Tag Archives: Tommy Lemons

Green Flag Set to Wave on 17th Annual Thanksgiving Classic at Southern National Motorsports Park

Frontstretch and grandstand area at Southern National Motorsports Park (Andy Marquis/SNMP photo)

The 17th Thanksgiving Classic presented by Solid Rock Carriers gets underway on Friday night and runs through Sunday with a total of 775 laps of racing for the 11 divisions which will compete. The schedule for this weekend can be found below.

With Thanksgiving dinners wrapped up, some of the best drivers and their families in the Mid-Atlantic region will converge on the .400-mile high-banked oval of Southern National this weekend. Philip Morris, who was victorious in the first recorded Thanksgiving Classic, looks to continue his hot streak this year and will be making his return to the North Carolina Speedway. He will be one of the drivers to keep an eye out for one Sunday.

Lee Pulliam, newly crowned NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National champ, and Brenden Queen are looking for strong outings this weekend in the Late Model portion of the show. Pulliam, coming off of a disappointing finish in last years classic as well as at Myrtle Beach Speedway, Pulliam will be looking for victory lane one final time this year. Brenden Queen, who was forced to start at the rear of the field last weekend at Myrtle Beach one-week prior and fought his way back up to the fourth position, will be looking to improve his finishing position from last year.

NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series crew chief Matt McCall will be making his return to Southern National this weekend. McCall, who is no stranger to victory lane, will be looking to finally check The Classic off his checklist. In 2016 McCall finished third to Lemons and Queen after contact with Pulliam battling for the lead on a late race restart.

The IMCA style Modified’s will be making their return as well with a 40-lap feature on Saturday night along with one of two Limited Late Model features of the weekend. Brandon Clements will look to pick up another dominant victory in the Mini Stock feature after coming back from what should have been a race-ending crash the month prior at the Spooktacular.

Other divisions racing this weekend will be the INEX Legends and Bandos, Chargers, UCAR, Street Stocks, as well as Super Late Models. The Weekly Racer will be on the road Friday afternoon and will provide coverage all weekend long on our Twitter feed (@theweeklyracer)


Friday, November 24th: Bandoleros (20 laps), Chargers (40 laps), Legends (25 laps), Limited Late Model Dash (40 laps). Green flag at 8:15pm.

Tickets: Adults – $15; Seniors, active military, and students (with ID) –$12; Kids 6-12 – $5; Kids five and under – FREE.


Saturday, November 25th: Bandoleros (20 laps), Legends (30 laps), Southern Lightning Modifieds (40 laps), Mini Stocks (50 laps), U-CAR (30 laps), Street Stocks (15 laps), Limited Late Models (40 laps). Green flag at 4:30pm.

Tickets: Adults – $20; Seniors, active military, and students (with ID) – $15; Kids 6-12 – $5; Kids five and under – FREE.


Sunday, November 26th: Late Model Stock Car Last Chance Qualifier (25 laps), Super Late Models (125 laps), Late Model Stock Car feature event (200 laps). Green flag at 12pm.

Tickets: Adults –$25; Seniors, active military and students (with ID) –$20; Kids 6-12 – $10; Kids five and under – FREE.

3-Day Tickets: Adults –$45; Seniors, active military and students (with ID) – $35, kids 6-12 –$20.


Previous Winners

1998 — Philip Morris

1999 — Scott Riggs

2000 — Frank Deiny, Jr.

2001 — Kirk Leone

2002 — Brandon Butler

2003 — Denny Hamlin

2004 — Jamey Caudill

2005 — Jamey Caudill

2006 — Deac McCaskill

2007 — Denny Hamlin

2008 — Joey Coulter

(SNMP closed 2009-2011)

2012 — Greg Edwards

2013 — Ronnie Bassett, Jr.

2014 — Brayton Haws

2015 — Lee Pulliam

2016 — Tommy Lemons, Jr.

ValleyStar Credit Union 300 Staff Picks & Schedule: Who Should You Be Watching?

