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Record Year For World Short Track Championship Saw New, Historic Winners
CONCORD, NC (Oct. 29, 2022) – The seventh annual World Short Track Championship saw more than 400 race cars, split between 10 divisions, produce three days of thrilling action.
On Saturday, the prestigous short track event saw all 10 divisions crown 2022 champions at The Dirt Track at Charlotte.
Below is the recap for each Feature:
PRO STOCK: Josh Coonradt captures first career Pro Stock Feature win at World Short Track Championship
Josh Coonradt will have a little less space in his car on the long trek home to Upstate New York after competing in the World Short Track Championships at The Dirt Track at Charlotte.
He clinched the trophy with his first career World Short Track Championship Pro Stock Feature win Saturday night. Starting on the outside of the first row, the Fort Johnson, NY resident went into a battle with Luke Horning within the first ten laps of the race. After Horning slipped by him on the bottom, he battled back to find clean air. After taking over the lead, he never relinquished it for the 25-lap matchup, staying ahead of his competition.
“Once I saw [Horning] on the bottom, I figured it was the fastest way around,” Coonradt said. “So, I dove to the bottom. The car felt better but after talking with Luke he just told me he was coming on the top. We got the race done and we finished on top.”
In the runner-up position, Horning still attempted to put pressure on the leader by taking different approaches to try to pass him.
“I was running the bottom because that’s how I got in the lead,” Horning said. “I pulled a slide job on him, and we were keeping the lead for a little while. Then he got a slide job on me and I just couldn’t keep the momentum with him. It opened up a big gap with no yellows. I think about half a straight-away. We closed it to about a quarter of a straight away.”
After some precision driving around traffic, Pete Stefanski ran in third place by the halfway point of the race, outmaneuvering Marc Lalonde and Sheldon Martin. Coonradt and Horning had put enough distance between the trailing competitors to put them out of reach. Stefanski drove the second half of the contention error free, rounding out the podium with a third-place finish.
Marc Lalonde finished fourth and Sheldon Martin finished fifth.
RESULTS: 1. 00X-Josh Coonradt; 2. 9S-Luke Horning; 3. 2-Pete Stefanski; 4. 8-Marc Lalonde; 5. 92-Sheldon Martin; 6. 17-Nick Hilt; 7. 11-Stéphane Larivière; 8. 32-Jonathan Levesque; 9. 6-Stephane Lebrun; 10. 14J-Johnny Rivers Jr; 11. 9-Eric Jean Louis; 12. 38JR-Justin Chaput; 13. 09-Shawn Perez Sr; 14. 63-Ryan Crellin; 15. 09J-Shawn Perez Jr; 16. 35-Jonathan Lemay; 17. 4M-Jordan Modiano; 18. 58-Roxanne Roy; 19. 8C-Sean Corr; 20. 72G-Denis Gauvreau; 21. 6C-Brian Carter; 22. 33-Bruno Cyr
SPORTSMAN: Kevin Ridley captures Sportsman Modified Feature win on final night of World Short Track Championship
Kevin Ridley turned out a dominating performance on the final night of the World Short Track Championships, leading the entirety of the 30-lap Feature.
Ridley maintained his lead through several restarts, as the matchup was filled with cautions, requiring the contenders to continually refire efficiently to maintain their position.
“It was getting a little scary because Rogers was on the inside of them and he’s really good here,” Ridley said. “He won last year. So I was a little concerned. But there was a good patch of moisture on the top all the way around. As long as I hit that, I could drive down off the corner and then clear them guys and get right back to the bottom.”
Starting in the pole position, #410 Mike Fowler of Fulton, NY was overpowered by Ridley on the initial start. Fowler ran strong for the first 20-laps, fending off charging competitors running not far behind.
One of the most significant reshuffles of positions came with five laps to go, when after charging his way from an 11th place starting position to fourth, Dave Conant passed first night Feature winner David Rogers and Fowler.
“I had some good restarts,” Conant said. “I timed them good, and just had a really, really good race car to come from 11th. These are really tough cars and hard to pass.”
Rogers held his third-place position for the last five laps of the race, giving him a podium finish to go along with his first night Feature victory. Zachary Buff finished in fourth and Derrick McGrew finished in fifth.
