Photos courtesy of Motor Mile Speedway
For the first time since the season-opening night in March, engines roared around Motor Mile Speedway for the Southern Ground Pounders night this past Saturday.
The .416-mile track welcomed racers from six different divisions and hosted seven different races for the nearly 1,000 fans in attendance. On a beautiful Saturday evening that luckily escaped the wrath of Mother Nature, track officials decided to move the green flag up to 6 p.m. in hopes to ensure a full night of racing.
The action started when the Blue Ridge Church Pure-4 Series took to the track for 25 laps. Kirby Shipman started in fifth place and dominated the race, leading over 20 laps and earning the victory from the back half of the field. Shipman pulled his white number seven machine into Victory Lane for the second time this season, but ultimately earned his first win of the year after failing post-race inspection at the Ice Out Opener a few weeks back. A mid-race push from William Hale put a little pressure on Shipman, but Hale ultimately brought his car home in position number three. Javon Parker finished third, earning his second-straight podium finish. The next race that hit the asphalt was the first 50-lap twin for the Price’s Body Shop Late Model Stock Car Series. Following a sweep of the two races back in March, Mike Looney proved once again why he’s a force to be reckoned with in the New River Valley. Looney, who started at the tail end of the field, quickly fought his way through the pack and found himself in second behind defending track champion Kyle Dudley. Looney and Dudley continued to battle for nearly 15 laps before contact between the two gave Looney the advantage. Some noticeable damage on Dudley’s car affected his ability to get back to Looney but they both manage to secure the top two spots for the third race running. Polesitter Karl Budsevski led the first few laps of the race and managed to bring his car across the line third.
The special race of the night belonged to the Southern Ground Pounders Vintage Racing Club Series. With two different classes of cars on the track, the sportsman class and the modified class, it provided the fans with some truly exciting racing. Jimmy Mullins got behind the wheel
of his hot pink 1974 Gremlin and flew to the front, leading the majority of the race and earning the win in the modified class. Bobby Griffin, in a beautifully painted racecar dedicated to his father, started on the pole and led the sportsman field for the entirety of the race and even raced alongside Mullins for a little bit.
The Total Car Care Mod-4 Series then took to the track for their race of the 2023 season. A quick, 25-lap race went the way of Abingdon, Virginia’s Kevin Canter. He started to the outside of polesitter Doodle Lang and was able to get to the top spot early and never look back. Lang maintained his spot in second while Brittany Cockram earned the final podium spot.
Dudley returned to the track to headline a strong field of Collision Plus Sportsman Series competitors. There were a handful of drivers that pulled double duty on Saturday night, and Dudley’s dominance in his 40-lap event gave him the victory. He started in the top spot and led every lap of the race; the first three starters actually all finished in the same three top spots.
Despite many cautions and a rather lengthy red flag, Dudley was able to thrive on each and every restart to fend off Jacob Porter. James Sweeney finished in third, crossing the line just a few car lengths behind the top two.
In the penultimate race of the night, the DCT Towing Super Street Series took to the short track for 30 laps. In a list of competitors that included last month’s winner Mullins as well as the veteran Looney, it was some of the young guns that proved to be some of the stoutest competition. Mullins ended up winning the event for the second race in a row, but it was Tristan Barnes that continued to impress at such a young age. Barnes earned his second consecutive P2 finish. Daniel Eakin rounded the podium in the third spot.
The final event of the evening was 50 more laps for the late models and, again, it was Looney that dominated the race. He worked his way through the field and found himself alongside Dudley again, but this time he was in the lead. After Dudley tried to dive to the inside, the defending track champion got loose and brought out the caution. That was enough for Looney to pull away on the ensuing restart and make it a perfect 4-for-4 start to the year. Christiansburg,
Va. native Derrick Lancaster finished with a season-best second place finish, his third podium finish in four races. Dudley managed to battle back after his spin and came across the line third, capping off his 140-lap night.
Racing returns to Motor Mile Speedway on Saturday, May 20 for the Super Cup Series Night presented by Shively Electric. There will be seven races across five divisions, and the green flag will drop at 7 p.m.
Points standings (as of 4-30-23):
Late Model Division: 1) Mike Looney 200 points, 2) Kyle Dudley 190, 3) Derrick Lancaster 184, 4) Cory Dunn, 5) Karl Budzevski, 6) Ezekiel Shell, 7) Trenton Kilgore, 8) Chase Dixon, 9) Blayne Harrison.
Sportsman: 1) James Sweeney 136 points, 2) Jacob Porter, 132, 3) Charles Smith 128, 4) Kyle Barnes, 5) Jonathan Hall, 6) Drew Bond, 7) Ryan Collins, 8) Richard Caldwell, 9) Daryn Cockram.
Super Street: 1) James Mullins 100 points, 2) Tristen Barnes 96, 3) Taylor Ransom 84, 4) Ray Sowers 83, 5) Daniel Eakin 80, 6) Joseph White, 7) Matthew Gusler, 8) Dennis Turman and Jerry Hollandsworth.
Pure 4: 1) Javon Parker 94 points, 2) Christeena Crosler 86, 3) Anthony Sheppard 84, 4) Adam Crosler, 5) Kirby Shipman, 6) Caleb Sewell, 7) William Hale.
MOD-4: 1) Kevin Canter 50 points, 2) Doodle Lang 48, 3) Brittany Cockram 46, 4) Rocky Yates 44, 5) Tony Sarver Jr., 6) Jeff Martin, 7) Daniel Hutson.
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