Tag Archives: LAte Model

Chris Johnson Capitalizes on Initial Start to Capture First Late Model Win of 2018 at Southside; Ethan Ayers & Ryan Paul Split UCAR Twin Bill

Chris Johnson climbs out of his Late Model in victory lane after leading every lap on April 13th at Southside Speedway.

Midlothian, VA – Howie Disavino, the 17-year-old Chesterfield native who just celebrated a birthday last week, surprised everyone when we laid down the fastest lap in qualifying earlier in the afternoon with a 14.959-second lap time. Averaging 80.139 MPH Disavino’s lap was just nine-thousandths of a second better than Southside veteran Chris Dodson. He would, however, invert the top four qualifiers handing the top spot over to sophomore driver Mason Bailey.

When Jodie Adkins displayed the green flag to the field Bailey either spun the tires or missed a gear on the start. This allowed Chris Johnson, who started on the outside pole, the opportunity to take the lead going into turn one and that was about all she wrote for the top spot. As things got settled in upfront Bailey found himself going the wrong way while Disavino mounted his charge back to the front. Chris Johnson and Disavino would check out over the field.

The 40-lap feature went caution free with some pretty action-packed racing for the third position on back. Bailey found himself under fire several times throughout the feature as he slid back to the seventh position where he ultimately finished. Veteran racers Bugs Hairfield, Eddie Johnson, and Chris Johnson ran nose to tail for several laps before Dodson got around the No. 43 for fourth.

With ten laps to go, Disavino really turned up the wick and his assault on race leader Chris Johnson. He would get into turn one just a little too hot and go into a four-wheel slide, ultimately killing any chance he would have at the win. Bugs Hairfield, Chris Dodson, and Eddie Johnson rounded out the top five.

 

Ethan Ayers was the second fastest qualifier earlier in the afternoon during qualifying. He would take the green flag in the third position after the four-car invert and found himself in the lead early. Ayers opened up more than an eight-car advantage before the first of two cautions flags flew. Dillon Devenny and Cameron Ruggles would take the cone and restart on the outside. However, Ayers was able to keep the lead and go on to win the race. Dillon Devenney, Joshua Thomas, Trevor Stinson, and Ryan Paul rounded out the top five which just happened to be how many cars were inverted for race two.

Paul, who was making just his second UCAR start due to the twins, used the invert to his advantage to jump out to an early lead. He would have to hold off Ayers just twice on restarts one coming immediately after the green and another on lap four when debris brought out the yellow.

The rear bumper cover of the No. 03 machine of Zachary Lindsey was the reason for the lap four caution and at the same time that is when we noticed the No. 72 of Joshua Thomas with a rear bumper cover falling off as well. Race officials decided that he needed to come down pit road to remove it before it fell off on the racing surface, he would ultimately battle back to an eighth-place finish.

On the ensuing restart, Ryan Paul struggled to get going and Ethan Ayers almost made him pay. The restart also allowed Michael Chapman to jump up to the third position. Paul would ultimately be able to hang onto the top spot over Ethan Ayers, Michael Chapman, Dillon Devenney, and Cameron Ruggles.

 

Late Model Stock OFFICIAL Results;

  1. #24 Chris Johnson; 40
  2. #55 Howie Disavino; 40
  3. #04 Bugs Hairfield; 40
  4. #0 Chris Dodson; 40
  5. #43 Eddie Johnson; 40
  6. #22 Justin Martz; 40
  7. #05 Mason Bailey; 40
  8. #20 Sonny Allen; 40
  9. #18 Brad Davis; 40
  10. #90 John Goin; 40
  11. #89 Matt Ashworth; 40
  12. #99 Daniel Thomas; 31
  13. #19 Kyle Wood; 27
  14. #79 Lane Janosik; 4
  15. #25 Michael Sutphin; DNS

 

UCAR Race 1 Results;