Lee Pulliam

Pulliam, looking for his fourth national title, after dominating at tracks that did not follow suit with the SPEC motor that some Virginia tracks opted to allow. Martinsville is one of the hold outs for the motor so Pulliam might have an edge in the motor game and won’t have to swap in a different motor.


Timothy Peters

After the sudden closing of his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series team the Danville, VA driver wasted no time coming back to the late model scene. With trips to multiple tracks in the region to get back up to speed Peters will be ready to get his first grandfather clock.


Bobby McCarty

With a sixth-place finish in the first leg of the triple crown at South Boston and a win in his first trip to Langley Speedway for the second leg Bobby McCarty has set himself up well for a strong run at the Virginia Triple Crown title and a win at Martinsville Speedway.


Josh Berry

A fan favorite in the region and always a strong competitor will be another driver hungry for the checkers and grandfather clock. Sitting just four points out of first place in the CARS Tour Berry can continue a great season with a win in the ValleyStar Credit Union 300.



Ryan Repko

Qualifying third in his Martinsville debut and put on a racing clinic in his heat race, opening up almost an entire straightaway lead. He would ultimately finish the 25-lap heat race in the fifth position and transfer to the feature. Working to pass cars and save tires, Repko eventually ran into issues that took him out of contention. With another year of Late Models under his belt we think you should keep a close eye on this driver under the lights.


Tommy Lemons Jr:

The two time ValleyStar Credit Union 300 winner can never be counted out at the biggest late model race in the country. Tommy knows what it takes to wheel it around the paperclip and will be in position by the end to try and get his third grandfather clock.


Kres VanDyke:

With a forty starts this season, VanDyke was able to collect twenty-five wins, the most of any drivers in the top fifty in the nation. Thirty-four top fives, thirty-eight top ten finishes along with the Tennessee state champion. VanDyke has run well in previous ValleyStar Credit Union and proved he was quick during the Thursday night test.


Dark Horse

Brenden Queen – After a track championship in 2016 at East Carolina Motor Speedway Butterbean finished with a solid 5th place in points at Langley, finished second in the Hampton Heat, and finished fourth in the W.O. Grubbs 150 at Dominion. Riding that momentum can set this driver up for a huge win at Martinsville.

Nick Smith – After dominating the 2016 season at Dominion Raceway and winning the track championship, Nick Smith returned to his home track of Langley Speedway this season and earned two wins after dealing with more bad luck than anyone can shake a stick at. Smith had an incredible run earlier in the season at South Boston Speedway and followed that up with top-five finish during the Hampton Heat, proving to everyone the Hampton, VA driver knows how to be there at the end of a long race.




ValleyStar Credit Union 300 Schedule


Campground opens



9:00 AM                               Ticket Office Opens

10:00 AM                             Haulers Enter

10:00 AM – 6:00 PM              Registration

10:00 AM                             Garage Opens

2:30 PM                                Inspection

4:00 PM                                Fan Gates Open

4:00 PM – 7:00 PM                 Practice

8:00 PM                                Pole Qualifying

9:00 PM                                Ticket Office Closes



11:00 AM                             Registration and Ticket Office Opens

12:00 PM                              Garage Opens

1:30 PM                                Drivers’ Meeting (Media Center)

2:00 PM                                Fan Gates Open

2:30 PM – 3:30 PM                Autograph Session on the Frontstretch

4:00 PM                                Qualifying Races (4 x 25 Laps)

8:00 PM                                Feature Race (200 Laps)


📸 Kyle Tretow / CARS Tour

In his best top fuel dragster impression, Matt Craig burned down the Hoosier tires on his No. 54 car after capturing his first career CARS Super Late Model Tour powered by VP Fuels win in the Leftturns and Sunburns 200 at Greenville Pickens Speedway on Saturday night (📸 Kyle Tretow / CARS Tour)

EASLEY, SC – Saturday night’s Leftturns and Sunburns 200 at Greenville- Pickens Speedway saw two drivers take home their first career wins in the CARS Tour. Tommy Lemons picked up his long-awaited breakthrough victory in the CARS Late Model Stock Tour, while Matt Craig cruised to victory in the super late model race.