RESULTS: 1. 20X-Kevin Ridley; 2. 44C-Dave Conant; 3. 44-David Rogers; 4. 01-Zachary Buff; 5. 26-Derrick McGrew; 6. 410-Mike Fowler; 7. 52-Jessica Power; 8. 78-Michael Wright; 9. 89-Dylan Madsen; 10. 29-Tanner Forbes; 11. 99-Jordan Millard; 12. 18-Blayden Arquette; 13. 5C-Ayden Cipriano; 14. 7X-Chuck Miller; 15. 73G-Gordon Hermanson Jr; 16. 47-Walter Cook; 17. 23C-Tommy D’Angelo; 18. 92-Andrew Buff; 19. 49-Chris Jakubiak; 20. 23-Cole Perry; 21. 1R-Ricky Thompson
PRO LATE MODEL: Trent Ivey Wins Pro Late Model Feature at World Short Track Championship
Trent Ivey made a choice that paid off Saturday night at The Dirt Track at Charlotte.
After putting a soft right rear tire on his Rocket Chassis, the Union, SC driver stormed through the field to earn the Fox Factory Pro Late Model Feature win at the seventh annual World Short Track Championship.
Dillon Brown grabbed the lead in Turn 1 of the 30-lap Feature, driving away from Ricky Greene and holding on for the first 18 laps.
Behind them, Ivey moved up from his eighth starting spot, working his way into a battle with Jamison McBride for third in the first five laps.
Once he cleared McBride on Lap 8, Ivey needed a Lap 12 restart to get by Greene.
From there, it only took a few more laps for him to power underneath defending race winner Brown, thundering by him on Lap 19 to take the lead.
Ivey went unchallenged for the final 11 laps, scoring his first Pro Late Model Feature win at the World Short Track Championship.
The Palmetto State driver said he was trying to save his tire, hoping it would pay off when the race was over.
“I was caught between trying to save my soft right rear, which was a little different than anybody else,” Ivey said. “I was trying to blast to the front and hope everyone else went soft.
“The car was amazing, man, and it’s the first time I’ve ever driven this thing. I’m no stranger to Charlotte, but it’s been a while since I’ve won here.
From Gaffney, SC, Brown settled for second, falling short of his second straight win in the event. He said he made the wrong tire choice, which cost him a trip to Victory Lane.
“I reeled him back down there at the end, but he had a soft tire on, and we were hard,” Brown said. “It’s won me a lot of money the last two years. It lost me this one tonight. Ahhh, man. You just have to take it and go on.”
Ricky Greene rounded out the podium. The Newton, NC driver also said he felt he chose the wrong tire.
“We had a pretty good piece the first time in it,” Greene said. “I had high expectations, and it’s a pretty good car. I don’t know if we missed on the tire call a little bit. But the track blew off kind of quick on us.”
Jeremy Steele finished fourth, rising five spots from ninth, and Jamison McBride rounded out the top five.
RESULTS: 1. G4-Trent Ivey; 2. 6-Dillon Brown; 3. 18-Ricky Greene; 4. 22-Jeremy Steele; 5. 215-Jamison McBride; 6. 55-Matt Long; 7. 27H-Justin Hudspeth; 8. 136-David Pangrazio; 9. 55H-Benji Hicks; 10. 08-Layton Sullivan; 11. 114-Jordan Koehler; 12. 31G-Stephen Pedulla; 13. 24-Jacob Brown; 14. 66-Jody Knowles; 15. 615-Colton Trouille; 16. 00-Kendal Tucker; 17. 29-Dale Moore; 18. 7J-Dalton Jacobs; 19. 17-Jeffrey Johnson; 20. 89-Timmie Harrelson; 21. 74-Mike Franklin; 22. 555-Brock Pinkerous; 23. 5S-Joey Johnson; 24. 12C-Cody Cubbage; 25. 7-Daniel Breuer; 26. 5Q-Colby Quick
UMP MODIFIED: Cook Wins First UMP Modified World Short Track Championship Title
He’s finished fourth, third, second, and even won the All-Star Invitational in 2017. But now, at long last, Taylor Cook is a World Short Track Champion.
Cook, the 28-year-old Summit Racing Equipment DIRTcar UMP Modified standout from Stanley, NC, took the lead from a breaking Kyle Strickler in the early going and held-off a hungry Ethan Dotson behind him for the final 24 laps to secure the win Saturday night at The Dirt Track at Charlotte.
