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Cullather Joins Jumpstart Motorsports for CARS Tour Title Run

Grayson Cullather prepares to get behind the wheel of his Late Model Stock Car. (Photo: Dinah Marie Photography)

Grayson Cullather is coming off his best season in racing in 2017 where he broke through for his first career Late Model win at Southside Speedway and turned heads with a 12th place finish at Martinsville Speedway in the prestigious ValleyStar Credit Union 300.

Cullather is now looking to take his racing program to the next level.  He will join Tommy Lemons, Jr’s Jumpstart Motorsports for the 2018 season with eyes on the CARS Tour full time.  Cullather already has a pair of top ten finishes in the CARS Tour after competing in the QDMA Duels at Dominion Raceway last year.

His 2017 performances coupled with his new ride have Cullather looking forward to a big season of racing.

“We had a great 2017 season,” commented Cullather.  “Getting a win at Southside in the season finale and going to Martinsville and running like we did was great.  We’re looking forward to moving to the CARS Tour and working with Tommy (Lemons) this season.”

Cullather and his family made the decision to go to Jumpstart Motorsports after careful consideration of their options for the 2018 season.

“We fell in love with his operation and how awesome Tommy is,” continued Cullather.  “I’ve still gotta thank Chris Edwards and my entire Southside team and car owner Greg Holt for all they did for me and for all the stuff we accomplished together.  I’m looking forward to getting into one of Tommy’s cars and seeing where we stack up.”

Lemons is also looking forward to having Cullather behind the wheel of one of his cars.

“I didn’t know much about Grayson but I had seen his Martinsville results,” said Lemons.  “A mutual acquaintance gave me his dads number and said he may be interested in running with us this year, so I called him and they came down to the shop and looked at what we had to offer.”

“We hope to be a stepping stone for Grayson’s career as he continues to move up the ladder.  It’ll be really cool to look back and be able to say he raced for us when he makes it to the upper echelon of racing.”

Cullather has chosen to compete in the CARS Tour because of the exposure that the series offers.

“The exposure is great,” said Cullather.  “You look at William Byron and Christopher Bell coming through there on there way to NASCAR’s top series.  Plus you race a different track every week and that gives you so much more experience and really prepares you more for the big races like Martinsville and Myrtle Beach at the end of the year.”

Cullather is hoping to run in the top five and compete for wins in the CARS Tour. He will also run a select number of NASCAR Whelen All-American Series races including the Virginia Triple Crown which includes the 200-lap race at South Boston Speedway, the Hampton Heat at Langley Speedway and the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 at Martinsville Speedway.  Plus he plans to compete in Denny Hamlin’s Short Track Showdown at Langley Speedway as well as the Myrtle Beach 400 at Myrtle Beach Speedway and the Thanksgiving Classic at Southern National Motorsports Park.

Cullather additionally will be bringing his spotter Jesse Vaughn along with him to Jumpstart Motorsports.  The two have worked together for much of the last two seasons despite Vaughn having spotter duties in other series.  Cullather says it was important for him to have Vaughn with him this season.

“He’s one of a kind,” Cullather said of Vaughn.  “He gives me the right info at the right time and really keeps me where I need to be behind the wheel. No other spotter gives me the information like he does.”

Vaughn is also excited about working with Cullather full-time in the upcoming season.

“Grayson and his family have taken me in like family,” commented Vaughn.  “I’ve worked with all kinds of big name drivers and this is the most excited I’ve ever been.  He has a lot of talent. I gave up a spotting job in the K&N Series because I believe in Grayson and want to work with him.”

Cullather will be looking to make a name for himself this season and he’s put the pieces and parts in place to make that happen even against the toughest competition in Late Model Stock Car racing.