The CARS Tour Super Late Model Tour powered by VP Fuels event was all about Matt Craig and the No. 54 C&C Boiler Chevrolet. After rolling out as the final car in qualifying, Craig snatched the Mahle Pistons Pole from Cole Timm and led the field to green with Timm to his outside.

Craig quickly shot out to the lead and began to control the pace of the event until the first caution of the evening flew on lap 19. Stephen Leicht lost control of his Jani-King Chevrolet while racing with Tate Fogleman on the backstretch and made hard contact, nose-first, with inside wall that ultimately ended his night.

Another caution on lap 31 for Jody Lavender’s stalled car in turn two set up a restart that would be the lone test for Craig on the night. Soon after the field resumed competition, Harrison Burton discovered a way around Craig on lap 38. The lead for Burton was short lived, however, as Craig motored past Burton nine laps later and began to pull away on lap 47.

Craig’s lead continuously grew over the final 53 laps. Cole Timm, Zane Smith, Brandon Setzer and Anthony Anders all surged forward late in the race as they attempted to chase down the No. 54, but their efforts fell short as the event went green to the finish and no one ever made a serious challenge to Craig’s dominance.

Craig cruised to victory with a 5.569 second margin of victory, the second-largest in CARS Super Late Model Tour history. Timm, Anders and Smith were the next trio to the stripe, while point leader Raphael Lessard rounded out the top five finishers.

“That thing was amazing. I can’t thank everyone who’s helped me enough, especially my dad for all the time he’s spent at the racetrack. I can’t thank Shawn and Jason enough and I really need to thank Clay Rogers and Gary Crooks,” Craig commented in Edelbrock Victory Lane. “There’s no way I’d be where I am today without their help, just how to drive them. When I first started driving these things, I didn’t like them at all and I was ready to go back to a heavy car like ARCA or ProCup used to run. They taught me how to drive them and with a little bit of luck, I’m just happy to be here.

“When I was behind Harrison, I was just playing with him. I wasn’t even pushing it. I was probably running 10%,” he continued when asked about how hard he was using up his equipment. “Every now and then, I’d gas up and point inside of him a little bit to let him know what’s going on, but then I was riding and I was getting kinda bored. So I just hammered down coming off of four and passed him, it was a great race.

“I had a few prayers in the last ten laps. I was leading a race like that a few weeks ago and a caution came out. That’s your worst nightmare. But this is a great thing to go on the resume, there are a ton of great guys here to race against and it really means a lot, it’s really special to me.”



📸 Kyle Tretow / CARS Tour


For the eighth time in his 15-race CARS Tour career, Deac McCaskill led the field to green and led the opening third of the race until Chad McCumbee took his turn at the point beginning on lap 30.

A couple of late-race crashes, the worst of which eliminated Craig Stallard, Justin Carroll and Robert Tyler from the event, set up a series of restarts that ultimately played a pivotal role in the outcome of the 100-lap race.

The final caution of the night for Will Burns’ wrecked car on the back straightaway put the No. 27 of Tommy Lemons to the outside race leader Chad McCumbee. When the green flag fell, it was an all-out dash to turn one, and ultimately the finish, with Lemons prevailing from the outside lane off of turn two on lap 92.

Lemons stretched his lead over the final eight laps to claim his first career CARS Late Model Stock Tour win in 15 career starts with McCumbee also finishing a career-best second. Dylan Hall brought home a third place finish in his debut with the tour, while  Josh Berry and rookie Chase Purdy rounded out the top five.

“This is a big win right here,” said Lemons in Edelbrock Victory Lane. “This is a brand new car and it’s only been run in the CARS Tour this year. We’ve been really fast with it in the race and have been struggling in qualifying and we finally got it figured out. It’s just bad to the bone right now.