“It is a very big win, because all my family and friends are here,” Cook said. “My dad works full-time on a NASCAR Cup team, and he’ll be at Martinsville tomorrow. He doesn’t get to come to many races, so to have him here is awesome.
“To have all of our extended family and family friends, people I’ve grown up with in racing and people I’ve grown up with outside of racing here, it definitely makes it extra special.”
It’s been a long time coming for Cook and his team, who have appeared in every World Short Track Championship except for one (2020). Cook placed fourth in the inaugural event (2016), third in 2018, and was runner-up in 2017, but never could seem to find a way around the dominance of multi-time winners Nick Hoffman and Kyle Strickler. That was, until this year.
“It’s great to finally get the top step,” Cook said. “We work hard, even though we don’t race a whole lot. It’s just great to see that we’ve still got it.”
As the green flag dropped, Cook settled in behind Strickler after he bolted out to the lead in the first corner. Strickler cruised around the 4/10-mile with ease, opening up a nice gap on Cook through the first six laps.
“Kyle got the better start there, and he was setting the pace,” Cook said. “I felt like I was running in his crumbs a little bit, and I felt like I was keeping pace with him. I was just kinda biding my time and seeing what happens.”
And then, Strickler’s night turned sour.
A valvetrain issue struck the three-time World Short Track Champion as he rounded Turns 3-4 to complete Lap 7, causing him to slow suddenly down the frontstretch and bringing out caution. Strickler headed directly into the pits under yellow and parked it, done for the night.
“I hate it for him that he broke,” Cook said. “He’s a very deserving competitor as well, and I hate that for him. But when I saw him break, I knew that was going to be our best opportunity to get around him.”
Now holding the lead for the restart, Cook took the field back to the green and opened up a slight gap over second-place Justin Haley.
Longhorn Chassis house car driver Ethan Dotson had been gassing it up on the outside lane and made the move on Haley to take second on Lap 16. He immediately set his sights on Cook, who was well over a full second ahead and approaching lapped traffic.
“I didn’t have any idea where they were behind me,” Cook said. “I knew my car was really good, but I figured those guys were just as good. I was cautiously aggressive with the lapped cars, just trying not to give up too much time but not spin myself or wreck into one of the lapped cars.”
Cook soon found himself with a large pack of slower traffic ahead of him and Dotson rapidly closing the gap behind him. With 11-to-go, the two made some light contact when Cook tried to get around Jason Altiers and met Dotson’s left-front as he attempted the pass for the lead to his outside.
“The lapped car moved, and I was a little too high [on the track],” Dotson said. “I tried to go around him, tried to ask more than what was there.”
“That was pure, dumb luck,” Cook said with a chuckle about the move that held-off Dotson. “I had no idea where he was the entire time. If I took his line away, it was just dumb luck.”
The close-call seemed to be the wakeup call Cook needed to get going, as he sped away from the melee and pulled back out to a few car-lengths advantage on Dotson in the next few laps. Dotson also found his way around the lappers and made one last push for the lead in the final circuits but was unable to catch Cook in the end.
“I’d catch the leader, and then we got in lapped traffic and I just couldn’t move as good as he could,” Dotson said. “That’s kinda where he got me.”
Dotson settled for second as Justin Haley came in behind him to grab the final podium spot in his World Short Track debut. The NASCAR Cup Series full-timer qualified the Cup car earlier in the day in Martinsville, VA, then immediately made the trip back south to Concord to compete in the Feature event, which paid-off well for the young Indianan.
RESULTS: 1. 21-Taylor Cook; 2. 00-Ethan Dotson; 3. 99H-Justin Haley; 4. 8-Austin Holcombe; 5. 96M-Mike McKinney; 6. 99W-Chris Arnold; 7. 79D-John DeMoss; 8. 77-George Dixon; 9. 5-Jonathan Taylor; 10. 71D-Dan Davies; 11. 7-Evan Taylor; 12. 95J-Justin Cullum; 13. 11-Troy Loomis; 14. 88-Matt Crafton; 15. 44-Jeff Parsons; 16. 18-Brandon Kinzer; 17. 4M-Tim Monroe; 18. T2-Greg Hauger; 19. 25-Jason Altiers; 20. 99-Cole Hilton; 21. 12R-Ty Rhoades; 22. 55-Alyssa Rowe; 23. 21S-Kenny Shaw; 24. 74-Mike Franklin; 25. 8S-Kyle Strickler; 26. 6-Ryan Ayers
STREET STOCK: Devon Morgan Wins Wild Street Stock Feature at World Short Track
Saturday’s ARP Street Stock Feature during the seventh annual World Short Track Champion at The Dirt Track at Charlotte saw a close duel for the lead, which ended with Devon Morgan picking up the win.
