There is so much going into “race day” that is not so obvious unless the time is taken to look. The attention is drawn to the teams, the drivers, the cars and the unloading and preparation for racing. As such, that is the draw and the focus of the promotion and the ticket.
However, a needed and necessary aspect is operating in the background while in plain sight. The safety crew, officials and vehicle operators are all on hand to maintain fairness and safety for everyone. These folks are often overlooked as fans attention is drawn to the speed of racing on the track. Things change in the event of an accident when the caution is thrown and the track crews jump to action.
Racing can not proceed without these people. Their presence is required. Officials for maintaining the rules and continuity are required. Safety has to be paramount so track safety and medically equipped ambulance personnel are also required. They are present at every race from NASCAR, Indy and IMSA to local track U-Car to Late Model.
The safety crew and officials earn every cent they are paid. They operate in the background and are ready to jump at the flick of a switch with a goal of getting out, cleared and back to green racing as fast as possible. It is these men and women that rose to occasion recently at Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, VA.
It could have been any track… A spin catches another which collects two more with another getting caught up in the mix. One gets pushed and pinned between a car at speed and the wall. It has been said that speed, in and of itself, does not cause damage. It is the sudden loss of speed that can cause injury. At that, the track crews act and are on the spot in seconds.
We like the action but seldom give attention to the crews checking the drivers, clearing the track and making it safe to go racing again. For them, this is that attention. For them, this is that “Thank You”.
The driver in this instance, was taken to a local hospital and treated for one or more fractured ribs. These injury incidents are rare at short tracks but it can and does happen. The applause for drivers is due but applause for the track crews is often quiet. It’s OK… They know their job and the importance of it.
But… A little applause doesn’t hurt…. Right…?
Racing at Motor Mile Speedway – April 29, 2023 Pure-4 Winner, Kirby Shipman. LMSC Twin 1 Winner, Mike Looney. Southern Ground Pounders Modified Winner, Jimmy Mullins. Southern Ground Pounders Sportsman Winner, Jimmy Griffin. Mod-4 Winner, Kevin Canter. Sportsman Winner, Kyle Dudley. Super Street Winner, Jimmy Mullins. LMSC Twin 2 Winner, Mike Looney.
PHOTOS – Motor Mile Speedway – Southern Ground Pounders Night 2023
Race tracks are going green. North Carolina has been on a little longer. South Boston was on a week earlier. Motor Mile Speedway had their eyes on March 25th for their “Ice Out Opener”. The folks at Motor Mile have also taken a hand in with Lonesome Pine in Coeburn, VA which already had their opening SMART Tour postponed for the possibility of snow and exceptionally cold temperatures. It wasn’t snow putting a kink in the “Ice Out” but a good chance of rain…
Decisions were made, based on what the forecast had in store a few days earlier. The scheduled green flag was pushed from 2pm to 4pm and then, a little closer to the weekend, to 6pm. Best plans and all that, go with the side of caution as it may be, give fans and teams the best information you can and you still wind up looking back that the original time would have been fine.
But we all know that if the original time had been kept then it would have rained until 4:30… Or later…
The sun was out but the wind blew plenty of clouds by and also took some of the new sponsor panels out along turn two. By the time the front stretch was open for fans to visit with drivers the wind had calmed a bit. As the ceremonies were done and the track ready it was just a few minutes after 6 when the green dropped on the first of six scheduled races. Twins for Limited Sportsman, Twins for Late Model, a Pure-4 and Super Street were on the show that was now set to finish under the lights.
The Sportsman started the evening with the first of their 35 lap events. It might have been Daryn Cockram who qualified on the pole but it was the double zero of Kyle Barnes who survived the cautions to take the first win. It was Charles Smith and Zach Peregoy in the top three. Barnes started back in the 8th spot later in the second race and, again, survived some multi car cautions but it was only good enough to finish second. The later Sportsman race was won by James Sweeney who had started in the 4th position. Richard Caldwell finished the 2nd race in third.
