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Mike Pegher Jr Wins Crate Late Model Championship February 4, 2017

Mike Pegher Jr Wins Crate Late Model Championship

Tampa, FL…… 2/4/17…. The top 6 drivers from the last two nights were locked into tonight’s A-Main. Those drivers were Mike Pegher Jr of Cranberry Township, PA., Doug Horton of Wimauma, FL., Logan Roberson of Waynesboro, VA., Max Blair of Centerville, PA., Hudson O Neal of Martinsville, IN and Keith Nosbisch of Valrico, FL.

Mike Pegher, Jr. drew the number one spot and put him on the pole for the A-main with Doug Horton on the outside front row.

From the start of the race Pegher, Jr. took the lead and held of several attempts from hard charging Keith Nosbisch, Max Blair and Mark Whitener.

When the checkered waved it was the Pennsylvania driver picking up his second win in three nights scoring a total of $5,000 for his weekend here at East Bay Raceway Park.

Rounding out the top ten were Keith Nosbisch, Max Blair, Mark Whitener, Hudson O’Neal, Doug Horton, Doug Watson, Travis Varnadore, Kenny Monahan and Logan Roberson.

For additional news visit www.eastbayracewaypark.com

Photo courtesy of www.eastbayracewaypark.com/Mike Horne Photo

Kyle Bronson Captures Chevrolet Performance World Championship Title January 29, 2017

Kyle Bronson Captures Chevrolet Performance World Championship Title

Ocala, FL – The state of Florida has been the home of the Chevrolet Performance World Championship for the NeSmith Dirt Late Model Series since the inaugural season of the series. Sunshine State drivers always turn out in top form in hopes of keeping the World Championship title and the $10,000 payday in state. In recent years, however, Mother Nature has tried her best to put her name on the win list as weather has delayed or postponed the event in recent season. 2017 would be no different as consistent rain showers moved over Bubba Raceway Park on the original race date of Saturday January 28th pushing the event back one day to Sunday January 29th.

43 cars entered on Saturday before the postponement, with 37 returning for action on Sunday. RockAuto.com Pole Qualifying got the afternoon started with 4 groups to qualify. At the end of qualifying the home state of Florida was represented well with Brandon, Florida’s Kyle Bronson setting overall fast time in his Brandon Collision sponsored Rocket Race Car and putting his group as Heat Race #1 to race for the pole starting position. After heat race action, it was fellow home state driver “Magic Man” Mark Whitener of Middleburg, FL picking up the win in Heat Race #1 and setting himself on the pole for the 100-lap feature.

With the home state of Florida being well represented, frequent competitors on the RUSH Late Model Series made it known that they had made the long trip from the northern United States in search of a $10,000 payday and bragging rights. Mike Pegher Jr. piloted his #RJ1 Rocket to fast time in his group and a heat race win placing him on the outside front row for the feature. The third group was paced by Virginia’s Tyler Bare, son of legendary Late Model ace Booper. Bare would have to settle for second in the Heat, as Friday night’s feature winner Jamie Perry would drive his P4 machine to victory and claim the third starting spot for the feature. Veteran Tennessee driver Ronnie Johnson would set fast time for the fourth and final group, but a young driver with a familiar last name to those in the dirt racing world, Hudson O’Neal, would pick up the heat race win and roll off from the fourth starting spot. O’Neal, whose dad Don is one of the top drivers in the Super Late Model ranks, was referred to as the “New Deal” referencing his father’s moniker “The Real Deal”.

After the top 16 drivers were transferred into the feature from heat race finishes, two B-Mains were contested to take 4 more drivers into the starting field for the $10,000 to win World Championship. Florida drivers Blake Spencer and Ken Monahan would take the two transfer spots in B-Main 1, while Corey Almond and 14-year old Tyler Clem would take B-Main 2’s transfer positions. Following the B-Mains, the top 12 drivers from Bubba Army Winter National points from Thursday and Friday night would move to a Last Chance Qualifier that would take the top 2 finishers as the final starting spots for the feature. Kentucky’s Victor Lee and Mississippi’s Marcus Minga would take the final two Last Chance spots to fill the World Championship starting field.

