Tag Archives: JM Wilkinson

Mason Bailey Dominates Southside Speedway J.M. Wilkinson Opening Night; Snaping Chris Dodson’s Six Race Win Streak

Mason Bailey dives into turn one at Southside Speedway during round two of practice Friday afternoon March 29th, 2019. (Justin Kern/TheWeeklyRacer.com)

Midlothian, Virginia– You could have not asked for better weather yesterday just south of the state capital. Light cloud cover, a nice low breeze and about 70 degrees all day long. Something Southside Speedway was probably owed after dealing with the amount of “The R Word” that came through the state last year. Fans and drivers alike packed the pits and the grandstands to make Opening Night 2019 one for the record books.

Mason Bailey was the fastest man in town in both divisions he raced in last night during the final round of practice, and for those who might not know Southside Speedway uses their final practice round as a form of group qualifying known as “Practifying.” It took Bailey just seven laps to lay down a 14.816 and take the pole position away from 2018 Rookie of the Year, John Goin. Chris Dodson, Howie Disavino, and Bugs Hairfield rounded out the fastest five qualifiers. Only the top two were inverted.

Starting the 40-lap feature on the outside front row was no problem for the young Chesterfield native. He was able to take the lead early from Goin, just before problems arose in turn three involving Howie DiSavino and Chris Johnson. Both cars ended up with some front end damage, however, DiSavino was the only one that did not return to the race. The caution set up the night’s first cone restart where Bailey elected to stay on the bottom, Goin took the chance to go topside but had some issues, and pardon the pun, getting ‘goin.’ Somehow he only fell back to fourth.

That allowed Bailey a clean shot in and out of two, which allowed him to open up a decent amount of space between himself and the rest of the field. Building almost a full second lead over the rest of the field allowing them to battle things out while he drove away. The second official caution of the evening came when Eddie Johnson and Justin Martz make contact, and by contact I mean Martz goes up and over the left front fender of Johnson. Just before that on the other end of the track, however, John Goin was able to get around Hairfield for second, setting up another great restart between two young drivers, so we thought!

Once the green was displayed things went downhill quick for Goin. Both he and Bailey spun their tires, which stakes up the field behind them. However, Goin got the worst end of the deal because he also had a left front tire go down. Once the carnage was cleared Cameron Jarrel found himself facing the wrong direction. Luckily for everyone involved, no one received any serious damage. Bailey once again elected to take the bottom on the ensuing restart but it was called off after race control deemed Hairfield jumped the start.

Once we finally got going again Bailey did a phenomenal job clearing the field and leaving the veterans to battle things out. Dodson was able to clear Hairfield for second but by the time he got some open track to work with, Bailey was long gone and collecting his second checkered flag of the evening and snapping one of, if not the longest, winning streaks in Southside history. Dodson, who had won the previous six J.M. Wilkinson Opening Night’s finished second, Bugs Hairfield, Michael Sutphin, and John Goin rounded out the top five finishers.

 

Late Model OFFICIAL Results;

  1. #05 Mason Bailey; 40
  2. #0 Chris Dodson; 40
  3. #04 Bugs Hairfield; 40
  4. #25 Michael Sutphin; 40
  5. #90 John Goin; 40
  6. #36 Chris Johnson; 40
  7. #29 Andrew Dean; 40
  8. #57 Eddie Johnson; 40
  9. #56 Cameron Jarrel; 40
  10. #09 Michael Rogers; 40
  11. #51 Mike Bender; 38
  12. #22 Justin Martz; 30
  13. #89 Kyle Wood; 18
  14. #11 Woody Ellington; 18
  15. #55 Howie DiSavino; 2

 

 

Ethan Ayers Wins UCAR Opener; Proves Yet Again to be the Division of Excitement

Beejay Anderson was the quickest of thirteen cars during practifying clocking in at 16.553 (72.487 MPH). However, the invert was not on his side once he pulled a six out of the cooler, handing the front row to Ronnie Vance and Joshua Thomas.

Vance again used the invert to his advantage and took off running when the green flag was displayed. Behind him was a completely different story, I am not sure if hornets nest is the right description because they took it three wide early, which cause some contact and damage. Ryan Paul’s No. 5 car probably took the worst of it after getting hit in the back and taking what looked like the front bumper cover of Brookfield with him. Somehow we remained green.

While all that was going on around mid back, Ethan Ayers was on the hunt for the lead. He was able to close the gap and make the pass just past the halfway point of the feature. Ayers had to hold off the rest of the field for a handful of restarts with less than ten laps to go but, he was able to do so and take home the victory

UCAR OFFICIAL Results;

  1. #87 Ethan Ayers; 25
  2. #32 Ronnie Vance; 25
  3. #72 Joshua Thomas; 25
  4. #13 Beejay Anderson; 25
  5. #03 Zachary Lindsey; 25
  6. #12 Jamie Hite; 25
  7. #98 James Gelina; 25
  8. #89 Kyle Bunn; 25
  9. #4 Thomas Stinson; 22
  10. #5 Ryan Paul; 20
  11. #27 Parker Brookfield; 20
  12. #96 Alex Ayers; 18
  13. #8 Richard Sisco; 18

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