For more information on Grayson Cullather check out his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Gmanracing22/

Ep. 10 – Best Moments of 2017

 

With co-host Jessie Vaughn absent for a while, TWR founder and content manager Justin Kern goes through his top moments of 2017. Taking the last number of the year, Justin looks back at the top 7 TWR moments of the year. In addition, he briefly talks about the news of Myrtle Beach, Southern National, and NASCAR putting the new Chevy “Upgrade” (Chevy Spec) into the rule book for 2018

 

Don’t forget to reach out to us through social media:
Twitter: @shorttrackrpt & @theweeklyracer
Facebook: The Weekly Racer
Email: podcast@theweeklyracer.com

Tommy Jackson Jr. Wins Saturday Night Legends Portions of The Classic; Collects Bounty on Dillion Spain

Tommy Jackson Jr. celebrates in Southern National Motorsports Park victory lane Saturday night. (Justin Kern/TheWeeklyRacer.com)

Lucama, NC – The words Dillion Spain, Winner, and Southern National Motorsports Park are something that has been said countless times over the year(s). So much so that track owner/promoter Michael Diaz placed a bounty over him to anyone one able to beat him. Tommy Jackson Jr. did just that in Saturday night’s 30-lap feature.

It was clear from the drop of the green flag Saturday night that Jackson and Spain were the class of the field again. Spain earned yet another pole award during group qualifying earlier in the afternoon while Jackson lined up to his outside. He was able to jump out to an early lead with Jackson in tow. In all honesty, it looked as if it were going to be yet another Spain win at Southern National but Tommy Jackson Jr. had other plans just past the halfway point of the race.

Jackson mounted his charge to the top spot and was able to take the lead from Spain just on the other side of halfway. Spain, however, did not make it easy on the young Virginia driver and took the lead back just before the field was slowed for a caution. The field was let loose one final time with ten laps to go and that was when Jackson capitalized. Passing Spain for the lead, and ultimately the race win, bringing Will Bristle along with him.

“It was great to get a big win like that against a stacked field,” Jackson told The Weekly Racer. “The car was good off the trailer and overall I felt like we had the best car all weekend on the long runs. We weren’t able to capitalize Friday [Dillion Spain Back Behind the Wheel; Dillion Spain Back in Victory Lane] with the race being caution filled but I was confident after that race we had a winning piece for Saturday if we stayed on top of the track conditions and got a decent starting spot for the race.”

The 2017 season has not been kind to Jackson and crew, as bad luck seemed to follow him from track to track. That is not to say that the Poquoson, Virginia driver was unable to find victory lane throughout the season, things just did not come easy. Winning the Saturday night feature and collecting the bounty that was placed on Spain was a perfect way to end the season for Jackson,

“We got close to winning this race last year,” Jackson said. “After finishing a close second we circled this year’s event as our top priority to win this season and in the end, I think the best car came out on top.”

Results of the Legends will remain UNOFFICIAL as The Weekly Racer has learned that parts were confiscated from the second and third place finishing cars during post-race technical inspection. The part, as we are learning, has been banned from Legends racing for a few years now. It was confirmed by one of the INEX officials from Southern National that the parts were taken from Bristle and Spain’s cars and are just waiting for the track to make the final decision on what will happen to the finishing order. We will update you here if/when these results are official.

 

 UNOFFICIAL INEX Legends Results;

  1. #87 Tommy Jackson Jr.; 30
  2. #91 Will Bristle; 30
  3. #7 Dillion Spain; 30
  4. #83 Caleb Day; 30
  5. #5 Alec Webb; 30
  6. #24 Mason Diaz; 30
  7. #81 Lee Jordan; 30
  8. #11 Chris Stancil; 30
  9. #82 Caleb Heady; 30
  10. #88 Zach Brown; 30
  11. #14 Conner Jones; 30
  12. #880 Ryan Center; 30
  13. #18b Emily Day; 30
  14. #63 Josh Kurtz; 29
  15. #10 Justin Mitchell; 18

Tate Fogleman Dominates Super Late Model Portion of 2017 Thanksgiving Classic

Tate Folgeman celebrates getting out of the car in SNMP victory lane during the 2017 Thanksgiving Classic (Justin Kern/TheWeeklyRacer.com)

Lucama, NC – Tate Fogleman had something to prove this weekend at Southern National Motorsports Park in the seventh running of the Thanksgiving Classic. Though he was not the fastest car in single-car qualifying Saturday evening – that honor was bestowed upon Danny O’Quinn Jr. when he was the only driver to cusp the fourteen-second brack.

