Hampton, VA – Arena Racing USA made its return to the Hampton Coliseum for the first time several years this past weekend to an awesome crowd. This, of course, coming on the heels of the announcement that Langley Speedway was set to re-open in 2017. Either way, it was great to see racing return back to Hampton with some of the original Arena Racing drivers also making their return to the high bank aluminum track.
Chase Burrows jumped out to an early lead when the green flag waved on the A-Main feature of the Hampton 200 this past Saturday night at the Hampton Coliseum. Savannah Nickens, who become the first female driver to win the Top Dog feature last race, got stranded on the outside lane pushing her toward the back. She would eventually bring out the nights first caution in turn three after going for a spin. Officials seemed to have thought she had some help from Prillaman as they both went to the rear of the field.
Burrows, who was the control car for the first restart of the night, elected to restart on the inside line to last years Pro champion Camden Testerman. Testerman uses the momentum that comes with running the highline and lead lap number two. The two would get tangled up out of two – both able to gather the cars back up and keep going.
The caution flag would wave once more on lap three for Nickens, she goes around and slides on her lid out of four. Manes gets caught up with things as well which will put him to the rear of the field for the restart.
Burrows with another great restart on the low side but it doesn’t take long to get back under yellow. Cody Carlton, a man on a mission, comes flying through the field and some contact is made in three. We did not see who initiated the contact but we did see Jackson Jr is nose first in the outside wall with just nine laps on the board.
Back to green flag racing on lap fifteen and the field was almost immediately back under yellow. Garret Manes with issues this time in turn one. He finds himself facing the wrong way on the racing surface after going for a loop. With nowhere to go and not enough time to check up Tommy Jackson Jr. plows into his nose causing damage to both, neither were able to continue.
Testerman was the control car on the following restart and elected to take the bottom. Last years champion made the low line work for him and took over sole procession of the lead with twenty-five laps on the board. Carlton immediately started applying pressure on the 00 of Burrows with just 20 to go.
Carlton takes a peak under Burrows on lap thirty-five and Burrows does not give an inch. They both hit the concrete. Carlton gets pushed down into the tough blocks, both are able to continue with no caution on the field.
With one of the longest green flag segments of the night the leaders start working through lap traffic with under ten laps to go but find themselves back under yellow for a spin of four – we find that it is Savannah Nickens once more.
With Testerman the leader he elects to take the final restart on the bottom – Scott Prillaman and Cody Carlton try their luck on the high side. Once the green flag was in the air Scott Prillaman wasted not time and gets the jump off four and uses the momentum to peak his nose out to the lead, Testerman right there.
The two sail it into one – they touch off two. It’s a drag race down the backstretch, Prillaman with a slight advantage. They enter turn three door to door with ample contact from both coming off four, Scott Prillaman with the advantage off the corner and wins the A-Main.
1.#83 Scott Prillaman
2. #17 Camden Testerman
3. #94 Cody Carlton
4. #00 Chase Burrow
5. #11 Chase Butler
6. #48 Brandon Sanders
7. #71 Savannah Nickens
8. #07 Shane Zuppo
9. #1 Garret Manes DNF
10. #14 Tommy Jackson Jr. DNF
Scott Allen takes the green flag for the B-Main here at the Hampton Coliseum from the pole position after the redraw. Matt Sanders, however, uses the top side and the momentum that comes with it to take the lead. Allen falls back to the third position before the first caution of the race. Grady Jr, Thomas Jr and Burnham all make contact in turn four and come to a halt in the outside wall.
Sanders elects to take the low line on the restart with Shonk the only to try his luck on the outside – seems to work out for him as he takes the lead on lap six. Sanders falls back to second and watches Allen and Warriner battle it our for third. Warriner, however, with some trouble off four. He has to chase the car down to the concrete, keeps it straight, and immediately looking to track Allen back down.
With fifteen laps on the board Johnny Shock looked to have things going pretty good for him at the front of the pack. Sanders hanging tough though as the two started working through lap traffic. Sanders would look to peak his nose under Shonk just five laps later, trying to take the lead, the two make contact and Shonk almost looses his rear bumper cover. He is able to keep going and hold onto the lead.
Takes Sanders just six laps to catch and pass the 70 bringing Allen along with him. Shonk makes another circuit around the speedway and pulls it down pit road – he goes down several laps before the caution comes out with twenty laps to go for debris on the back stretch. Arena Racing official put tape on the rear bumper cover of Shonk, he is able to return to the racing surface.
With the ensuing restart Matt Midget is the first to take the cone – he goes toe to toe with Sanders and leads lap thirty-one. Another eight seconds later and Midget is in sole procession of the lead before officials spot more debris in turn four which would bring out another yellow.
With ten laps to go Midget elects to take the restart on the high side and it worked out wonderful for the veteran. Sanders however not letting him get down to the bottom – the two battle door to door for the lead.
Sanders makes contact with Midget coming off four and takes the lead but major problems going on behind them, Shonk goes around and onto his lid to bring out the yellow flag once more. Josh Burnham the biggest loser in that one, he finds himself on pit road with a broken right front.