“I learned a little bit on the outside on those restarts late in the race with worn out tires,” he continued when asked about the pass for the lead. “I just wanted it. We kinda gave one away at Tri-County two weeks ago and I just felt like we had to go get it today. This doesn’t really change what we come to the racetrack for. We come for trophies and as long as we get those, we’ll be there at the end for the championship.”



  • Deac McCaskill’s Hedgecock Pole Award average is unheard of in modern motorsports. In 15 CARS Tour events, he has laid claim to the top starting spot eight times. Not only have the accomplishments been worth over $2000 in bonus money, but his pole-start average, to liken it to baseball, is .533. His overall winning average, however, is .133 after winning twice in his career, both coming at Southern National Motorsports Park.
  • Greenville-Pickens is known for its history within short track racing and launching careers of the sport’s pioneers and legends. On Saturday, the CARS Tour wrote its own chapter of Greenville history with numerous drivers capturing their career best finishes in the event. Two super late model drivers captured their career best finishes (Craig, Anders), while no fewer than six late model stock drivers could make the same claim (Lemons, McCumbee, Hall, Purdy, J. Burns, Howard), all finishing inside the top ten.
  • Chase Purdy was a nominee for “heartbreak of the race” in the late model stock car feature. While running third, Purdy suffered a flat tire during the lap 78 accident that forced him to come to pit road to change it. In the final 22 laps, Purdy knocked off eleven cars, clawing his way to a final finish of 5th.
  • By unofficial calculations, the championship battles are quickly heating up as the CARS Tour crosses the halfway point on the season. On the late model stock side, it’s a three-way battle between McCaskill, Berry and Lemons, all of whom are unofficially separated by nine points entering race six. On the super late model side, Lessard leads Setzer, Houff and Timm with a collective separation of only 11 markers.
  • In the spirit of hard-nosed, heated-temper short track racing, the CARS Tour leads the way in intensity-driven moments that have kept fans talking and has led to brewing rivalries. After 15 events in series history, the HANS toss tally has already climbed to three. Last season, Rich Gould started the trend after chucking his safety device at Clay Jones during an event at Orange County Speedway, while this season Justin Crider and Will Burns have both launched their own projectiles at fellow competitors. On Saturday, Burns’ wrath was directed at Crider after the two got crossed up late in the going at Greenville, ending with Burns’ car in the inside wall. All device-throwing incidents occurred either with safety personnel on-site of the accident or under red flag conditions.



CARS Late Model Stock Tour
Leftturns & Sunburns 200
Greenville Pickens Speedway – June 25, 2016
1. 27 Tommy Lemons, Jr. 100
2. 95 Chad McCumbee 100
3. 4 Dylan Hall 100
4. 88B Josh Berry 100
5. 41 Chase Purdy 100
6. 08 Deac McCaskill 100
7. 12 Austin McDaniel 100
8. 5 Jeremy Burns 100
9. 16 Colby Howard 100
10. 1 Christian Eckes 100
11. 88 Chris Davis 100
12. 98 Stefan Parsons 100
13. 7 Justin Crider 100
14. 31 Thomas Beane 100
15. 28 Chris Hudspeth 100
16. 74 Ronald Hill 74
17. 82 Will Burns 91 Accident
18. 42 Craig Stallard 78 Accident
19. 57 Justin Carroll 78 Accident
20. 88T Robert Tyler 78 Accident
21. 07 Hayden Humphrey 0 DNQ



CARS Super Late Model Tour powered by VP Fuels
Leftturns & Sunburns 200
Greenville Pickens Speedway – June 25, 2016
1. 54 Matt Craig 100
2. 57 Cole Timm 100
3. 97 Anthony Anders 100
4. 77 Zane Smith 100
5. 99 Raphael Lessard 100
6. 6 Brandon Setzer 100
7. 17 Quin Houff 100
8. 12 Harrison Burton 100
9. 31 Kyle Grissom 100
10. 56 Gus Dean 100
11. 58 Tyler Ankrum 100
12. 16 Lucas Jones 99
13. 7 Jody Lavender 99
14. 8 Tate Fogleman 49 Mechanical
15. 25 Stephen Leicht 19 Accident