Folgeman, however, flexed his muscles early and often taking the lead from O’Quinn before the field returned to the start-finish line. He would be tested five different times throughout the race when the field was slowed due to the caution flag. Folgeman was money on every restart and retained his position at the front of the field each time.

Second through well, the rest of the field saw some pretty interesting battles throughout the 125-lap feature. Tim Hollis might have been the biggest mover through the entire event as he started shotgun on the field after failing to lay a lap down in qualifying. He would battle his way up to as high as fourth place during the race but would ultimately fall back to seventh when the checkered flew

Jody Meesmer clearly earned the “Tough Break Award” if there was one. Jody took the green flag in the sixth position and it was an uphill battle from there. Running as high as third during the feature, Meesmer had possible engine/carb issues that brought out the afternoons first caution. He would later make contact with Bronson Butcher that caused pretty substantial cosmetic damage. He would later bring out another caution, indirectly of course, due to debris falling off his car.

No one would have anything for Folgeman in the closing laps and he would go on to take home the hardware.

Photo: Justin Kern/TheWeeklyRacer.com

Super Late Model Results

  1. #8 Tate Folgeman; 125
  2. #16r Bronson Butcher; 125
  3. #7 Taylor Stricklin; 125
  4. #16 Lucas Jones; 125
  5. #2 Darrell Gilchrist; 125
  6. #96 Danny O’Quinn Jr.; 125
  7. #22 Tim Hollis; 125
  8. #98 Jody Meesmer; 78

Matt McCall Officially Wins the 17th Annual Thanksgiving Classic at Southern National Motorsports Park

Matt McCall, along with family and crews, pose for a post race photo in victory lane Sunday evening at Southern National Motorsports Park. (Justin Kern/TheWeeklyRacer.com)

Lucama, NC – Matt McCall, fresh off the 2017 NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Season with Jamie McMurray, was fast all weekend in his Grant County Mulch Late Model Stock heading into the weekends 200-lap feature. Even after fully admitting to making a mistake during qualifying time trials, McCall was able to put down a lap that locked him into the show. Saving him from the mayhem that ensued in the 25-lap last chance qualifier.

McCall was a factor from the drop of the green all the way to the checkered. One can argue, however, that Philip Morris had the dominant early on in the race after he opened up a half straightaway lead over the field once he took the lead from Pulliam. However, after an eight-car invert, full contact racing, and ultimately contact with another competitor, Morris’ night ended much earlier than he had anticipated.

“We worked really hard to come here and it is always good and rewarding to get the trophy,” McCall said in victory lane. “It is really hard to come back into Late Model Stock race and know what pace to run but it sort of played into our hands there and I think we had a little more tire there at the end.”

After being fastest in most of the session both Friday and Saturday, McCall was only able to muster a sixth place starting position. He fully admitted in victory lane after the race that it was the guy behind the wheel that messed up, not the car.

“The guy holding the pedal messed up qualifying so I will take full credit for that,” expressed McCall. “I felt really good about the car. In practice it was really solid, we made some gains this year, fortunately, it was enough.”

Staying within the top five, or there about the first half of the feature, the eight-car invert played into the hands of McCall however as he was scored fourth when the yellow flag was displayed for the halfway break. We asked McCall what changes he and the crew made to the car as the first half was in the day and the second half was going to be at night.

“We didn’t touch it,” McCall told The Weekly Racer about the halfway break. “We put tires on it and fuel in it. We got a little lucky and got it here a couple weeks to test in the dark so I kind of knew what I thought we needed and it worked out.”

Results were finally made official from speedway officials more than two hours after the checkered flag waved.

“I thought I was in the lead,” McCall commented about the final restart that put him ahead of Johnson. “Every time we contested it they put us behind him so we will just see if they give it to us this time by getting into the right spot. It is always weird with Late Model Stock racing and there aren’t really any loops it’s all visual. Maybe it would have made a difference, maybe it wouldn’t, we were pretty good at the end.”

