Author Archives: Justin Kern

Berry Bounces by McCarty for CARS Tour Win at Dominion Raceway

Photo Credit: Pit Row Media / Dinah Mullins

Thornburg, VA – Josh Berry bested the field on Saturday night at Dominion Raceway in the CARS Tour Radley Cadillac & Chevrolet 125, his 16th series win. The victory came after Berry passed his closest rival, Bobby McCarty, for the race lead with 49 laps to go and it kept him within one point of the championship lead.

Following Hedgecock Pole Qualifying, McCarty appeared to be the man to beat after nearly breaking the series track record during his run. Berry, however, qualified alongside the No. 22 and the pair led the field to the green flag.

The first major caution of the evening occurred on lap 26 when Camden Gullie’s engine expired on the backstretch. Doug Barnes, Jr., and Mason Diaz made contact less than a lap after the restart, triggering a multi-car incident which eliminated Diaz and Trevor Ward from the event while also sweeping Ronald Hill into the mess.

On each of the early restarts, Berry was able to nose ahead of McCarty for a lap, but the No. 22 Toyota continued to set the pace despite Berry’s early attempts at the lead.

A competition caution on lap 66 drew the field closer together and allowed Berry to once again hone in on his nemesis for the race lead. After peppering the rear bumper of McCarty with love taps for nearly ten laps, he muscled his way by with authority on lap 77 and began to pull away.

The JR Motorsports driver remained unchallenged in the final 49 circuits, cruising to Edelbrock Victory Lane in a car originally built for his boss, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., to race. McCarty finished second by a margin of 2.621 seconds. Brandon Pierce, Mini Tyrrell and Layne Riggs rounded out the top five.

“It cooled off and the track came to us,” Berry said in Edelbrock Victory Lane. “When it came time to go, it went. I couldn’t believe once we got out front how well it ran and we were able to just drive away. That was pretty fun. This was a pretty amazing racecar, first race on this thing and it’s just a credit to all these guys for all their hard work.

“This is a huge weekend for us, obviously with Mark [from his sponsor] coming down here and with his support of our race team,” he continued. “I wouldn’t be doing this without him. This is a place we don’t race a whole lot and it’s only my second race here and we didn’t come test, we just kinda showed up with a brand new racecar, pinned our ears back and tried to make it work. And we were able to do that. That thing got out front at the end and it was a rocket. It was a lot of hard work, and I’m looking forward to getting to some more tracks that we’ve been to a lot.”

The next event for the CARS Racing Tour will take place July 13 at Carteret County Speedway, the Solid Rock Carriers Crystal Coast 125, a standalone event for the late model stock cars with support from various local divisions at the retro-themed facility on the coast of North Carolina. The event features one of the largest purses of the season spread throughout the field with an already-record number of pre-entries in the facility’s history.

For more information on the CARS Tour, visit their website at CARSRacingTour.com, or follow them on Facebook (@CARSTour), Twitter (@CARSTour), Instagram (@cars_tour), and Snapchat (@carstour). The series also has its own YouTube channel, Roku channel (available through its TV website), and a publicly available Amazon FireTV app.

THE FINISH

CARS Late Model Stock Tour

Radley Cadillac & Chevrolet 125

Dominion Raceway – June 22, 2019

POS NUM DRIVER LAPS REASON OUT

1. 88 Josh Berry 125

2. 22 Bobby McCarty 125

3. 2 Brandon Pierce 125

4. 81 Mini Tyrrell 125

5. 99 Layne Riggs 125

6. 88B Doug Barnes, Jr. 125

7. 08 Deac McCaskill 125

8. 7 Michael Hardrin 125

9. 63 Tyler Matthews 125

10. 74 Ronald Hill 125

11. 98 Adam Lemke 125

12. 55 Howie DiSavino, Jr. 125

13. 1 Craig Moore 124

14. 17P Stacy Puryear 124

15. 91 Justin S. Carroll 124

16. 57 Justin Carroll 124

17. 90 Terry Carroll 124

18. 19C Jessica Cann 121

19. 4 Jonathan Findley 93 Mechanical

20. 19 Cameron Bowen 65 Mechanical

21. 12 Mason Diaz 26 Accident

22. 77 Trevor Ward 26 Accident

23. 07 Camden Gullie 26 Engine

Virginia Motor Speedway Returns to Racing Saturday, June 29

Jamaica, VA – Virginia Motor Speedway will return to racing on Saturday, June 29 and host week 6 of Dirt Series Championship weekly racing action. The night will feature all four of the speedway’s Dirt Series Championship divisions in action. See the Victory Lap Pro Late Models, Truckin Thunder Sportsman, Budweiser Modified and Collision One Limited Stock Cars in some exciting side by side racing

After a rainout on June 8 Corey Almond of Appomattox, VA holds a 5-point advantage over Justin Williams of Concord, VA in the Victory Lap Pro Late Model points. With the division averaging 26 cars a week, this is the most competitive division at the speedway.

