HyperFest… To not mince words, it is basically a “Car Party”. From NASA club racing to drifting to rally dirt to show cars and party music and light shows and RC races and fans out simply to have some fun with their own cars in the middle of it all.
There really is something for almost everyone. Maybe… Perhaps… If you were prone to be picky you could ask about drag racing and dirt sprints but you would just get those “Really…? With all we have you can’t find something…?” looks.
A drag racing segment and some hot laps in sprint cars on the rally course would be something… But in reality, there is more than enough action all through the facility at Virginia International Raceway to keep things moving.
We were there for a lot of the track action. The weather for this one started Friday and Saturday with some rain. By late morning on both days the weather was much more favorable.
For race results from NASA competition, check their website: NASA Mid Atlantic. Hyperfest Photos from Friday and Saturday are below. *Yes, we skipped out on Saturday evening. We’re old and 14 hour days are behind us.
Racing is a historic backdrop of South Boston. Names have begun and careers have been born here. Friday, April 29th more history was made as speed set a new standard. It happened in 12 seconds.
That’s all it took for Charlie Schultz to set a lap record at SoBo. It was a thing to see. A bit weird, but still a thing.
Those Sprint cars are quick! They are light and have gobs of power and the big, angled wings look off balance and a bit fragile. Somehow, it all works. Schultz made it work turning laps and marking a record time of 12.051 seconds.
We weren’t there to see a lap record. However, we haven’t seen the the Sprints before so as an aside, perhaps we were.
These things run hot and fast. They average 3 seconds per lap faster than the late models that run at SoBo. The races are short at 30 laps. Drivers are on edge constantly as they are so light and fast they want to slide and you can see them working the steering wheel constantly. The potential for danger was addressed by the staff and officials by closing off some areas usually open to fans.
All in all, the Friday show went off well with the Sprints putting in a good preview for the Saturday action which had the late models on with an expanded event. For Friday, the results and photos are below.
You’ve been on the short side of it… The internet goes down or your router blips and the wi-fi drops out and none of your devices work right…
It’s a bit like that. The thing that caused a bit of confusion and almost a fight at Motor Mile Speedway on Saturday night. (April 23, 2022)
The transponders… They are the things in the race cars that electronically count the laps and tag the positions on the race track. These are either owned by the teams or supplied by the race track. The second late Model race at Motor Mile was an example of confusion caused by an intermittent transponder.
That, however, was later in the evening… Racing was spread over eight classes including the visiting Southern Ground Pounders which actually comprised two of those classes. Sportsman, Super Street, Mod-4, UCar and Pure-4 joined the late model and Ground Pounders on this Saturday afternoon at Motor Mile.
The Ground Pounders bring a bit of nostalgia to the tracks they run on. It’s a rolling car show from a time gone by! The Sportsman and Super Street brought some numbers to the track as both classes had over 15 competitors chasing hot laps. The show in these races gave fans a good view for competition! The Late Models ran only six cars on this one but the drama was there. The Mod-4 and combined UCar / Pure4 ran a fair showing, also.
As for the Late Model transponders… Three (at least) drivers and teams were impacted in one way or another. An earlier caution had shaken the field of six cars and put the early leaders on the back. The #4 of Kyle Dudley flatted in turns one and two and quite possibly made contact with the #87 of Mike Looney as both cars came through turns three and four off the back. They managed to get back up on the bunch and get around as the final laps turned. However, the failing electronics did not represent this on the scoring tower.
This was unknown to most at the time. As the final laps ran down on the white flag, the #17 of Bryan Reedy was shown in the lead with the #75 of Cory Dunn chasing. At the checkers the #17 was shown on top. Moments later, however, The #17 and #75 were pushed to spots two and three as the #87 was placed on top.
So… From our vantage point… Bryan Reedy won, but didn’t. So Mike Looney won…? Well, read on…
This was explained by a track official as the transponder in the #87 was not working but had actually regained the lead several laps before. This manual adjustment of the scoring did not sit well with the team that was being shown in 6th (#4 Kyle Dudley) spot which prompted some heated words and what appeared to be a “fighting posture” on the front stretch concerning the contact that had put the #4 down with a rear flat. Some fun words were exchanged… Maybe an unsanctioned hand gesture…
It is actually a tad ironic. Dudley had won the first late Model feature with Looney in the 2nd spot. Looney congratulated the #4 driver as Dudley smiled and gratefully shook hands. That happy meeting was quickly tossed aside as Dudley was quite angry with Looney at the conclusion of race number two.
