Author Archives: Justin Kern

KERN: Racing Heating Up for Several Virginia Drivers Early in 2019

It is hard to believe that it is already that time of year again – Race Season! Seems like just yesterday we were telling you about the final chapter of the 2018 season and crowning champions. Here we are just hours away from what we can call the “official” green flag of the year down at the World Center of Racing – others may simply call it Daytona. In just a few short hours ARCA will drop the green flag on their season and go racing for 200-miles and you won’t have to look but too far to see some local names that TWR is very familiar with.

At this point in the game – yes I know that we are a little late to the game per se but this winter was a little different for us here at TWR – I am sure everyone reading this has seen the news about Hampton Roads natives Connor Hall and Brenden Queen getting “the call” and will be racing this afternoon in easily the biggest race of their career. Both Hall and Queen were down at Daytona a few short weeks ago during the ARCA open test following IMSA’s Rolex 24 Hour race for Vizion Motorsports, along with fellow Late Model driver from North Carolina Paul Williamson, obviously impressing those in the garage. Hall, after presenting a deal to Chad Bryant Racing will be piloting the No. 22 Ford while Queen will be in the No. 36 Toyota for Vizion Motorsports.

For those race fans that may not follow the ARCA Series enough, the race will be televised LIVE later this afternoon on FOX Sports 1 at 4:30 PM EST. Not going to be home to watch? Pull the race up on the FOX Sports App! Hall will also be competing in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East season opener Sunday night at New Smyrna.

You can see what these drivers had to say about getting the chance of a lifetime in an article published yesterday from our friends at Race22 >> Several Late Model Stock Car Drivers Set to Compete at Daytona

Hall & Queen, however, are not the only Virginia drivers spending some time in the Sunshine State. 2013 & 2017 Langley Speedway INEX Legends Champ Spencer Saunders; 2018 INEX Semi-Pro Road Course National Champ Carter Weedon, just to name a few, will all compete in the 2019 Winter Nationals at Citrus County Speedway.

Five races over the course of a week for drivers from all over to not only prove they are the best but to also get a head start on the INEX national points. Something one driver we mentioned above has kept in the back of his mind for the last couple of weeks.

“We have been doing this quite a while,” Saunders told The Weekly Racer as the final touches were being made to the car before loading her up. “We won the 2011 Virginia State Semi-Pro championship, won a race of champions that same year in Vegas, took the 2013 and 2017 track championships at Langley Speedway, the only thing missing from our resume… a national championship. With the year-end national event being held at Carteret County Speedway in October and if we come out of Florida in good shape, I would say yes, we’re going to make a serious run at a national title”

First Saunders will need to get through the weeklong event where the confidence is running rather high through the Saunders Motorsports camp.

“I think the ultimate goal for our team is to go down there and win a couple of races and represent Langley Speedway and the 757 the best way we can,” Saunders commented. “In all reality, if we go down and ran top five or top three and contended for wins every day that we are on track I would be absolutely thrilled with that. I haven’t seen an entry list but I have heard the Pro division is pretty stacked so we are going to have to be on top of our game all week long. I think we have prepared the best car we can and I think we have good enough equipment to go run with the best.”

Defending Semi-Pro Road Course Champion Carter Weedon is another VA driver making the trip down to Florida for the winter nationals; however, he will be making the trip UP to the Pro division. Weedon is going into the week looking to find himself in the tech shed every race and earn a top five finishing position in the points standings.

“I want to make it into tech every race,” Weedon said. “Our goal is to place in the top five in the points standings at the end of the week. The competition in Pro especially is going to be tough.”

Races are scheduled all this week starting later this afternoon with open practice only. Going off of information given to us by a couple of the race teams, official points races will be held on Monday, Tuesday (doubleheader), Thursday, and Friday. Wednesday is scheduled to be an off day or potential rain day. All races, for that matter, will be streamed LIVE from the fine folks over at LegendsNation.com.

