Highlights Season Opener 4-20-2013
The R & C Super Street division was the first event of the 2013 Wythe Raceway racing season on the high banked, half mile clay oval at Rural Retreat. Sugar Grove drivers Keith Griffitts and Joe Bonham battled for the first spot for several laps with Randy Taylor, Chilhowie waiting to make his move. Bonham’s car pushed up in turn one and Taylor took over second place with Everett Cox, Austinville and Michael Deskins, North Tazewell in tow. Taylor slowed and went to the pits with a severe rearend vibration which his crew quickly diagnosed as clay packed inside the rear wheel. Taylor rejoined the field eight laps down. Deskins passed Cox for second but was unable to get by the smooth driving Griffitts who picked up the first win of the 2013 season. Following Deskins, Cox and Bonham was Brian Mock from Abingdon.
Modified drivers had the fans on their feet as they raced three and four wide with Aaron Hopkins, Chilhowie and Morgan Widener, Marion racing for the number one spot. Hopkins lead for several laps and then Justin Blevins took over the lead after passing Ron Lawson, Austinville. At the finish line following Blevins and Lawson were; Widener, Will Ferguson, Wytheville and Tyler Arrington, Honaker.
FASTRAK Late Models saw Lance Reynolds, Max Meadows lead lap after lap with the rest of the field trying to gain on the smooth driving Reynolds. Tim Byrd, Jonesborough, TN., Jensen Ford, Piney Flats, TN. with Wytheville drivers Teddy Tate and Tam Topman making their way to the front. Topham’s night ended six laps from the end with a mechanical malfunction. After the caution flag waved the field would have a double file restart for the six lap shootout. Reynolds chose the outside with Tate on the inside as the two raced side by side for several laps with Tate getting the advantage as Reynold’s car slide up the track. Byrd also made the pass on Reynolds and followed Tate to the checkers as he got his first FASTRAK Late Model feature win. Reynolds held on for third with Ford and Mark Sant, Piney Flats, TN rounding out the top five.
Over 20 cars started the UCAR feature that was filled with action as several cars met in turn four. Several cars rolled and Jon Gray, Wytheville was slightly injured with a badly sprained wrist. Some of the cars were able to continue with quick action of their pit crews. Junior Hall of Marion car rolled over and his pit crew went to work to remove a badly damaged front fender. They were trying to pull the fender off without much success when Joe Bonham brought over a standard front fender removing device, a splitting maul that quick work of the fender and Hall made it back on the track without losing a lap. Back to racing Daniel Wright, Wytheville had a 10 car lead on the field and was on his way to win when a $2.00 switch malfunctioned as he coasted to a stop. This opened the door for Cole Dutton, Chilhowie to win the race with Justin Farris, Marion; Jon Keyes, Sugar Grove; Ricky Ward, Marion and Dakota Wilson, Rural Retreat the top five.
Pro Mini racers had one of the most competitive races of the night with Travis Harden, Marion holding off a strong field of challengers. Jason Powers, Marion, the 2012 Track Champion worked his way to the front from a sixth place starting position to give Harden a run for his money but at the stripe it was Harden then Powers. Gary Rudolph, Fries was third followed by Kenneth Bentley, Jr, Wytheville and Dennis Jones of Galax.
Ashley Umberger, Rural Retreat held off Christiansburg driver Austin Cregger for the win in the UCAR 2 division for drivers 12 to 16 years of age. Jake Phipps, Chilhowie finished in front of Julianna Cooper, Charlotte, NC with Jacob Thomas, Marion in fifth.
This Saturday night Wythe Raceway will continue with Fast, Furious, Family Fun and all KIDS FREE ages 10 and under.