the caution, Darne came down pit road for his team to service his problems.

The green flag flew, Craig and Conner got a good side by side start going into turn one. The caution would come back out for issues in turn two. with the green flag back out, Craig got a better start this time and took charge into turn two. Just shy of the halfway point, Nolan Pope worked his way into the top five for the first time. With the caution, Decker was able to get back to the bumper of Setzer once again to try and take the position away from him. Kvapil began to make some moves as he passed Brock for third on lap 55.

Pope also looked to get passed Brock but he threw a block on him. Pope had enough and moved Brock up the track in turn four and took over fourth with Setzer following behind him. Brock would fall to sixth with a mirror full of Decker. Lap 75 and Brock had worked his way back to the bumper of Setzer to take the fifth spot back. Decker also fell off the pace a bit and had a challenge from Toby Grynewicz.

With 25 laps to go, it was time for drivers to make their move if they wanted to catch Craig, who had a straightaway lead over the field. After a strong run all night, on lap 102 Setzer pulled his machine in the pits and parked it for the night. Craig has caught up to sixth place Decker to put her a lap down with ten laps to go.

While Craig kept putting distance on Conner in second, Pope got around Kvapil for third on lap 117. Craig caught Brock who was fifth and put him a lap down as well. The checkered flag flew and Matt Craig picked you the win in dominating fashion lapping all but four cars and leading 120 of 125 laps. Kodie Conner, Nolan Pope, Carson Kvapil, and Josh Brock finished the top five.

 

Super Late Model 125 Results

  1. #54 Matt Craig; 125
  2. #45 Kodie Conner; 125
  3. #1 Nolan Pope; 125
  4. #35 Carson Kvapil; 125
  5. #17 Josh Brock; 124
  6. #61 Natalie Decker; 124
  7. #9 Hudson Halder; 124
  8. #6 Mike Darne; 123
  9. #21 Time Allensworth; 123
  10. #24 JP Joassie; 122
  11. #6 Brandon Seltzer; 101
  12. #48 Toby Grynewicz; 98

Mike Looney & Jonathan Findley Win Their Heat Races and Transfer into the Show; 2019 ValleyStar 300 Field Set

The calm before the storm as the field has been set for the 2019 edition of the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 (Justin Kern/TheWeeklyRacer.com)

Ridgeway, VA – Matt Leicht was put on the pole after qualifying 21st and not making the field, Kres VanDyke, Jake Crum, Mike Looney, and Brenden Queen rounded out the starting five. The green flag flew and Leicht jumped to the lead with VanDyke on his outside. The first of eight cautions came out on just lap 4 for Lucas Williams stopping on the front stretch.

With multiple restarts, Leicht has some good and some bad ones. VanDyke took advantage of the bad ones and looked to take over the point, but Leicht had a strong enough car to recover and hold the lead. Looney would work his way into the battle for the lead and take second from VanDyke. With that battle, Leicht put a small lead over the field just before a caution came out.

It was halfway and the top five were Leicht, Looney, Crum, VanDyke, and Anderson. With 30 laps to go, Brenden Queen was sitting in the transfer spot and the target was on him. Another caution came out setting up a restart in which Crum took the cone to start the second. When the restart came, officials did not like Crums start as the black flagged him next lap.

With 5 laps to go, things were bound to get wild. The red flag was displayed as a pileup happened in turns one and two. Looney was able to grab the lead before the red came out with three laps to go. Jamey Caudill after running in third pulled his car to pit road unexpectedly and it ended his night.

The checkered flag flew and Mike Looney picked you the win over Matt Leicht, Jacob Heafner, Kres VanDyke, and Kyle Dudley. Mike Darne, Colon Garrett, Justin Hicks, Jimmy Wallace, and Zack Clifton all advanced into the big show.

Brenden Poole, Jonathan Findley, Jeff Oakley, Sammy Smith, and Steve Zacharias started the second heat race in the top five. This race didn’t even get a lap in as Dylan Ward came to a stop in turn one against the wall. On the restart, Poole held the lead with Findley right behind him. Brandon Pierce has problems as he fell out of the groove and back through the field.

Findley would grab the lead on lap 8 and wouldn’t look back. Poole would also fall victim to Oakley and Smith falling to fifth. With Kevin Leicht running in the transfer position, Zacharias was being patient early but he had pressure from Pierce as well. Pierce would get around Zacharias and Leicht to move into the transfer spot.