  1. #96 Ethan Ayers; 25
  2. #15 Dillon Devenney; 25
  3. #72 Joshua Thomas; 25
  4. #10 Trevor Stinson; 25
  5. #5 Ryan Paul; 25
  6. #40 Cameron Ruggles; 25
  7. #12 Jamie Hite; 25
  8. #13 Beejay Anderson; 25
  9. #03 Zachary Lindsey; 25
  10. #89 Kyle Bunn; 25
  11. #97 Robert Eroh; 24
  12. #58 Hunter Waldrop; 24
  13. #49 Robbie Roth; 24
  14. #50 Kevin Garreau; 18
  15. #22 James Gelina; 18
  16. #1 Mike Frayser; 2
  17. #28 Tommy Gildea; DNS
  18. #14 Matthew McMillion; DNS

UCAR Race 2 Results;

  1. #5 Ryan Paul; 25
  2. #96 Ethan Ayers; 25
  3. #58 Micahel Chapman; 25
  4. #15 Dillon Devenney; 25
  5. #40 Cameron Ruggles; 25
  6. #10 Trevor Stinson; 25
  7. #13 Beejay Anderson; 25
  8. #72 Joshua Thomas; 25
  9. #97 Robert Eroh; 25
  10. #03 Zachary Lindsey; 25
  11. #50 Kevin Garreau; 25
  12. #14 Aaron McMillon; 25
  13. #1 Mike Frayser; 25
  14. #22 James Gelina; 23
  15. #49 Robbie Roth; 12
  16. #12 Jamie Hite; DNS

Chris Dodson Wins Rain Shortened Late Model Race in Southside Season Opener

Dodson rolls through turns three and four during practice in 2017 at Southside Speedway. (Justin Kern/The Weekly Racer)

Midlothian, VA – Chris Dodson continued his dominance at the 1/3-mile flat track that he has shown in the past. Dodson not only set the fastest time in “practifying” – Southside’s version of group qualifying – with a time 14.589 (82.171 MPH) but would also dominate the rain-shortened feature after pulling a one during the redraw to claim his 7th JM Wilkinson Memorial opening night Late Model win in a row.

The Late Models lived up to their pre-season hype with guys using their bumpers on lap two. Third place qualifier, Bugs Hairfield, and outside pole sitter Daniel Thomas was the first to tango. This would result in Thomas going around in the center of turns one and two. Both drivers would have to mount a charge through the very competitive field in a short amount of time.

Once the green flag was displayed to the field it only took until turn three for the caution flag to be displayed to the field yet again with just two laps on the board. The yellow and contact with rookie John Goin in turns three and four would halt his charge back to the front.

The field would settle down for a solid twenty-four-lap green flag run before contact between Mason Bailey (No. 05) and Brad Davis (No. 18) would cause an accordion effect which resulted in Michael Sutphin going around, in turn, four bringing out the nights the third caution for the late models.

Only one lap would be run before Layne Janosik’s (No. 79) would get loose off of turn two and go sliding into the backstretch boilerplate wall. He would then climb the wall for a brief moment which then shot the car left across the racetrack turning Daniel Thomas’ already bad night, worse. Both cars were too damaged to continue.

The next restart came at lap twenty-seven and again the caution would immediately follow the green as Eddie Johnson looped his number 43 machine as he entered turn three. The field would get a handful of laps in before Johnson, who was on his way back through the field, would get into the rear of Michael Sutphin’s Chevy as they entered the corner resulting in a spin and another yellow flag working lap number thirty-two.

Photo Jennifer Allen – Sara Kay Speed Shots

While Mother Nature was preparing to put the proverbial fork in the night, the cone restart resulted in an intense battle between Brad Davis and fast qualifier Chris Dodson until contact on lap thirty-five between Michael Sutphin and rookie Justin Martz as they crossed the stripe. Martz’s would climb the right rear of Sutphin and both cars, still entangled, would spin entering turn one. The body of Sutphin’s machine partially removed, including the roof and greenhouse bowed up in the air, resulting Martz’s rear end parked atop the turn one wall.

As the track safety crew carefully removed Martz from the turn one wall, that is when the bottom dropped out. The weather system had entered the area and was there to stay. This would force officials to end the evening early as the racing surface was lost. With thirty-five of the forty laps completed, the Late Model feature would be deemed official and Chris Dodson picked up the win over Brad Davis, Chris Johnson, Howie DiSavino, and Mason Bailey.