It is also ironic, perhaps, that later it was determined the transponder in Dudley’s car was actually one lap off. Once the reviews on the positions were done it was found, and announced the next day, that the actual winner of race two was Kyle Dudley. As in race one, Looney was again in the 2nd slot and Reedy was scored in third for this second race.
It took truckloads of dirt… Some rain… and maybe a bit of desperation. Racing at Bristol with the “new” Next Gen car brought some of the short track action that, well maybe…, perhaps…, had been missing at Martinsville.
Richmond had a promising show with 13 lead changes traded over 7 drivers so there was some competition on the track. The cautions were light at Richmond but more so at Martinsville. Bristol did put on a show with the dirt surface but it was spread out with the rain delays. The “Dirt Race” lead changed over 6 times among 5 drivers and the cautions, including the stages and competition pit stops, totaled 14 through 89 laps.
The Food City Dirt Race at Bristol did bring a finish for the books. Tyler Reddick and Chase Briscoe were racing for the front and Briscoe pushed the limits on a final lap dive. The #14 Ford went loose on the rain slick dirt and touched up on Reddick’s #8 Chevy. Both cars went sideways as the #14 lost several slots. Reddick managed to correct the #8 but not before Kyle Busch drove by both in the M&Ms #18 Toyota.
Busch claimed the checkered flag at Bristol. Reddick stayed on track for the 2nd slot and Briscoe’s hard dive was rewarded with a mid-field finish.
This car still has to gain some track time and mileage. NASCAR will be reviewing the entire package from the aero to the tires. Short track racing put this car in such tight competition that the effort to pass and gain position was pressed almost flat. The dirt surface and weather at Bristol allowed some of these apparent limitations to fall away.
The speed at Darlington should bring the car back into a competitive nature. This package has advantages for speed. It will be interesting to see what changes NASCAR may put forth for a racing show when the short tracks come around again on the schedule.
This car is a major step forward. It looks good. The engineering is superb and in line with the performance across other series and in the showroom. For NASCAR, it may just be a tweak or two to make it work better from track to track.
Age and resources are working a balancing act in Callaway, Virginia. The current management and operations have been digging deep to make it all work as a racing place for fans and drivers. The hurdles have been large and the results are falling into place. Franklin County Speedway is not Le Mans… It is not Martinsville… It is not South Boston… It is just Franklin County and it is being pulled as best as can into 21st century racing. That may mean unforeseen surprises (track fix during a race) but the on track show is straight up.
That was the case Sunday evening (April 10) as the SMART Modified Tour took over with racing on the back side of the hill at Franklin County Speedway. The “Kenny Minter Classic” SMART Tour event ran Sunday as there was a rather big event down the road at Martinsville for the earlier bit of the weekend. NASCAR ran the top tiers Thursday through Saturday so the decision was made to run the Franklin County races on Sunday. It was better weather on Sunday so it all went for the best.
The qualifying and autograph session drew fans in. SMART / NASCAR legend Bobby Labonte is a fan favorite on the tour and welcomed folks with signed cards and selfie shots. The regular series drivers, many with records and titles themselves, joined Bobby on the track as fans came by. Burt and Jason Myers, Jonathan Brown, Brandon Ward, Jeremy Gerstner, Gary Putnam… These and more were lined up to greet fans.
There were five races set. Mini Stocks, Stock4, 602 Mods and Stock6/Bootleg filled the bill with the SMART Mods running in the middle main.
The 110 lap Kenny Minter Classic set off with Gary Putnam on the pole. However, it wasn’t long before the front was being pulled in and challenged by Jonathan Brown and Jeremy Gerstner. Through contact cautions and a brief red flag for quick fix on the racing surface, Brown seemed to be driving the car to beat.
It turned out not to be the best call as Bobby Labonte stayed out while most others took advantage of a mid race pit stop. Labonte in the Cookout #25 did restart in front of the field but aging tires allowed the better equipped cars to quickly get by. This included Brown and Brandon Ward who battled for the front but it was Jeremy Gerstner who followed Jonathan Brown over the line.
