There are days at race tracks that add up in a variety of ways. It is a bit rare, however, for a mid-June weekend to be practically a paved post card. Blue skies and pleasant temperatures that stayed in the “not going to kill you” range. Throw in the naturally scenic views of Virginia International Raceway and some sexy fast and exotic racing variety and you have an epic showcase of speed.

FANATEC GT World Challenge America (powered by AWS) weekend is one of the showcase spectator events at VIR and offers fans a very generous show. The weather was a gift and the track was full and active. It was also a perfect start to the Southern Virginia Motorsports Council three-way ticket of VIR, Virginia Motorsports Park and South Boston Speedway.

The weekend was very much an automotive showcase with international flavor. It’s as much a rolling car show as it is a racing event. The visual of seeing these cars being taken to the edge of their performance with speed and handling can be majestic. Your mind sees what a layman’s concept of physics implies shouldn’t be possible. The color and sheer badge variety is a stunning display for fans of cars and driving.

The weekend brought several series to the track. GT World Challenge, GT and TC, GT4 and an open wheel show with Skip Barber Racing. Multiple classes within the series gave fans a full course of action for each event. Friday had practice sessions. Saturday ran qualifying and round one of weekend races. Sunday ran the second race sessions for all classes. Racing at VIR put rounds 5 and 6 on the books for the 13 round series schedule.

For many fans the results are secondary to seeing these cars being driven at speed. Lamborghini and Ferrari are expected to be fast but are rarely seen on common roads so they, and others, draw attention. However, seeing more common cars such as Honda, Nissan and Hyundai keeping pace with BMW and Porsche is also just as fun and makes racing more identifiable for many fans driving these common badges every day.

SRO/GTWC is racing at premiere road tracks around the Country. Sonoma, Sebring and Road America are on the schedule. Watkins Glen comes up next month. VIR still has IMSA/WeatherTech, SCCA and SVRA events on the calendar so Virginia fans still have plenty of sports car action to look forward to.

Photo Gallery and Results for SRO / GT World Challenge – Saturday. June 18, 2022

GT America – (Race 1)

SRO3 - 1st -  George Kurtz - Crowdstrike Racing - #4 Mercedes AMG GT3 	
SRO3 - 2nd -  Jeff Burton - Zelus Motorsports -  #191 Lamborghini Huracan GT3
SRO3 - 3rd - Jason Harward - Zelus Motorsports - #88 Lamborghini Huracan GT3
GT2 - 1st - CJ Moses - GMG Racing - #58 Audi R8 LMS GT2
GT4 - 1st - Adam Adelson - Premier Racing - #120 Porsche Cayman GT4 RS
GT4 - 2nd - Moisey Uretsky - Accelerating Performance - #55 Aston Martin Vantage GT4 
GT4 - 3rd - Jason Bell - GMG Racing - 	#2  Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4

TC America – (Race 1)

TCX - 1st - Colin Garrett - Rooster Hall racing - #44 BMW M2 CS (Cup) 
TCX - 2nd - Stephen Cugliari - Accelerating Performance - #57 BMW M2 CS (Cup) 
TCX - 3rd - Lucas Catania - Rigid Speed - #26 BMW M2 CS (Cup)
TC  - 1st - Kevin Boehm - Skip Barber Racing - #9 Honda Civic Type-R 
TC  - 2nd - Jeff Ricca - Genracer / Ricca Autosport - #78 Hyundai Veloster 
TC  - 3rd - Clay Williams - MINI JCW Team - #60 Mini JCW Pro TC
TCA - 1st - Gresham Wagner - TechSport Racing- #21 Subaru BRZ 
TCA - 2nd - Devin Anderson  - TechSport Racing- #22 Subaru BRZ 
TCA - 3rd - Carter Fartuch - Skip Barber Racing - #16 Honda Civic Si

GT World Challenge America – (Race 1)

Pro - 1st - Michele Beretta / Andrea Caldarelli - K-Pax Racing
#1 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 		
Pro - 2nd - Michael Dinan / Robby Foley - Turner Motorsport
#96 BMW M4 GT3
Pro - 3rd - Misha Goikhberg, Jordan Pepper - K-PAX Racing
#3 Lamborghini Huracan GT3
Pro/Am  - 1st - Justin Wetherill / Ryan Dalziel - Triarsi Competizione
#13 Ferrari 488 GT3 	
Pro/Am - 2nd - Charlie Luck / Jan Heylen - Wright Motorsports
#45 Porsche 911 GT3-R 
Pro/Am - 3rd - David Askew / Dirk Muller - DXDT Racing
#63 Mercedes-AMG GT3

