Tag Archives: East Carolina Motor Speedway

Louis White Scores Emotional Victory in East Carolina Motor Speedway’s Season Opener; Jeremy Bohne Dominates Physical Charger Race

Louis White and crew celebrate their first win of 2019 in victory lane at East Carolina Motor Speedway. (Justin Kern/TheWeeklyRacer.com

Robersonville, North Carolina – Thirty years ago East Carolina Motor Speedway opened its doors for racing in the small North Carolina town as a 3/8-mile oval. Louis White was one of the first competitors to make laps here at the speedway in a Super Late Model. Matter of fact, Louis White ended up winning the track championship that year. Fast forward to 2019 and he hasn’t really slowed down.

After struggling so much in 2018 battling a tight race car as well as sending one through the guard rail in turn one, victory lane was just what the doctor ordered to get the 2019 season started.

After qualifying third earlier in the afternoon it didn’t take long for White to take the second position from Wesley Johnson and set his sites on Burbage, who actually set the pole earlier in single-car qualifying with a 15.098 – just one-thousandth of a second quicker than Johnson. White settled into a rhythm knowing that tire management is probably the single most important thing here on this worn out surface. However, White would catch a huge break when a large puff of smoke erupted from the nine-car forcing NASCAR to throw the yellow and for Burbage to come down pit road.

On the ensuing restart, White lined up on the inside of Jeff Shifflett and wasted zero time getting back to the gas once they entered the restart zone. From there it was lights out. Shifflett made an honest attempt and pulled within about three cars of White but you could see the car get visibly tight which caused him to fade. From there, it was lights out. Louis White would cruise to victory while Kenneth Mercer and Wesley Johnson put on a hell of a show for third.

During White’s victory lap, he drove the car right over to the spot he went through just last year as a reminder that he was still victorious.

“After last year this win ranks right there at the top after all we went through last year,” White said in victory lane. “We destroyed a brand new car. I didn’t know if I was going to race again. I said I was done. Then we had a deal with our business where we lost a contract so between that and losing this brand new car I didn’t know what I was going to do.”

Come back and win. That’s what Louis White does. He has been winning races here for thirty years now and still enjoys doing it even at 60.

“I have been fortunate to have good cars and great guys to help me work on,” Louis went on to say. “You can take a bad driver and put him in a good car and he can do good with it, maybe that’s what it is.”

One thing we know at The Weekly Racer is that when it comes to Louis White and East Carolina Motor Speedway, there isn’t anything bad when it comes to his driving.

“After what happened going through the wall I just wanted to go over there and park it to let it know it didn’t win.”

As we concluded we asked Louis if this win means he will compete here full time this season and go for another championship.

“I don’t know. Whatever the crowd wants to do. We have another race track we want to run at some. I have been coming here so long and like to support Mr. Perry because he has put so much money into this track and I am going to do all I can to support him.”

Louis White walks back from the spot he went through the outside guardrail over a year ago. (Justin Kern/TheWeeklyRacer.com)

Late Model Stock Car UNOFFICIAL Results;

  1. Louis White; 50
  2. Jeff Shifflett; 50
  3. Wesley Johnson; 50
  4. Kenneth Mercer; 50
  5. Madyson Mulligan; 49
  6. Thomas Burbage; 15

 

Chargers

At the end of the day, it was Jeremy Bohne who landed in victory lane for the 35-lap Charger feature. Though he was not the fastest car during qualifying – that honor went to former Bando driver Ethan Johnson – he was the one to get out front and avoid the mess that went on behind him.

It took Bohne over half the race to actually catch and pass Johnson for the lead and when that happened it seemed like things went south quick for the young guy as Bohne set sail. On a restart following a caution for fluid from the 14 of Ryan Miller things seemed to go downhill for Johnson who was slow to the restart which forced a three-wide situation between him, Roberson, and Langley and let me tell you something, three wide doesn’t work out of turn two.

Johnson’s car got the worst of it with heavy front-end damage, however, it wasn’t over there. Johnson struggling to get the car back under him looked to make contact with Mike Jones who was plowed into by Bill Price putting fluid all over the speedway. As the cars were going through the mess under caution Melvin Langley and Travis Roberson decided to exchange a few words, using their cars.

