From Cristina Cordova
CONCORD, N.C. (October 22, 2016) – The first-ever OneDirt World Short Track Championship came to a close on Saturday night with the “crowning” of nine division champions, but the big win went to all of the 325 weekly drivers as the dirt racing family reunion brought them all to center stage, resulting in a father/son duo in Victory Lane in the Pro Modified division, a two-brother duo in Victory Lane in the Monster Mini-Stock class, and a father/son baton passing on the Pro Sprint side.
“I’ve been coming here since ’07, and I’m bringing my young’un here now and trying to get him going, so we’re having fun at it,” said Pro Modified driver Buck Stevens referring to his son Greyson. “He’s 15 years old and has been racing Modifieds since he was 13. He knows what he can do and can’t do, and he’s still learning. He’s very consistent, and he’s really smooth out there – a lot more smooth than I am. I never claim to be a race car driver; I just do it for fun. ”
Friday Racing Action Continued…
Saturday racing action began with the 8-lap 360 Sprints Scramble, pushed to Saturday from Friday’s schedule. Trey Starks took a strong lead from the green, lapping Michael Miller to the checkers with Westbrook and Lance Moss in second and third respectively.
Also from Friday’s Schedule, the Hoosier Racing Tire Pro Modified 15-lap Feature saw Sladen Parson leading all the way through from lap one, with Stevens and Steels battling for second. In Lap 11, Sladen Parson avoided a collision with Jeff Parsons, who spun out in front of him as he overheated with just four laps to go. Sladen Parson took home the win with Steele in second after the restart.
Eric Boozel was the star of the Gotta Race FWD Hornet 15-lap Friday Feature, with Casey Shane and Andrew Smith putting on a tough battle for second after Shannon Barnhill spun out, overheating in Lap 8. Jonathan Sarratt put up a solid fight, but missed out on the trip to Victory Lane.
Fox Racing Shox Pro Late Models
The First Championship Feature on the schedule, the Fox Racing Shox Late Model 30-lap Feature, went to Corey Gordon, followed by Donald Bradsher and Kyle Bronson.
“It’s awesome to win the first World Short Track Championship,” said Gordon, driver of the 23 car. “I mean I’m really honestly speechless right now. I had a really good car, and I can’t thank everyone enough that I had out here: my mom, my dad, my crew chief. I mean this thing was just fun to drive. I just had to get in there and hold the steering wheel, and it drove by itself. Hats off to everybody out here that put on this show. To have 300-plus cars out here for the first year is amazing – and 65 crates – and to come out number one, that’s even better.”
With Cordon and Bradsher holding first and second, this race was a battle for third, and an impressive display of hard charging by Ross Bailes and Walker Arthur.
Gordon held the lead for the first 19 laps of the race, with Bradsher in close second. Behind them, the battle ensued, with Ryan Atkins and Kyle Bronson challenging Brandon Overton for third. After a caution on Timbo Mangum’s T1 car, Overton stole second from Bradsher with 12 laps to go. But Bradsher wasn’t having it. Another caution in lap 19 allowed him to charge forward, taking back second and continuing on to take the lead from Gordon. Gordon took it back in lap 20, but the two stayed neck in neck entering lap 21.
Meanwhile, behind them Bailes, who started in position 16, took third from Overton. And Arthur Walker, who started in position 20, jumped to five. Gordon pulled ahead, and for a moment Bailes challenged Bradsher for second as Overton fell back, leaving an opening for Bronson. Gordon and Bradsher maintained a strong lead over the pack into the checkers, with Bronson rounding out the top three.
Summit Racing UMP Modifieds
Kyle Strickler, driver of the 8S, led all 30 laps of the Summit Racing UMP Modified Feature.
“This means a lot to me,” said Strickler, “especially in front of all of my fans. I’ve been through some hard times, and this makes it all better. Nothing is better than winning in front of all of your sponsors and your family. I have my 7-week little boy here, so this is absolutely awesome. You can’t ask for any more here.”
Behind Strickler, a persistent battle for second and third ensued. Kenny Wallace lost his number two spot to Taylor Cook, and then the number three spot to Nick Hoffman in lap nine. In lap 12, Hoffman charged past Cook on a restart, stealing second; but a multicar collision called for a reset. This didn’t stop Hoffman, who executed a replay, taking second again on the restart, but it just didn’t hold; Cook took back second. In lap 15, Hoffman took it back again. A caution on Mike Learman in lap 18, however, forced another restart, upon which David Stremme broke the pattern, bumping Cook as he moved into third. Another restart, with only five laps to go, and the battle between Stremme and Hoffman was on. They exchanged positions, and back again, with Stremme pushing on Hoffman in lap 29 to take second into the final lap.