In the Budweiser Modified division, there have been three different winners in as many races with defending champion Hunter McClendon of Williamsburg, VA holding a 20-point lead over Lance Grady of Hanover, VA in the race for the championship.

The tightest points battle is in the Truckin Thunder Sportsman division where Tyler Shipp of Mechanicsville, VA holds a slim 1-point advantage over defending champion Tim Shelton of Fredericksburg, VA. 

And in the Collision One Limited Stock Car division Corey Bradley of Hopewell, VA holds a 3-point advantage over defending champion James Givens of Henrico, VA.

With the points so tight and every race more important than the next, this Saturday nights racing should be unbelievably exciting.

Competitor gates for Saturday, June 29 will open at 4 pm with spectator gates opening at 5 pm. On track activities will begin at 6:30 pm for hot laps. 

Divisions scheduled to race on Saturday: Victory Lap Pro Late Models (35 Laps); Budweiser Modifieds (30 laps); Truckin Thunder Sportsman (30 laps) and the Collision One Limited Stock Cars (25 laps). All divisions will run Hot Lap Time Trials and Features.

Admission price for Adults $12, seniors (60+) $10; military (active/retired w/ proper I.D.) $8, students 11 – 17 years old $6 and children 10 and under admitted free. Pit passes will be $20.

Bill Sawyer’s Virginia Motor Speedway is a ½ mile dirt oval track located on U.S. Route 17, eight miles north of Saluda, VA and 25 miles south of Tappahannock, VA in Jamaica, VA. The speedway is just a short drive from Richmond, Fredericksburg, Southern Maryland, and the Hampton Roads area.

For more information about Virginia Motor Speedway or the 2018 events, visit www.vamotorspeedway.com or call (804) 758-1867. Also, fans can get social with Virginia Motor Speedway by following @vamotorspeedway on Twitter, clicking “Like” at www.facebook.com/VaMotorSpeedway and on www.youtube.com/VaMotorSpeedway.

Pierce Poised To Make A Statement In His Return To South Boston Speedway Saturday Night

Brandon Pierce celebrates after his first win at South Boston Speedway last year

South Boston, VA – There are going to be some heavy hitters rolling into South Boston Speedway this weekend for the track’s huge mid-season Late Model classic. Familiar names like Morris, Pulliam, Sellers, Peters and McCarty. 

Poised not far behind that group, flying a bit under the radar is Brandon Pierce. While he may not have the stats and championships of Philip Morris, Lee Pulliam, Peyton Sellers, Timothy Peters or Bobby McCarty, Pierce has to be considered a legitimate contender in the Thunder Road Harley-Davidson Presented By Grand Atlantic Ocean Resort NASCAR Whelen Late Model 200.

He finished fourth in last year’s event and was fifth in 2016. He picked up his first South Boston Speedway win last season and his first CARS Tour victory early this season. He is driving a car prepared by Pulliam this year and he says that partnership has accelerated the learning process.

“Everybody knows about all of Lee’s success overall and especially at South Boston. There is always something you can learn from someone of his caliber,” Pierce said of the four-time NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national champion. “I’ve asked him so many questions; he has taught me so much, about driving and about the car.”

Although Pierce hasn’t raced at South Boston this year, he says he’s learned so much about the .4-mile oval by watching Pulliam’s performances at the track closely this season.

“I always thought I did pretty good at South Boston,” said Pierce, who ran at the track full time in 2016 and 2017, his first full seasons in Late Model. “But I’ve learned so much about it this year. I’ve been with Lee every week he’s raced there this year, watching his car and his driving style.

“I’ve taken a lot of notes. I’m really looking forward to practice on Friday so I can put all of that to use.”

Pierce said he believes there is more buzz than normal about Saturday’s race among both fans and drivers. There are several reasons, he said. The larger first-place payout, up from $6,500 in 2018 to $10,000 this year, has contributed, he says. So has the fact it is the first race in the Virginia Late Model Triple Crown, the coveted three-race series that includes stops at Langley Speedway and Martinsville Speedway.

