The SMART Modified Tour (Presente by Pace-O-Matic) came down to 99 laps at Motor Mile Speedway. This race was supposed to be leading up to the championship as originally scheduled on October 1st. Weather issues forced a call to postpone so the “Radford 99” became the SMART season finale.
The namesake of the race, Paul Radford (winner, driver, modified “legend”) was on hand with one of his cars. He earned the nickname “Ferrum Flash” with a string of wins and races around the region.
Coming into the weekend, the top three in SMART Tour points were Caleb Heady, Bobby Labonte and Brandon Ward. However, it would take a stack of situations to take the championship from Heady. Oddly enough, that almost came into play.
Qualifying put Brandon Ward on the pole. Brian Loftin and Burt Myers qualified into the top three. The drama for Heady was put off a bit as Burt Myers appealed off a one race suspension. That could come back to bite him in the 2023 season as he was allowed in at Motor Mile. That just added to competition for Heady.
It went further off the mark as Heady’s car lost the drive shaft early on and put him in the infield for the remainder of the race. Points were still being counted as race positions changed and the race went forward. Brandon Ward took advantage of team strategy and drove to a repeat series win at Motor Mile. Bobby Labonte drove to fourth but the points still fell in Heady’s favor for the championship. Ward and Labonte finished the season in the second and third slots.
The owner points fell much the same with Caleb Heady’s car owner, Tommy Baldwin Jr, taking the overall. Randy Renfrow (Ward) and Terry Hall (Labonte) shared the same slots as the drivers.
Racing on the modified circuit is not over with the SMART Tour finale. This week, the Whelen Modifieds are in the national spotlight from Martinsville Speedway. The Virginia is for Racing Lovers 200 is set for Thursday evening (Oct 27) as part of the “Final 4” NASCAR Cup elimination weekend at Martinsville.
Radford 99 / SMART Modified Tour Championship – Motor Mile Speedway (Oct 22, 2022) Photos: Mike Paris / DoS Images
Late season racing is running up on tracks all over with local and national points on the rack. South Boston Speedway had already run their championship with Layne Riggs edging Peyton Sellers for the track title. Sellers had actually won the two SoBo races that night but Riggs finished close enough to hold the lead in points. The national lead had been cut, however, as Sellers was now 4 points off in the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series championship. It’s a title Sellers is defending…
CMC Supply Championship Night at Motor Mile Speedway was put off by rain from 9/10. There was already a big Monster Truck / Destruction Tour set for the 17th so they ran Friday the 16th. This little bit of scheduling opened the door for some drama. Riggs and Sellers were already going to run the 17th at Dominion Raceway for the last shot at those national points. With racing on for the Friday night before at Motor Mile, it opened the door for another shot to accumulate some points. Let the drama begin…
It was still championship night for Motor Mile regulars even if there were visitors pulling a national points train with them. The train, it seems, turned out get slightly derailed.
But first… Championship Night. The disruption in the late model chase may, or may not, have put ripples in the local contest. Mike Looney held the slight edge over Kyle Dudley coming into the evening but a spin in race #1 and a park on race 2 allowed Dudley to take 2nd and 3rd place points and the track championship. Price’s Body Shop Late Model Race 1: Peyton Sellers, Kyle Dudley, Thomas Scott Price’s Body Shop Late Model Race 2: Peyton Sellers, Cory Dunn, Kyle Dudley Price’s Body Shop Late Model Track Champion 2022: Kyle Dudley
The other divisions that ran for division track champion are below. There were plenty of drivers in these divisions going for wins so the track action was quite good. The charge for the championship points, however, pushed the drivers up front. Total Car Care Mod-4s 1st race: Kevin Canter, Jonathan Hall, Tony Sarver Total Car Care Mod-4 2nd race: Kevin Canter, Tony Sarver, Joe White Total Car Care Mod-4 Champion 2022: Kevin Canter Blue Ridge Church U-Car 1st race: Kirby Shipman, Jamie Lafon, Blake Gordon Blue Ridge Church U-Car 2nd race: Kirby Shipman, Jamie Lafon, Kyle Akers Blue Ridge Church U-Car Champion 2022: Jamie Lafon Blue Ridge Church Pure4 1st race: John Ketron, *William Hale, Larry Stapleton Blue Ridge Church Pure4 2nd race: *William Hale, Larry Stapleton, James Hicks Blue Ridge Church Pure4 Champion 2022: William Hale
Two other divisions raced but their championships come to a close the night of October 1st. That will be a big night for race fans as it is also SMART Modified night! The Sportsman and the Super Streets will have twin races each with the SMART Mods running a 99 lap charge in the middle. For CMC Supply night on the 16th, the top 3 finishers are below and the *asterisk marks the current points leader. Collision Plus Sportsman: Kyle Barnes, Drew Bond, *Karl Budzevski DCT Towing Super Streets: Brent Bell, *Hank Turman, Taylor Ransom NOTE: Drew Bond may be points out of the championship hunt but his 2nd place was shadowed by his first place ring presentation. He proposed during post race presentations and, if the smiles were any indication, his girlfriend advanced her position to fiancé!)
