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Local Short Track Racing Back to Somewhat Normal as Racers and Fans Return to the Dirt Friday Night

Ryan Steeley, #101 leads Larry Jackson, #2 and Tom Wilson, #62 in turn one at Dixieland Speedway in the Budweiser Allstar Late Models division recently. Friday night will mark the final event of the 2019 racing season. Five division champions will be crowned. (Photo: K.L. Cross)

Dixieland Speedway Drivers to Watch Entering The 2020 Season

Elizabeth City, NC – After waiting for over one month to begin the 2020 season due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, Dixieland Speedway will open its gates and allow competitors and fans into its facility on Friday, June 5th.  16-race evenings are expected to be contested in 2020 that will carry over into fall. For those race fans that are still not in a position or feel safe to make their return to the famed grandstands we will have LIVE coverage throughout the evening via our various social media platforms.

Budweiser Allstar Late Models

Cobbs Creek, Virginia’s Billy Hubbard earned his third straight championship last season and will likely be red hot again when the green flag flies.  Last year’s Most Popular Driver visited victory lane a record eight times and recorded a top-5, 11 times.  He hopes to earn another title in 2020 in his new number 24 ride.  Elizabeth City’s Larry Jackson, who earned the Best Sportsmanship award at the annual banquet, was mister consistency last year.  While he only received one checkered flag, he finished inside the top-5 the same amount of times the eventual champion did to earn second place in the season-long points battle.  Other drivers that won in 2019 included Tom Wilson and Brent Robinson.  Both drivers are championship-caliber contenders and should be watched closely.

Former competitor and Larry King Law’s Langley Speedway standout Mark Wertz plans to return to the dirt track in 2020 on a limited schedule.  Additionally, Langley Speedway track owner, Bill Mullis, has a new late model that he will pilot on the three-eights mile oval this year.

Rapid Ron’s Racing Sportsman

Troy Brickhouse, the driver of the number 21 Chevrolet, earned another title last season.  The Elizabeth City veteran collected two wins and 12 top-five finishes. Brickhouse held off Joe Weiss, who has said he does not plan to run a full season, despite winning twice last year and finishing second in the point standings.  His daughter, Holley, will take over driving duties on the number 43 Chevrolet this season.  The winningest driver last season was Mark Gonzales.  The second-generation racer made four trips to winners circle last year. The competitor with the second-highest number of wins in 2019 was Mark Overman.  The driver of the Elizabeth City-based team won three times.

Devin Weatherly is another person to keep an eye on. Last season was his first in the Rapid Ron’s Racing Sportsman after moving up from the Little Caesars Super Streets, where he won multiple times.

Little Caesars Super Streets

Chesapeake, Virginia’s Justin Pruitt earned his first title in 2019 by consistently finishing inside the top-five in every start, including two trips to winners circle.  Veteran racer, Dennis Barnes of Camden, finished second with three victories. Other winners included Josh Letson (three), Allen Shiflett (two) and past champion Kevin Bray (two).

Kevin Webb, who is the son of former champion and track standout, Bobby Webb, finished fifth in points last season and looks to make hay this year.

Last years Rookie of the Year in the Biggs Cadillac Buick GMC Stock Fours, Kolten Stevens, will move up to the Little Caesars Super Streets and hopes to collect his first win.

Biggs Cadillac Buick GMC Stock Fours

Season dominator and eventual champion, James Hissom, Jr. of Moyock would like to continue his winning ways in 2020. Hissom won a record nine times and earned 10 top-five finishes last year.  Former asphalt drivers at Langley Speedway, Trevor Battoia and Dustin Cisco also recorded victories in 2019.

Chris Freemon may have a big season when the action cranks up on the track this year.  The Moyock racer, who teaches at Chesapeake Career Center, works with students to help build the car he pilots.  He and his team are hoping they can school the competition when they return to the track.