The Top Five – SMART Modified Kenny Minter Classic
22 Jonathan Brown
79 Jeremy Gerstner
14 Bobby Measmer Jr.
1 Burt Myers
25 Bobby Labonte
Racing began with the 30 lap Mini Stock division. The Stock4 ran afterwards. The SMART Mods ran the main followed by 602 Mods with a 60 lap run. The Stock6 – Bootleggers ran a combined 25 laps to close out the evening.
The Mini Stock winner: Scott Foley The Stock4 winner: Darrell Chrisley The 602 Modified winner: Tanner Young The Stock6 winner: Chad McDowell The Bootleg winner: Brad Holt
There is more action coming to Franklin County Speedway. Weekly, or bi-weekly schedules are on with Late Models, Mini Stocks, Bootlegs and more. The CARS Tour is returning later this year. Bring a lawn chair or a cushion seat and check out some racing in Callaway!
Full Photo Gallery – April 10, 2022 – Kenny Minter Classic / SMART Modified Tour
Doubles on doubles. William Byron came into Martinsville with some momentum of an early season win. He already notched his playoff spot with a March win at Atlanta. However, there was a lot of hunger from a lot of drivers coming into the 75th year of racing at the historic raceway.
Racing was set to start with Chase Elliott on the pole. However, the weather took center stage about the time of driver introductions with cold rain and some reports of a snow flurry blowing by. The rain held the scheduled start for a bit over an hour before the track went green.
It was Chase Elliott’s race to lose while running up front for the start through the finish of stage 2. Byron, however, was on the bumper of the #9 for both stages and managed to win the race out of the pits for the run on stage 3.
Byron held on for the remainder of the race even as green flag pit stops cycled through. A late race tap of the wall by Todd Gilliland left the door open with a green-whit restart. Joey Logano made a bump move but Byron hung on to the #24 to take the win. Logano came in second with Austin Dillon coming in the third spot.
The other double beyond the second Cup win for 2022…? William Byron had also won the Camping World Series race at Martinsville on Thursday night.
At the end of the racing for Blue Emu weekend at Martinsville, William Byron came away looking for space for two Ridgeway Grandfather Clocks. Perhaps there was some old #24 magic blowing about as Jeff Gordon was around the pit and garage area and both he and Byron noted a long-time friendship. Byron spoke how Gordon would give him pointers or things to watch well before his actual driving career hit its stride. It took time, he said, but those conversations began to fall into place the more laps he ran at the “paperclip”.
Next up is Bristol – Racing on the dirt!
The Top 5 at Martinsville – The Blue Emu Maximum Pain Relief 400
It was a weekend for Toyota at Richmond Raceway. The NASCAR Cup and Xfinity Series in April have carried the Toyota sponsorship for quite a while. The ToyotaCare 250 already notched the manufacturer with an Xfinity win Saturday as Ty Gibbs grabbed the checkered flag.
The NASCAR Cup Toyota Owners 400 doubled down as Denny Hamlin drove the #11 FedEx Toyota to a Sunday win.
It did not look so obvious at the start. Ryan Blaney in the #12 Penske Ford and William Byron in the Liberty #12 Chevy started out on row 1 with the drop of the green. Blaney held the lead for the stage one win with Byron right there for second.
Blaney started stage two out front but Martin Truex, Jr took over following green flag pit stops. Truex and Christopher Bell traded off but the stage 2 win went to Truex with Bell claiming second. The #19 and #20 of Truex and Bell put Toyota in the spotlight at the stage 2 half way point.
The restart for the final stage put the #19 and the #20 back into running order. A caution brought on by a triple car shot as Cole Custer and Ty Dillon touched which pushed into Austin Cindric. William Byron stays out as others pit for position on the lead at the restart.
Martin Truex, Jr was chasing on the #24 of Byron. As laps ticked by, Truex stayed on the #24 but Kyle Larson, Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin were making gains. Hamlin was running fresher tires than the rest and made better time.
At five laps to go Hamlin went by Truex and took the inside of the #24. Harvick also drove the advantage of the high side #24 and followed the #11 by. Hamlin and Harvick ran one and two for the checkers.
The racing doesn’t have too far to go for the next event. NASCAR Cup, Xfinity and Camping World Series all make their way to Martinsville for the next race weekend. Blue Emu / Call 811 weekend runs late in the day Thursday through Saturday to finish under the lights at the historic “paperclip”, celebrating 75 years of NASCAR at the track.
Full Photo Gallery of the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway – April 3, 2022