The caution came out for Eric Winslow spinning around in turn three for a flat left rear tire. On the restart, Oakley took the cone to start on the outside of Findley, but coming out of turn four, he did not go at all. After speaking with him, he believed he had a fuel pump go bad on him. The battle for the transfer spot began to heat up as laps wound down.

Chase Dixon would get into Pierce coming out of turn four and riding on two wheels over top of him. Both cars were unable to continue ending they’re hopes of making the race. With another battle for the transfer spot heating up, GR Waldrop and Nik Williams wreck on the front stretch also ending they’re night. Once again another wreck happened involving the transfer position cars, this time it was Poole, Leicht, Camden Gullie and Tyler Matthews.

The checkered flag finally flew and Jonathan Findley picked up the win with Sammy Smith, Davin Scites, Derrick Lancaster, Stacy Puryear, Eric Winslow, Tyler Matthews, Grayson Cullather, Brenden Poole, and Austin Thaxton all transferred into the big show You can find the full field rundown below.

2019 ValleyStar 300 Starting Line-up;
  1.  #88 Josh Berry 
  2. #99 Layne Riggs 
  3. #22 Bobby McCarty 
  4. #26 Peyton Sellers 
  5. #5P Lee Pulliam 
  6. #88R Dustin Rumley 
  7. #98 Bubba Pollard 
  8. #2 Trevor Noles 
  9. #27 Tommy Lemons, Jr.
  10. #57 Justin T. Carroll
  11. #16M Chad McCumbee 
  12. #9 Trey Crews 
  13. #21 Travis Swaim 
  14. #12P Timothy Peters 
  15. #17 Taylor Gray 
  16. #18Y Jason York 
  17. #5 Dexter Canipe, Jr.
  18. #12W Ryan Wilson 
  19. #1 Craig Moore 
  20. #40 CE Falk, III
  21. #87 Mike Looney
  22. #4F Jonathan Findley
  23. #2M Matt Leicht
  24. #12S Sammy Smith
  25. #95 Jacob Heafner
  26. #06 Davin Scites
  27. #15 Kres VanDyke
  28. #25 Derrick Lancaster
  29. #4D Kyle Dudley
  30. #17P Stacy Puryear
  31. #6 Mike Darnes
  32. #22E Eric Winslow
  33. #24 Colin Garrett
  34. #63T Tyler Matthews
  35. #61H Justin Hicks
  36. #22C Grayson Cullather
  37. #21W Jimmy Wallace
  38. #30 Brendan Poole
  39. #81 Zack Clifton
  40. #12T Austin Thaxton

Ranger: Upsetting Qualifying Result For Mike Looney at ValleyStar Credit Union 300

Ridgeway, VA – Coming into this weekend, Mike Looney looked like the guy to beat, after posting a time of 20.088 last Thursday on practice day. That lap would’ve broke the lap record for the track if done in qualifying. On top of all the momentum he’s had throughout the season he looked to continue it coming into this weekend.

With high expectations from his fans and friends, Looney didn’t really set his expectations too high as he knows the unpredictable conditions of this race could knock anyone out. Looney was looking to make the show and ride until a few laps left to push it hard for the win.

That took a turn for the worse. The former ValleyStar Credit Union 300 winner finished just 19th fastest when today’s practice session was over with a 20.236 lap. When it was time to qualify, Looney posted the 27th fastest time out of 68 cars. The top 20 cars are locked in the show meaning Looney will have to battle it out in a heat race tomorrow to make the show. The top ten out of both heat races advance to the 200 lap race.

Looneys going to have figure out what he can do to get more speed before tomorrow’s heat races. Looney will start 4th in one of tomorrow’s 50-lap heat races. With a strong field of cars that didn’t make the top 20, Looneys looking to stay inside the top five the whole race so he doesn’t have to worry about fighting his way back into the top ten.

The action returns tomorrow with an on-track driver autograph session starting at 12:45pm until 2:30pm. Then the heat races begin around 3:00pm and the 200 lap feature starting around 7:00pm. Follow all of the action right with us here >> https://bit.ly/2Veu0dB

Ranger: Who to Watch Under The Lights at Martinsville

 

As we edge closer and closer to the weekend the excitement continues to build for the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 under the lights at Martinsville. In no particular order, I have picked five drivers who I feel can win this race. The list also includes a Sleeper – someone who might fly under the radar all weekend long but will make the right moves to put him or herself into a position to win and a Dark Horse pick – someone we think if you underestimate will prove you wrong at the end of the day. Who are your top five picks for this year’s race? Leave them in a comment below here or in the comments section of our facebook page.