R&D Super Fours

After two decades of trying, Virginia Beach native, Dale Ore, Jr. put together a winning season and captured the R&D Super Fours championship in 2019.  He won once and earned seven top-fives.  Rickie Waters started later in the season but picked up where he left off, winning three times.  Other winners included Kyle Barnes, Ron Winterburn and Danny Bagwell.

The 2020 season will commence on Friday with gates opening at 5:00 p.m. and four divisions of racing will start at 8:00 p.m.  The action includes the Budweiser Allstar Late Models in a special 30-lap, $1K to win race, in addition to the Rapid Ron’s Racing Sportsman, Little Caesars Super Streets and Biggs Cadillac Buick GMC Stock Fours.  The Virginia Sprint Series will be in town to help kick off the new season.  Drivers from all over the region will travel to Elizabeth City to contest for the coveted win.

For more information, please dial 252-771-5151 or visit online at dixielandspeedway.net or follow us on social media, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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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.

Larry King Law’s Langley Speedway Cancels Grass Roots 200

HAMPTON, Virginia – After careful consideration, Larry King Law’s Langley Speedway has decided to cancel the Grass Roots 200 for April 17th, 2020. To make up the race, the 100 lap late model feature scheduled for August 1st will now be twin 50 lap features while the Old Skool Video Game Super Streets will now run a 50 lap feature on July 18th before the 12th Annual Hampton Heat with a $500 bonus provided by Old Skool Video Games going to the winner.

Vaughan Crittenden, Langley Speedways new Promoter and General Manager made this statement shortly following the press release in a Facebook post.

Two years ago we had the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown with great success. Moving forward from that went into 2019 planning to host the event again. But when Hamlin decided not to have the race, it left us in a bind. Hoping to capitalize on the success of the race the year before and with the weekend still up for grabs, we went ahead and created the Grass Roots 200. We did have competition that night with VMS running the Sprint Cars with Tony Stewart but we believed that we would still have a successful show, and we did.

Moving ahead into 2020, we behind the scenes were hoping to create something special for this year’s version of the race but those plans didn’t pan out. At the same time, both South Boston and Dominion Raceway each scheduled late model races for Saturday, April 18th, the day after our event. So that had the possibility of hurting the car count of the event. We also lost any chance at having any NASCAR drivers participate in the event when NASCAR scheduled practices on our race day at Richmond Raceway through the afternoon and early evening.

So with all of this in mind, we were left with a hard decision. Believe me, the last thing I want my first announcement to be after becoming promoter is to be calling off a race. But good things are coming down the line and I can’t wait for when we make those announcements.

Larry King Law’s Langley Speedway’s season will kick off this Saturday at 1pm with the Saint Leo University Spring Day of Destruction and will open its 70th season of racing on March 28th.

Legends Asphalt Nationals to Boast Largest Field in Carteret History

PELETIER, NC– Bobby Watson’s Carteret County Speedway will play host to one of the largest motorsports events in North America next weekend with a record-setting field of cars expected to congregate upon the Crystal Coast.

Already, over 90 competitors have registered to compete in the INEX Legends Asphalt Nationals, a three-day event running from Thursday, October 17th through Saturday, October 19th. The competition includes Carteret County Speedway standouts Jordan Lamothe, Brenton Irving, Shane Irving, Zack Brown, and Emily Day, among several others.

Reigning INEX Pro Legends Asphalt champion Carson Ferguson and national title contender Cody Hall are among those who will compete over the course of the three-day event.  In the Semi-Pro division, national points leader Hunter Wright and title contender Jason Alder are among those entered to compete. Kevin Nowack, who leads the points in the Masters division, and Young Lions national title leader Zack Miracle have also entered the event.

On-track activity will get underway on Thursday with practice, beginning at 10am and running until 6pm.  Qualifying will get underway on Friday at 11:15am, followed by heat races and the Race of Champions.  B-Mains will commence at 1pm on Saturday, followed by the feature races.