Ethan Ayers set quick time earlier in the afternoon during practifying with a lap time of 16.767. Ryan Paul, Cameron Ruggles, Joshua Thomas and Beejay Anderson were the remaining quick qualifiers for the 25-lap feature. However, these drivers were not able to take the green flag for their season-opening race. The speedway will make an announcement at a later date if or when this race could be rescheduled.

Special thank to Buck Reuss and Erika Gay for providing information for this release.

Late Model Official Results

  1. #0 Chris Dodson; 35
  2. #18 Brad Davis; 35
  3. #24 Chris Johnson
  4. #55 Howie DiSavino; 35
  5. #05 Mason Bailey; 35
  6. #20 Sonny Allen; 35
  7. #19 Kyle Wood; 35
  8. #25 Michael Sutphin; 35
  9. #22 Justin Martz; 35
  10. #43 Eddie Johnson; 35
  11. #90 John Goin; 35
  12. #79 Lane Janosik; 27
  13. #99 Daniel Thomas; 27
  14. #04 Bugs Hairfield; 26

Southside Speedway Set to Kick 2018 Season Off Tonight; Mason Bailey Poised for First Late Model Championship

Midlothian, VA – Southside Speedway is all set to open the gates to racers and fans in the central Virginia area for their 59th season later this evening. With many other tracks within the commonwealth having the cancel their events on Saturday night, Southside looks like they will be able to get their opening night program in the books.

Gates will open for fans at 6:00 PM with qualifying getting underway around 7:45 PM with the green flag to follow shortly after. As in years past, all six divisions will be running throughout the evening with the Late Model’s running the most laps, a 40-lap feature. The IMCA style Modifieds are scheduled to run for 30-laps as will the Grand Stocks. The UCAR and Legend’s division will feature 25-lap races while the INEX Bando’s will generally kick the evening off with a 15-lap feature.

Last year Eddie Johnson proved that age is just a number by winning the Late Model championship at the 1/3-mile flat track. He is poised to make his return this year to the speedway with other long-time veterans like his son Chris Johnson and even Buggs Hairfield, however, this year those drivers will have their hands full with Mason Bailey who told The Weekly Racer earlier this week he will be competing full time this year at Southside for the championship and we have to say… we have Bailey picked as the odds-on early favorite to hoist that championship trophy at the end of the year.

“So excited for this season,” Bailey said in an interview about his upcoming season. “This time last year I was a little nervous and had no idea what to expect. With last season’s wins and experience, I feel really dialed in as a driver. On top of that, we’ve been able to take this off-season to improve the car and study last season’s information.”

Last year Southside Speedway saw some of the largest and most consistent car counts throughout all of its divisions and there was no shortage of action-packed evenings in the Late Models despite the track being unsanctioned by NASCAR – something that some will argue helps make the competition more equal. Going into 2018 Bailey will be up against some of the best in the business who have been doing longer than he has been around, we asked if that changed anything on race day.

“You got that right. No shortage of action and drama,” Bailey expressed. “It does change things for sure, but I welcome it, I understand where the veterans are coming from in that regard. The veterans out there are going to be much quicker to knock me out of the way than if it were another seasoned driver. However, knowing that ahead of time, it creates opportunities I can use to my advantage to maybe do something I know they wouldn’t expect. And I think you saw some examples of that last year.”

Looking back at last year Bailey started off strong at Southside proving he would be a contender week in and week out. Went out to Martinsville Speedway at the end of the year to compete in the prestigious VallyStar Credit Union 300 and struggled but is looking forward to getting back on track this year with some great returning partners and going after plenty of wins.

“Yessir!” Bailey proclaimed. “Very excited to have Schell Brothers return as the primary sponsor this season. Honored to work with such a prestigious organization and represent them on and off the track. Also can’t forget Commonwealth Plumbing, CR Phillips Electrical, and Hernandez Constructors. We’ve got quite the list of reputable businesses, but there’s always room for more!”

Tickets for tonight’s races and the rest of the season are just $16 for adults, $14 for seniors and military, children six to eleven are just $8 and those young race fans five and under are free. Outside coolers are permitted inside the grandstands given they are under 18” and contain no glass bottles or outside food. For group tickets or VIP suite rentals make to contact the track.