Once the track was clean and racing resumed Jeremy Bohne jumped back out to the lead and never looked back. Travis Roberson took over second place with Langley behind him. Ethan Johnson was able to make it back up to fourth with Greg Worley rounding out the top five.

Chargers UNOFFICIAL Results;

  1. Jeremy Bohne; 35
  2. Travis Roberson; 35
  3. Melvin Langley; 35
  4. Ethan Johnson; 35
  5. Greg Worley; 35
  6. Mike Jones; 23
  7. Daniel Vuncannon; 23
  8. Bill Price; 23
  9. Ryan Miller; 20
  10. Austin Ferrell; 17

In the Legends division, Cameron Murray took home the hardware. Chris Conner won his first ever Street Stock race of his career and Patrick Arch was victorious in the Mini Stock class.

Thomas Burbage Ready to Defend East Carolina Motor Speedway Title – Sets His Eyes on a Threepeat

Thomas Burbage works off Turn 4 during an afternoon practice session at East Carolina Motor Speedway. (Justin Kern/TheWeeklyRacer.com)

With spring officially upon us here in the Mid-Atlantic Racing region it means two things; 1) We are all going to be sneezing uncontrollably for the next month and a half and, 2) Its time to go back racing! Hickory Motor Speedway kicked off their, and North Carolina’s, NASCAR Whelen All-American Series (NWAAS) last weekend with Jacob Heafner and Adam Lemke finding their way into victory lane. One week later East Carolina Motor Speedway (ECMS) is ready to dust off the marbles and get back to racing. One driver in particular is certainly ready to get back on track and defend his title.

ECMS is a rather unique, 3/8-mile high banked D-shape oval located in the small town of Robersonville, North Carolina just off route 64. The speedway was built back in the early ’90s and has a track surface that would rival that of Myrtle Beach. However, that’s not really it’s a most unique feature, in ours and most drivers we talk to opinion. How one navigates turn two can be the key to landing you in victory lane or it can be the reason you find yourself stuffed in the outside retaining wall.

Over the last two years, Thomas Burbage has really hit on something at ECMS and with some of the changes over the offseason, he looks to keep that momentum going.

“We changed a few things,” Burbage told The Weekly Racer when asked about the offseason. “Been looking at different setup packages to try and get better. We get the super sucker carb plate back and we changed a few things on the engine package to give us a little more horsepower.  Hopefully, everything works out and we can defend our title.”

Even though Burbage is going into 2019 as the two-time defending LMSC champion he knows that he and his team has to be on their game week in and week out if they want a third.

“I would say there are three to four good teams that are front runners,” Burbage said about the competition. “Louis White is always strong when it counts. Kenneth Mercer really came on strong last year and has a great long run car. Wesley Johnson fought hard all year long last year and I’m sure will be up there again this year.  We always go to the race track with the mindset of being on our game because any given weekend we can be the one chasing the leader for a win.”

 

Jesse Council Hangs Up Helmet to Spend Time with Family

For the past few years, the Street Stock division at East Carolina has been dominated by Hobgood, North Carolina driver Jesse Council. However, in 2019 we are guaranteed to see new faces in victory lane as well as the opportunity for a brand new champion. Council has decided to hang up the helmet and driving suit to spend more time with his family.

“I have sold my car and most everything I had associated with racing,” Council told The Weekly Racer. “Last year was a high note to end on. We only lost two races at East Carolina all season. Everything is great. I just want to spend more time with my wife and kids.”

With Council not returning this season, it will certainly open the door for new faces to make their trip to victory lane. Could we see Travis Roberson pull double duty in both the Street Stock and Chargers? Will Chris Connor come back from the offseason stronger than before? One thing is for certain, we will find out this Saturday afternoon when the green flag waves.

 

Charger Division Open for the Taking as Well

Doug Warren, who won the 2018 Charger track champion, will not return full time in 2019 to defend his title. In fact, Warren will make the step up to running a limited schedule in the Late Model Stock Car division. Can Travis Roberson take the top spot this year at his home track? Or, will Jeremy Bohne or Michael O’Brien step up to the plate to take the title?