Additionally, there will be a special meet-and-greet starting at 1pm on Saturday with Carteret County Speedway drivers who compete in other regular divisions.  Fans can meet the drivers and get autographs, selfies and more.

A three-day ticket for the event is available at the gate for $20. Single-day tickets for Friday are $10 and $15 for Saturday.  Thursday’s on-track activity is free to attend for spectators.

For more information about Bobby Watson’s Carteret County Speedway, visit the track’s official website at http://www.carteretspeedway.com, “like” Carteret County Speedway on Facebook or follow @carteretcoswy on Twitter.

Looney Stands Tall in Testing for the ValleyStar Credit Union 300

MARTINSVILLE, VA. – 2016 ValleyStar Credit Union 300 winner and 2019 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National points runner-up Mike Looney stood tall after a six-hour test session at Martinsville Speedway on Thursday evening.

Looney toured the half-mile track at 20.088 seconds during the evening portion of the test session under the lights and his time would be fast enough to break the track record set last year in qualifying by Stacy Puryear at a 20.100. Looney spent most of the day in the top five on the speed charts and ended the night in the number one position but he and his team had to work hard to find the speed he was looking for.

“We played it too conservative the last couple of years,” Looney said after testing. “We were really trying to stick to our old setup that we won with and we thought maybe it was a fluke that the following year we weren’t that good at night. We come back last year and struggled again after the sun went down and we made our mind up last year when we left that we got to get our work gloves on and get busy.”

Looney said he knew he was good during the day but knew he didn’t have the right feel in the car to give his team the confidence they needed.

“We thrashed on that car today and we were good but we knew it just didn’t have that feel I was looking for,” Looney said. That feel that I remember when we won. I think we changed every spring but the right rear, sway bar, track bar, bump stops, shocks, we threw everything in the trailer at it. My buddy Forrest Reynolds was floating me some tips from down at Concord. He was home building chassis’ today and this is a new car he built us and we’ve got 11 wins on it.”

Craig Moore, a regular on the CARS Tour, found himself sitting second on the speed charts at the end of the night and he was thankful for how well the car ran especially given that it was destroyed in the most recent CARS Tour event at Orange County Speedway back in August.

“We’re just blessed to be here,” Moore said after testing. “I tore my car up pretty bad at Orange County in the last CARS Tour race. Just been blessed to get this thing back together and had some awesome help from some awesome sponsors. We made some really good gains on it today and we weren’t really that good when we unloaded. I feel like we have a really good game plan to come back with for next week.”

Despite the speed, Moore isn’t getting ahead of himself for next weekend. He says he just wants to make the top 20 in qualifying and keep the fenders on his car.

“As long as we can qualify in the top 20, keep the fenders and doors on it and be there at the end of the race, I feel like anybody’s got a shot to win it,” Moore explained. “I feel like that’s what the goal needs to be and I think we got a car that’s capable of doing it. Being second today proved that. I feel like hopefully, we’ve got a shot at it.”

Behind Looney and Moore were a host of formidable challengers including defending Virginia Triple Crown championship winner and current Virginia Triple Crown points leader Peyton Sellers. Despite Sellers speed, he has an eye on weather changes for next weekend that could change the handling of the cars.

“I didn’t know what to think earlier today,” Sellers said. “The track was really green for the first hour or two hours. It had decent grip but it was like it was real hazy. This temperature right here is going to be more comparable to what we’re going to see next week. To go from 90 to 70 is a big transition. I think we learned more the last two hours than we’re going to learn the whole night. We made decent adjustments and I feel pretty comfortable with our program right now.”

Two-time race winner and current runner-up in the Virginia Triple Crown points standings, Lee Pulliam was fourth fastest among the 80-cars that took to the track today. The most dominant driver in last year’s ValleyStar Credit Union 300, Josh Berry, was fifth fastest on the day. Other notables included last year’s winner CE Falk who was eighth fastest, former winner Jason York was ninth and NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series driver Brennan Poole was 11th.