Heat Race Set for First ValleyStar Credit Union 300 Race Under the Lights at Martinsville Speedway

No. 81 Jared Fryer & No. 14 Ryan Repko work down the backstretch during final practice Friday afternoon at Martinsville Speedway. (Justin Kern/TheWeeklyRacer.com)

Ridgeway, VA – After one of the most interesting pole days in recent ValleyStar Credit Union 300 history, the fastest two drivers had their times disallowed. Jeff Oakley, who calls Dominion Raceway home, though he was the first driver to win a pole award at Martinsville Speedway under the new permanent LED lights. However, after a spacer plate was found on Oakley’s carb and an altered squitter on McCaskill’s car during post-qualifying technical inspection, both drivers had their times thrown out. McCaskill will start at the tail end of heat race number one while Oakley will start at the end of race number three.

You can find your favorite driver below and who they will line up with during their twenty-five lap heat race. The top ten finishers from each heat race will line up for the 200-lap feature much like how NASCAR scores the Gatorade Duels. The winner of heat one will start third while the second place finisher will start sixth. The remaining drivers, who can answer the call, will race a twenty-five lap, last chance qualifier, where the top ten cars will make up the rest of the field.

General Admission gates will open Saturday afternoon at 2:00 PM with an on-track autograph session scheduled from 2:30 PM – 3:30 PM. Heat races will go green at 4:00 PM with the 200-lap feature starting at 8:00 PM. If you can’t make it out to the track remember MRN will be broadcasting this race on local affiliates, make sure to also check out their app and website. The Weekly Racer will also have you covered with LIVE lap-by-lap coverage on our Twitter feed (@theweeklyracer).

 

Heat Race 1

 

Row 1 #27 Tommy Lemons Jr. #2 Trevor Noles
Row 2 #12 Timothy Peters #2A Denis Holdren
Row 3 #88 Josh Berry #21 Mike Darne
Row 4 #50 Jamey Caudil #15 Kres VanDyke
Row 5 #77 Trevor Ward #18A Jason York
Row 6 #61 Justin Hicks #06 Davin Scites
Row 7 #33 Macey Causey #4A Timmy Phipps
Row 8 #82 Barry Beggarly #57B Jimmy Mullins
Row 9 #1B Jamie Sweeney #12C Ryan Wilson
Row 10 #81 Jared Fryer #92 Casey Wyatt
Row 11 #91 Justin Carroll #22C Scott Lancaster
Row 12 #4B John Moore #36 Owen Smith
Row 13 #33D Jimmy Wallace #07C Kevin Neal
Row 14 #78 Ricky Gillespie #08 Deac McCaskil

 

Heat Race 2

 

Row 1 #83 Matt Bowling #01A Philip Morris
Row 2 #26 Peyton Sellers #57 Eddie Johnson
Row 3 #14 Ryan Repko #22A Robert Powell
Row 4 #34 Justin Snow #24 Mason Diaz
Row 5 #77D Blake Stallings #55 Mark Wertz
Row 6 #2B Myatt Snider #57A Justin T. Carroll
Row 7 #25 Derrick Lancaster #73 Bruce Anderson
Row 8 #2C Brandon Pierce #12A Austin Thaxton
Row 9 #7 Jamie Byrd #51 Chris Chapman
Row 10 #9 Brad Kurth #07 Dean Ward
Row 11 #95 Jacob Heafner #50D Haley Moody
Row 12 #19 Cameron Bowen #28 Jason Barnes
Row 13 #18B Bobby Gillespie #12D Ryan Gray
Row 14 #04 Larry Barrett

 

 

Heat Race 3

 

Row 1 #5 Lee Pulliam #22B Bobby McCarty
Row 2 #02 CE Falk #44 Justin Johnson
Row 3 #03 Brenden Queen #87 Mike Looney
Row 4 #22 Grayson Cullather #21A Travis Swaim
Row 5 #18 Ty Gibbs #16 RD Smtih
Row 6 #26C Danny Edwards #5B Ronnie McCarty
Row 7 #4 Annabeth Barnes #63 Tyler Matthews
Row 8 #17C Bryan Reedy #12B Nick Smith
Row 9 #7A Justin Crider #90 Terry Carroll
Row 10 #8 Thomas Scott #27C Cory Beard
Row 11 #24C Colin Garrett #2D Matt Leicht
Row 12 #37 Adam Gray #05 Mason Bailey
Row 13 #21B Tommy Neal # 25C Craig Eastep
Row 14 #11 Jeff Oakley

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

Southside Speedway Back to Racing This Weekend With 75-lap Late Model Feature

Midlothian, VA – Mother Nature got her way last weekend when a lingering cold front washed out most of the racing taking place throughout the eastern part of the Commonwealth, Southside Speedway was included. With clear to partly cloudy conditions all morning and afternoon and a very little chance of that, “wet stuff,” that got in the way last weekend, things look to be a go tonight near the state’s capital.