The Weekly Racer’s Top 15 Schemes of 2015

Best Of 2015 Banner
Well guys and gals, it is about that time of year again. Time to put a cap on 2015, burry it into our time capsule for future generations to look back on. Take a look back ourselves at all the good times that we had. Think to ourselves what the next 365 days are going to be like. Make plans to make this year “our year.” I myself as a person have them same aspirations, The Weekly Racer has those same aspirations as well. We have already posted a few interesting stats from WordPress taking a look back throughout 2015.

Last year, our first full season covering short track racing, we ended the year with a little post highlighting 14 of the best photos from the year that we took (Fourteen of the Best Photos from 2014). Looking to create a little tradition here at The Weekly Racer we are going to kick off our 2015 Year End review with 15 of the best photos – in our opinion of course – that we were able to snap throughout the year. Bellow, in no particular order are the photos we have chosen. We still want to hear from you though. Post a comment bellow the story with who you think had the best looking car from the post. If you think someone should be on the list let us know!

Read more

VallyStar Credit Union 300 Review: Lemons Grabs Emotional Grandfather Clock

Front StretchAnother year and another action packed race at “The Paperclip.” Certainly one of the races every year that never disappoints! 80 of the best Late Model Stock Car teams converged on the seemingly flat half-mile track located in Ridgeway, Virginia all looking for two things; 1) a $27,000 payday and 2) the legendary grandfather clock. In a field stacked with more talent than any one person could shake a stick at Tommy Lemons, Jr. found a way to take both of those back home with him.

“Our season hasn’t been what we wanted but the win at Caraway back in July, that meant a ton to me. Rusty meant a lot to me and I think a lot of his family. To win here, it’s a pretty special year,” Lemons said after the race. “I said it a couple times tonight, you know.  When I get to hang my helmet up and my driving shoes, I get to say I’m a two time Martinsville winner.  Not a lot of people can say that.”

Besides a few technical glitches and hardware failures, and lets be honest here, when you’re messing with computers and electronic systems, things are bound to break at some point. That point just happened to be during the Mid-Atlantics most prestigious Late Model Stock race of the season. As many of you know Saturday was plagued with scoring issues, well the issue really was the lack of scoring rather. A broken wire in the scoring loop at the start/finish line, unfortunately, caused this. The wire was damaged when the track installed the new SAFER walls down the entire inside and outside walls of the track. I can tell you folks from personal experience, these wires are actually pretty small and easy to damage.

With the drivers in mind, and even talking with the drivers the track decided to keep everything rolling Saturday to allow teams maximum time on the track. When it came down to qualify they decided to stick with the five cars, five lap group qualifying. 10 officials (so if you think about it really, two officials per car) took to the stopwatches to set the 80+ car field and determine the starting line up for the heat races.

Well, when it rains it sure does pour doesn’t it? After getting someone to the track over night to fix the scoring loop we all thought we were in the clear and ready for some intense racing. Well, we sure did get the intense side-by-side action in the heat races, but what we also got were more computer issues. A computer that is located in the scoring tower that controls the infield scoreboard had crashed leaving fans, crew members, and members of the media in the dark for some time. I do have to give it to NASCAR and Martinsville Speedway for fighting through all the issues that kept coming up.

The race in its self however was nothing less than edge of the seat exciting, well if I am speaking for myself. You had your typical front-runners, just cruising till the breaks, yes I said breaks. After some calculations done by multiple teams they realized that they were not going to make it to the advertised lap 150 break, citing fuel was the issue (word I am getting was the teams were not allowed to hardly touch the car after the heat races let alone add fuel). NASCAR evaluated the situation and called for a competition caution at lap 100 for FUEL ONLY! Some teams ignored that call and were sent to the rear of the field on the restart because of it.

Read more