Morgan’s path to the victory wasn’t easy, having to race his way froward from 11th in the 20-lap Feature.
When the race commenced, he methodically sliced his way through the field, consisting of 26 cars overall.
Mirroring Morgan’s path was Patrick Lyon, who was also making a charge to the front from his 10th-place starting position. However, the Gastonia, NC driver found his way to the front a step quicker than Morgan.
By Lap 7, he’d grab the lead by working the high side of the 4/10-mile track and made his case that anybody that wanted to pass him would have to use the bottom of the track.
Morgan would be that challenger.
By the halfway point of the Feature, the two drivers had made it to the front two spots and used up all the room they could with their Street Stocks, utilizing every line. Lyon ran high – the line that got him the lead – while Morgan tried to master the bottom.
Morgan used the most he could of the bottom lane and kept getting his car in the right area to steal the lead and the win from Lyon.
“[The bottom] had a lot of moisture down there and my car was just about perfect to where I could still rotate the bottom,” Morgan said. “I just kept getting in the moisture pretty good with the left rear there, and I was getting really big runs off the end to where I wasn’t losing that much and I could really run the inside and it just worked out.”
Despite the track changing and the high line being used by many drivers, Lyon said that using the high line was the way he needed to get to the lead after starting 10th.
“Well, the track changes so much,” Lyon said. At first, the moisture on the racetrack was a lot different when we started, the grip was there (on the high line). Knowing that you’re starting further back, you gotta do something.”
Even though the two drivers were the ones that ramped up the excitement for the lead, David Duke, who started back in 17th, snuck past Lyon in the closing laps to finish second. Lyon had to settle for third, with Dalton Peavy and Andre Durham rounding out the top five.
RESULTS: 1. 17-Devon Morgan; 2. 7DD-David Duke; 3. 01-Patrick Lyon; 4. 9P-Dalton Peavy; 5. 06-Andrew Durham; 6. 11L-Kade Langley; 7. 83-Calob McLaughlin; 8. 70-Mike Grady Jr; 9. 92-Tanner Fortune; 10. 00-Cody Ussery; 11. 96-Dalton Pannell; 12. 14-Megan Erwin; 13. 91F-Chris Stowe; 14. 9-Ronnie Mosley; 15. 7-John Cagle; 16. 17M-Cameron Martin; 17. 18D-MItchell Duvall; 18. Y44-Bailey Loftin; 19. 18-Ricky Greene; 20. 78-Blake Pryor; 21. 41-Mattison Hoots; 22. 26-Brandon White; 23. 81-Justin Barber; 24. 73-Timmy Smith; 25. 2-Bradley Weaver; 26. 51-Phoenix Lawter
602 LATE MODEL: Gavin Cowan Wins 602 Late Model Feature at World Short Track Championship
Gavin Cowan earned a significant milestone Saturday night at The Dirt Track at Charlotte before he’s old enough to drive a car on the road.
The 15-year-old Rincon, GA driver, passed Daniel Parker on Lap 12 after battling for several laps to earn the Chevrolet Performance 602 Late Model Victory at the seventh annual World Short Track Championship.
Parker grabbed the early lead in a caution-plagued event but held off several challenges on restarts from Jordan Koehler.
Cowan joined the battle on one of the restarts, quickly dispatching Koehler before setting his sights on the lead.
The Peach State competitor rolled the bottom, throwing everything he had at Parker. However, Parker’s momentum was too strong, as he continued to inch ahead at the start-finish line.
Cowan finally got the break he needed on Lap 12, as he thundered under Parker in Turn 2, getting a monstrous run down the backstretch to take the lead.
That’s all Cowan needed as he led the rest of the way to score his first World Short Track Championship triumph.
Despite the booming pass for the win, Cowan said he wasn’t sure if he could pull it off.
“I don’t know, it was really crazy,” Cowan said. “I didn’t think I was going to be able to do it. But I was glad I had fun, and I want to thank all my sponsors and everything.
“It’s amazing. I never thought it’d come true.”