Mike Looney

Coming off the best season of his career where he won the track championship at Motor Mile Speedway, won 13 total races and finished second in the national championship, Looney will be looking to win his second grandfather clock. At the practice day, Looney set the fastest time and will take his notes into the big one.

Lee Pulliam

Pulliam had a quiet race last year at Martinsville up until the last few laps and then getting involved in an accident causing him to finish 14th. Finishing fourth in points at South Boston with seven wins, he’s looking to build off that for a strong finish to the season. He placed fourth on the speed charts Thursday.

Bubba Pollard

The guy made his debut last year and almost won until a late-race incident that ended his night. He’s won just about every big race there is for Super/Late Models and wants to add Martinsville to that list. He’s teamed up with JR Motorsports this year with Josh Berry which gives him a huge boost to the top of the list of drivers to go after their first Martinsville win.

Josh Berry

Berry led the majority of the race last year and dominated it at that. Berry has had a solid 2019 season where he’s run the CARS Tour with three wins and sits second in points. Berry is on the prowl to get his hands on his first grandfather clock as well.

Jake Crum

After missing last year’s race, Crum is making his return and wants his second win at Martinsville. He didn’t have the speed he was looking for on practice day, but that doesn’t mean he won’t have a strategy for Saturday.

 

Dark Horse

Kres VanDyke – With a new car under him this year, VanDyke likes his chances. He finished eighth here last year after surviving the wrecks. VanDyke finished tenth in points at Kingsport Speedway and third at Motor Mile Speedway this season. VanDyke has never won at Martinsville but he’s had multiple top-five finishes. Look for him to be up front Saturday night.

 

Sleeper

Layne Riggs – After a big run last year in this race, Riggs is looking to pick up where he left off last year, just without the wreck. Riggs hasn’t won a race since last year and has had great runs all year, but luck has not been on his side. He’s my sleeper just because he’s dealing with an arm injury and it may affect the way he can drive.

Greg Edwards Continues to Dominate Langley Speedway in 100-lap Feature

Hampton, VA – In a stout field of 15 cars, Connor Hall picked up the pole position after putting down a lap time of 15.948 compared to Greg Edwards who qualified second with a 15.950. Danny Edwards Jr, Casey Wyatt, and Brenden Queen rounded out the five fastest drivers.

Once the field got the green flag, Hall jumped to the lead with Greg in tow. Danny, Queen and Wyatt all began a battle for the third position while everyone else went single file. Wyatt went into turn two with a great run and got to the inside of Queen to take the fourth position headed down the backstretch. Meanwhile, a heated battle between Thomas Marks and Michael Hardin started up for the ninth position.

A quarter of the way through the feature Greg Edwards put the bumper to Hall and moved Him up the hill in turn two and a side by side battle for the lead began ensued. Two laps later Greg cleared Hall for the lead down the backstretch. Greg’s brother, Danny Edwards, followed in his tracks and took second away from Hall. A side by side battle heated up between Wyatt and Queen for the fourth position. The two drivers stayed side by side for about five laps until Wertz got a piece of Queen and took the fifth spot from him. Now it was Wertz turn at Wyatt as he went to the inside of him for fourth.

Halfway through the feature it was still Greg and Danny pacing the field while Hall was coasting in third. Wyatt, Wertz and Justin Carroll continued to battle for fourth and fifth. Things started to get Wild as the laps were winding down. Justin, Wyatt and Wertz went three wide into turn one and Wyatt got into the lose stuff and almost went around. Carroll took advantage of the slip and took the fourth spot with Wertz going to fifth. Wyatt fell back to ninth after the slip.

The first caution of the evening came on lap 77 when Casey Wyatt turned Zach Lightfoot in turn two. Lightfoot wasn’t too happy about that and under caution went after Wyatt and spun him in turn three.

On the restart, Greg shot off into turn one. Wertz got stuck on the outside line and got shuffled all the way to the back of the field. Wertz then went to the pits and parked his machine with a broken right front hub. The second caution came on lap 85 once again for Lightfoot, this time it was him getting into Rodney Boyd going into turn one sending him for a spin.The next restart was a wild one, Hall got an amazing start and took it three wide into turn one to take the inside from

Greg. Danny and Queen got shuffled back after the start but held a good position. Coming out of turn four, Hall got shoved out of the groove and got stuck on the outside line falling all the way to tenth. The third and final caution came out on lap 91 for Justin getting into Danny into turn one sending Danny nose first into the wall.