The Late Model’s, averaging around sixteen to eighteen cars a night, will also make their return for the second and final 75-lap feature of the year. Chris Dodson won this race earlier in the summer holding off some of the youngest drivers – Mason Bailey, Grayson Cullather, JD Eversole – in the Late Model ranks. With the win, Dodson enters this evening one of the heavy favorites along with long time Late Model racer, Eddie Johnson. With the longer laps and smaller tires. it’s a no brainer that experience will come into play tonight. However, rookie stand out’s Mason Bailey, is coming off a thrilling victory the last time these cars were on track after a three wide battle netted him the race lead on a late race caution and eventually earned him his third win of the year followed by none other than Mr. Grayson Cullather. As the race season draws to an end, the temps stay elevated and the memory banks grow larger, we expect tonight’s feature to be a barn burner.

In addition to the 75-lap Late Model Feature, the IMCA style asphalt Modifieds will pick up their epic points battle this evening with a 30-lap feature along with the Grand Stocks. Cody Carlton will look defend his race win and points lead as the INEX Legends and UCAR will be on tap for 25-laps each while the Bando’s will kick off the night with their 15-lap feature.

The Weekly Racer will, of course, have you covered if you are unable to make it out to the speedway this evening. However, I highly recommend packing the kids and the car and heading out to the track because you are not going to want to miss this race. Front gates and qualifying are set to open and get underway at 6:00 PM EDT with the first green flag at 7:45 PM. We will have LIVE coverage of qualifying on our Twitter feed (@theweeklyracer). If you do not have Twitter you can follow along right here on our website. You will see our Tweets on the right side bar they will just be delayed and may require some page refreshing. We are working on a way to bring this same LIVE coverage to those of you without Twitter.

 

Mason Bailey Earns Third Victory of 2017 at Southside Speedway in a Thrilling Late Model Finish

Midlothian, VA – The month of July & August are statistically the hottest months of the summer in the Mid-Atlantic. When it’s hot outside there is one thing you can all but guarantee around the world of short track racing and that is a slick race track and short tempers. Throw in an interesting race or two where certain drivers feel they owe something to someone and just sit back and enjoy the show.

Chris Dodson was once again the fastest qualifier in the afternoon’s very hot final practice/qualifying session. Dodson’s lap of record was set in just his fourth circuit around the flat track coming in at 15.059 (79.679 MPH) seconds. Eddie Johnson would post a lap just six-hundredths of a second slower than Dodson. Rookie Mason Bailey and Lane Janosik posted the third and fourth fastest times while Bugs Hairfield rounded out the fastest five. Dodson would pull a number four pill, handing the front row over to the two rookies.

Sixteen Late Models came to life down the front stretch when flagman Jody Adkins unfurled the green flag. Mason Bailey wasted zero time working his way around Janosik as the field rocketed out of turn two and down the backstretch. Fast qualifier, Chris Dodson, had the same idea and got around Janosik using the outside groove. The race saw its first of five cautions early on lap two after Janosik and Eddie Johnson appeared to get hooked together going into the turn. It would cause a six car pile up as Brock, Thomas, Payne, and Hairfield were all caught up in the mess.

Once the race was back under green flag conditions, Dodson picked back up on his assault on the rear bumper of Bailey. The rookie did an amazing job hold off the onslaught that Dodson was putting on. The lead would eventually change hands after the third restart of the evening. Dodson appeared to get back to the throttle just a little bit quicker than Bailey, which allowed him to stay even with the 05 machine. A small slip from Bailey the following lap in two allowed Dodson to grab the lead.

