Tag Archives: Eddie Johnson

Eddie Johnson Becomes Third Different Late Model Winner of 2018 at Southside

Photo: Sarah Kay Speedshots

Midlothian, VA – Kicking the race weekend off was Southside Speedway in Midlothian, Virginia. Otherwise, known as the “Toughest Short Track in the South” had Late Models, Modifieds, Grand Stocks, UCAR, Legends, and Bando’s on the schedule for their first responders night.

Chris Dodson flexed his muscles earlier in the afternoon during the final practice/qualifying for the Late Model division earning the pole position being the only driver to hit a sub fifteen-second lap – 14.991 (79.968 MPH). John Goin, Howie Disavino, Bugs Hairfield, and Sonny Allen rounded out the top five fastest qualifiers in the field of ten. However, at the end of the 40-lap feature, it was veteran Late Model racer Eddie Johnson in victory lane. Dodson would finish almost three-tenths of a second behind the leader followed by Mason Bailey, Michael Sutphin, and Lane Janosik.

Dan Rogers was the quickest of thirteen Grand Stocks who came out to compete during First Responders Night. However, because Rogers had won the two previous races, he was forced to start at the rear of the field due to a long-standing Southside Speedway rule. Rogers would fight is way back up to the front but ended up just one position short by the end of the thirty lap feature. Austin Dodge was the first to the checkered flag and picked up his first victory of the season.

Michael Johnson was able to dethrone Chris Hopkins in the Modified division after setting quick time earlier in qualifying. Hopkins, who recorded the second fastest time, was forced to start at the rear of the field after winning the first two races of the season. Hopkins was able to drive back to the second position when the checkered flag flew. Ethan Ayers took the checkered in the UCAR feature while Cody Carlton picked up the win in the INEX Legends feature. Zachary Miracle opened up the night with a win the INEX Bandolero division.

 

OFFICIAL Late Model Results;

  1. #43 Eddie Johnson; 40
  2. #0 Chris Dodson; 40
  3. #05 Mason Bailey; 40
  4. #25 Michael Sutphin; 40
  5. #79 Lane Janosik; 40
  6. #20 Sonny Allen; 40
  7. #18 Brad Davis; 40
  8. #90 John Goin; 40
  9. #24 Chris Johnson; 40
  10. #89 Matt Ashworth; 26
  11. #99 Daniel Thomas; 18
  12. #04 Bugs Hairfield; 15
  13. #55 Howie Disavino; 4
  14. #22 Justin Martz; DNS

Grayson Cullather Earns First Career Late Model Victory at Southside; Looking to Take That Momentum to Martinsville

Trophy Presentation at Southside Speedway September 15, 2017 – Top 3 in Late Model points from left to right. #05 Mason Bailey (car owner Chris Philips to accept). #22 Grayson Cullather. #43 Eddie Johnson. (Justin Kern/TheWeeklyRacer.com)

Midlothian, VA – It was Championship night this past Friday at “The Toughest Short Track in the South” located just south of Richmond, Virginia. Just one of the many tracks some of the current Monster Energy Cup Series drivers cut their teeth at during their young racing careers. With Mother Nature playing the spoiler for most of the season, track officials and management agreed to add another weekend to the schedule to allow drivers to settle their points on the track.

 

Grayson Cullather, 16 years old from Richmond, Virginia, entered the weekend second in the points standings just eight points behind local legend Eddie Johnson after Mason Bailey’s win was stripped from him the week before. Fresh off the Martinsville Speedway test, Cullather showed up to Southside with something to prove – and boy did he. Grayson was the fastest man in town during the afternoon’s group qualifying session posting a time of 14.976 seconds. In fact, Cullather was the only driver to hit a sub fifteen-second lap, Eddie Johnson, Lane Janosik, Chris Dodson, and Howie Disavino completed the fastest five qualifiers. With the pole point in hand, Cullather would draw a three inverting the top three qualifiers and handing the lead over the Janosik.

