Tag Archives: Chris Hopkins

Southside Speedway Gearing Up for Spectacular Season: Celebrates 60th Anniversary This Friday

That’s right ladies and gentleman, Friday night short track racing returns this weekend at the historic Southside Speedway located in Midlothian, Virginia. Southside first opened its doors to drivers and fans back in April of 1959 by J.M. Wilkinson and is currently being run by his daughter, Sue Clements, and granddaughter, Jennifer Mullis. March 29th will mark 60 years at “The Toughest Short Track in the South” and has the potential to be yet another historic event in the tracks already rich history.

Southside currently hosts six divisions of racing — Late Models, IMCA style asphalt Modifieds, Grand Stocks, UCARS, as well as the INEX Legends and Bandolero division — that will typically run each night. Hosting races just about every other Friday night from March to August it allows for teams to compete throughout the summer but also save a little bit of cash from operating week in and week out. Another unique feature about Southside Speedway is they open their season with a bang, J.M. Wilkinson Opening Night is not just a date, it’s not just the start of the season, it’s an annual event that every driver wants to win. Speaking of winning, no modern day driver has done more of that at Southside than Late Model legend, Chris Dodson.

Dodson closed out 2018 strong winning his seventy-second race and winning an impressive ninth series championship. During victory lane and trophy presentation, a very emotional Dodson was unclear of his 2019 plans and if he would return for a full season. If we may speak honestly here, and our readers know we do, Dodson has nothing to be ashamed of if he were to hang his helmet up. Whether you like the guy or hate the guy he will go down as one of the greats at Southside Speedway. Don’t let your hard down to soon, however, because Dodson did hint that he would make an attempt at winning his seventh J.M. Wilkinson Opening Night in a row.

There will be plenty of other drivers to look out for this season and the first one to come to mind is Eddie Johnson. Driving most of the 2018 season in the No. 43 Richard Petty look-a-like and eventually transitioning into the 00, Johnson has been racing at Southside Speedway longer than I have been on this earth and certainly knows how to get around. We haven’t heard yet if Johnson will be driving for another owner or for himself yet. A few other names to look out for; Mason Bailey, Howie DiSavino, and Chris Hopkins. No doubt Bailey struggled last season to find speed in the car but the kid has raw talent and it won’t take him long to find his way back into victory lane. DiSavino is another young driver to keep an eye on. As the season came to an end he came on strong. Hopefully, that team can keep the momentum up and find their way to victory lane. Chris Hopkins, what’s not to say about Hopkins? Running double duty often in the Modified and Late Model towards the end of the year, Hopkins got on a hot streak and never cooled down, expect to see similar results this year.

In other divisions, Dan Rogers is expected to return to the Grand Stock division and defend his title after dominating 2018 in a historic way. Hopefully, we also see the return of Chris Hopkins in the Modified division after such a killer performance last season. The UCAR series, of course, will be nothing less than spectacular. With so many drivers in and out of cars, the championship battle will be one to watch of course. In the INEX Legends series, we expect to see Daniel Silvestri make his return. We are not 100% certain want landing that ride with Burton-Sellers Racing in the Late Model will do to his Legend career, however, Silvestri is our early pick for the Legend Championship. In the Bando’s Layton Harrison, among others, should make their return. With last year’s championship battle coming down to the wire, we can’t even make a prediction on this series.

Front gates are slated to open for fans at 6:00 PM EDT. Qualifying is scheduled to get underway at the same time. The green flag is expected to drop at 7:45 PM EDT. We will have LIVE coverage, as always; on our Twitter feed starting with qualifying and leading into the feature. Please note that we will not be able to cover every division in detail due to the nature of the event.

 

2019 SEASON SCHEDULE

Friday, March 29
Friday, April 5
Friday, April 19 (75-lap Late Models)
Friday, May 3
Friday, May 10
Friday, May 31
Friday, June 14
Friday, June 28
Friday, July 12 (75-lap Late Models)
Friday, July 26
Friday, August 9
Friday, August 23

Chris Hopkins Pulls Double Duty and Doubles Down in both Modified’s and Late Models

Midlothian, VA – Chris Hopkins of Chesterfield Virginia also continued to have a standout season when he not only won the Late Model feature to close out the night but he was also the fast car in the nine-car modified field earlier in the afternoon as the sun was setting over the historic speedway. Hopkins’ 14.951-second (80.254 MPH) was the only one to hit under the fifteen-second, Michael Johnson, Kyle Wood, Lauren Edgerton, and Wayne McGee were the fastest five.

