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