Parker, from Raeford, NC, settled for second, grabbing the runner-up spot for the second consecutive year.
“Yeah, it’s all good,” Parker said. “Second two years in a row. It is what it is.”
AJ Belanger rounded out the podium after starting seventh. The Vander, NC driver, stated he was happy with his team and their work before the event.
“I just want to give a big shoutout to my guys,” Belanger said. “They worked hard all week. We’ve had a lot of tough runs this year and a bunch of tough races.”
Koehler finished fourth, and Chris Joyce rounded out the top five.
RESULTS: 1. 19-Gavin Cowan; 2. 10-Daniel Parker; 3. 24-AJ Belanger; 4. 114K-Jordan Koehler; 5. 17-Chris Joyce; 6. 2-Brady Cornett; 7. 18M-Austin Mintz; 8. 18-Preston Blalock; 9. JR1-Jake Jackson; 10. 57-Luke Cooper; 11. 5-Robbie Gibson; 12. T2-Travis Sharpe; 13. 10P-Tyler Payne; 14. 114-Evan Koehler; 15. 9-Cole Hedrick; 16. C10-Carl Currin; 17. *1-Brad Rachels; 18. 149-Seth Speed; 19. 03W-Jason Welborn; 20. 14M-Baron McDowell; 21. 18D-Chuckie Duncan; 22. 12-Justin Taylor; 23. 27-Mike Davidson; 24. P4-John Price; 25. 67-Bryan Mullis; 26. 66-Preston Dimsdale
PRO MODIFIED: Ty Norder Drives to Pro Modified Victory Lane at World Short Track Championship
There’s nothing like the feeling of hoisting your first World Short Track Championship trophy in Victory Lane at The Dirt Track at Charlotte. Ty Norder got his first taste of that in only his second-career Feature win Saturday night with the Hoosier Racing Tire Pro Modifieds.
“This is only my second-ever win,” Norder said. “At this stage, I busted my butt off on this car. We struggled all week, and we bounced-back to Victory Lane.”
Norder had inherited the lead after a bit of foul play in the final laps with the leaders in front of him. Ryan Ayers made the move for the lead on Eric Bentley on Lap 12 and pulled out to a commanding advantage with a hungry Kevin Pangrazio rapidly closing in on him. Pangrazio sailed around Ayers on the outside on Lap 17 and suddenly looked to be the man to beat.
However, he and Ayers came together after a Lap 19 restart going into Turn 1, leaving Pangrazio stopped in Turn 2 after additional contact with the wall. Pangrazio retired to the pits, while Ayers was sent to the tail for the contact.
Norder had been riding third when the incident happened, and thus inherited the lead for the final restart with six-to-go. He stomped the throttle and took off, fending-off the pressure from behind to win his first career World Short Track Championship title.
Congratulated in Victory Lane by Longhorn Chassis executive Steve Arpin, Norder was ecstatic and nearly in tears with his friends and family around him to celebrate. The 18-year-old Crate Modified racer from Mooresville, NC, is an employee at Longhorn Chassis headquarters in China Grove, NC, and made it a big point to thank his company in his post-race interview.
One of his fellow employees finished right behind him in second – Michael Leach. The two put on a big chase for the lead after the final restart, but Norder was able to hold Leach off in the end.
“I work at Longhorn and his dad owns Longhorn,” Norder said. “We sit there and talk crap to each other each day at work… at the end of the day, we’re brothers. On the racetrack, we’re gonna race each other hard and clean.”
Leach earned the Hard Charger honors for the race in his impressive drive from 22nd-to-second. Though he couldn’t physically see him, Norder sensed Leach was coming and could feel his presence in the final laps.
“I knew he started deep, and I saw the scoreboard and he was fourth or fifth,” Norder said. “I knew at that point he was running the top. So, I just went to the top and ended up in Victory Lane.”