VP Racing Fuels Sportsman Modifieds
The VP Racing Fuels Sportsman Modified 30-lap feature experienced a complete reshuffle as Ronnie Davis took home first, up from position four; Brad Rouse took home second, up from position nine; and Danny Gagne, who started in position one, came in third.
“It might be one of the biggest wins to be out here in North Carolina,” said Davis. “It’s definitely a fun track and one of my favorites now. It’s really really good to get a win here.”
Davis took the lead early, in lap six, after passing Mike Stacey for second in lap three. Meanwhile, Rouse pushed up to four by lap three. In lap seven, Davis broadened his lead as Stacey and Gagne duked it out for second. But Rouse keep pushing on. By lap 13, Rouse was in second with quite a bit of air both in front of him, where Davis kept a strong lead, and behind, where Gagne and Stacey pushed on with Brianna Ladouceur on their tail. Five laps later, Ladouceur passed Stacey and was on Gagne, fighting for third.
Meanwhile, out in front, Davis hit traffic, but Rouse just couldn’t close that gap. He cut it down a bit in lap 23, but not enough before he, too, hit lap traffic. The drivers held their positions for the remaining seven laps.
Earlier in the day, David Schilling won the first VP Racing Fuels Sportsman Modified Last Chance Showdown to transfer into the feature with Nick Guererri, Eric Giguere, and Kevin Chaffee. And Chris Cunningham won the second Last Chance Showdown to transfer with Adam Pierson, Adam Hilton, and Kole Holden.
COMP Cams 360 Sprints
Trey Starks, winner of the 360 Sprints Scramble, held the lead for all 25 laps of the COMP Cams 360 Sprint Feature. For him, this race was a great way to test and adjust to the track in preparation for next week’s Bad Boy Off Road World of Outlaws World Finals.
“I know this event will be pretty big in the upcoming years, so it’s really cool to get the first one,” said Starks. “Hopefully, these are laps in the bank for next week. This was not only a race we wanted to come to win, but it was a pretty big test session for next week. We will see pretty similar conditions with a decent amount of cars next weekend, and so we got the notebook stacked up for next weekend. Even though it is a 360 [Sprint car], we learned a few things that we can probably use on the 410.”
Behind Starks, Dylan Westbrook held second for all 25 laps as well. The real battle was for third.
Terry Gray, determined to see Victory Lane, pushed past Glen Styres and Lance Moss, not once but twice after a reset. The top three created a good deal of distance between them and the remaining cars, and it looked like the race was sealed halfway through, but … this is dirt racing. In lap 16, Gray met misfortune and slowed in turn two. The 11-time USCS champion went off to the pits, looking like he was out for the night; but waving off the restart, he was back out to battle – at the tail end, of course, with Scott Hunter behind him.
Back in front, Starks held his lead after avoiding Tanner Witherspoon in a turn four spin out.
Starks hit lap traffic in Lap 11. Westbrook continued to hold second, and Styres took third from Moss in lap 19. The three raced into the checkers.
Chevy Performance Pro Sprints
With only six cars in the Chevy Performance Pro Sprint Feature, drivers had a 50/50 chance to get to Victory Lane. Kevin Atkins held the lead in his 36A car for all 15 laps. Scott Hull charged up from fourth in his 36 car on a restart. And Zane DeVault maintained third after losing second to Hull.
“It just worked out for us,” said Atkins. “We are a long way from home, so that’s a good way for us to end our year. I couldn’t ask for anything better. It’s really special to me because this is probably my last race ever. I’m hanging it up more than likely, so to end it like this is the way to do it.”
Meanwhile, as Atkins hangs up his hat, Hall is passing the baton on to his son. He built the 36 car for his son, who wasn’t quite ready for the race this weekend. But his son will be back next year – in the 36 car.
“We built this car for my son,” said Hall. “He’s 15 years old, and I didn’t think he was ready to come down here, so I jumped back in the car. This is a great place. I think next year we’ll bring him down. We’ll get a whole season in with him next year, and hopefully he’ll be ready to come down here. An event like this for a class like this is fantastic. A lot of local guys who don’t have a boat-load of money come down here to gain some exposure, and to have it on DIRTVision is awesome! I just think it’s a really positive deal for the sport.”
Hoosier Racing Tire Pro Modifieds
The Hoosier Racing Tire Pro Modified Feature was riddled with multi-car crashes and restarts, but ended with a fitting family reunion in Victory Lane as Buck Stevens and Greyson Stevens, father and son, took first and third respectively.