 

Once the sunset and the track lights were shining brightly it was time for the twelve-car field to go to work. Sailing off into turn one Eddie Johnson was able to make quick work of Janosik to assume the lead out of turn two. Chris Dodson and Cullather were right there to capitalize as well, setting up a thrilling three-way battle for the lead between two Late Model legends and a young teen in just his sophomore season.

 

Johnson would take the race lead from rookie Lane Janosik and hold onto it for the first five circuits around the .333-mile oval. Dodson ended up working his nose under Eddie’s machine to eventually take the race lead on lap six. However, the move also left the door open for Cullather who wasted zero time and took the second position away. The following lap Grayson would edge his nose under Dodson’s No. 0 Williamsburg Honda machine looking to take the lead. Dodson would do everything in his power to pinch him down out of four but it was not enough and Grayson Cullather was scored the new leader on lap seven.

 

Once in the lead and in clean air, it appeared that no one would have anything for Grayson who maintained a car or two-length lead over second as the laps clicked off. The evenings one and only caution for the Late Models came just one lap before halfway when Lane Janosik, who was in a pretty good battle with Brad Davis for fourth, went around out of turn four forcing officials to throw the yellow flag.

 

Once the filed was bunched up and everything was given the okay by race control the cone was set on the front stretch and we were ready to go back racing. Dodson was the first to take the cone, which would put him on the outside of Cullather. Eddie Johnson elected to keep his position in third, as did Brad Davis staying in fourth and lining up to Johnson’s outside.

 

Cullather would get what could arguably go down as the best restart of his young career when the green was displayed to the field because he was able to clear the field at the exit of turn two. This would leave Chris Dodson and Eddie Johnson to battle door to door and Cullather to get into a rhythm and check out and check out he did. Dodson would eventually prevail taking the second position from Johnson but it was too late as Cullather had built over a full second lead en route to his first career Late Model victory.

 

“When we got the pole I knew it was a good lap because the car felt good,” Culalther said in victory lane. “I was a little worried because Eddie [Johnson] and Chris [Dodson] was still on the track and they could bust a [good] lap. Once the race started I knew it would take a couple of laps for our tires to come in. I was riding behind Lane and saw Dodson pass him on the outside so I knew my shot to keep up with Eddie and Chris would be to go to the outside and try and get around Lane.”

 

Cullather then capitalized when Eddie and Chris started battling for the lead, which paid dividends for the first winner.

 

“I saw an opportunity to take it three wide out of four and keep the car under Dodson to clear him,” Cullather went on to explain. “Once I got clear I knew we had a winning car, I just wanted to keep the tires on it. This win means a lot to my family and crew. We have tried everything this year, lost a whole lot of races because of late race cautions. It just meant a lot to me and confidence level”

 

The win could not come at a better time for Cullather and his crew who will look to take this momentum into next weekends ValleyStar Credit Union 300. Having a decent test and learning the track to collecting his first Late Model win can do a ton for a race team and we asked Cullather how the test went and what he was looking for in the race.

 

“We had a really good test out at Martinsville,” Cullather explained. “We had good balance on the car, still room to improve but, we know what we have to do to get better.”

 

This year will be Grayson’s first attempt at making the prestigious Late Model event that pays $25,000 and a Grandfather clock. The great equalizer this year will be the lights. For years teams were used to starting in the middle of the day and running into the night as the track cools. With the feature not starting until 8:00 PM Saturday night, some of these rookies may have an even better chance than before.

 

“There are some nerves going into the race,” Cullather admitted. “I think we have a pretty good car for next week. [Our} times weren’t falling off like some others were. My main goal is to just make the race.”

 

With the third-place finish for Eddie Johnson was able to secure the 2017 Late Model track championship. With track titles in the 80’s, 90’s, 00’s and now in 2017, it should help solidify Johnson’s resume as one of the greatest to hit the track at Southside Speedway. During the trophy presentation, Johnson was beyond thankful to his car owner, family and all of the sponsors who have not only helped him throughout his career but through the 2017 season to make everything possible.