Hopkins wasted zero time getting the throttle down to the floor and jumping out to the front of the field setting a pace matched by no one. Hard racing for fifth place as Kyle Wood tried to make his way through the field. He would make some hefty contact with Wayne McGee out of turn two, which would bend his left rear quarter panel pretty bad. McGee was able to gather the car back up but would lose it once he got back to turns one and two bringing out the races first and only caution on lap five.

With no one else involved in the caution and no debris on the racing surface it was a quick caution period. Once back under green Hopkins retook the lead and got back to his leading ways. The restart sparked an amazing battle between long time modified series racer Lauren Edgerton and Kyle Wood. Kyle would ultimately get the position and Lauren would fall to fifth by the end of the feature.

Hopkins would again go on to lead every lap in the 30-lap feature doing some that we cannot recall being done in the modern era – leading every lap in route to victories in two different divisions. Michael Johnson, defending track champion Kyle Wood, Tyler Davis, and Lauren Edgerton rounded out the top five finishers.

 

Modified OFFICIAL Results;

  1. #17 Chris Hopkins; 30
  2. #38 Michael Johnson; 30
  3. #19 Kyle Wood; 30
  4. #00 Tyler Davis; 30
  5. #7 Lauren Edgerton; 30
  6. #9 Thomas Stinson; 30
  7. #42 Rusty Wood; 22
  8. #10 Wayne McGee; 5

Chris Hopkins Dominates Southside 75-lap Feature from the Pole; Dan Rogers Continues Grand Stock Domination

Chris Hopkins celebrates in victory lane after dominating the 75-lap feature at Southside Speedway on July 20, 2018. (Justin Kern/TheWeeklyRacer.com)

Midlothian, VA – It was pure domination Friday night in one of the longest Late Model Stock Car races of the season at Southside Speedway. Hopkins jumped out to the early lead from the start of the race and never looked back. Never having to worry about a caution Hopkins went flag-to-flag for the win.

Southside Speedway and Late Model Stock veteran Bugs Hairfield won the pole and the bonus point that comes with it earlier in the afternoon with a lap of 14.936-seconds (80.335 MPH). Howie Disavino, Chris Dodson, Eddie Johnson, and Chris Hopkins were the fastest five qualifiers. However, per the Southside rulebook, up to six cars could be inverted for the start of the feature. Hairfield was given the honor to reach into the magical bag to pull the pill – he would pull a five.

Hopkins took full advantage of the invert, as anyone would, and speed off into turn one with the lead going virtually unchallenged through the entire feature setting a rather blistering pace. Behind him, however, the wick had certainly been turned up as Hairfield attempted to work his way through the rather stout top five in hopes to get back to the lead. His efforts, though at times were amazing to watch as he battled Eddie Johnson side-by-side for a handful of laps, were only good to get him as high as second before the car went away from him and he started falling back.

Howie Disavino had yet another stand out night at the place coined the toughest short track in the south. Disavino never fell outside of the top five finding himself racing some of the best in the business when it comes to Southside. Chris Dodson – winner of the first 75-lap feature on the season – finished fourth while Bugs Hairfield rounded out the top five finishers.

Another young driver who had a rather impressive night was the No. 22 of Grayson Cullather. After spending most of the 2018 season running in the CARS Response Energy Tour, Cullather found himself back at his home track this weekend on the heels of the 10th annual Hampton Heat 200 being postponed. Cullather would start at the rear of the fourteen-car field and drove back up to sixth when the checkered flag flew.

The results for the Late Model race were still unofficial at the time we left the speedway. We were informed that results would be made official come Tuesday. The Weekly Racer will make sure to let everyone know when that happens.

Dan Rogers picked up win number six in the Grand Stocks in seven tries after starting shot fun on the field. Fans witnessed exciting racing throughout the rest of the field as everyone was not afraid to do a little rubbing and leaning on each other.

The UCAR feature, scheduled for 25-laps, was cut short after a medical emergency in the infield brought the field to the red flag with Trevor Stinson leading. Race control decided it was best to at least postpone the rest of the race to allow safety personnel plenty of time to do their work and transport the team member to a local hospital. We will also keep you updated as to what will happen to that race as they had not yet made it to halfway.

 

Late Model Stock Car UNOFFICIAL Results;

  1. #88 Chris Hopkins; 75
  2. #43 Eddie Johnson; 75
  3. #55 Howie Disavino; 75
  4. #0 Chris Dodson; 75
  5. #04 Bugs Hairfield; 75
  6. #22B Grayson Cullather; 75
  7. #05 Mason Bailey; 75
  8. #22 Justin Martz; 75
  9. #79 Lane Janosik; 75
  10. #25 Michael Sutphin; 75
  11. #24 Chris Johnson; 75
  12. #90 John Goin; 75
  13. #20 Sonny Allen; 74
  14. #18 Brad Davis; 74