RESULTS: 1. 2T-Ty Norder; 2. 09-Michael Leach; 3. 14-Jeff Robinson; 4. 8A-Austin Holcombe; 5. 25-Robert Poole; 6. 11-Eric Bentley; 7. 59-Grayson Wells; 8. 83-Kevin Vanhorn; 9. 2J-Jake Barneycastle; 10. 20S-Trey Stamper; 11. 5W-Ethan Wilson; 12. 23B-Spencer Boyd; 13. 13-Quentin Haley; 14. 23-Buck Stevens; 15. 121-Chase Cardwell; 16. 312-Greg Brown; 17. 00-Preston Blalock; 18. 44-Brian Nickerson; 19. 17-Case Daniels; 20. 04-Cole Wagoner; 21. 18-Ray Suman; 22. 18D-Phillip Benfield; 23. 56-Justin Blevins; 24. 6-Ryan Ayers; 25. 42-Kevin Pangrazio; 26. 45-Cambridge Gann
THUNDER BOMBER: Rod Tucker wins inaugural Thunder Bomber Feature at World Short Track
Rod Tucker became a two-time World Short Track Championship winner Saturday night at The Dirt Track at Charlotte. However, this time, also counted as another first-time win.
Tucker won the inaugural SRI Performance Thunder Bomber Feature at the prestigious short track event – four years after winning his first World Short Track Championship race in a Monster Mini-Stock.
“It feels awesome,” Tucker said after celebrating in Victory Lane. “Like I said, I haven’t won here since 2018, but the cream did rise tonight. We fought our way up here. Played the restarts into our favor. This thing was really good through the slick and that’s how we set it up to run.”
Tucker started 11th in the 20-lap Feature but powered to eighth on the initial start. However, that start was short lived when one car spun and collected others in its path, taking out Friday night Heat winner Steve Greene.
When the race resumed, Hunter Funderburke and Greg Carroll dueled for the lead in front of the field.
Funderburke eventually slid over the cushion in Turn 4, allowing Carroll to pass him for the lead.
Then, another caution on Lap 4, and another chance for Tucker make quick work of stealing a few more positions on the restart. This time going from eighth to fifth.
Back out front, Fundkerburke got a strong run to the outside of Carroll and reclaimed the lead before another caution on Lap 8.
Like clockwork, when the race resumed, Tucker turned up his thrusters to speed his way from fourth to second down the front stretch. Two laps later, Tucker dove under Funderburke into Turn 3 and then slid ahead of him off Turn 4.
Mark Towell, who was also on a charge forward from eighth, followed Tucker’s line and passed Funderburke for second with eight laps to go. However, he didn’t have anything for Tucker.
Once the Greenville, SC driver got the lead and clean air, he pulled further away every lap, closing the Feature with a more than five second lead over Towell.
“[I needed] a little bit more drive off the corner,” Towell said. “I think I would have been better then. We didn’t adjust quite far enough. We were good, though.”
Along with the track conditions falling into Tucker’s favor, he said some advice from his friend Trent Ivey, who had won the Fox Factory Pro Late Model race earlier in the night, gave him all the confidence he needed to win from 11th.
“I watched Ivey earlier in that other race. He came from deep in the field,” Tucker said. “Me and him are good buddies. He told me, ‘Just bide your time. You know you’re fast. Take your time. You’ll be there.’ And sure enough, we was.”
Due to that approach, Tucker will now be etched in the World Short Track Championship history books as the first SRI Performance Thunder Bomber winner.RESULTS: 1. 12-Rod Tucker; 2. 97T-Mark Towell; 3. 12X-Benji Knight; 4. G1-Greg Carroll; 5. 78-Hunter Funderburke; 6. 12B-Blake Bentley; 7. 47-Tyler Guice; 8. 14-Jonathan Hinson; 9. B4-Brandon Satterfield; 10. 2F-Bradley Weaver; 11. 19-Stetsen Todd; 12. 2-Ricky Bogan; 13. 46-Bailey Hipp; 14. 04-Nate Jackson; 15. 32-Brandon Greene; 16. K10-Josh Ayers; 17. 20-Isaiah Parker; 18. 43-Jacob Funderburke; 19. 48-Grant Parr; 20. 16-Benny Peeler; 21. T2-Tyler Abernathy; 22. 54-Daniel Massey; 23. 912-John Williams; 24. 02-Lloyd Dean Burgess; 25. 39-Steve Greene; 26. 97-Luke Doggett MONSTER MINI-STOCK: Matt Gilbert Goes Wire-to-Wire With Monster Minis at World Short Track
Below a dim, waxing, crescent moon the COMP Cams Monster Mini-Stocks took over The Dirt Track at Charlotte for a 25-lap thriller Saturday night during the World Short Track Championship.
Starting from the pole, the #117 of Matt Gilbert launched ahead of the field faster than you could say “Trick or Teat!”