“If you win this one, you’ve definitely accomplished something. If it lives up to its billing, if everyone shows up that I hear is coming, the best of the best are going to be there.”

Pierce has been running the CARS Tour fulltime the past two seasons, but South Boston Speedway remains special to him.

“I definitely have this one circled because South Boston always feels like home to me. I ran there two years full time,” said Pierce, who is sponsored by Thunder Road Harley-Davidson, Grand Atlantic Ocean Resort, Fremont Properties, Discount Oil Company, Bondurant Brothers Distillery, Amanzi Marble & Granite and Mincey’s Graphics.

“I love the track. I love everybody there. I developed some fan base there and it’s always good going somewhere you’ve got experience.”

Pierce and Pulliam have only raced head-to-head once this season. He ran in the top five most of that day with his boss and teammate Corey Heim. It was good, clean, fun racing, Pierce said. But what would happen Saturday night if Pulliam is leading and he is running second on the final lap?

“I’d definitely give him a shot (in the bumper) and he would be mad if I didn’t. I’d give him big enough of a shot to get side-by-side. He’d be grinning ear-to-ear. I’d love that opportunity. And he’d do the same to me.”

Saturday’s Thunder Road Harley-Davidson Presented By Grand Atlantic Ocean Resort NASCAR Whelen Late Model 200 is going to be a celebration of racing and family fun. There will be racing in four divisions, a huge fan appreciation event on the track prior to the race and a spectacular fireworks display after the final race.

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

Advance tickets are $15 and may be purchased at the South Boston Speedway office or by calling 877.440.1540, Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. On race day tickets will be $20 for adults. Children 12-and-under will be admitted free with a paying adult.

Two-Barrel Late Model Championship Race Returns to Dixieland Speedway on Friday

Ryan Steeley practices at Dixieland Speedway in preparation for the Budweiser Allstar Late Model event. Photo courtesy of Beverly Pritchett

Elizabeth City, NC The Two-Barrel Budweiser Late Model Championship race makes its annual stop at Elizabeth City’s motor speedway on Friday evening.  Drivers from across the region will make the trip to the 3/8-mile clay oval for their shot at winning the first place prize of $4,000.

Dustin Mitchell of Princeton, North Carolina, has won the event forthe last two consecutive years and is a favorite to take the 2019 trophy as well.  He and other heavy-hitter competitors mark their calendars to participate in this race each season.

This is a big event for dirt late model racers, and we look forward to welcoming back the drivers, crews, and fans for what promises tobe an incredible show,” said Red Swain, owner and promoter of Dixieland Speedway. “There are no points on the line, only a big paycheck and that will make the competitors hungry to make it to the finish line first.  This event only happens once a year, so you’ll want to make plans to join us for this fun and exciting evening. 

Three other classes will compete with point standings on the line, including Rapid Ron’s Racing Sportsman, Little Caesars Super Streets and the Biggs Cadillac, Buick, GMC Stock Fours.

The event follows an exciting night of racing one week ago that saw an emotional Billy Hubbard return to victory lane in the Budweiser Allstar Late Models after recently losing his father.  With the win, Hubbard swapped places in the point standings with Tom Wilson who had mechanical problems, subjecting him to his first finish outside of the top five.  Hubbard, second in the standings, now trails championship point’s leader Larry Jackson by 12 markers headed into their next pointspaying event Friday, June 28th.  Trevor Battoia and Danny Bagwell earned their first wins of the season in the Biggs Cadillac Buick GMC Stock Fours and R & D Super Fours.

Gates open at 5:00 p.m. on Friday. Practice kicks off at 6:30 p.m. followed by qualifying and racing begins at 8:00 p.m.  Tickets will be available for purchase in person.  For more information dial 252-771-5151 or visit online at dixielandspeedway.net.

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 ontrack 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.  

 

Billy Hubbard and Tom Wilson Split Twin Bill at Dixieland Speedway

#38 Billy Hubbard powers through turns three and four to pick up his third win of the 2019 season. (📸 Charlie Alexander/King Charles Photography)

Elizabeth City, NC– Racing action returned to the 3/8-mile clay oval located in eastern North Carolina after a wild night of racing under the full moon the week prior. New winners were crowned and tempers flared both on and off the racing surface.