After a quick once over by the Bubba Raceway Park track crew, the field took to the speedway for pre-race ceremonies and driver introductions. Once the festivities were complete, and the fans gave the drivers the command to fire engines, it was time to get down to business. As the Bubba Raceway Park pace vehicle exited, Whitener and Pegher would lead the field to green for 100-laps of action. The attention given to the track surface proved to be worth the wait as fierce action began as soon as the green flag fell.

Elbows up racing would be the pace until lap 8 when the first of 10 caution flags flew, for the slowing car of Alexander City, AL driver Jason Britton. The Dixie-style double file restart would re-establish the hard-core racing when the caution lights would flash again on lap 19 for the slowing 17 of Logan Roberson. Whitener remained at the front of the field controlling the race and navigating lapped traffic quickly with Bronson and Pegher in pursuit before a lap 38 caution for the 56jr of Katy, TX driver Colton Horner who exited with mechanical issues. The field raced again with Whitener maintaining his lead, but not running off in the distance as he had on previous restarts. A lap 48 caution brought a great run to an end as third running Trent Ivey of Union, SC had to make a pit stop after contact flattened his left rear tire. This setup a couple of quick cautions as the 6 of Blake Spencer spun on lap 50, before a multi car accident on lap 54.

A lap 68 caution for the slowing P4 of Jamie Perry setup what would be some of the tensest moments of the 100-lap event. At the restart, the 111 of Pennsylvania’s Max Blair had made his way inside the top 3 from his 11th starting spot, and unlike the previous restarts Whitener was having to hold off Blair and Bronson. Blair would prove too much to handle as he made a move to the inside of Whitener exiting turn 4 to officially take the lead on lap 72. But the caution would quickly wave on lap 73 after contact between Doug Horton and Brandon Sheppard. On the ensuing restart, racing amongst the top 5 had reached a fever pitch with contact, rubbing, and slide jobs occurring rapidly. This would continue until a lap 90 caution would stack the field up for a 10 lap shootout to the finish. As the field raced back to life under the green flag, Whitener would make a move to the inside of Blair off turn 2 making contact with the left front of Blair’s Rocket Race car. Meanwhile, Bronson was ready to pounce as the first and second place cars began to race each other hard. As the field came off turn 4 to put lap 91 on the scoreboard, Blair made contact with Whitener and then came to a hard stop against the outside retaining wall just past the start finish line. Blair would suffer too much damage to continue, and Whitener’s machine would have damage to the rear spoiler and back of his ULC Motorports machine.

The damage to Whitener’s machine would show up as on the ensuing restart he would struggle to hold off the hard charging cars at the front of the field. Bronson would get by Whitener and Pegher would follow suit. With the laps winding down, the 17B Sallack Well Service Rocket being driven by Brandon Sheppard found a line that he and his machine liked as he marched through the field and got by Pegher for the second position. Another impressive run had been quietly mounted throughout the race as the 14-year old Tyler Clem had quietly and perfectly taken care of his equipment and moved into the top 5 from his 20th starting position. As the Sunoco Race Fuels checkered flag waved it would be Bronson able to keep Sheppard at bay, with Pegher coming home in third, Clem in fourth, and a stellar run from Hudson O’Neal to round out the top 5 finishers.

For additional news visit www.nesmithracing.com

Brandon Sheppard Begins Bubba Army Winter Nationals With Win January 26, 2017

Brandon Sheppard Begins Bubba Army Winter Nationals With Win

Ocala, FL – New Berlin, IL driver Brandon Sheppard got his Bubba Army Winter Nationals weekend started in great fashion by picking up the win on Night #1 at Bubba Raceway Park. Sheppard piloted the #17 Sallack Well Service sponsored Rocket Chassis to a 1.256 second margin of victory over 2nd place finisher Kyle Bronson of Brandon, FL. Ringgold, GA’s Jamie Perry crossed the stripe in 3rd ahead of Hall of Famer Ronnie Johnson in the CVR Race Cars house car in 4th,and Mike Pegher Jr. of Cranberry Township, PA rounded out the top 5.

