Is there more to “race day” than racing? If you’re one of the drivers or teams then you know there is. A good bit of the previous week has been spent going over the car to make sure all is right. On race day you’re up earlier than most to get sorted and drive to the track to get in, get unloaded and get the car last minute ready for practice. Every driver and team member knows the time and effort is going into that shot at victory lane.
For fans, it’s a little bit different. Make some calls and confirm who is coming along. Fill the car and drive the bunch out to the track. Set up the chairs or grab a slot in the stands. There might be a little tailgating before going inside. Either have a driver and car on the list or pick some to pull for. Have a cold one or two, a hot dog or maybe a famous bologna burger. Cheer and / or boo and shout and jump and go home.
For some, perhaps, race day is an adventure. At the track there may be real interest in the challenges of racing. Watching drivers and teams recover from a flat tire or crash or wondering if the drivers forced to the back can pull it back to the front may play into that adventure. The activity of simply watching the scenery go by on the way to the rack while looking out for interesting things not seen before may be a part of it. It may be as simple as a family outing for a day away from the house.
Whatever the reason or attraction, it is race day. The season is opening up all over the country with the sound of hot laps coming back to tracks like South Boston Speedway. SoBo has gone through a bit of change with long time manager Cathy Rice stepping away last season and a new bunch coming in. The new folks have the drive and passion to push South Boston Speedway forward even as new challenges play out. Nick Igdalsky is the current CEO while also handling Pocono Raceway. Chase and Carly Brashaers are in as GM and Marketing Manager with incoming racing experience from several other tracks and NASCAR affiliations.
The season points opener, sponsored by long time associate Danville Toyota, put several divisions on the track with a really good field of cars in each. In honor of the 65th season of racing at South Boston, the Late Model and Limited Sportsman divisions ran 65 laps with Late Models running two features. Pure Stocks and Hornets filled out the show between the mains.
The Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series pole in race one was set by none other than defending Series and SoBo Champion, Peyton Sellers, in the familiar Clarence’s / Danville Toyota #26. Unfortunately, the car faded to third by the end of race one. Layne Riggs drove to the front in 21 laps and went on with the lead and his first Late Model win at South Boston. Riggs swept the afternoon with the win in the second Late Model race. Sellers was there to challenge but was caught in a second lap crash that put the #26 behind the wall. Several other cars were damaged and out also. Riggs again started mid-field and climbed to the front for the second win.
AAPWS LM Race 1: 1st Layne Riggs, 2nd Mike Looney, 3rd Peyton Sellers, 4th Mark Wertz, 5th Landon Pembelton
AAPWS LM Race 2: 1st Layne Riggs, 2nd Mike Looney, 3rd Mason Bailey, 4th Thomas Scott, 5th Jacob Borst
The Budweiser Limited Sportsman Division also ran a hot 65 laps. Jason Myers was up front by lap two and kept the field behind the #17. Chuck Lawson faded from the front after Myers took the lead and at the end, behind Myers, was Kyle Barnes in second with Bob Davis, Chris Donnelly and Drew Dawson filling out the top five.
The Southside Disposal Pure Stock race ran 30 laps with Johnny Layne on the pole and running up front to the checkers. Scott Phillips came across second with Jarrett Milam finishing third. B.J. Reaves and Jimmy Wade took the 4th and 5th place positions.
The Hornets Division featured some short track drama with contacts, a spin or two and officials stepping between hot tempers. At the end it was two-time division champion Kevin Currin taking the lead with 6 laps remaining and driving on for the win.
Jason DeCarlo finished in slot two with Andrea Ruotolo taking third. Steven Layne and Richard Montgomery came across as four and five.
South Boston is off to a great start with another season highlight coming up on April 2. The SMART Modified Tour is next up at SoBo!!