Of course, titles are on the line for the Bando’s, Mini Stocks, and Bombers starting this Saturday. Cameron Murray, David Willis, Mike Parrish are all looking to defend their titles this summer respectfully. Also, making their return to East Carolina will be the INEX Legends.

Registration will open Saturday morning at 9:00 AM EDT with a two-hour practice session starting at 10:00. Qualifying is scheduled to get underway at 1:00. Bando’s will start based on their practice time, Jr Bombers & Bombers will draw for positions. Mini Stock and UCAR’s will group qualify while Street Stock, Legend, Chargers, and Late Model will all go out for single-car qualifying.

Racing is scheduled to kick off at 3:00 PM EDT. Make sure to follow The Weekly Racer’s Twitter feed for LIVE coverage beginning with qualifying.

 

Wesley Johnson Kicks off 2018 with a Win

Robersonville, NC – Thomas Burbage looked like he was the man to beat early on through both morning practices but the 2017 track champion couldn’t find the top spot once qualifying rolled around. Wesley Johnson ran the fastest lap out of the seven cars on hand with a 15.055 second lap, Burbage ran a 15.061.

Once the green flag flew Johnson showed how strong he would be for the 50 lap feature. Burbage tried making a move on the first lap but could not get the leader out of the best line. Starting last in the field Rusty Daniels started his push to the top-3.

Former track champ Jeff Shiflett moved into second place seventeen laps in and Daniels followed him and took third pushing Burbage back to 4th. It looked like Burbage maybe guessed wrong on the setup for the race. At almost the halfway mark Daniels was able to move into second place and looked at a big 2.7 second gap to close on Johnson who enjoyed everyone battling behind him.

With eight laps to go Daniels cut that lead down to just a second but as the leaders started going through lapped traffic Rusty couldn’t get by that easily. Johnson’s lead stretched out enough for him to be able to cruise the last couple of laps to start his season off with grabbing a win.

 

In the charger division Jeremy Bohne won the opener after a caution filled but entertaining race where it looks like some rivalries might have been born.

The street stock division saw Jesse Council, who took 2017 off, lead from green to checkers after a very fast qualifying lap laid down earlier in the day.

 

Late Model Results:

1. Wesley Johnson

2. Rusty Daniels

3. Jeff Shiflett

4. Thomas Burbage

5. Justin Gill

6. Maddy Ryan -1

7. Kenneth Mercer -42

S02E11 – 2018 Season and Series Previews from the Mid Atlantic

The guys get back together for the first time in 2018 to talk about the recent races in the national series, ARCA, as well as the K&N Pro Series East season opener in Florida. We also take a look at six different tracks schedules throughout the Mid-Atlantic region along with the CARS Tour. Jesse announces he will be spotting full-time for #TeamRacingVirginia driver Grayson Cullather in the CARS Tour LMSC program.

Facebook: The Weekly Racer

Twitter: @shorttrackrpt@theweeklyracer@justten_2@VaughanJD

Email: podcast@theweeklyracer.com

Tyler Matthews Set to Make 2018 Truck Series Debut with MDM Motorsports at Martinsville

Tyler Matthews celebrates in victory lane at East Carolina on a Sunday after noon in September 2016. (Justin Kern/TheWeeklyRacer.com)

It was announced earlier today that Richlands, North Carolina native and 2016 North Carolina state Late Model Champion, Tyler Matthews, will be making his Camping World Truck Series debut later this year in the No. 99 truck for MDM Motorsports at Martinsville Speedway. Matthews, who currently competes in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model Stock series, earned Rookie of the Year honors for North Carolina in 2015. He continued his rise through the stock car ranks the following year after winning both the Southern National Late Model track championship, he also finished third in points at his home track of East Carolina Motor Speedway – all while working on his degree from East Carolina University.

2017 would bring Matthews even more success as we would go on to win seven races and collect nineteen top fives, twenty top tens all in twenty starts en route to yet another track championship, this time at Carteret County Speedway, Matthews found himself, however, in a rather precarious position coming into 2018 after his Late Model was destroyed following a wreck at Carteret.