Matt McCall Recovers From Mid Race Spin to Win Second Thanksgiving Classic

Matt McCall and track owner Michael Diaz in victory lane following McCall’s thrilling 2018 Thanksgiving Classic win. (Justin Kern/TheWeeklyRacer.com)

Lucama, NC– When you only get to race once a year you have to make the most it. Matt McCall most certainly did so yet again this weekend at Southern National Motorsports Park for the 2018 Thanksgiving Classic. Because of obvious reasons, the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series crew chief only gets to run one race a year and for the past two he has taken the hardware and the money back home with him.

Coming into the weekend McCall picked up right where he left off last year showing the fastest time in final practice on Friday afternoon. All on track activity for Saturday was completely washed out due to hours worth of rain so we did not get to see if anyone could make adjustments and post a faster time. With that being said as well as missing some of the heavy hitters like Lee Pulliam, Tommy Lemons Jr., Josh Berry, and Peyton Sellers, McCall – along with four time track champion Deac McCaskill – was an obvious favorite to take home the checkered. He backed up his practice efforts with a third place qualifying effort.

When it was go time McCall spent most of the race in the runner up position chasing around Deac McCaskil, who was running just fast enough to stay out in front of the field. Things, however, took a turn for the worse for McCall just past the halfway point of the feature when we got turned around exiting turn two after a lapped car spun in front of the leaders. Because he was deemed as part of the caution, race control moved him to the back of the lead lap cars, ultimately creating one of the best comebacks in recent Thanksgiving Classics.

“They pay out money at lap one-hundred and I got a little greedy trying to get that money and it put me in a bad spot,”McCall said in victory lane. “Fortunately I knew there were enough laps. I even tried to fight it [the call to the rear] there to keep our position but we were not able to. We knew we had to pick them off and try to save, but there wasn’t a whole lot of saving there for the last run. Fortunately it ran green and I believe all the guys that got the outside had the advantage. All in all it was a lot of fun.”

This years race, though it featured the same Racing Roulette rules, once again added a new element to the race – controlled cautions. These would be caution periods where teams could come down pit road and not lose positions to the other cars that decided to pit. Officials would slow the pace of the cars left on the speedway and give those on pit road four laps to go to work. One of the ideas here is to take away the traditional break you always see in some of these big races. We asked McCall after the race if that changed the way he and his team approached the race.

“It was going to change it big in my opinion when the caution came out and we got put to the back,”McCall explained. “Potentially if that was not the last controlled caution we would have pitted and it would have looked like their was a little strategy involved. I think the way it played out it didn’t look as good as it could have been. I think it was still a little bit hard to under stand and a little open ended. I think there is potential there I just don’t think it can become a weekly thing.”

Once McCall was able to pick is way through the field with the help of an incredibly fast car and timely cautions things really started to heat up in the closing laps between he and McCaskill. The pass for the lead came with under five laps to go where fans got to witness some of the closes and cleanest racing for a win all year long.

“That’s Deac,”McCall said when asked about how close the two raced each other in the closing laps. “He always does [races clean] and he even raced me clean when I piled drove the wall there. I got loose off two and decided there was no reason to lift because it was going to get ugly. It was enough to get through three and four to get the checkered.”

2018 Thanksgiving Classic OFFICIAL Results;

1          #51     Matt McCall; 200

2          #08     Deac McCskill; 200

3          #07     Bradley McCaskill; 200

4          #22     Bobby McCarty; 200

5          #99     Layne Riggs; 200

6          #12     Brandon Pierce; 200

7          #01     Philip Morris; 200

8          #17     Stacey Puryear; 200

9          #63     Tyler Matthews; 200

10       #03     Brenden Queen; 200

11       #17     Taylor Gray; 200

12       #54     Drew Dollar; 200

13       #44     Justin Johnson; 200

14       #21     Mike Darne; 200

15       #30     Clifton Daniels; 200

16       #24     Colin Garrett; 199

17       #8       Tyler Hughes; 199

18       #55     Mark Wertz; 199

19       #82     Mike Ganoe; 198

20       #92     Casey Wyatt; 198

21       #2       Dennis Holdren; 195

22       #36     Chris Johnson; 195

23       #06     Davin Scites; 194

24       #9       Thomas Burbage; 193

25       #94     Robbie Babb; 169

26       #12     Ryan Wilson; 161

27       #4       Jonathan Findley; 161

28       #81     Mini Tyrell; 146

29       #19     Cameron Bowen; 138

30       #01b   Camden Gullie; 91

31       #06     Terry Dease; 90

32       #23     Terry Brooks; 64

Karl Budzevski Wins Friday Nights Limited Late Model Dash to Kick off the 2018 Thanksgiving Classic