Midget takes the cone form the second position to restart on the high side. Sanders car didn’t get going once the green flag came out – not sure if he was trying to play games or if he just got caught sleeping on the start. Either way Sanders had to play catch up and that’s when things got a little ugly. He and Midget make contact down the backstretch and again in four sending Sanders on his side and making hard contact with the outside retaining wall. Officials and medics respond to Sanders to make sure everything was okay after hard contact from the outside wall and the roof of the car. Sanders was able to get out of the car and exit the track under his own power – his night unfortunately was over.
Midget takes the topside for the restart again and clears Grady Jr into one. With no pressure behind him Matt Midget grabs the checkered flag in an interesting B-Main.
1.#97 Matt Midget
2. #74 Jim Grady Jr
3. #12 Tyler Warriner
4. #24 Allen Booth
5. #7 Nate Thomas DNF
6. #63 Matt Sanders DNF
7. #29 Scott Allen DNF
8. #92 Josh Burnham DNF
9. #70 Johnny Shonk DNF
It was the 2016 Youth Champion, Chase Burrow in the #00 ride that would lead the field of twelve to the green flag. Once the field was lined up correctly and the rag was dropped Burrows was able to jump out to the lead early. Holding his own in the presence of past Pro Series champions Cody Carlton and Camden Testerman, Scott Prillaman – the nights A-Main winner was right there in the mix as well.
The top four cars broke away from the rest of the pack and stayed nose to tail while they were just clicking off laps. The first caution of the race came for debris in the middle of one and two; just as Burrows was working to but the first car a lap down. Once clean up was complete officials gave the signal to double up just like they do in most short tracks around the area with a cone restart. Burrows elected to stay to keep his position at the front of the pack with Testerman behind him – Carlton and Prillam took their chances and started on the high side.
When Burrows entered the restart zone it was a drag race into one with Carlton to his outside. Using the momentum to his advantage Carlton was able to clear Burrows out of four to take over the lead leaving Chase to deal with the likes of last years champion and Scott Prilliman. The caution would wave once more for Allen Booth and the #24 car, which set up one of the longest green flag, runs on the following restart.
Carlton and Testerman got great restarts and left Burrows in third to deal with the likes of Prillaman. Working to click off laps and make it through lap traffic the #94 and #17 were in a class of their own. Fans were able to witness some great racing between Burrows and Prillaman however for the third spot as well as cars racing for position deeper in the field.
A scary moment for the leaders as the laps wined down trying to work through some slower lapped cars. Carlton and Testerman both having to make wild moves off four. Carlton found himself in the middle of a Branden Sanders and Nate Thomas sandwich down the front stretch and into turn one – luckily for the Chesapeake native he was able to make it through no problem. Testerman on the other hand got the raw end of the deal and made contact with the #48 of Sanders. Both slowing down and coming off the racing surface. Both cars seemed to be okay on damage but it allowed for Prillaman to close the five car gap and pass Testerman for second.
Tyler Warriner would bring out the nights final caution for his spin off turn four. This would bunch the field up one last time with just five laps to go. Carlton would elect to give up his position at the front of the field to start on the outside line giving the number one spot to Prillaman on the track.
With Carlton being the control car it was up to him to restart the race in three. Chalk it up to the dirt karting but Carlton got the restart of a lifetime and had a five car lead on Prillaman out of two – Prillaman had to get up on the wheel though and defend his second position from a very hungry Testerman and Burrows.
Prillaman was able to drive back to the rear bumper of Carlton in those last five laps with some help of slower traffic but it was not enough to get around him and Carlton would take the checkered flag once more in the Top Dog. Prillaman, Testerman, Burrow and Butler would round out the top five finishers.
We caught up with Carlton after the race to talk about his win and his return to the Hampton Coliseum.
“I would have to say I’m very fortunate to have been given the opportunity to come back and put a show for a great home town crowd,” Carlton told The Weekly Racer. “To be able to get the Top Dog win was the icing on the cake. I have a huge group of guys that were behind me in making it possible.”
Carlton went on a tear back in 2015 winning five or six top dog features in a row. He would spend most of 2016 away from the Arena and took his talent to the dirt where he picked up right where he left off, in victory lane. He went on to tell us that getting back into the arena car was like riding a bike. He even mentioned that he would consider running more races this season if the series made more trips to Hampton.
“Yes, if they come back to Hampton I may consider running more races,” said Carlton. “I may even consider it in Richmond if I don’t have any other racing going on.”
Arena Racing will head back to Richmond, Virginia on Saturday March 11th for their next points race. For more information on times and tickets visit their website at http://www.arenaracingusa.com.
Top Dog Results
1) #94 Cody Carlton
2) #83 Scott Prillaman
3) #17T Camden Testerman
4) #00 Chase Burrow
5) #11 Chase Butler
6) #74 Jim Grady
7) #07 Shane Zupo
8) #48 Branden Sanders
9) #12 Tyler Warriner
10) #97 Matt Midgett
11) #7 Nate Thomas
12) #24 Allen Booth III DNF
13) #71 Savannah Nickens DNF