On the final restart, Queen took the cone to see if he had anything for Greg and boy did he. Queen got the slightly better start than Greg and went into turn one with a slight edge for the lead. The two would stay completely side by side until lap 93 where Queen took the lead by hadn’t quiet cleared Greg. Greg would get the lead back on lap 95 and cleared Queen. Checkered flag flew and Greg Edwards picked up his ninth win of the season.

 

Taylor Waste Service Late Model UNOFFICIAL Results;

  1. #21 Greg Edwards; 100
  2. #03 Brenden Queen; 100
  3. #90 Terry Carroll; 100
  4. #88 Thomas Marks; 100
  5. #77 Connor Hall; 100
  6. #7 Zach Lightfoot; 100
  7. #91 Justin Carroll; 100
  8. #7H Michael Hardin; 100
  9. #29 Casey Wyatt; 100
  10. #9 Rodney Boyd; 100
  11. #89 Craig Eastep; 99
  12. #26 Danny Edwards; 91
  13. #4 Duane Shreeves; 85
  14. #55 Mark Wertz; 81
  15. #10 Maddy Mulligan; 43

Shawn Balluzzo Remains Perfect at Larry King Law’s Langley Speedway

Hampton, VA – A rare 50-lap race was on hand for the drivers as they looked to end the bounty on Shawn Balluzzo. A field of nine Modifieds started the feature. Rick Gdovic grabbed his first pole of the year with a time of 16.545 with Shawn Balluzzo lining up second with a time of 16.602. Jamie Sample, Bubba Johnston, and Danny Harrell rounded out the fast five.

As the green flag dropped, Gdovic got a good start and rolled into turn one with the lead. Balluzzo would fall in line to second with Sample right behind him. Johnston didn’t get the start he wanted as Harrell got by him for fourth. Harrell wasted little time to try and get past Sample as well for the third position but got loose on the inside of him and lost a lot of momentum. Gdovic and Balluzzo we’re putting on a very fast pace for the race as they had opened up a straightaway lead over Sample in just 10 laps.

With the field spread out a bit, the only battle on track was for the sixth position between Bubba Johnston and Grant Blasingame. As them two battled, Brad Adams, who had his worst qualifying effort of the season, managed to make it a three car battle. Blasingame got around Johnston and took sixth away. Johnston got stuck on the outside and Adams managed to take seventh away as well. Blasingame wasted little time to catch Matt Morgan for the fifth spot and in turns one and two he got the inside line to take away the position. Adams caught up to them and once again made it a three car battle for position. Morgan has a little slip going into turn one and Adams took the opening and took sixth.

Halfway and it was Gdovic, Balluzzo, Sample, Harrell, and Blasingame. Gdovic and Balluzzo began to catch lap traffic on lap 26 and the battle for the lead tightened up. Balluzzo got to the back bumper of Gdovic the first time but Gdovic got a great run out of turn four to pull away just enough to put space between the two. Lap 33 and Balluzzo got a great run down the backstretch and got the inside line going into turn three to take the lead away from Gdovic. With the field so spread out, Balluzzo put fourth place car Harrell a lap down. With ten laps to go, Balluzzo had put a decent lead over Gdovic and had his sights set on his 14th victory of the season.

The one thing Balluzzo didn’t want to see happened. The caution came out on lap 44 for Eric McPherson going for a solo spin in turn two. This would give Gdovic and Sample one more chance to beat Balluzzo. With one to go, Sample took the cone to start on the outside of Balluzzo with Gdovic right behind him. When the restart came, it sure was a messy one. Balluzzo spun his tires, Gdovic spun his as well, and Sample made contact with Balluzzo due to him getting sideways. All cars would make it into turn one with Balluzzo the leader. The second caution came out for Gdovic and Morgan spinning on the backstretch.

No one took the cone so it would be a single file restart. This restart was a lot better for Balluzzo, Sample got just as good of a start. Going into turn one, Sample actually got to the inside of Balluzzo to look for the lead. Balluzzo with the experience, powered his way on the outside down the backstretch to hold the lead into turn three. Sample didn’t hold back as he kept beating and banging on Balluzzos back bumper doing all he could to beat him.