As for the “out of towners” Sellers and Riggs… The drama seemed to center on another visitor to Motor Mile. He’s a younger driver that has already made waves by winning the ValleyStar 300 at Martinsville Speedway last year. Landon Pembleton was there with his Pembleton Realty #0 Toyota, which just happened to be a car from the Sellers Racing stable. During the earlier practices, Sellers’ #26 Clarence’s Toyota was not delivering. Wrenching and adjustments made little progress. The #0, however, was performing quite well. The two teams and drivers got together, and with so much on the line for Sellers and driver’s points, the decision was made to trade off on the cars. Sellers qualified in, and raced in, the blue #0 Toyota. Pembleton piloted the orange and white #26.
(It should be noted that Landon Pembleton drove an ill performing #26 that is not his usual ride to a 4th and 5th place at an unfamiliar race track. He will be one to watch as a defending winner at the upcoming ValleyStar 300 at Martinsville.)
This driver seat switch did not sit well with some… Layne Riggs was so put off he parked before the green flag during the warming laps of the late model race 2. Mike Looney may have also parked his #87 before the green for similar reasons. Potentially, he still had a run on the track championship but it is also quite possible the #87 was still down on performance from the first race and a turn 3 – 4 spin. Whatever the reasons, it was enough to drop the required car count for national standings. The first race held, as far as we know. The national NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series points battle would carry over to Saturday at Dominion Raceway.
Peyton Sellers is set to return to Motor Mile Speedway for the big LMSC 200 with $10,000 on the table on October 8th. He’ll have a tough path to win as regulars and visitors will also be there to go for that big pot.
PHOTO GALLERY – Motor Mile Speedway – CMC Supply Championship Night – 9/16/2022
Summer weather is a bit unpredictable… For the most part, Saturday night at Motor Mile Speedway had a slight chance of a passing shower. That “slight” chance opened the sky for good 30 minute downpour which, of course, pushed racing back by a little more than 30 minutes. Qualifying was interrupted but track trying was under way by the time the original green flag was to fly. The schedule was juggled just a bit and the scheduled 75 laps of twin Late Model races was cut to 50 laps.
Other than that, the stories at Motor Mile were wide open. The visiting Super Cup Late Models presented a good field of cars. The Late Model “regulars” even had some visitors boosting those numbers on the track. The season has a rivalry challenge brewing as Mike Looney and Kyle Dudley are dominating this season and it seems some of those visitors were taking their shot at making a dent.
Among the visitors were two ladies challenging the Late Models… 15 year old Katie Hettinger (Michigan), who has notched some race wins and has runs in the Carolina Pro and CARS Tours, and Samantha Rohrbaugh (West Virginia), who also runs some Super Cup but was challenging the Late Models at Motor Mile for this one. It was also notable that Katie and Samantha started the first Late Model race side by side on the front row.
Another Late Model interest was Motor Mile regular Bryan Reedy as he was there running a borrowed and blue #77 with a little tape to mark it up as #17 for the evening. His regular car still had lingering damage from the week before.
One more regular season race is on the schedule for Championship points across the board. That comes up in September. The CARS Tour is on tap for the 28th of August. Racing this past Saturday, August 20, did move the standings a bit.
Mike Looney pushed just 5 points beyond Kyle Dudley with his double shot Late Model wins. Dudley drove in the second slot in both and visiting Katie Hettinger drove in third in both. (*We were pleasantly surprised to see Katie there. It was unexpected. We met her last season at Franklin County and look forward to seeing more good results and a hot future.)
Karl Budzevski added to his dominant Sportsman season with double shot wins. The Super Street division has several contenders and Joe White made the win and a move up. Kevin Cantor grabbed a Mod-4 win and also moved within top spot striking distance. Jamie Lafon extended his UCar lead and William Hale did the same in Mod-4.
Larry Berg and Jason Kitzmiller split the Super Cup Late Model wins. Berg took the first and Kitzmiller took the second.
Full Photo Gallery from A-1 Heating and Cooling Night at Motor Mile Speedway
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.
Local track racing at Motor Mile Speedway seems to turning some heads as the crowd was noticeably larger than our last visit there. The track is not slowing down at all for August. In fact, they are turning up on several levels. The track is hot 3 of 4 weekends in August with some profile events.
Friday August 6 – Family Fun Night – Super Cup Stock Car Series. $25.00 per car with Bike Races for the kids, FREE Rusty Wallace Ride-Alongs for Winners during intermission plus UCAR, Sportsman and Big Rig Trucks on display in advance of August 7 FASS racing. Access to Friday Night Fury at the drag strip, too!
Saturday August 14 – Shelor Motor Mile Presents – Kenny Wallace Night – NAAPWS-CT LMSC Twin 60’s Watch The Motor Mile Stars Race Against Kenny Wallace In Two Big 60 Lap Features! Rusty Wallace Racing Experience Championship, Sportsman, Super Street, Mod-4, UCAR
For CMC Supply Night on July 31st, the show brought some racing history out with the The Southern Ground Pounders and began the night with tiny but fast Mini Cup laps. NAAPWS Late Models, Limited Sportsman, Super Street, Mod-4 and U-Car filled the night for a full schedule.