Sheppard led the race wire-to-wire, as he was able to keep his Chevrolet Performance 604 powered Rocket Race Car ahead of the hard, side-by-side action that was going on behind him. Johnson, Bronson, and Perry had waged war on each other swapping positions and battling for the runner spot. This allowed Sheppard to jump out to a several car length lead at times, but lap traffic would allow that battle to reel Sheppard in. Before those in pursuit of the #17 could prepare their assault, the caution would wave or Sheppard would clear the lapped cars leaving the others to battle amongst themselves and the lappers.

The initial start to the race took a couple of attempts as the first try was void when several cars came together bringing out the yellow laundry. The second attempt at a start saw the 7A of Corey Almond go for a single car spin. The field would finally get a clean start and race for a short run as damage from the initial attempt at a start would take the #88 of Trent Ivey out of contention on lap 3. The field would race to lap 21 when the 12S of Brian Swank went for a spin collecting the 33 of Jeff Matthews. On the ensuing restart the 5 of Mark Whitener went for a spin after contact from the 111 of Max Blair. Two more cautions were for flat tires when the 56jr of Colton Horner on lap 33 and Mark Whitener on lap 38 setting up a two-lap dash to the finish.

Sheppard would be able to re-establish his lead as he flashed under the Sunoco Race Fuels checkered flag. 

For additional news visit www.nesmithracing.com

Duane Howard Takes Home Wild Card Weekend November 12, 2016

Duane Howard Takes Home Wild Card Weekend

SWEDESBORO, NJ – It was the Wild Card Weekend with the final hands to be played in the 2016 Colonial Pipeline 8-1-1 Dig Safely Poker Series for all three divisions of Big Block Modifieds, Crate/Sportsman and Outlaw Stocks. The final race date of the 2016 season was sponsored by Spirit Auto Center and in spite of the unseasonable cold temperatures, the racing action was HOT – leaving the fans with some great memories to recall during the off-season.

The Spirit Auto Center Big Block Modifieds raced in the Gone But Not Forgotten 40 lap finale with the Poker Series Champion to be determined by the race’s outcome.

The race saw three different leaders and a half dozen lead changes that ended with a last lap pass, racing to the checkered win for Duane Howard in a race that was clearly dominated by Richie Pratt, Jr. Pratt was wheeling a second Pat Michael owned No. 51m as a team mate to Dominick Buffalino.

Howard jumped into the early lead by outgunning pole sitter Craig VonDohren on the start. After leading the first seven laps, Howard relinquished the race lead to Friday night winner, Ryan Godown and the Hewlett owned No. 901. Howard was back on top for two laps before Pratt raced into the lead like a man on a mission. Pratt not only took the lead but drove away from the field. Unfortunately, Pratt’s mount started to spew smoke through the corners at about the same time.

When Rick Laubach came to a stop on the backstretch, Pratt’s advantage was erased and the field lined up double file with ten laps to go. Pratt elected the outside for the restart but it was Howard who got to the green flag first. Pratt chased Howard through turns one and two and came away with the lead as they exited turn two and headed down the backstretch.

Pratt held the advantage over Howard as the leaders took the white flag but his lead was reduce to a car length or two. Howard shot to the inside as they came off of turn four. With the checkered flag waving, it was Howard who edged ahead of Pratt for the win.

It was a tough race to lose but Pratt had an outstanding outing that left many fans commenting about how it was the best race they had ever seen. Dominick Buffalino followed in third with the second 51m with Craig VonDohren charging through the top ten in the final laps to capture fourth. Neal Williams won the battle for fifth after racing with Ryan Watt and Danny Johnson late in the race.

The win gave Howard his third Ace of the Poker Series and the 2016 811 Dig Safely Poker Series Championship for the former track champion.

For additional news visit www.dirttrackdigest.com

Clanton Claims $10k Payday at the Showdown at Senoia November 12, 2016

Clanton Claims $10k Payday at the Showdown at Senoia

Shane Clanton from Zebulon ran flag to flag Saturday night to claim the $10,000 top prize at the inaugural running of the ‘Showdown at Senoia’ year end auto racing extravaganza at the 3/8ths mile bull ring in Senoia.  Clanton jumped in front of polesitter Jimmy Owens of Newport, TN and then held off a late race scare provided by Winston’s Michael Page.

“It’s always good to win.  It’s even better to win close to home,” said Clanton afterwards on the front stretch.