Karl Budzevski in Solid Rock Carriers Victory Lane Friday night at Southern National. (Justin Kern/TheWeeklyRacer.com)

Lucama, NC –  Bradley McCaskill was the fastest of sixteen cars earlier in the evening during final Limited Late Model practice for the Friday portion of the Thanksgiving Classic. The grid was set by the fastest time in that final practice and McCaskill’s 15.830-second lap was enough to score him the pole. Mike Darne, filling in for last years Dash winner Mini Tyrell, qualified second while Brandon Clements, Karl Budzevski, and Stephen Jones rounded out the top five.

Darne, who is no rookie to Southern National, looked like he was going to take control of things early and use that outside line to his advantage. He was able to lead the first two laps before having to give the lead back to McCaskill. Darne would get hung out to dry on that top groove but ultimately would only fall back to third. Budzevski ultimately taking over the second spot and the pursuit for the lead.

The only caution would come on lap seventeen when the power plant under the hood of Louis Whites No. 7 would expire coming off turn two. It couldn’t come at a better time for Budzevski as he would be scored as the race leader when the caution car picked up the field. Track workers cleaned up the mess rather quickly and the race saw its first and only cone restart.

When the green flag was displayed Budzevski took sole possession of the race lead with McCaskill hot on his tracks for about two laps before falling back a handful of car lengths and ultimately losing the second spot to Darne with just under twenty laps to go in the feature. Try as they might it was ultimately Karl Budzevski taking home the checkered flag and the trophy.

 

  1. #26 Karl Budzevski; 40
  2. #81 Mike Darne; 40
  3. #07 Bradley McCaskill; 40
  4. #1 Andrew Grady; 40
  5. #91 Stephen Jones; 40
  6. #31 Wayne Goss; 40
  7. #29 Paul Williamson; 40
  8. #15 Clay Jones; 40
  9. #29 Brian Obiedzenski; 40
  10. #42 Amber Slagle; 40
  11. #31 Cole Bruce; 40
  12. #43 Sam Pacitti; 40
  13. #7 Brandon Clements; 40
  14. #17 Jason Meyers; 40
  15. #33 Franklin Caricofe; 40
  16. #7 Louis White; 17

 

Action picked up quickly in the evening opening Mod 4 15-lap feature when pole-sitter Kevin Jeffries went for a spin in turn two on the initial start. Randy Ayers also spinning to more than likely miss tearing up his car. This allowed the No. 63 of Dennis Capps to start from the pole position and boy did he not waste his shot.

When the green flag was displayed back to the field Capps jumped out to an early lead. All the while Jeffries worked his way back up through the field. With just a five-car field it did not take long and we saw a battle for the top spot with just three laps to go. Capps, however, was able to hold on for the victory.

  1. #63 Dennis Capps
  2. #21 Kevin Jeffries
  3. #12 Justin Marsan
  4. #6 Mark Hood
  5. #23 Randy Ayers

 

Jeremy Bohne was the second driver of the evening to win their feature from the pole position. However, unlike the race before him, he was unable to lead every lap of the race. He was pretty darn close until a lap nineteen caution bunched the field up and allowed them to take the cone. Kornegay was the first to take the bait and would not only restart on the outside of Bohne but lead a couple laps before having to settle for second then eventually third.

The chargers will race once more on Sunday afternoon along with the Limited Late Models and the headlining Late Model Stock Cars.

  1. #72 Jeremy Bohne; 35
  2. #61 Michael Obrien; 35
  3. #33 Jonathan Kornegay; 35
  4. #81 Davis Warren; 35
  5. #84 Brandon Head; 35
  6. #51 Doug Warren; 35
  7. #61 Damon Stroud; 35

 

Alek Andrecs started the trend of “lets win the race from the pole” in the 20-lap Bando feature when we went on to lead every single lap. Andrecs had got off to a great start but would have his lead erased after Riley Music spun out in turn two. The restart, however, seemed to be nothing for Alec as he held off two separate charges from Derrick.

