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.

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

  1. 22 Jonathan Brown
  2. 79 Jeremy Gerstner
  3. 14 Bobby Measmer Jr.
  4. 1 Burt Myers
  5. 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

A visit overdue, perhaps. One of the race tracks within an easy distance which has been on the list but not visited has now been crossed off the list.

Natural Bridge Speedway. A dirt track close to the natural formation and park which holds the namesake. Racing has been going on there since the 1950’s. A visit was well overdue and when the track posted a November event, plans were put in motion. Some quick inquiries to the track were made and the visit was set.

The forecast turned from a pleasant Friday to a sunny, but very cool, Saturday. Forecast had evening temperatures in the 30s. OK fine… some gloves and long johns and off we go.

A dirt track is a different animal from the usual for Missed Gear. After this visit there should be more. Not just to NBS but others in Virginia. However, Wythe is 2 hours and Virginia Motor Speedway is even further in the opposite direction. Natural Bridge is around 40 minutes. With that, next season should bring more visits to NBS. If nothing else but to get more acquainted with the cars, styles and drivers of dirt tracks.

The afternoon and evening went off, to be fair, a little rough. A schedule was, apparently, somewhere. Times for practice, qualifying and green flag racing were a little loose for interpretation. However, we did learn that new owners were still working to get the kinks worked out and this race was another chance to roll through an event before the 2022 season.

Like paved ovals, the dirt track ran Late Model, Sportsman, Street Stock, Pure Stock and UCar. Some look the same as the paved track counterparts but the Late Model and Sportsman have very disticntive body styles for sideways power sliding through the turns. Pointed and angled front sections keep the nose down through the turns while the raised and open rear sections allow the cars to get in close in the slides. Overall, it is an exciting form of racing with close quarters and sideways action in every turn.

As of this writing we’re not really sure who won each division. Getting a feel for the action of dirt racing and the layout and flow of the track was a priority on this visit. Knowing the flow of a hot track with infield motion is a necessity for everyone’s safety. For the next visit we’ll be that much more ahead of curve.

For now, a photo gallery of our first visit to Natural Bridge Speedway is below.