The Late Models ran after the first Sportsman race. Notably missing from the lineup was the #17 and Bryan Reedy. Earlier in the week, the Reedy family were mourning the passing but celebrating the life of Bryan’s grandfather, Orvil. Orvil Reedy was a much loved personality and racer that inspired Tink Reedy and, of course, on with Bryan. Reedy has said he is focusing on time with family and running the #17 at some events at Ace Speedway but we hope to see him at Motor Mile as well.
For the field on the “Ice Out”, it was defending track Late Model Champion, Kyle Dudley with a qualifying pole but the opening draw had him in the 6th position. It didn’t take long for Dudley to be challenging Mike Looney, who started 4th, for the lead. Looney and Dudley battled late race cautions and restarts but Dudley could not quite get around Looney’s #87 and came in with a 2nd position for the first 50 lap race. The second and final 50 laps finished the top two in the same order with Mike Looney sweeping the LMSC wins and Kyle Dudley finishing just behind even as they started way back in the field. Both drivers fought back to the front from the 7th and 9th positions. Derrick Lancaster and Cory Dunn grabbed third and fourth in both races.
The Pure-4 also had some caution but the 20 lapper was initially won by Kirby Shipman. However, post race inspection found the #7 Shipman car did not pass for weight. The race was then passed to first time Pure-5 starter, Caleb Sewell in the #93. With that move, Javon Parker and Keyshaun Clator filled the top three.
The Super Streets had hard charging Jimmy Mullins in the #12 driver quickly from the fifth position at the starting green to the front. Mullins kept that lead and protected himself from any mishaps further back and later. Tristen Barnes and Joe White finished the top three,
The next oval race at Motor Mile is on April 8 with the Spring Break Youth Sports Night. Keep an eye on July, too, as the SRX Super Star Racing Experience comes to town with world class drivers from NASCAR, IndyCar and more.
Full Photo Gallery – Ice Out Opener at Motor Mile Speedway – March 25, 2023
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
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
The regular racing season for Motor Mile Speedway may be over but action at Motor Mile is far from done. A-1 Heating and Cooling Championship Night brought twin event racing start to finish with Track Champions being set for the 2021 season.
Coming up for the rest of the year the track is not holding back with the Tour Of Destruction coming up this weekend (9/18) with School Bus Racing, War Wizard Monster Truck, Fireworks, Demolition Derby and more. October brings the SMART Modified Tour, Circle Track Warehouse Madness, Halloween Pumpkin Smash and Monster Trucks.
The Rusty Wallace Racing Experience has their first year with Motor Mile showing progress and momentum. For the points track racing, it came down to Saturday, September 11 which opened with a quick UCar race before bringing some area fire and emergency vehicles on the track as a tribute to those fallen on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Peyton Howell won the Blue Ridge Church UCar opener. Later in the evening for the 2nd UCar race, Howell and the #11 car were involved in a wreck that left Howell injured and unable to finish. He was treated in the infield for non-serious injury then left the track after the UCar event but was still the UCar Track Champion for 2021. The 2nd UCar race was won by Cary Thomason.
Ryan Wilson picked up wins in both of the twin Late Model races but it wasn’t enough to take the crown from NAAPWS LM Champion Kres VanDyke.
The Super Street races were split with wins from Hank Turman in the first and Ray Sowers taking the second and, with it, the Championship for Motor Mile Super Street.
The largest field of cars on the track was the Sportsman division with crowded competition from green to checkers. The first of the twin-30 Collision Plus Sportsman was won by Corey Dunn. The second was taken by Kyle Barnes but it was Corey Dunn who came away as Sportsman Champion at Motor Mile.
The Mod-4 was also a little crowded and featured split wins. Doodle Lang won the first of the twin-25s and Jimmy Mullins won the second. Lang’s win in the first race added to his Mod-4 Tack Championship for 2021.
The full facility at Motor Mile also features a drag strip with still more events on the calendar. The Rusty Wallace Racing Experience features karts with a dedicated track, stock car and drag car driving for fans to get behind the wheel and see what it’s like to take to the track. There is a lot more to see and do on the way at Motor Mile.
FULL PHOTO GALLERY from A-1 Heating and Cooling Championship Night is below