“By the good Lord above I redrew the pole and my young’un drew the third spot,” said Buck Stevens. “You know, that’s my boy, and we were able to finish like that. I can’t thank everybody here enough – the race track and World Racing Group and everybody who put this stuff together. This is awesome. I mean, this is a dream come true. Honestly, dude, I mean my kid to run up here like that… that’s sweet.”
Buck Stevens took the lead from third right from the start and held it for the 25 laps of the Hoosier Racing Tire Pro Modified Feature, while Benji Hicks held second. Behind them Greyson Stevens took third from Chris Steele in lap five. Steele tried to take back third through the next few laps, and again on a restart in lap 12, but just couldn’t catch him. Buck Stevens, Benji Hicks and Greyson Stevens held the top three spots through the remaining 13 laps.
DRIVEN Racing Oil Crate Sportsman
Mitchell Duvall, starting in fifth, led wire to wire through the 20-lap DRIVEN Racing Oil Crate Sportsman Feature.
“It’s the biggest win of my career,” said Duvall. “I’m kind of surprised that I won something like this. I really wanted to win because my dad never won here, and I thought about it today. We started fifth and caught a break on the start and got to the lead. We’re very fortunate. They said they are going to be here next year, and we will be back. I’ve never seen nothing like [the pits] in my life with 320 cars. This is the biggest thing I’ve ever been to. Its surreal.”
Second place, originally held by Damon Crump, fell to Jamie Reid in lap five, after Crump made contact with another car and headed to the infield. Ben Watkins took the number two spot from Reid entering lap seven, with Greene vying for third and taking it entering lap 10. A number of restarts throughout the next five laps saw Tyler Love coming up from position nine to challenge Greene for third.
Quarter Master Monster Mini-Stocks
The 20-lap Quarter Master Monster Mini-Stock Feature resulted in another family reunion in Victory Lane, with brothers Austin and Justin Mintz in first and second respectively, in what turned out to be a most exciting and surprising race. Suffice it to say, Austin Mintz started in position 25 and went on to win the race.
Brayden Pruitt started in the lead, with Justin Mintz charging up from position five to second in lap two, and taking the lead in lap five. Pruitt took it back in lap six. Mintz again in lap seven. And finally, in lap 11, Pruitt is off the pace and into the pits.
The restart, with nine laps to go had Justin Mintz in the lead with Jammie Mattison and Travis Sharpe behind him. But Austin Mintz had been on the move and was already in position seven. And he continued his charge, battling Sharpe with a couple of exchanges.
On a lap 16 restart Austin Mintz stole second: Justin Mintz, Austin Mintz, Mattison, Sharpe, Walker. Another restart gave Austin Mintz the opportunity to finish his full field charge. He failed, but got a second opportunity with trouble in turn two. Entering into lap 18, Austin Mintz took the lead and the win, with his brother Justin behind him and Mattison in third.
Earlier in the day two 8-lap Last Chance Showdowns went to Tim Bristol and Stewart Wilson, who transferred into the Feature with Kyle Cooper and Kevin Kelly. Hard charging Marcus Thompson came up one spot short.
Gotta Race FWD Hornets
Not too far off from the FWD Hornet Friday Feature, the Gotta Race FWD Hornet Championship Feature had Andrew Smith and Eric Boozel at the helm for all 15 laps.
“This is pretty special,” said Smith. “I used to asphalt race a lot, and I’ve run legends across the street. I think I’ve stood on this same stage over there, and to come back and do it on dirt is big. This is big for FWD racing, too. It’s good to be here on this big stage and to make a name for this small division..”
Adam Reseigh and Justin Stephens battled for third, swapping positions before a lap three restart. Boozel went after Smith in lap 8, and stayed on his tail through the next few laps, but just couldn’t take him. Smith to the checkers with Boozel and Stephens behind him. Once again, Jonathan Sarratt fell just short of Victory Lane.
Also of note are the winners of the All Star Invitationals: Super 6 Dylan Brown took the Pro Late Models All Star; Danny Gagne took the NE Modified All Star with Greg Martin, Brad Rouse behind him after Louie Jackson Jr fell out in the last lap; and the UMP Modified All Star went to Evan Taylor leading Derrick Ramey and Taylor Cook.
The World Short Track Championship will be back next year, around the same time.
“It means a lot,” said Pro Late Model driver Donald Bradsher. “It gives a lot of grassroots racers an opportunity to come here and run at Charlotte. Most guys never get to come here. They just dream about it. But I think, all in all, it was a great success. To have more than 300 cars here for the first year, it went really well. The weather has been great. I’d love to see it come back next year. You know, I think they hit the nail on the head here this weekend.”