  1. #4 Alek Andrecs; 20
  2. #8 Jacob Derrick; 20
  3. #12 Bradan Andrecs; 20
  4. #8 Conner Weddell; 20
  5. #47 Riley Music; 20
  6. #9 Ayden Millette; 20

Late Model Stock Cars Hit the High Banks of Southern National for a Chance at $20,000 – Eleven Division Set to Run Over Three Days

The 18thAnnual Thanksgiving Classic at Southern National Motorsports Park is once again upon us. After we have had the day to sit back and reflect on what we are truly thankful for it is time to go racing for one final time here in the Mid-Atlantic region.

11 different divisions are set to hit the high-banked .400-mile speedway this weekend with the Late Model Stock Cars highlighting the weekend with a 200-lap, $20,000 to win feature – if you are brave enough to spin the roulette wheel that is. For the second year in a row, teams will have the opportunity to gamble with their race entry in the hopes of taking more money home with them.

“We took everyone’s thoughts and looked at how to implement them into this year,” said Diaz. “The drivers really gave us great feedback last year. The biggest thing they wanted was an increase in second through fifth position in the purse for the additional entry fee. That was an easy thing to fix and we think the drivers and teams will be happy with the additional money we’ve added to the purse.”

The additional money has been added specifically to second through fifth position for the drivers who take the gamble in Racing Roulette. Second position will increase from $2,500 to $4,500, third position will increase from $2,000 to $3,500, fourth position will increase from $1,500 to $2,750 and fifth position will increase from $1,200 to $2,250. An increase of $19,800 to the top five positions (including the $14,000 increase for first position) for the drivers who take the gamble.

“We really think after talking to the drivers that this will increase participation in Racing Roulette and give the drivers something to shoot for if they can’t win the race,”said track General Manager Charlie Hansen. “We’re adding nearly $20,000 to the purse no matter how many drivers try Racing Roulette. We’re hoping everyone tries to go for it but we want this to be something for the drivers to shoot for and something fun for the fans to play along within the stands.”

The Friday portion of the weekend, which is scheduled to take the green later this evening around 8:00 PM, will feature Bando’s, Mod 4, Chargers, and a 40-lap Limited Late Model Dash. A full weekend schedule can be found below. The Weekly Racer will once again provide you with LIVE coverage all weekend long. Keep an eye out on our social platforms for the links to the coverage.

 

Third Place Finish at INEX Legends Nationals Secures Runner-up Finish for Daniel Silvestri in the Young Lions National Championship

Daniel Silvestri (97) and eventual race winner Jaron Giannini (25) battle for the lead in the 35-lap Young Lions National Feature. (Photo: Rob Street/Rob Street Racing Photography)

On a typical weekday morning Daniel Silvestri, a soon to be 16-year old Sophomore in high school in Fairfax, Virginia, is usually up early and getting ready to head out the door for another fun full day of classes. However, this last weekend his schedule was a little bit different as the young INEX Legends driver as he and his race team made the cross-country trek out to Las Vegas for the INEX Legends Nationals with the hopes of bringing an INEX Young Lions National Title back to Virginia.

Because of his efforts throughout the 2018 season, Silvestri followed up his Rookie of the Year performance and second place finish in the points standings at his home track of Southside Speedway – located in Midlothian, Virginia – by winning the track championship. Silvestri was also crowned the Virginia State Champion in the Young Lions division due to his efforts at both Southside and Langley Speedway.

Silvestri found himself entering the weekend tied with Isaak Love of North Carolina for the national points lead in the Young Lions division. Just three points behind them was Jake Matheson from New Hampshire. Because of the points structure used for US Legends Cars and how close the top three were in points, it would essentially come down to if Silvestri could finish ahead of the other two drivers.