“That is kind of how this whole thing got started,” Matthews said in an interview with The Weekly Racer. “We took a step back to see where we wanted to go from there. I do plan on running some of the bigger Late Model races. This is a great opportunity with a really good team.” Matthews told The Weekly Racer once we caught up with him. “I owe everything to my parents and the people behind the scenes getting this deal together. They have believed in me since day one and now it is up to me to get it done.”

The three-race deal will kick off later this year at Martinsville Speedway here in Virginia. The following two races are set for Iowa and Gateway Motorsports Park where Matthews should get approval to run some of the bigger tracks on the Camping World Truck Series schedule.

“We are approved for 5/8 tracks,” Matthews went on to explain. “After Martinsville, we will get approved for Iowa and after Gateway, we should be approved to run the bigger mile and a half’s. Once we get approved for those we plan to run a few more races during the second half of the year. This team has had a lot of success with several different drivers. So I feel good about of chances to run well out of the gate.”

Matthews will certainly have his hands full making the jump from a stock car to a heavier, more powerful race truck, however, Matthews is keeping himself focused and setting smart goals for himself as he takes on this next step in his racing career. We also asked Tyler if there was any added pressure coming into a program that Monster Energy Cup Series driver Bubba Wallace took to victory lane towards the end of the 2017 season.

“You always want to win,” Matthews said. However, I would be really happy with some consistent top ten runs and keeping my nose clean. I want to learn as much as I can. I would say more confident because you know the team and the equipment is capable of winning but there is definitely some high expectations there.”

 To learn more and keep up with Tyler Matthews in 2018, make sure to follow him on his facebook page https://www.facebook.com/tyler.matthews.731572.

Thomas Burbage Wins Fourth Annual Ronnie Barnett Memorial and East Carolina Motor Speedway Championship.

Thomas Burbage dials in the #9 Oak Ridge Metals machine during the second round of practice at East Carolina Motor Speedway. (Justin Kern/TheWeeklyRacer.com)

Robersonville, NC – A typical race season for any driver, in any division, is never easy. Going through the heat of the summer battling other like-minded individuals all gunning for the same thing.  Throw in a broken shoulder towards the end of an already hot and grueling summer and you really have your hands full with a racecar. Thomas Burbage, however, was not going to let that get in the way of his season.

As the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series points came to a close so did the individual track points. For the fourth year in a row, East Carolina Motor Speedway hosted its Ronnie Barnett Memorial race to close out the season. Burbage, from Washington, North Carolina, was the fastest man in town winning his ninth pole of the season needing just one lap to do so. Wesley Johnson, a recent winner at East Carolina under Limited Late Model rules during the 6th Annual Mischa Sell Memorial race, and Maddy Mulligan would qualify in the top three.

Burbage continued his domination of the weekend picking up the victory leading all 50-laps of the feature. Wesley Johnson would work his way around Louis White in the closing laps for a second place finish. Jeff Shiflett would also benefit and earn the final spot on the podium. Burbage’s six wins at East Carolina was enough to allow him to clinch the 2017 Late Model track championship, his second career track title and first under the NASCAR banner, and punch his ticket to Charlotte.

“I definitely want to thank my crew – my racing family,” Burbage told The Weekly Racer. “The guys that 150% made this a reality and definitely my sponsor Oak Ridge Industries and Kevin Boyd for keeping my dream alive.  I want to thank my best friend Chris Smith for busting his tail at the shop by himself while I’ve been injured.  He stepped up and told me that he would do everything in his power to help me win this championship if that’s what I wanted to do and here we are.  Pretty sweet to do it with one arm tied behind your back.”

After he and his wife welcomed their new baby boy into this world Burbage had a freak accident prior to race weekend where he broke his shoulder, grabbing the win at the Ronnie Barnett Memorial along with the championship was just the ending to a wild and crazy year he needed.

Burbage will look to take some time off from the race car to allow his shoulder to fully heal. He told us that he has all intentions to run Carteret in October with the hopes of running the Thanksgiving Classic at Southern National Motorsports Park or even Ace Speedway.