Budweiser All-Star Late Model point’s leader Billy Hubbard once again was the fastest man on the property as the sun was setting over turn one.  Hubbard was able to lay down a 17.473 (77.262 mph) second lap to claim the pole position for the first of two twenty-lap features. Hubbard’s lap was a full two-tenths of a second faster than his front row running mate Ryan Steeley. Tom Wilson, Larry Jackson, and Kerry King rounded out the starting five.

Once the field came to life at the direction of flagman Chris Bechtel, Hubbard jumped on the throttle and immediately opened a gap on the pack. Steeley tried with all of his might to get the car down to the bottom groove as they sailed into turn one but pushed up the speedway allowing Tom Wilson to occupy the second position. The race would be slowed shortly after the green flag for the first caution period of the night after ninth-place start Chip Kyper went around in turns three and four.

With no debris or cleanup to complete the field was sent back to green flag racing rather quickly and once again Hubbard created more than ample distance between himself and the rest of the field by the time they returned to turn on. With Hubbard checked out that left us to watch the battle for second between Tom Wilson and Larry Jackson – Jackson would eventually take the position.

Hubbard had his hands full three more times throughout the feature as incidents happened around the speedway to bring out the yellow. That didn’t matter for the defending champion; as he took charge of every restart, keeping his control over the rest of the field and going on to win his third race of the season. Larry Jackson would be able to hold off the hard-charging Tom Wilson – who completed the podium finishers. Ryan Steeley and Brad Rigdon rounded out the top five finishers.

The top four cars were announced at the conclusion of victory lane celebrations setting up a Ryan Steeley and Tom Wilson front row for the final race of the evening. However, something was not right with Steeley’s car causing that team to load up early and head home. This ultimately handed the pole position over to Tom Wilson and he was not about to let the opportunity to pick up his first win of the season slip through his hands.

Wilson powered to the lead as soon as the green flag was displayed leaving Hubbard and Jackson to battle it out for second. It did not take long for that battle to heat up as the two made some contact leaving Hubbard’s right rear quarter panel and spoiler bent up. From there, Hubbard’s car was just not the same. He and Jackson would spend a good portion of the race fighting for second while Wilson checked out. Bigger problems would eventually arise for Hubbard in the closing laps that caused him to come to a stop in turn four. The issue ultimately ended his night, a chance at a sweep, and set up one of the best green-white-checkered finishes we have seen between Tom Wilson and Larry Jackson.

Jackson gave it all he could on that final restart to the point of pulling even with Wilson as they crossed the striped. Wilson, however, was laser focused and hit his marks going into turn one which allowed his green machine to power back around Jackson and hangs onto the lead. With only two laps to make something happen, Jackson was unable to mount a second charge and Wilson would power on for the victory. Brad Rigdon, Sherman Underwood, and James Miller rounded out the top five finishers.

Dennis Barnes started from the pole, after winning his heat race, in the Little Caesars Super Street 20-lap feature and went on to lead every single lap to land in victory lane. Barnes was kept honest in the closing laps by last weeks race winner Josh Letson but was able to get the job done and become the first repeat winner of the season in the division.

Mark Gonzalas was able to echo the efforts of Barnes just in the Sportsman division winning his second race of the season. Dustin Cisco wound up in victory lane after a wild 15-lap Stock Four feature.

Racing will return to Dixieland next Friday night. For more details on times and what is racing make sure you head over to http://www.dixielandspeedway.net.

 

Late Model OFFICIAL Race 1 Results:

  1. #38 Billy Hubbard
  2. #2 Larry Jackson
  3. #62 Tom Wilson
  4. #101 Ryan Steeley
  5. #09 Brad Rigdon
  6. #11m James Miller
  7. #46 Sherman Underwood
  8. #02 Dennis Nash
  9. #1 Mike Warton
  10. #7 Curtis Hughes
  11. #10 Larry Black
  12. #59 Chip Kyper
  13. #97 Jake Rethmyer
  14. #77 Brian Hankins
  15. #KB Kerry King

 

Late Model OFFICIAL Race 2 Results:

  1. #62 Tom Wilson
  2. #2 Larry Jackson
  3. #09 Brad Rigdon
  4. #46 Sherman Underwood
  5. #11m James Miller
  6. #KB Kerry King
  7. #02 Dennis Nash
  8. #7 Curtis Hughes
  9. #1 Mike Warton
  10. #10 Larry Black
  11. #38 Billy Hubbard

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.

 

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