The weekend was split into three days of racing where drivers would have a chance to earn a maximum 300 points. 100 points would be given to the fastest car in qualifying (then a one point difference for each position), 100 points given to the winner of their respective heat race (three points per position), and of course 100 points to the feature winner (three points spread per position).  Silvestri got off to a strong start qualifying third (earning 98 points) and winning his heat race (earning 100 points).

Because of his qualifying efforts and heat race win, he would start the feature from the third position. Silvestri got a great start making a pass for the lead early. He would go on to lead 28 out of the total 35 laps. However, Bullring Legends track champion Jaron Giannini would get by Silvestri with just two laps to go to score the race win. Matheson would also squeak by Silvestri in the closing laps to finish second and win the national title. Silvestri would ultimately finish the feature third in the feature and second in the national standings.

You would think after being so dominate all weekend, earning the points you needed, and having the national title slip through your hands there at the end, you would be furious. Silvestri, however, seemed to take the glass half full approach and chalked it up to an overall good weekend.

“It’s huge for me,” Silvestri explained even after missing the national title by only a few points.“I never expected to hop into a Legend [car] and be able to do so well in my first year. To be able to compete for a National Championship was a really cool experience for me. It gives me some confidence to know that I can compete with some of the best legends guys in the country and that I can drive one of the hardest cars to drive on ovals. There are people who have driven many different types of cars and they say that the legend cars are the hardest car to drive with its short wheelbase and weight to power ratio.”

Of course, the success that Silvestri had over the weekend and throughout the 2018 season was no solo adventure. Daniel was very thankful of his parents, team, and CJ from 860 Motorsports.

“We surrounded ourselves with good people,” Silvestri told The Weekly Racer. “The person we bought our first legend car from told us to talk to Scotty Edwards, past Legends racer at Southside Speedway, who taught me how to drive the Legend. He introduced us to CJ at 860 Motorsports. There are many other people that helped along the way but with that base, it helped me get better quicker. All the awards, wins, and championships were just the result. I couldn’t have gotten as far without those people helping me. It just clicked and we took off and I was able to win a few races my first season and I was a very strong competitor on the national circuit with 4 poles in 5 races at Winter Nationals back in February and was able to lead 28 of the 35 laps at the Asphalt Nationals and coming one position short of the championship.”

With 2018 all but in the rearview mirror, Silvestri and team will turn their attention towards next season where some pretty big changes could take place. Silvestri let The Weekly Racer know that they have some ideas on what and where they will be racing and that they are looking into the idea of possibly running a handful of Late Model Stock Car races throughout the Commonwealth.

You can follow Daniel and his racing journey at http://www.danielsilvestriracing.com or on Facebook by searching Daniel Silvestri Racing as well on Instagram @danielsilvestri97.

PASS Commonwealth Classic Postponed – Likely Will Run March 2019

NAPLES, ME – The Pro All Stars Series (PASS) Commonwealth Classic originally scheduled for October 19-20 at Richmond Raceway (Richmond) has been postponed.

“While we are disappointed with the postponement of the event, we feel we have made the best decision for the series, teams, and our fans after looking at the unfavorable weather forecast and the distance many teams were scheduled to travel from the northeast, south, and Canada,” said PASS President Tom Mayberry. “We look forward to continuing to work with the staff at Richmond Raceway to continue to promote this event on a new date in 2019.”

Officials are currently looking at a new date of March 30, 2019 for the PASS Commonwealth Classic. This date with provide much more flexibility with scheduling if weather should once again become a factor. This date will be confirmed within the next few weeks.

The Pro All Stars Series is recognized as North America’s premier sanctioning body for asphalt Super Late Models and boasts such marquee events as the legendary Oxford 250 at Oxford Plains Speedway, PASS South’s Easter Bunny 150 at the historic Hickory Motor Speedway, and the inaugural Commonwealth Classic at Richmond Raceway. For technical information concerning all PASS divisions please send questions to passracing@roadrunner.com. For media or marketing questions, please contact Alan Dietz at 704-231-2039 or alandietzpass@live.com. And, don’t forget to “Like” the Pro All Stars Series on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @PASSSLM14 to keep up with breaking news as it happens.

