Tag Archives: MDCU300

Restart Line Or Restart Zone?

Final Restart - TM Racing Video

Pulliam clearly ahead of Sellers within the restart box

So before anyone blasts me with hate comments, or people calling me Pulliam haters, or anything else like that. I want to offer my opinion that has been formed off of the facts of what I saw and talking to different people and getting their response. Either way this piece goes, there is nothing that will change. Pulliam is still your winner and the prestigious clock went home with him and his team. The issue that I am having with all this is not that MAYBE Pulliam jumped the start, it’s the lack of continuity with the rules. Over the weekend I spent my time working with the Race22 gang who had a team member in the drivers meeting Sunday morning where they posted the flagman will start the race to begin with, there was a restart zone, and the second place car could not beat the leader back to the line.

I have asked a few other drivers I know personally if Carroll told them it was a Restart Zone – meaning there is a box so to speak on the track and the leader has the choice on where inside that box to gas it up and go. If the pack gets to the second line and the leader has not gone then the flagman will start the race. What got me was the fact that Pulliam and a few other drivers said the rule was “Go at the double line – On the outside wall there were two red lines taped, this rule would mean once you got to those lines, run like hell.

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Clock Strikes Two For Pulliam At MDCU 300

IMG_9193Ridgeway, VA – It is equivalent to the Super Bowl or the Daytona 500 of Late Model Stock Car racing. Seventy plus teams from all over the region travel to the famous paper clip called Martinsville Speedway. The two-day event puts some of the best LMSC drivers on the same circuit for 300 laps, well technically at the most 250 laps depending if you got caught in the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ).

This was my fist visit to this race as plans fell through last year to attend. So here is a little run down of how things worked from start to finish;

  •  September 24th: Open Test (9am – 2pm) *Shortened due to rain*
  •  September 25th: Open Test (9am – 4pm)
  • October 4th: Open Practice & Qualifying
  • October 5th: Heat Races, LCQ Race, 200-Lap feature

Little bit of changes were made to the qualifying procedure and how the front row was set. This year the top two drivers on the speed charts were locked into the main feature and would not have to compete in any of the heat races. There were three heat races with about 25 cars in each running 25 laps each, the top ten finishers made it into the main event. Positions 11 through 22 would have one last shot to make the event, with the top ten transferring over. The winners of the heat races were awarded the third, fourth and fifth spots with the line-up alternating down the line.

Going into my rookie season of doing this the nerves were not as bad as I had originally thought covering an event like this would be. Of course I had your typical typos, minor dyslexia, and just complete freezes up but to my luck those were very limited. I will say the most difficult thing all day was trying to decipher some of these number changes. NASCAR was not allowing duplicate numbers so teams were using duct tape or vinyl to change their numbers and from up in the tower, they got pretty difficult to see specially if anything happened in turns three and four.

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With the 42 car field now set and teams thrashing to get some of these cars halfway back together, we were ready to get the 2014 edition of the MDCU 300 underway. Two time NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National Champion had his number called for the second time in his career to come to victory lane and claim yet another grandfather clock. Of course it would not come without some kind of controversy, the same controversy that ended last years installment, just different players in this one. A Green-White-Checkered finish was set up after the competition caution with 10 laps to go awoken some kind of “Lets tear all our stuff up” demon as it has in the past. For me what makes this finish so questionable is the fact that I have talked to a few drivers now that have told me there was a restart zone, and others tell me there was just the line.

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Setting The Field For The MDCU 300

MDCU300 Turn1Ridgeway, VA – It is equivalent to the Super Bowl or the Daytona 500 of Late Model Stock Car racing. Seventy plus teams from all over the region travel to the famous paper clip called Martinsville Speedway. The two-day event puts some of the best LMSC drivers on the same circuit for 300 laps, well technically at the most 250 laps depending if you got caught in the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ).