 

 

UCAR

Jamie Hite picked up the victory in the UCAR divisions to end the evening and the 2017 season at Southside Speedway. Hite would qualify fourth but roll of the grid in the second position after pole winner Korey Lawson pulled the number four pill inverting the top four cars. Beejay Anderson would inherit the lead with Michael Chapman lining up on his rear bumper.

 

Chapman, running the No. 5 machine this weekend, looked as if he was hooked up to one of the steam launch cables from an aircraft carrier when the green was displayed taking the lead early and setting a pretty blistering pace. Hite would eventually track him down and apply pressure for the lead with five laps to go. In fact, Hite would ultimately take the lead from Chapman on lap twenty-one. Chapman would try and mount one final attack with just two laps left but it was not enough to move Hite out of the way who would go on to collect his second win of the season.

 

Late Model OFFICIAL Results

  1. #22 Grayson Cullather; 40
  2. #0 Chris Dodson; 40
  3. #43 Eddie Johnson; 40
  4. #18 Brad Davis; 40
  5. #55 Howie Disavino; 40
  6. #25 Michael Sutphin; 40
  7. #77 Mike Greathouse; 40
  8. #25 Sonny Allen; 40
  9. #17 Charlie Walker; 40
  10. #26 John Crews III; 40
  11. #79 Lane Janosik; 23
  12. #31 Chris Savage; DNF

 

UCAR OFFICIAL Results;

  1. #12 Jamie Hite; 25
  2. #5 Michael Chapman; 25
  3. #03 Korey Lawson; 25
  4. #96 Alex Ayers; 25
  5. #13 Beejay Anderson; 25
  6. #1 Mike Frayser; 25
  7. #40 Rickey Sylvester; 25
  8. #15 Mark Marshall; 25
  9. #97 Richard Sisco; 25
  10. #9 Kevin Garreau; 24

Phillip Morris Takes Home the Big Check in the W.O. Grubb 150

Thornburg, VA – The story at Dominion Raceway Thursday was all about points. Lee Pulliam made his debut at the track hunting for some late season national points as he holds a one point lead over second place this season, he is trying to get his fourth national championship. The track championship is also very close with Tyler Hughes and Doug Barnes battling hard all season long.

The 2016 national champion qualified on the pole running a 15.247 second lap to beat out Morris by .012. Pulliam would start fifth and Hughes out ran Barnes by 6 spots and started on the outside of row three. But they do things a little different at Dominion Raceway, and Bowling pulled a six out of the redraw bag which put Hughes up front for the green flag.

Hughes enjoyed the lead with no pressure from behind for the opening thirty laps until Morris was able to navigate through the cars between them like it was nothing. As they first started catching lapped traffic Morris kept cutting into the lead but the caution would erase it fully with Colin Garrett spinning out off of turn two.

The green flag flew with an even hundred alps remaining in the race and Hughes cleared Morris, he tried the high line with the cone choice, fairly easily. Fourteen laps into the run and Morris had shaken Sellers off from his rear and was no focused 100% on Hughes. Morris was able to nose in to the inside and they raced door to door for a lap until Hughes pulled back ahead and the caution came out for the second time, this time for 2016 track champion Nick Smith getting a tap to his rear and spinning out. Under this caution Lee’s crew tried to fix his ailing car several times and he eventually got caught two laps down.

The front row stayed the same for this restart with Hughes low and Morris high. They didn’t waste much time as they went three wide along with Sellers for the lead, Morris ended up winning out on the risky move on lap 80. Hughes put up a fight for the next couple of laps, peaking inside of Morris a few times but couldn’t get past the four time national champ. Sellers made some contact with Hughes in his pursuit for second but it got them both out of line and Bowling took over the spot. Not long after that the biggest wreck of the night put a lot of damage on several cars with Jeff Oakley, Michael Hardin, Barnes, and Hughes all taking hits.