Pirelli GT4 America – (Race 1)

Silver - 1st -  Eric Filgueiras / Stevan McAleer – RS1
#18 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS	
Silver - 2nd - Gavin Sanders / Michai Stephens - Conquest Racing/JMF Motorsports
#34 Mercedes-AMG GT4 
Silver - 3rd - Kris Wilson / Cole Ciraulo - Capstone Motorsports
#32 Mercedes-AMG GT4
Pro/Am  - 1st - Tom Capizzi / John Capestro-Dubets - Auto Technic Racing
#52 BMW M4 GT4 
Pro/Am - 2nd - Edgar Lau / Mike Skeen - ARG/Rotek Racing
#124 Ford Mustang GT4 	
Pro/Am  - 3rd - Adam Adelson / Elliott Skeer - Premier Racing
#120 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS
Am - 1st - Charlie Postins / James Clay – BimmerWorld
#36 BMW M4 GT4 
Am - 2nd - Alain Stad / Seth Thomas – NOLASPORT
#19 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS
Am - 3rd - Nelson Calle / Juan Martinez – RS1
#83 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS

The weekend of June 4 was a bit wide open for short track racing. The choices were all open. The dirt at Natural Bridge or Wythe was on and South Boston was running a “triple crown” preview for the upcoming Thunder Road Harley Davidson 200.

However… Motor Mile in Radford was running hot on two levels. The Saturday night speedway action for June 4 Heroes Night presented twin Late Models and Limited Sportsman races with Super Street, U-Car and Pure-4. The oval action had fast company with a full weekend running the straight line on the drag strip. Motor Mile Dragway also had a full paddock so the choice was made to double down in Radford,

The Drag Strip is running a full local schedule for 2022 so there is time to catch it. Friday Night Fury and Brackets are on tap into August with local street challenges and more sprinkled in. The paddock and staging has a large area for competitors with a call tower and VIP suite at the start line. There is plenty of seating on both sides of the lanes for spectators. We had a window to check it out before action got started at the oval.

Test and tune went off Friday with the Brackets getting on Saturday and into Sunday. It took a few runs and some questions to get it straight but we caught up. The variety of racing was wide open. Classics, vintage and street were all mixed in during the day while the oval was getting the teams to the infield. There were even some juniors racing and they were just as quick on the throttle as the adults. This will be on the list for a follow up visit.

Motor Mile Dragway – June 4, 2022 – Photo Gallery

The oval at Motor Mile Speedway was set for a full Saturday evening beginning with a tribute to all who have served in the military and in public safety. Racing went off on the evening schedule on time but quickly set the stage for some excitement. Points racing for the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series was on tap with support series filling the schedule.

The “Total Car Care” Mod-4 were shaken up under the green flag as Jonathan Hall got turned around on the start. The restart came off OK and, despite a banged up race car, Jonathan Hall managed a third place finish. Doodle Lang put his #22 in Victory Lane as Kevin Canter came in second.

The next challenge ran the first of two Collision Plus Limited Sportsman races. The finish was not much different from the start. There were some deep challenges but most fell back as the top three at the finish started in the top four positions. The winner, Daryn Cockram, also started on the pole. Karl Budzevski and Jacob Porter finished second and third. Brad Foy, who started outside of Cockram, fell back a bit to hold sixth at the end.

For Super Street, presented at Motor Mile by DCT Towing, brought the challenge as the front starters fought for position early on. Daniel Eakin and Scooter Hollandsworth were close but the #16 of Hollandsworth lost some tack and fell back. Hard charging a few spots back, Bryce Blake managed to climb up for a second place finish behind Eakin. Scooter held on for third.

We’re mid-season at Motor Mile and the Price’s Body Shop Late Model division is showing signs of growth. A track this size with this kind of facility should be drawing more drivers. Granted… Late Model racing is not a cheap run but for southwest Virginia there is not a lot of racing but for the dirt at Wythe and some hot laps in coal country at Lonesome Pine. So… Bring it on!

For the first of the twin 50 lap features, it was another front challenge for Kyle Dydley and Mike Looney. Bryan Reedy started on pole but couldn’t keep the chargers in the mirrors as Cory Dunn made it by. Dunn and Looney raced the front for several laps but a fiery caution brought the race to a stop. Zeke Shell likely had a fluid leak that sparked up into a front end fire in turns three and four. Shell came out of the #1 OK but was out for this one. The restart allowed Kyle Dudley to get back into the challenge and as the final laps wound out, Dunn fell back to third as Dudley and Looney traded the front by bumper lengths. For race one, it was Dudley, Looney and Dunn in first, second and third. Pole starter Reedy put the #17 in for fourth.