Dodson would lead the way for several laps while some amazing racing between Bugs Hairfield – who was making his way back through the field before ending his night on lap 36 – Howie Disavino, Chris Johnson, and Grayson Cullather. Just as things looked to be in the bag for Chris Dodson, who was lifting at the start finish and holding onto a two-second lead, the yellow flag was displayed for the fourth final time. Michael Sutphin was around down the backstretch.

This set up one of the most exciting finishes of the year when Chris Dodson elected to keep his position at the front of the field. Bug Hairfield decided to try his luck on the outside line while Mason Bailey lined up on the inside behind Dodson. The three would eventually end up three wide all the way down the back and into turn three. Bailey down low, Dodson in the middle and Hairfield up top. The trio almost made it all the way through the corner like that but, Dodson ended up going around in turn four and would bring out the evenings final caution. There was some talk that Chris Johnson would be sent to the rear of the field after contact was made with Dodson’s car while he was sideways. Johnson, after some deliberation between officials in the tower and on the track, was able to keep his position on the track.

For the restart, it was Mason Bailey and Chris Johnson on the first row. When the green flag was displayed Bailey was able to clear Johnson and retake the lead with less than two laps to go. Grayson Cullather, who qualified seventh and stayed pretty quiet in the top five all night, was also able to get around Johnson to take the second position. Though the top three cars were figured out at the white flag there was some hard racing behind them which caused a big pile up back in turn one once again. Sonny Allen, who has been running up towards the front all night made hard contact with the outside wall all but destroying his car. The driver was able to hop out under his own power once the race was complete.

“I think thrilling is the word for both the fans and the drivers,” Bailey said after the race. “We struggled all day with the car in practice. We are usually first or second and we stayed around fourth or fifth all day, that’s just not good for us. After getting taken out last week we had to completely disassemble this car and put it back from scratch. It’s amazing we got it back as close as we did but still has a lot of kinks to work out. It certainly had some speed it but it was hard work on that wheel.”

We asked Mason about the three wide run there into three that ultimately got him the lead and the race win and what was going through his mind

“I know we only had two wins on the season and we really needed to be at three wins,” explained Bailey. “I knew we needed to park it so that’s what we did. Just got a good restart and stayed on him [Dodson]. The three of us and I think they just got together, Chris slid up and Bugs got down and got together, I saw some daylight and went for. I’m not much of a steering wheel holder, I like to call myself a driver, so I just went in there for better or for worse and it just happened to work out. That was all luck there, that’s all that was.”

“I am just glad we came out on top. This team, my car owner Chris Phillips, CR Phillips Electrical, Commonwealth Plumbing, Damn Yankee Hot Sauce, Hernandez Construction, and so much more, they just deserve this.”

 

Austin Dodge was the winner of the 30 lap Grand Stock feature early in the evening. Dodge was the fast qualifier earlier in the afternoon but was forced to start fifth when the green flag was displayed due to the invert. Shannon Smith inherited the lead and did a fine job holding off the field till about lap ten and eventually retiring from the race with mechanical issues. That is how long it took for Dodge to make his way back up through the field. The race witnessed only two cautions and three different leaders. However, one Dodge was able to take the lead around lap nine, even the late race restart could not trip him up, Austin Dodge would take home the hardware.

 

Late Model OFFICIAL Results;

  1. #05 Mason Bailey; 40
  2. #22 Grayson Cullather; 40
  3. #24 Chris Johnson; 40
  4. #18 Brad Davis; 40
  5. #20 Sonny Allen; 40
  6. #55 Howie Disavino; 40
  7. #43 Eddie Johnson; 40
  8. #9 Alex Brock; 40
  9. #25 Michael Sutphin; 40
  10. #0 Chris Dodson; 40
  11. #26 John Crews; 40
  12. #79 Lane Janosik; 40
  13. #04 Bugs Hairfield; 36
  14. #99 Daniel Thomas; 25
  15. #19 Rusty Wood; 15
  16. #42 Mike Payne; 2

 

Grand Stock OFFICIAL Results;

  1. #07 Austin Dodge
  2. #40 Todd Ruggles
  3. #33 Dan Rogers
  4. #41 Cameron Ruggles
  5. #88 Mike Lowe
  6. #39 Tony Hull
  7. #36 Mark Simpson
  8. #21 Shannon Smith
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