Checkered flag flew and Shawn Balluzzo picked up his 14th win of the season and stayed undefeated. It wasn’t the easiest win as drivers are getting anxious to get that bounty. Jamie Sample, Rick Gdovic, Danny Harrell, and Eric McPherson rounded out the top five.

Larry King Laws Modified Results

  1. #48 Shawn Balluzzo; 50
  2. #28 Jamie Sample; 50
  3. #64 Rick Gdovic; 50
  4. #95 Danny Harrell; 50
  5. #16 Eric McPherson; 49
  6. #7 Grant Blasingame; 49
  7. #98 Matt Morgan; 49
  8. #3 Brad Adams; 47
  9. #19 Bubba Johnston; 46

Nick Smith Goes Flag to Flag in Dominating Legends Feature; Ryley Music Returns to Dale Lemons Victory Lane

Hampton, VA – Nick Smith grabbed the pole out of 11 cars for the 25 lap feature. Ryan Matthews, Spencer Saunders, Connor Jones and Ryan Center were the fast five in qualifying.

As the green flag was waved, the field sailed into turn one side by side. Coming out of turn two, Smith would get the edge and take the initial lead. Saunders followed behind him while Matthews fell in line to third. It didn’t take long for Matthews to get second back as he went right around Saunders in turn two on lap two. Jones also wanted to take position away from Saunders as he was on his back bumper as well. Lap eight and Smith had already built up a half a straightaway lead over Matthews. Going into turn one, Jones got a good run to the inside of Saunders and took third away going into turn two.

Carter Wheedon and Ryan Center had a heated battle for the fifth position as they made contact in turn one result long in Center going for a spin. No caution came out as all cars kept forward momentum and continued going. With Five laps to go Nick Smith had clean racetrack in front of him. Matthews did all he could do to catch Smith but couldn’t pull it off. Checkered flag flew and Nick Smith picked up his first Cycle City Corp Legends win of the season. Ryan Mathews, Connor Jones, Spencer Saunders, and Carter Wesson rounded out the top five.

Cycle City Corp Legends Results

1 #88 Nick Smith; 25

2 #51 Ryan Matthews; 25

3 #14 Connor Jones; 25

4 #7 Spencer Saunders; 25

5 #22 Carter Wheedon; 25

6 #33 Colby Flowers; 25

7 #88 Ryan Center; 25

8 #6 Chris Hammett; 25

9 #4 Chris Hayes; 24

10 #27 David Steele; 24

11 #51 Bradley Wilson; 23

 

Cycle City Corp Bandoleros

Cody Bryant captured the pole with a time of 21.171 over a field of seven cars. Ryley Music, Jacob Derrick, Wyatt Philyaw and Logan Clark were the fast five in qualifying. When the green flag flew to start the race, Bryant didn’t get a good start at all allowing Music to take the lead heading into turn one. Bryant would fall to second with Derrick third.

A three car battle began for fourth position between Clark, Philyaw and Paynter. With the intense battle, Paynter and Philyaw made contact coming out of turn four sending Paynter for a spin to bring the first caution out on lap three. As the field regrouped coming to the green, Music got another great start and took charge into turn one. Derrick, however, did not get the start he wanted and Clark went to his inside to take third away. Derrick would fall off the pace and fall to sixth position before getting back up to speed.

Paynter and Philyaw began battling for fourth and continued to make contact with each other. Derrick looked to get in on the battle and made it a three car battle for fourth. With just three laps to go, Bryant looked to make a late race move on Music, but the veteran Music knew better to leave the bottom lane open and didn’t allow Bryant to get past him. Checkered flag flew and Ryley Music picked up his fourth win of the season. Also coming to the checkered flag, the battle for fourth got even more physical coming out of turn four. Paynter and Philyaw made contact again, but this time sending Paynter nose first into the inside wall. Though Paynter’s car was removed from the racing surface on the hook, she was able to pop out of her car quickly and exit under her own accord.

Cycle City Corp Bandoleros Results

1 #47 Ryley Music; 15

2 #00 Cody Bryant; 15

3 #15 Logan Clark; 15

4 #8 Jacob Derrick; 15

5 #14 Aaliyah Paynter; 15

6 #22 Wyatt Philyaw; 15

7 #8 Conner Weddell; 15

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