Mark Wertz Sweeps Late Model Season Finale at Langley Speedway; Danny Edwards Clinches Sixth Division Title

Mark Wertz powers down the backstretch at during final practice at Langley Speedway’s season finale. (Justin Kern/TheWeeklyRacer.com)

Hampton, VA – Mark Wertz put a cap on the 2018 season and possibly even his full-time driving career Saturday night when he swept the final two races during Pomoco Nissan Championship night.

Wertz entered the weekend third in points, twenty-two points behind points leader Danny Edwards Jr. Wertz would earn a fourth-place starting position during qualifying time-trials earlier in the evening. Fourth place, however, was not a position Wertz was too keen on hanging out in for too long. Though Danny Edwards, who captured the pole with an impressive 15.665-second (90.776 MPH) lap jumped out to an early lead and honestly looked to have a stranglehold on the race. Wertz would pick his way through the field lap-by-lap and battle for the lead just past lap forty-five.

As the leaders worked there way through some of the slower traffic Wertz was able to capitalize on the smallest of slips from the race leader and would take the lead on lap forty-nine. As Wertz had done all night he immediately opened up a two-car length lead over Edwards. Wertz would have to hold off a late race restart and a serious challenge from Connor Hall. To the point where both drivers were leaning on each other going into turn one. Wertz would keep the nose pointed straight… straight to victory lane.

Danny Edwards Jr., Justin Carroll, Connor Hall, Terry Carroll rounded out the top five in the first race.

Wertz would find himself starting from the eighth position in race number two thanks to the NASCAR rulebook. The front row was given to Thomas Marks and Brenden Queen. That did not last long once the field was given the green. Marks would fall back and out of the top five rather quick. Queen, however, would lead a handful of laps before surrendering the lead to Terry Carroll – Queen would get hung up on the outside groove and he too would be shuffled way back into the field. He would eventually pull down pit road and retire from the race early.

Mark Wertz took this time to power his way back up through the field and made a very aggressive move to the inside of Terry Carroll entering turn one to take the lead. From there it was truly lights out, Wertz started to gap and lap the field. Behind him Justin Carroll made yet another impressive run up through the field, working his way around his father, Connor Hall, and even Danny Edwards.

Wertz in victory lane was very excited to get the No. 55 back in Dale Lemonds Victory Lane as a possible end to an era approached. Justin Carroll, Danny Edwards, Connor Hall, and Terry Carroll rounded out the top five for race number two.

Danny’s second and third place finishes were more than enough to clinch the 2018 Taylor Waste Services Late Model Stock Car track championship. The win was his sixth of his career at the historic .395-mile oval. Despite the lackluster finishes, Greg Edwards was able to hang onto his second place finish in points. Mark Wertz, Connor Hall, and Brenden Queen rounded out the top five in points. Rodney Boyd will earn the Rookie of the Year honors.

 

 Taylor Waste Services UNOFFICIAL Race 1 Results;

  1. #55 Mark Wertz; 75
  2. #26 Danny Edwards Jr.; 75
  3. #91 Justin Carroll; 75
  4. #77 Connor Hall; 75
  5. #90 Terry Carroll; 75
  6. #97 Greg Edwards; 75
  7. #03 Brenden Queen; 75
  8. #88 Thomas Marks; 74
  9. #25 Craig Eastep; 74
  10. #7 Michael Hardin; 74
  11. #16 Chris Flowers; 74
  12. #9 Rodney Boyd; 74
  13. #4 Duane Shrereves; 40

Taylor Waste Services UNOFFICIAL Race 2 Results;

  1. #55 Mark Wertz; 75
  2. #91 Justin Carroll; 75
  3. #26 Danny Edwards Jr; 75
  4. #77 Connor Hall; 75
  5. #90 Terry Carroll; 75
  6. #97 Greg Edwards; 74
  7. #25 Craig Eastep; 74
  8. #7 Michael Hardin; 74
  9. #4 Duane Shreeves; 74
  10. #16 Chris Flowers; 73
  11. #9 Rodney Boyd; 73
  12. #88 Thomas Marks; 47
  13. #03 Brenden Queen; 35
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