Morris liked the high line and chose it again, but as the leader this time. He cleared Bowling on the restart and Sergio Pena worked his way by Bowling for second and Brenden “Butterbean” Queen also worked up to fourth place getting by Sellers. Behind them Barnes and Hughes ended up battling each other for seventh position and with 35 laps to go even made it three wide while passing a slower car, these two left nothing on the track. Nine laps later they are still side by side but the caution came out for Chris Johnson’s car losing a motor. A rough ending for Johnson who had come from 23rd to 6th at this point.

The next green flag run was short lived as Puryear got caught up again and this time it ripped off most of his body work and the red flag had to come out to get everything up.

For the next restart Morris again went high and Pena and Queen chose low. Morris showed how strong his car was on this restart setting his fastest time of the race as second through fifth all ran side by side and completely checked on them. Barnes and Pena traded second position for a few laps while they were side by side but Barnes would eventually fall back to fifth with Hughes and Queen getting by him.

Morris took the checkers with no pressure from behind him to win his second big trophy of the year, with his first being the South Boston leg of the triple crown.

After the race Morris had nothing but praise for the racing at Dominion, “I want to race here all the time, I keep telling the guys. They think its close and I’m only an hour away but every where we go is three hours but I just love this place. I just wanna keep coming here, you can really charge the corners here and it makes for some really great racing.” He also mentioned why the racing is so good, “That guy in the 8 car [Tyler Hughes] we had a good battle out there, he was running pretty good. It’s kind of weird, it’s hard to get away from anybody because you got some drafting going on too so you get a little bit of everything. I’ve run some of the Xfinity series, truck series, and its a little bit of everything so any driver that is looking to go up they want to come here because you can learn a lot more at this race track.” The team plans on using this momentum going forward to finish out the year strong and use the lessons learned this year for a possible run next season at the national title.

We also caught up with a very happy Sergio Pena, “We did a lot better than expected, coming into this race we weren’t sure if we were gonna run it or not it was kinda last minute. We came to practice with a set of tires that had a 100 laps on them so to come home second surpassed all of our expectations. Qualified kind of bad to be honest, qualified 16th and fortunately had Sam on the spotters tower for me kind of guided me through the crazy traffic that was out there. Had a couple lucky breaks with cautions that fell at the right time and I’ll tell you what before we knew it half way through the race we were right up there with Peyton Sellers, Phillip Morris, and Matt Bowling…some of the best names in the country, the best names in the country, and to come home second behind Morris I’ll take that as a win its just unreal. Just want to thank you to Sam Beatie and Joe, these guys work on this car very hard and it wouldn’t be possible without them so I just want to say thank you to those guys.”

 

Unofficial Results

  1. Phillip Morris
  2. Sergio Pena
  3. Tyler Hughes
  4. Brenden Queen
  5. Doug Barnes
  6. Peyton Sellers
  7. Cameron Burke
  8. Timmy Phipps
  9. Stacy Puryear
  10. Colin Garrett
  11. Dustin D Storm
  12. Chandler Sherman
  13. Jeff Oakley -1
  14. Matt Bowling -17
  15. Eddie Johnson -25
  16. Chris Johnson -26
  17. Richard Storm -28
  18. Lee Pulliam -48
  19. Michael Hardin -61
  20. Mike Ganoe -72
  21. Nick Smith -78
  22. Logan Jones -81
  23. Billy B Morris -139

Matt Bowling Sits on the Pole in Stacked Field for W.O. Grubb 150

Thornburg, VA – 2016 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series champion Matt Bowling set fastest time in the late model qualifying session with a 15.247 second lap to beat out Phillip Morris who has two wins at the track so far this year. National points leader Lee Pulliam qualified fifth behind Nick Smith and Eddie Johnson.

The late models will be running 150 laps with no break or competition caution tonight.