The 2015 Craftsman Tools World of Outlaws Late Model Tour champion, Shane Clanton, used the high side of the slick racing gumbo clay to sneak past Owens.  Then he slowly made his way back to the bottom increasing his lead through the middle part of the 60-lap main event.

Michael Page emerged as his strongest contender near the halfway mark and then began to pressure Clanton as the two began to work lapped traffic.  Clanton went low on the slower traffic entering turn three on lap 52 which allowed Page to sneak past on the highside.  But, that tease at the lead was short lived as Clanton charged past the lapped car while Page had to slow slightly giving Clanton the lead back.  That close call was enough for Clanton to turn it up a notch and he pulled away through the final few laps to claim the victory.

Michael Page settled for second place ahead of Evans’ Brandon Overton in third.  Kansas hot shoe Chase Junghans was fourth followed by polesitter Jimmy Owens.  Short track dirt racing ace Scott Bloomquist finished in sixth place while Mississippi’s David Breazeale was seventh.  Acworth’s TJ Reaid was eighth, Tennessee’s Riley Hickman ninth and the race’s hard-charger was Cartersville teenager Zach Leonhardi rounding out the first ten.  Leonhardi started eighteenth after making the field with a win in the second consolation race.

For addiional news visit www.senoiaraceway.com

Richards Crowned Champion for the Fourth Time October 30, 2016

Richards Crowned Champion for the Fourth Time

CONCORD, N.C. – Nov. 1, 2016 – After Shane Clanton’s son, Gunnar, helped add the final sparkle to Josh Richards' No. 1 Valvoline/ Seubert Calf Ranches Rocket car, Richards knew it was his time to shine – for the fourth time. Clanton, the defending series champion, passed the torch to Richards Sunday night at the World of Outlaws Craftsman® Late Model Series Night of Champions Banquet.

“I was the little kid playing in the dirt,” said Richards in front of his peers. “You just dream that someday, at the end of the day, you’re the guy at the top winning the championship. I never thought this season would be possible. It just means so much to me, to be able to do what I love to do. This is our fourth time, and it’s [still] overwhelming. It wouldn’t have been possible without everyone who put their faith and support in me.”

Richards’ dream season was a culmination of his consistent performances and the solid work ethic of his team. The Mark Richards Racing driver went home with some serious hardware: a trophy, ring, a Craftsman® toolbox, and a $100,000 check. He was last crowned champion in 2013.

But Richards wasn’t the only member of his team to earn recognition. Team owner and Rocket Chassis founder Mark Richards was honored with the Chassis Builder of the Year Award, and Crew Chief Danny White received the Integra Shocks Crew Chief of the Year Award.

“I don’t know if I really deserve it, but it’s neat,” said White, who joined the tour in 2011. “Rick Eckert took a big leap of faith with me [in 2011]. I sent him a resume, and he called me the next day saying, ‘Yeah, we’d like to try you out.’ He kept the faith in me and got me to where I am today. I think Mark [Richards] has more confidence in me than I have in me. That builds me up and lets me do my job, and I’m doing things I would have never dreamed of.”

Andy Durham, the owner of Durham Engines, took home the Engine Builder of the Year Award. Durham manufactured Richards’ power plants for the year, and as a token of his appreciation, Josh Richards gave the Craftsman toolbox to him so, “he can keep the hard work up.”

“Josh, what can I say,” Durham said. “You went to Florida, started winning and never stopped. I’m just very blessed to be a part of it."

In 39 starts, Richards and company compiled 18 wins, 31 top-five and 36 top-10 performances. The No. 1 team won a heat race in all but 10 shows, and recorded a fast time in nearly 31 percent of the season’s races. Moreover, Richards broke the series’ season wins and career wins records, 18 and 75 respectively.

“My crew back at the shop all dug in when we were a little behind last year,” said Mark Richards, remembering last year’s hiccups. “We were on a swing out West [last year], we came home from Cedar Lake [Speedway] – kind of a long trip because we didn’t run well – and I told the guys at the shop, ‘Hey, we’ve got to go to work.’ I knew we had to develop a new car [for this year]. It took some time to get that done, but we got it done. I can’t thank all the guys enough who made it happen.”

For additional news visit www.woolms.com