The second Collision Plus Limited Sportsman event rolled out and shook up. The field chased the front from the mid and forward. The pole starter, Drew Bond, fell back to fifth at the finish. Karl Budzevski took the win as Dale Cline and Jacob Porter came across the line in second and third.

With racing well under the lights, the Blue Ridge Church U-Car / Pure 4 combined to make a couple of restarts to get around for lap one. At the finish, it was Cary Thomason on top for UCar and William Hale took the top spot in Pure-4.

The final feature of the evening brought the Price’s Body Shop Late Models back to the track. Early racing bunched up in turn three and four and the attrition for late racing began. Kyle Dudley, who had won the first Late Model feature, got jammed up in it and was out of the contest. With Dudley out, the front was contested by Mike Looney and Cory Dunn but it was Looney that held the lead at the end. Dunn held the second and Bryan Reedy came up for third.

Motor Mile Speedway – Heroes Night – June 4, 2022 – Full Gallery

France. For Americans, France is not top of mind for racing until it comes time for 24 Hours of Le Mans or Formula 1 at Monaco. (Yes, Monaco is actually its own entity but you can only get there along the French Riviera “really rich” or by sea “really, really, really rich”).

Most are unaware of rally sport racing which is practically as common in Europe as short track late model racing is here in America. From open wheel to motorcycles, France has hosted a long history in motor sport. However, as Americans, we rarely acknowledge it. Most of us relegate France to some big, bicycle race that was cool while our guy was over there kicking it only to be kicked himself for dope cheating (another time).

A brief look at French racing sets the stage as an introduction to a man who now makes Roanoke his home. He has a bit of a wheel man background, he is a respected professional photographer in the area and continues to be fascinated by speed.

Early 1990s France – Flathead Hot Rod photo by Benoit Pigeon
France – Hot Rod road trip with Benoit Pigeon
France – Roadside Hot Rod – Photo by Benoit Pigeon

Benoit Pigeon is, at first glance, a humble and reserved gentleman. As a photographer, his professional focus is also a bit reserved. He very well may be the “go to” camera man for product photography in the region. Furniture, jewelry, industrial, electronics… And yes, cars!

It is quite likely you’ve seen his work on billboards and other advertising in the area. He has a long history with furniture manufacturers and retail centers. He has the required eye for detail and lighting which is essential for making even the most mundane stand out. For his automotive images he takes this attention to detail down to the highlight bouncing off the smallest bit of chrome.

As a driver, he is a family man and a business man so, yes, he has a mini van. However, as he was coming of age back in France, his driving instruction included hands on lessons from Maïté Poussin and husband Jaques Poussin. Benoit was getting first hand driving lessons from rally-cross champions! During this time he was working at a Renault automotive shop which was also an Alpine dealer which catered to sports car enthusiasts. His fascination with cars was being further reinforced. His first race experience was a visit as a kid to a drag race event in southern France. Later, in the mid-1980s, he visited a drag racing school in Florida. He garnered some funny car and dragster track time which led to a magazine article on the experience.

Florida – Drag Racing School – Benoit Pigeon getting wheel time on the strip

Benoit even pulled a stint with French car manufacturer, Citroen, driving and testing at LaFerte Vidame where Peugeot / Citroen has a private track. The area of the historic palace and fortress with the track close by has been host to car shows and races.

He still had his photography interest floating in his mind and attended photography school, which set his path to land in Roanoke. He met the woman who would be his wife while she was attending a close by university. This led him to America. New York, to be specific. He worked at a custom, professional photographers’ photo lab. From New York, he came to Roanoke and camera / photo store Ewald Clark and then to became a working photographer at Moody Graphics.

He went on his own, developing clients from known associates and expanding his experience as he went, He came to New York in ’92 and has been running his own commercial photography business in Roanoke since 2005.

For racing, Benoit has an impressive resume and his work has been featured in varied print and online outlets. His knowledge of photography and the nature of racing at a drag strip is a key to his image quality. There really is only one chance to grab the shots as those cars power off that line. Watching the lights and the tires compress and feeling the vibrations from the engines all calculate to the timing of clicking off the shutter. His photos bring you into his view and his world within a fraction of a second.

Cover and feature photos in RPM magazine by Benoit Pigeon

He’s very good at it. He has also developed a reputation for shooting and showcasing the cars for their owners. From specified highlight photos for an article or wall art photos of clients’ cars, Benoit Pigeon has the eye and experience to get it done beautifully.