We will also be covering the Dominion Stocks tonight for their 35-lap race right before the late models. Bobby Curtis is on the pole in that division after running an 18.014 in their session. The points leader, Richard Powers, qualified fifth.

 

Late Model Qualifying Results

  1. Matt Bowling – 15.247
  2. Phillip Morris – 15.259
  3. Nick Smith – 15.387
  4. Eddie Johnson – 15.477
  5. Lee Pulliam – 15.421
  6. Tyler Hughes – 15.368
  7. Michael Hardin – 15.421
  8. Jeff Oakley – 15.434
  9. Peyton Sellers – 15.460
  10. Billy Morris – 15.463
  11. Brenden Queen – 15.471
  12. Doug Barnes – 15.495
  13. Colin Garrett – 15.551
  14. Stacy Puryear – 15.567
  15. Logan Jones – 15.590
  16. Sergio Pena – 15.636
  17. Cameron Burke – 15.636
  18. Timmy Phipps – 15.657
  19. Dustin D Storm – 15.665
  20. Richard Storm – 15.731
  21. Mike Ganoe – 15.807
  22. Chandler Sherman – 15.923
  23. Chris Johnson – 15.928

Veteran Eddie Johnson Wins Southside Speedway 75-lap Feature Over Rookie Standout Mason Bailey – Jamie Hite Wins UCAR Feature

Eddie Johnson wins 75-lap feature at Southside August 04, 2017. (Justin Kern/TheWeeklyRacer.com)

Midlothian, VA – For the second time in 2017 Southside Speedway ran a 75-lap feature for their premier division that put on a hell of a show for the fans. In a division where the past several year’s drivers have been used to running 30 to 40 lap sprints, Southside Officials decided that two races this year would be more laps – here at The Weekly Racer think both events were amazing. With the amount of young rookie talent mixed in with seasoned racing veterans, it would be a sure show of who could manage tires.

Mason Bailey, coming off his third win of the season last time out, entered the weekend as the new found points leader and was the fastest man in town. Technically qualifying on the pole with a 14.831-second lap of record. Bailey would take the bonus point for the pole and have to start second to Eddie Johnson after the infamous Southside Speedway invert. J.D Eversole, Grayson Cullather, and Andrew Dean would make up the rest of the fastest five cars or the evening’s race.

Once the green flag was displayed to the field, Mason Bailey wasted no time jumping out front of Eddie Johnson, using the outside line mind you and setting a pace he thought was needed to stay out front. The race would surprisingly see only two leaders and three caution periods for minor contact and spins from drivers. Lane Janosik seemed to pull the bad luck straw this weekend because he was involved in two of the three yellow flags after qualifying ninth on the evening. Contact with the number 26 of John Crews out of turn two would ultimately end both drivers’ night early.

Bailey and Eddie Johnson were clearly the class of the field Friday night and it honestly looked like Bailey was going to sneak away with his second victory in a row and fourth on the season as he was strong each restart, clearing Eddie at least by turn three. Eddie, being the veteran racer that he is, did not let this worry him as he seemed to have the better car on the longer runs, putting a full court press on the rear bumper of Bailey about ten or so laps into the run.

Behind them, however, was plenty of action on the tight .333-mile oval. Brad Davis, J.D. Eversole – until he pulled down pit road and ended his night early – and Grayson Cullather were all at one point, either nose to tail or door-to-door battling hard for position. The final caution of the evening would come on lap sixty-two after Andrew Dean and Howie DiSavino made a little contact, which ultimately sent DiSavino around. This happened just after Johnson help persuades Bailey to use the top groove through turn four to take the lead coming to the stripe.

With Johnson and Bailey again lining up on the front row Mason needed to get a good restart if he wanted to power his way back to the lead on the outside. When the green flag was displayed it almost looked like Bailey spun his eight-inch Hoosier tires which were all Eddie needed to cruise to victory. Behind them in the closing laps, however, Michael Sutphin, who was involved in the nights first yellow, had made his way all the way back up to the front of the field in the tire tracks of Chris Johnson – who by the way started in the back of the pack – to earn themselves a top five finish.