Around 80 cars are expected to return next weekend for the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 and with just the top 20 being locked in by qualifying on Friday, October 4th, many teams will be searching for a spot in the race in the two heat races on Saturday evening to finish setting the field for the 200-lap main event on Saturday night. With all of the format changes from single-car qualifying returning, fewer heat races and stage breaks in the feature, it could very well be one of the best ValleyStar Credit Union 300 races yet.

Tickets to the ValleyStar Credit Union 300, the NASCAR Hall of Fame 200, the First Data 500 as well as the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series Night Race at Martinsville Speedway can be purchased online at www.martinsvillespeedway.com or by calling 877.RACE.TIX.

The ValleyStar Credit Union 300 is Less Than One Month Away

Martinsville, Va. – As NASCAR Whelen All-American Series sanctioned tracks head into the final two weekends of competition, racers have already begun to turn their attention to the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 at Martinsville Speedway, which will take place in just one month on October 5th.

This year’s ValleyStar Credit Union 300 will feature a lot of changes including qualifying format, race format and the use of unlimited green, white, checkered finishes. The changes have been met with a lot of positive thoughts from racers and fans alike.

The changes to the qualifying format have drivers excited about qualifying for the first time in several years. Over the last decade, the Late Model Stock Cars have used a European style qualifying procedure where several cars take time on the track at the same time. That often led to faster cars running up on slower cars and preventing them from getting a clean lap. This year Martinsville Speedway will return to single car qualifying and the drivers feel as if that puts them center stage.

“It puts the prestige back into it for the drivers,” two-time ValleyStar Credit Union 300 winner Lee Pulliam stated. “And if I’m a fan, I’d pay to go to qualifying. That guy on the track’s got pressure on him, he’s the only car on the racetrack with the pressure at night for those three laps. One mistake and he’s not in the field. I’m thrilled about it.”

Last year’s ValleyStar Credit Union 300 winner CE Falk likes the idea of being locked into the top 20 but says he enjoyed being in the heat races as well.

“I like being locked into the top 20,” Falk said. “That part’s cool, regardless if you win the race or not, those 20 guys that’s a big deal for them to be the 20 fastest in the field. Being a part of that group is always really cool. There’s a lot that happens in those heat races, I enjoyed them. I always made up some spots in those heat races, and it was always really cool to get wins in those heat races.”

With all those changes to think about, several drivers come into this race with another prize in the back of their minds. The ValleyStar Credit Union 300 is also the final leg of the Virginia Triple Crown for Late Model Stock Cars. The Thunder Road Harley-Davidson 200 at South Boston Speedway back in June and the Hampton Heat 200 at Langley Speedway in July were the first two events in the three-race series.

Coming into the ValleyStar Credit Union 300, last year’s Virginia Triple Crown champion Peyton Sellers leads the point standings over Pulliam. Sellers won the first race at South Boston Speedway and finished fourth after a late penalty while battling Pulliam for the lead in the second race at Langley Speedway. Pulliam hasn’t picked up a win this season in the Virginia Triple Crown races but that’s what he says his goal will be for Martinsville and he’ll let the points work themselves out.

“When you’re in this race, you just race for the win and let things end up where they end up,” Pulliam explained. “All of these races are prestigious, but I’m never thinking about a points title. I’m thinking about trying to win the race and get to victory lane and the points will work themselves out. We’ve been in the hunt for both of the first two Triple Crowns, I don’t see why Martinsville would be any different.”

In one month, all the changes will play out and the Virginia Triple Crown Late Model Stock Car championship will be settled after 200-laps around the paperclip shaped oval. It’s the biggest race of the year and with so many changes and more money than ever on the line, it will be the one race any short track race fan won’t want to miss.

Tickets to the First Data 500, NASCAR Hall of Fame 200, and the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 can be purchased online at www.martinsvillespeedway.com or by calling 877.RACE.TIX.

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