He was in full possession of the race, leading from the green flag to the checkers, bagging the biggest win of his career.
Gilbert may have made it look easy, but he said he didn’t even realize how good his car was throughout the Feature.
“This win means everything,” Gilbert said. “It didn’t feel like I was that dominant (in the car)… I thought the field was all over me the whole race. I am so glad we were able to pull this off. Big thanks to all of my family, crew, team, and sponsors for all the support and trust in me to wheel this car.”
The cars that followed him in the running order, the #96B of Stacy Brock and the #17 of Nick Broome, respectively, kept Gilbert in their sights if he had slipped once. However, there were no scares. Gilbert was flawless.
Though the lead never exchanged hands, the action around the 26-car field provided chaotic excitement throughout the race.
Multiple packs of cars saw consistent position changes, with no one willingly giving up a fight for their spot. Through the excitement that left fans at the edge of their seats, the field survived the Monster Mash and gave everyone a scary-good time.
The top five consisted of Stacy Brock in second, Nick Broome in third, Kevin Cooper in fourth, and Dustin Bolin in fifth.
RESULTS: 1. 117-Matt Gilbert; 2. 96B-Stacy Brock; 3. 17-Nick Broome; 4. X-Kevin Cooper; 5. 8-Dustin Bolin; 6. 96X-Tyler Riddle; 7. 21-JR Warren; 8. 19-Travis Mosley; 9. 24-Josh Bryant; 10. 10-Logan Richey; 11. B03-Damien Bryant; 12. 56-Nick Fulcher; 13. 96-Tanner Cook; 14. 5-Bryan Harrelson; 15. 04-Austin Brown; 16. 2W-Dylan Warden; 17. 69-Billy Cline; 18. H3-Harley Holden; 19. 28C-Brent Couch; 20. 8J11-Ronnie Johnson; 21. 212-Greg Brew; 22. 44-Marcus Hughes; 23. 84-Kyle Cooper; 24. 7X-Jessie Richardson Jr; 25. 98-Michael Webb; 26. 37-Ben Burnett
HORNETS: Windham, Presnell, Benson Win Saturday World Short Track Hornet Features
For the second night in a row at the World Short Track Championship, the DIRTVision Hornets saw two veterans rise to the top and another first-time winner at The Dirt Track at Charlotte.
John Windham and Newman Presnell earned back-to-back Features this weekend – having also won Friday night – and Dan Benson won his first World Short Track Championship Hornet title.
The paths to their victories became highlights of the weekend with each 15-lap DIRTVision Hornet Feature producing eye-widening action to conclude the 2022 edition of the event.
Here is how each Feature played out…
When the first DIRTVision Hornet Feature of the night officially commenced, the entire field fanned out into Turn 1, scattering three and four wide.
Daniel Wright led, but was under attack by almost the entire top-five, including Ricky Weaver who made a charge on the start from third to underneath Wright for the lead.
Behind them, John Windham was the kid who brought a time machine to the science fair, warping his way from 13th to the top five in the opening lap.
On Lap 2, riding the low line, Windham powered his way by Weaver and Wright down the backstretch with ease to claim the lead and never look back. Eddie McGrew followed Windham through the opening and also passed the two drivers to move into second.
“I saw [the low line for the lead] open and decided to take it,” Windham said. “It was getting a little hairy at first, so I was trying to get out of there before I got my car tore up.
A caution on Lap 3, halted Windham’s pace and gave McGrew a chance to try and mirror the #65 car’s pace. But when the race resumed, Windham picked up where he left off and darted away.
By the end of the Feature Windham had a 5.2 second lead over McGrew to earn his fourth DIRTVision Hornet World Short Track Championship victory.
“We’re happy with his,” Windham said. “It’s a new car. We’ve ran it four time now and it’s getting better each time we drive it.”
RESULTS: 1. 65-John Windham; 2. 4E-Eddie McGrew; 3. 21-Ricky Weaver; 4. 4-Daniel Wright; 5. 2-Kylee Laws; 6. 5T-Reggie Twing; 7. 5H-Tyler Hopkins; 8. 05-Jammie Kelly; 9. 00-Michael Wallace; 10. 14-Jonathan Leophard; 11. 15-Kenneth Colf; 12. 5R-Rusty E Catoe; 13. 18E-William Estep; 14. D2-Danny Tate; 15. H2-Alex Brooks; 16. 0S-Tony Slack; 17. 4X-Cookie Thompson; 18. 1H-Justin Harris; 19. (DNS) 13X-Ben Messer; 20. (DNS) 0-Shawn Peche
Chaos ensued on the start of the second DIRTVision Hornet Feature of the night. No position was safe.