This was my fist visit to this race as plans fell through last year to attend. So here is a little run down of how things worked from start to finish;

  •  September 24th: Open Test (9am – 2pm) *Shortened due to rain*
  •  September 25th: Open Test (9am – 4pm)
  • October 4th: Open Practice & Qualifying
  • October 5th: Heat Races, LCQ Race, 200-Lap feature

Little bit of changes were made to the qualifying procedure and how the front row was set. This year the top two drivers on the speed charts were locked into the main feature and would not have to compete in any of the heat races. There were three heat races with about 25 cars in each running 25 laps each, the top ten finishers made it into the main event. Positions 11 through 22 would have one last shot to make the event, with the top ten transferring over. The winners of the heat races were awarded the third, fourth and fifth spots with the line-up alternating down the line.

Going into my rookie season of doing this the nerves were not as bad as I had originally thought covering an event like this would be. Of course I had your typical typos, minor dyslexia, and just complete freezes up but to my luck those were very limited. I will say the most difficult thing all day was trying to decipher some of these number changes. NASCAR was not allowing duplicate numbers so teams were using duct tape or vinyl to change their numbers and from up in the tower, they got pretty difficult to see specially if anything happened in turns three and four.

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Who To Watch This Weekend During The MDCU 300

martinsvillectdwnAs the days steadily click off and the countdown shortens for the largest late model race of the region, we wanted to put together a little list of names we think in our opinion would be a good idea to watch out for. Now remember these are just our opinions that we formulated from looking at the 2013 edition, the 2014 regular race season, as well as the performance in the open test session two weeks ago. Take a look at some of our picks and compare them with yours. Have someone else in your top ten? Don’t agree with our picks in the least bit?

Well speak up, leave a comment (remember keep it clean, no need to degrade someone or put them down) with who would be your top ten picks going into this weekend!

Honorable Mentions:

Chad Finchum – Finchum, won the division title this year at Lonesome Pine Raceway in Coeburn, VA, boasting 10 wins at the track and only finishing outside of the podium just five times in eighteen races. Though Finchum has proven his might, it’s hard to really say what he will do as he missed the open test session and it is still just a rumor right now he will even be running now that the carb rule for the Ford engines have been altered slightly.

Timothy Peters – Timothy Peters is always a threat to win when he gets behind the wheel of a Late Model Stock Car and proving so with his top five finish at South Boston in the first legit the VA Triple Crown. With Peters experience in the truck series at Martinsville and a previous win in this event (2005), Peters will surely look to redeem himself from last years 25th place finish.

C.E. Faulk – Now if this was C.E. Faulk circa 2010-2013 he would easily be in my top five. Since winning his most recent Langley Speedway track championship in 2013 (as well as ’09-11), Faulk has put the steering wheel more so on the back burner to help out in the shop of Hillman Racing. Faulk posted a twelfth place lead lap finish at South Boston this year, and was able to win the Hampton Heat for a third time in his career, but lets be real how many laps does he have at that place. Not ruling him out but I believe Faulks lack of seat time in 2014 may be what keeps him out of the the top ten come Sunday.

Tyler Ankrum – Tyler who? Is probably what you were thinking when you saw this. A 14 yo kid from the west coast making his Late Model debut this season under the banner of David Gilliland Racing has certainly turned some heads in this region. We first saw this kid race at South Boston where he ran into, no literally ran into another car that took him out, some bad luck. The fighter he is never gave up and ended up getting his first win out at Caraway Speedway and came damn close to snatching two wins away from Langley Speedway standouts.

Brenden Queen – Another young gun looking to make a name for himself. Most race fans probably never heard the kids name till last year when he snuck in a seventh place finish on you. This year has been a little bit of a different story. Queen has enlisted the help of not just a previous winner of this prestigious event, but a seven time Langley Speedway LMSC track champion has his crew chief, the great Phil Warren. Queen expanded his tour this year running a few races out of town to gain valuable experience, if he and the “Flying Monkeys” can keep the fenders on good ole ‘Snake Bite’ I would look for him up towards at least the top 12 Sunday afternoon.

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