2017 Thanksgiving Classic Results;

  1. #51 Matt McCall
  2. #44 Justin Johnson
  3. #27 Tommy Lemons Jr.
  4. #07 Bradley McCaskill
  5. #5 Lee Pulliam
  6. #22 Bobby McCarty
  7. #26 Peyton Sellers
  8. #4 Jonathan Findley
  9. #21 Mike Darne
  10. #9r Alex Brock
  11. #41 Sam Meyer
  12. #9 Charlie Watson
  13. #55 Mark Wertz
  14. #82 Cameron Burke
  15. #99 Layne Riggs
  16. #63 Tyler Matthews
  17. #2 Robert Powell
  18. #90 Terry Carroll
  19. #9 Devon Dodson
  20. #03 Brenden Queen
  21. #24 Colin Garret
  22. #18 Jason York
  23. #01 Philip Morris
  24. #5 Adam Resnick
  25. #1 Juan Gonzalez
  26. #24 Mason Diaz
  27. #17 Stacy Puryear
  28. #19 Cameron Bowen
  29. #33 Ryan Haddock
  30. #46 Thad Moffit
  31. #22 Grayson Cullather
  32. #82 Will Burns

Chris Johnson Remains Undefeated at the Thanksgiving Classic in the Modified Division

Chris Johnson works off turn four at Southern National Motorsports Park in preparation for the 40-lap feature at the 2017 Thanksgiving Classic. (Justin Kern/TheWeeklyRacer.com)

Lucama, NC – Chris Johnson, the Mechanicsville, Virginia, continued to flex his muscle at Southern National Motorsports Park in the IMCA style asphalt modified’s. Johnson was the quickest of seventeen entries during group qualifying earlier in the afternoon and, if we are being honest, probably of the entire weekend as he continued to show his strength through the 40-lap feature.

Hunter Slayton, who lined up on the outside pole, gave Johnson an honest run for his money as the two jumped out to an early lead over Shawn Balluzzo and Eric Fowlkes but it just was not enough to get around the Southside Speedway regular. The field was slowed four times by the caution flag, Most of which were just simple single car spins. One, however, involved the No. 93 machine of Austin Thaxton who ended up making contact with the outside wall and received the heaviest of damage throughout the night. Luckily everyone was able to drive away from the incident and continue on.

Chris Johnson made easy work of Slayton on every restart but one. The one restart was actually called into question by race control and Slayton was, let’s call it ‘advised’ to give the position back to the control car to avoid the need for NASCAR officials to have to step in. Slayton obliged a few laps later and Chris Johnson went on to win his third Modified feature in the Thanksgiving Classic. Hunter Slayton would finish second while Shawn Balluzzo completed the podium. Southside Speedway’s own Tyler Davis (00) and Kyle Wood (42) made up the rest of the top five.

Brandon Allen (86) went wire to wire over Robert Arch (27), James Stroud (4), Neil Mason (50), and Steve Sullivan (58) in the 30-lap UCAR feature. Thirteen cars took the green flag, only eight finished on the lead lap.

 

Southern Lighting Modified Results;

  1. #36 Chris Johnson; 40
  2. #77 Hunter Slayton; 40
  3. #48 Shawn Balluzzo; 40
  4. #00 Tyler Davis; 40
  5. #42 Kyle Wood; 40
  6. #2 Eric Fowkles; 40
  7. #93 Austin Thaxton; 40
  8. #11 Jimmy Humblet; 40
  9. #28 Jamie Sample; 40
  10. #20 Chris Humblet; 40
  11. #51 Bubba Johnston; 40
  12. #29 Adam Medek; 40
  13. #43 Warren Lipford; 40
  14. #29 D.J. Huffman; 40
  15. #10 Wayne McGee; 30
  16. #4 Ryan Pritt; 17
  17. #70 Curtis Hughes; 16

Mini Tyrell Victorious in Saturday Night Portion of 2017 Thanksgiving Classic

Mini Tyrell backs up is P2 finish from Friday with a win in Saturday’s portions of the 2017 Thanksgiving Classic. (Justin Kern/TheWeeklyRacer.com)

Lucama, NC – Mini Tyrell, the 13-year-old two-time Shenandoah Late Model track champion, put the final cherry on top of an incredible weekend by ending up in victory lane in Saturday’s portion of the 17th Annual Thanksgiving Classic presented by Solid Rock Carriers.