The entire field looked like puzzle pieces arguing where they belong.
Dustin Miller, who started on the pole, fell to ninth on the opening lap. CJ LaVair, who was on the outside pole, tried to escape the mayhem, taking the lead from Miller. However, behind him, Newman Presnell was on the move from 11th.
Maneuvering his way through traffic, as if he’d designed the obstacles himself, Presnell found himself in second on the first lap. And with nothing stopping him from keeping that momentum going, passed LaVair on Lap 2.
“It was a little wild,” Presnell said. “I stayed on the bottom, and I could tell I had a little momentum and could stay on the bottom and get by them there. I didn’t know exactly what was going to happen. It got a little wild watching them there. But I had a good car. It was dialed in. Bottom, top, it would go anywhere.”
The field then spread out and Presnell pulled away to about a three second lead.
A caution on Lap 8, brought the field back together and reminded LaVair what Presnell’s rear bumper looked like. But when the race resumed, the view became short lived as Presnell gapped the field by seconds every lap.
He ended the Feature with a 5.6 second lead over Wayne Taylor, who moved past LaVair for second in the closing laps of the race.
The victory is his fourth straight World Short Track Championship win as he also won back-to-back races at the event last year.
“It feels pretty good,” Presnell said about his accomplishment. “Right now, we’re undefeated here with this car… Hopefully we can continue this momentum into next year. It’s fun to come here to Charlotte.”
RESULTS: 1. 48-Newman Presnell; 2. 14T-Wayne Taylor; 3. C4-CJ LaVair; 4. 0H-Jacob Hayes; 5. 58-Ronnie Hall; 6. 41JR-Kolten Saam; 7. 04-Dustin Miller; 8. 7X-Joseph Franklin; 9. 2020-James Harrelson; 10. 359-Michael Lambert; 11. 38-Rodney Grant; 12. 25J-Josh Whitfield; 13. 7L-Marcus Locklear; 14. 91Z-Zack Slone; 15. 243-Seth Smith; 16. 4M-Billy Mack; 17. 5B-Chris Baker; 18. (DNS) 41-Parker Griffin; 19. (DNS) 5-Sean Vardell
The final DIRTVision Hornet Feature Saturday night maintained the theme of early battles for the lead with Brad McManus and Cale Deese dueling for the top spot in the opening laps.
The two drivers ran side by side the first lap before a caution ended their battled. When the green flag flew again, they made sure to resume that battle by racing side by side into the first turn before Deese edged ahead.
He held the top sport for four laps before Dan Benson’s charge forward found Deese’s #35 car. Benson dove under Deese into Turn 3 and took the lead off Turn 4. However, Deese had the better run down the front stretch and returned the favor, diving under Benson into Turn 1.
Benson proved to have the better car, powering ahead of Deese of Turn 2 and gaining distance the further he got down the backstretch.
With no cars in front of him, Benson then cruised to his first World Short Track Championship DIRTVision Hornet victory.
“Oh man, it feels incredible,” Benson said in Victory Lane, while shaking with joy. “I have to thank my family and my sponsors. That’s what got me here. I’m a loss for words. I don’t even know what to say.
“The car was fast. The corners seemed slick, but I just adjusted and kept it out front.”
RESULTS: 1. 21C-Dan Benson; 2. 35-Cale Deese; 3. 95-Chris Harvell; 4. 11-Jonathan Sarratt; 5. 3B-Brad McManus; 6. 1X-Hunter Wallace; 7. 74N-Allen Wyatt; 8. 12X-David Laney; 9. 25X-Daniel McManus; 10. 12Y-Lonnie Laney; 11. 13B-Brandon Collins; 12. 23-Eric Grant; 13. 64-Mike Budka Jr; 14. 77-Dallas Griggs; 15. (DNS) A23-Andrew Rich; 16. (DNS) 2D-Daniel Tate; 17. (DNS) 711-Kenneth Long Jr; 18. (DNS) A2-Carson Venable; 19. (DNS) 41K-Kelly Rash