“We were a little upset we weren’t able to put our Pearson Dodge on the pole,” Johnson said. “Ended up qualifying second and he [Bailey] drew a two so we ended up starting on the pole. You know a lot of times out here the outside line goes at the start, you got fresh tires and you get a good grip off two. I just settled in there and tried to save my tires but stay close enough to put some pressure on him.”

After the first caution of the race, Johnson elected to take the cone and start on the outside of Bailey to give the top groove one more shot.

“We took off on the outside there,” Johnson mentioned about the first restart of the night. “I was hoping we could get up to him and battle a little bit more there but he was pushing a little bit of water out of his car and it was getting on my windshield plus there wasn’t as much grip on the top as we wanted so I just settled back in. That’s when I noticed my car kinda came back to me a little better than his did.”

With twelve laps to go either Bailey’s car started to fade or the constant pressure of that blue 43 got to the rookie as Johnson was able to finally stick a nose to the inside.

“We got behind him after that second caution, got real close behind him and that’s when he started to really slow down,” explained Johnson. “He was starting to really hold me up and I finally worked my nose under him and we went on to win the race. He did a really good job holding on, though. I was giving him everything I had.”

“I would really like to thing Mr. and Mrs. Hughes for bringing out the 43 Dodge and bringing their car out here for probably as many years as I have been coming out here. This is what they live for, to come out here and race. I am just glad I can do a good job for them. I want to thank Pro Tech Fab, Crazy Greek for bringing some pizza’s out here to eat on race night. All the guys on the crew, my son [Chris Johnson] for helping me set it up and everyone who supports me.”

 

Jamie Hite (#12) was victorious in the evening’s 25-lap UCAR feature. After qualifying second with a time of 17.088 to Ethan Ayers (#87) – 17.062, Hite was the lucky one so to speak when the invert pill was pulled as he got to keep his second place starting spot on the grid when the green flag dropped. Ayers would draw a three, which should have put Korey Lawson (#04) on the pole as he was the third fastest qualifier. However, Lawson and Anderson (#13) had their times disallowed after failing post-qualifying inspection. This would hand the lead over to the #51 of Devenney.

The race would only be slowed by one caution as Jamie Hite went to cruise to victory. Fast qualifier, and eventual second place finisher, Ethan Ayers tried to take the lead on lap fifteen with a power move into turn one but Hite used the classic cross over move to retake the lead out of two. Michael Chapman, who is no stranger to victory lane at Southside Speedway, was running a different car this week and was looking to make things interesting early. However, he would eventually fall back outside of the top five with a little more than five laps to go.

Both the Late Models and UCAR’s will be back in action Friday, August 18th with 40 & 25 lap features respectfully.

 

Late Model OFFICIAL Results;

  1. #43 Eddie Johnson; 75
  2. #05 Mason Bailey; 75
  3. #18 Brad Davis; 75
  4. # 24 Chris Johnson; 75
  5. #25 Michael Sutphin; 75
  6. #22 Grayson Cullather; 75
  7. #29 Andrew Dean; 75
  8. #55 Howie DiSavinso; 75
  9. #09 Sonny Allen; 75
  10. #19 Rusty Wood; 56
  11. #98 J.D. Eversole; 52
  12. #26 John Crews; 35
  13. #79 Lane Janosik; 35

 

UCAR OFFICIAL Results;

  1. #12 Jamie Hite; 25
  2. #87 Ethan Ayers; 25
  3. #03 Korey Lawson; 25
  4. #96 Alex Ayers; 25
  5. #13 Beejay Anderson; 25
  6. #1 Mike Frayser; 25
  7. #97 Michael Chapman; 25
  8. #51 Dillon Devenney; 20
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