After earning the pole position earlier in the afternoon during group qualifying, Tyrell held onto the race lead for the first sixteen circuits before Friday night’s winner, Jamie York was able to get by the Manassas, Virginia driver. The top four drivers, in fact, were all right nose to tail for a little more than half the race until a caution was displayed on lap forty-five. From there it was mostly downhill from there.

The old saying in racing that ‘cautions breed cautions’ was certainly proven to be correct as things started to go downhill fast for a couple of drivers. Jamie York found himself to be on the wrong end of one of those deals after his night was finished earlier than the team planned when he was involved in a crash following the evening’s first restart.

Clay Jones, who had battled his way up to the front of the field, almost had his night come to a screeching halt after he spun in turn four battling hard with Paul Williamson – who had been leading the race at the time. Williamson and Jones were both sent to the rear their involvement in bringing out the yellow. Tyrell would inherit the lead and held off several challenges for the lead after a handful of restarts.

Tyrell’s family and crew were emotional in victory lane and for good reason.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better weekend,” Tyrell told The Weekly Racer in victory lane Saturday night. “Being able to learn so much running with some of these guys and holding them off is just truly incredible. We lost a good friend a couple months ago that was like a brother to me, his birthday is Monday and I knew he was riding with me. I was just praying with about five laps to go that he would get me through it and sure enough he did.”

The victory comes just one day after Tyrell finished second to York in Friday nights “Dash for Cash” 40-lap feature and put a bookend on one of the biggest weekends in his young career.

“They [Tyrell’s crew] gave me an awesome car this weekend and we were just riding there for the first fifty laps just trying to conserve things,” Tyrell went on to say. “Unfortunately we got into the back of Jamie York and messed up the front end of the car a little bit, sorry to him for that but that’s just racing. Fell back to fourth trying to recover from that but was able to battle back to the front and lead the way the rest of the night.”

Gary Ledbetter Jr. took the victory in a thrilling 50-lap Street Stock feautre. Michael O’brien certainly did his fair share of making things interesting when he took things three wide a couple of times battling with Ledbetter in lap traffic. Gary Ledbetter Sr., Gerald Benton, and pole sitter Curtis Pebbles rounded out the top five finishers.

The 2017 Thanksgiving Classic will wrap up later this afternoon, as the green flag will wave for the 125-lap Super Late Model and 200-lap Late Model Sock features. Danny O’Quinn Jr. (SLM) and Lee Pulliam (LMSC) will lead their respective fields to green. Grandstands will open at 9:45 AM. An on-track autograph session is scheduled for 10:15 AM when the first green flag waving at approx. 12:00 noon.

 

Saturday Night Limited Late Model Results;

  1. #81 Mini Tyrell; 75
  2. #15 Clay Jones; 75
  3. #25 Jacob Borst; 75
  4. #29 Paul Williamson; 75
  5. #17 Jason Meyers; 75
  6. #28 Justin Gill; 75
  7. #26 Karl Budzevski; 75
  8. #28 Tyler Horne; 75
  9. #2 Joshua Yeoman; 75
  10. #05 Alex Flemming; 75
  11. #55 Aaron Champion; 75
  12. #07 Robert Arch; 56
  13. #22 Eric Winslow; 48
  14. #1 Jamie York; 47
  15. #91 Chris Elliot; 47
  16. #55 Gerald Benton; 47
  17. #16 Rusty Daniels; 45
  18. #21 Kevin Jefferys; 20
  19. #14 Akinori Ogata; DNS
  20. #31 Wayne Goss; DNS
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