The 602 Tour Puts on a Show at ECMS Along with the Mischa Sell Memorial

Robersonville, NC — The 602 Super Limited Tour made a stop at the tight and technical East Carolina Motor Speedway for their 4th race of the year. Along with the 75 lap 602 Tour race the track also played host to the 6th Annual Mischa Sell Memorial Race.

In group qualifying for the tour race Andrew Durham ran the fastest time of 15.907 to grab on the pole. He went on to roll a two for an invert so Jimmie Brewer would lead the field to the green.

Right off the bat the tricky exit of turn two claimed Blake Shupe before a lap was even completed. Once the race got under way Brewer showed a lot of speed but Durham would never fall back too far. Rock Harris sat in third waiting for something up front to happen for him to capitalize on and move up. Twenty five laps in and the leaders were already up to the fifth place car. While battling through that lapped traffic Durham took the lead on lap-31 after Brewer was slowed down. After putting the fourth place car a lap down on lap-45 the caution came out for Kirk Sheets spinning out of turn-4 and his radiator dumped everything it had on the track.

The damage done to Harris’ ride late in the race.

On the restart Durham and Harris stayed in the low line with Brewer choosing to go high. Coming back to complete the first green flap lap Harris makes it three wide and takes the lead into turn one. Brewer gave Harris a couple shots from his bumper as the leader kept it glued to the bottom of the track. This kept going on along with Brewer pushing Durham to his limits as he tried to take second place back. With under five to go Durham pushed too hard and ended up wrecking Harris giving him a lot of right side damage. Harris was sent to the rear and Durham kept his position but Rock was able to take the cone and start up front. Durham held on to the win with Harris not far behind him in second and the drivers talked it out before the interviews, which is always good to see.

Andrew Durham in Victory Lane at East Carolina Motor Speedway after winning the 4th 602 event of the year.

Mischa Sell Memorial

Nine limited late models entered the 6th Annual Mischa Sell Memorial race. East Carolina regulars Louis White, Wesley Johnson, and Kenneth Mercer decided to take a stab at it along with the great limited driver Ross “Boo Boo” Dalton.

In qualifying White won the pole running a 15.418 second lap, Johnson ran a 15.503 for second, and rounding out the top-3 was Maddy Ryan running a 15.545.

Maddy Ryan didn’t waste much time trying to grab second place from Johnson six laps in but she couldn’t complete the move. A few laps later she tries to keep Dalton behind her but gets bumped and falls back to sixth. With this going on behind them White and Johnson run away pretty quickly and Dylan Ward found himself up to third place.

Forty-one laps in and Dalton got by Ward for third place as White found another gear and started pulling away from Johnson. The field started to get really stretched out at this point but have no fear, some REAL debris was on track and that yellow flag flew in the air. They restarted the race with White and Dalton on the front row but they would be under the caution again for Jac Creed hitting the wall in turn-4.

All the drivers took the same spots for the restart and Dalton again fell into second place for a few laps until Johnson was able to grab the position back. Right behind them Maddy had worked her way up to fourth after passing Kenneth Mercer with 36 laps to go. Five laps later Johnson made it up to White’s bumper and they ran close for the next 11 laps until Johnson grabbed the lead. At this point White looked to have nothing left and Dalton started creeping closer to him but could never fully close the gap.

Wesley Johnson takes the checkers with a huge gap over White to win the 6th annual race.

Wesley Johnson in victory lane for the 6th Annual Mischa Sell Memorial Race.

602 Tour Finishing Order
1. Andrew Durham
2. Rock Harris
3. Robbie Brewer
4. Jac Creed
5. Melvin Langley
6. Richard Trotter
7. Wesley Thompson
8. Kirk Sheets
9. Blake Shupe

MSMR Finishing Order
1. Wesley Johnson
2. Louis White
3. Ross Dalton
4. Maddy Ryan
5. Dylan Ward
6. Kenneth Mercer
7. Wayne Goss
8. Melvin Langley (DNF)
9. Jac Creed (DNF)

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