Tag Archives: DHSTS15

Wertz Battles Back To Grab Podium Finish In The Denny Hamlin Showdown

#56 Mark Wertz6

Poquoson, VA – Better late than never is a saying that my mother always used to tell me growing up, and its something that I can relate to Mark Wertz’s performance at this years edition of the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown. Not to mention growing up I heard a lot of “never say never” or “don’t give up on something so easy.” Something that goes hand in hand with on of our awards we like to honor a hand-selected drive during our Touring Series events. The Weekly Racer Hard Charger Award is given to a driver who decided to not give up when the odds were not in their favor. Its given to the driver who gives it their all no matter what. A driver who essentially makes something out of nothing.

After running into some, well lets call it issues, during the first heat race, Mark Wertz was presented with the awesome job of starting shotgun on the field. Yup, that’s right Mark Wertz had to start thirty-sixth out of a thirty-six car field. Certainty not what he and his crew were expecting. During the test session the day before Wertz hung around the top ten all day in practice where more than thirty cars took time. “When we took off in that heat race there was a wreck in front of us that we just couldn’t miss,” Wertz told The Weekly Racer. “Luckily we were able to make the field and were able to make some adjustments when we could and when the green flag finally dropped the car was steadily moving forward.”

Come to find out the pitman arm ended up getting bent during after Wertz cars collided with the other. Not being able to change any hard parts on the car after qualifying the only other option was to adjust the toe to compensate. Wertz was able to steadily pick off positions while working his way to the lap 150 break where teams would be able to not only make more adjustments to the car, and change all four tires. “By half way we were like fifteenth or sixteenth just picking our battles,” Wertz said. “We just had to be patient and pick our battles and it worked out, we had a little luck and a lot of good things happen!”

With a little bit of luck and a whole lot of perseverance, Wertz was able to put himself in a position to be there in the end. After a few late race yellow flags, you could all but guarantee a top ten finish for Wertz until we had the big one! As the field was coming out of four to the checkered flag the leaders went wrecking. Wertz was able to work his way through the carnage and come home with a third place finish! “I saw a bunch of cars and a bunch of smoke but we were coming to the checkers,” Wertz told me. “I gassed her up and just tried to get through there, and here we are with a third place finish.”

After gaining thirty-three spots on the night in a field stacked with some of the best late model drivers, not to mention the cup drivers in attendance, you can see why Mark Wertz is the hands down winner of the Hard Charger. Wertz will be focusing on a track championship this year at Langley Speedway in Hampton, Virginia, with the occasional trip out of town to hunt for some trophies.

 

Peters Masters Denny Hamlin Showdown In Wild Finish

#17 Timothy Peters5

South Boston, VA – So I waited around on purpose to write this story on our trip to the 2015 Denny Hamlin Short Short Track Showdown. Waiting to see if NASCAR would make a statement or access any penalties to teams/drivers after what happened well after the checkered flag. With Tuesday is usually penalty day in our sport, but I have not seen any so the show must go on.

For the second year in a row the star-studded race was held at one of America’s premier short track on the east coast if not in the country, South Boston Speedway. Just over 40 Late Model drivers took the trip for the 8th annual charity race raising money for cystic fibrosis. Charity race or not, this was no walk in the park boy let me tell ya what!

Throughout the heat of the day William Byron – coming off of a K&N Pro Series East win at Greenville Pickens – kept his #91 Liberty University machine at the top of the speed charts beating out names like Denny Hamlin, Timothy Peters, Lee Pulliam! Not saying those names were not fast in practice, every one of those drivers posted a time at least in the top ten between first and second practice.

Byron was able to carry some of that speed over during the euro style qualifying session has he posted the third fastest time behind the likes of Timothy Peters (15.752 – 91.417 MPH) and Denny Hamlin. Josh Berry & Peyton Sellers would round out the most meaningless top five ever as the heat races were what set your starting position for the feature. I know I’m just the little guy here but I feel the front two positions, if you are going to run qualifying races, should be locked in on time, they deserve it! Peters, Sellers and Thaxton (all SoBo regulars if I may point out) won their heat races, which granted them the right to the top three starting positions. William Byron would start ninth while Josh Berry rolled off thirty-third, after running into issues with Lee Pulliam in their heat race.

It did not take long for things to heat up on the track, shoot things got pretty wild in the heat races to set the feature. What do you expect though when you have some of the best driver on the east coast, all going after $10,000 and a trophy presented to you by Denny Hamlin… I would expect things to get pretty crazy.

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