Benoit’s commercial website: Pigeon Photography
Find more race photos: Bang Shift online

Benoit Pigeon – Micro Gallery

OK. This one was a bit out of “roaming range” for the average weekend. However, Winchester Speedway hosted United Racing Club Winged Sprints and we were already in the area for other business. The Sprints gave us a convenient excuse to skip out and check out the racing at Winchester. We wanted to check the contrast of the paved MSR Sprints we witnessed at South Boston with the dirt action for the URC Sprint cars. Winchester racing did not disappoint.

URC Sprints taking off at Winchester Speedway

URC Sprints were guests sharing the track with Limited Late Model, Mid Atlantic Modified and UCar with Sport Compact Dirt Racing Association events. The evening racing was sponsored by J & D Truck And Auto Repair, also located in Winchester.

We picked a pretty good night to visit. Each of the classes for racing put double digit entries on the track with multiple groups of practice and heat races to give fans a good preview for the features. The stands were filling up as teams warmed up. The larger seating held the announcer tower centered on the concrete bleachers on the flag tower and start / finish front stretch. A smaller set of bleachers were opposite on the back stretch but also gave a bit of a view of staging and team work areas.

Now… Let’s take a minute here. Racing at Winchester goes back to 1936 running almost side by side with the local airport. It has passed through several hands to the current owner, Greg Gunter, who also owns a popular honey outlet in the area. The concrete bleachers were built in the early 1970s. To be straight, the restrooms and some of the lower areas under the stands could use a makeover. However, like many local tracks, the focus on attracting drivers and cars to race to keep fans in the seats is a balancing act of available funds so some things are on a persistent “to do” list.

There is very little in the infield at Winchester. There is a basic inspection rollover and no buildings at all. The water equipment for track prep, tow / push vehicles, emergency ambulance crew and a couple of porta-johns are about it. A few of the UCars made the base inside but most, including the Late Models, Modified and Sprints were all staged in a much larger area outside of the back stretch and turn 3.

It should also be noted the local fans who populated the stands on this warm, May evening did not seem concerned about anything but the show on the track. Events and timing went fairly smoothly, for the most part. The start of the features were a bit off as the schedule was juggled and some did not get the memo but once the track went hot it went off well.

Three wide Late Model racing at Winchester Speedway

Racing is quick on these dirt tracks. Winchester is no different. Drivers had to make every effort in the heats to make a good start in the feature. Racing was close and drivers made use of multiple lines to get around. Of course there were some spins and one UCar driver went end over top but came out OK. For an evening of racing, the dirt at Winchester offers a good show. An open mind on expectations of the rest rooms may help, but the racing…? The racing is fast, close and lap to lap action keeps the eyes on the track. It’s worth a run to check out some racing at Winchester.

Results from J&D Auto-Truck Repair Night at Winchester Speedway.

URC Sprint Feature One

  • Josh Weller
  • Jason Shultz
  • Adam Carberry

URC Sprint Feature Two

  • Kevin Darling
  • Jake Karklin
  • Andy Best

SCDRA / UCAR

  • Andrew Hoffner
  • Robbie Carrol
  • Jason Jarvis
  • Shawn Payne
  • Rusty Poston

Limited Late Model

  • Wesley Bonebrake
  • Jonathan DeHaven
  • Justin Fulton
  • Bubby Tharp Jr
  • Craig Parrill
  • Levi Crowl

Mid-Atlantic Modified

  • Andy Anderson
  • Michael Altobelli Jr
  • Rick Hulson
  • TJ DeHaven
  • Justin Cullum
  • Mike Franklin

Full Photo Gallery Below

PHOTOS from Winchester Speedway – *Photos are display / showcase purposes only* Images available for sale from the evening may be purchased from official source: WRT Speedwerx

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.

Pure Stock

1st Nathan Crews #3
2nd Scott Phillips #66
3rd BJ Reaves #11

Limited Sportsman

1st Kyle Barnes #00
2nd Chris Donnelly #47
3rd Jason Myers #17

Hornets

1st Jared Dawson #01
2nd Dylan Davis #63
3rd Jason DeCarlo #54

MSR Sprint Cars

1st Bobby Santos, III #22A
2nd Charlie Schultz #9S
3rd Jacob Dolinar #48

USAC Eastern Midgets

1st Neal Allison #10
2nd Brady Allum #87
3rd Joe Liguori #1

PHOTOS – April 29, 2022 – Sentara American Sprints