More Track action getting started in the area

                March 2010                                                                       Dale Wilkerson

              More area tracks waved the green flag on the 2010 season last weekend. Among the winners, were two local drivers who established new track records in their divisions.

                David Smith, of Inman, picked up the win in the Crate Late Models at Travelers Rest Speedway Saturday night. During qualifying, Smith timed in with a lap under the time of 16.7 seconds to set the new track record.

                “This was a very exciting win for us. The new car really feels great and winning with it in just the second race this year feels even better,” said Smith. Fans and drivers alike we very pleased with the recent changes at the racetrack as well. “The track crew has worked very hard on this facility and the changes will be a plus for the race fans and the competitors,” Smith added.

                20 cars signed in for Pure Stock, with Barry Thornton taking the win. Stacy Brock, of Campobello, started his 2010 season the same way he ended his 2009 season. Brock won the Super Stock Four feature at Travelers Rest Saturday night. Brock’s last race was the World Crown Four Cylinder Nationals last November at Gaffney. Brock looks to be fastest this year than he was last season so drivers will be chasing his blue and white #96 Mustang once again.

                Gaffney’s Jeff Cooke established the time to beat in the NDRA Crates at the Carolina Speedway. Cooke’s lap, of 17 seconds flat, put him on the pole beside another Gaffney driver, Dennis ‘Rambo’ Franklin. Cooke got the jump on the green flag and held off Franklin to collect the $2,500 winner’s purse.

                Both Cooke and Franklin competed in the Skyler Trull Memorial race, which kicks off the year for the Carolina Clash Super Late Model Series. Last year’s winner Chris Ferguson started on the pole and led the opening laps before he was sidelined with mechanical problems. Dean Bowen powered away from the pack on the restart and led the final 29 laps to capture the $10,000 prize. Franklin also finished second in this feature. Cooke had problems and had to park early in the race.

                In the heat races, Enoree’s Zach Mitchell raced with one of the greatest dirt racers of all time. Ken Schrader, whose motto has always been; I will race anything, anytime, and at any place. Schrader was on hand to run this event with his Federated Auto Parts car. Mitchell was placed in the same heat race as Schrader, who was inducted into the National Dirt Racing Hall of Fame last year. For 14-year old ‘Kid Quick’ Zack Mitchell, racing with a legend like Schrader was both fun and educational.

                “Ken Schrader is an incredible driver. It was a lot of fun to race with someone who has picked NASCAR wins at places like Charlotte and Talladega. I watched him closely, and maybe I picked up a few of his tricks,” Mitchell added.

                At Cherokee Speedway, fans held the breath as Charlie Walker turned over during the Crate Late Model feature. Walker was at full speed, when the car broke loose about half-way down the back stretch. The car barrel rolled numerous times before coming to rest near the entrance to turn three. Walker emerged from his destroyed race car bruised but okay.

                “That was a rough ride. I think something broke on the back of the car, around the axel, which dug in and sent me on that ride,” said Walker just minutes after his crash.

                When the green flag waved, Adam Yarbrough and Anthony Sanders battled door to door until Yarborough grabbed the win by less than a car length. “That was the most fun I have had racing in a while. Anthony was getting off turn two better than I was, but my Barry Wright car was better in turns three and four,” said Yarborough.

                Fans and racers have been pleased with the work at the Greer Dragway. New pavement has been put down which will result in better racing. “Every class will benefit from all of the hard work put in here over the winter. It seems like with every pass, times are picking up and as we lay down more rubber, the track will only get better, said Frank Swain who competes in the Foot Brake class.

                At Greenville Pickens, after turning the fastest lap in qualifying (20.28 seconds on the half-mile), David ‘Rocket’ Roberts scored his first Late Model win of the season. Roberts picked up three wins late in the 2009 season and he is hoping to add another year below his name on the Wall of Champions. This weekend, that wall may be tested by the NASCAR K&N Pro Series.

                Drivers will be competing in the Kevin Whitaker Chevrolet 150 this Saturday. Matt Kobyluck, the 2008 series champion, will be hoping to turn around his luck and get back into the winner’s circle. After a winless campaign in 2009, Kobyluck is very hungry to get back on track. “Greenville-Pickens Speedway is rich in tradition. When you look at that wall and read names like David Pearson and Ralph Earnhardt, it makes you want to win here,” said Kobyluck.

                Now if all this action is not enough for you, how about watching the NHRA drivers go at it ‘FOUR-WIDE’ at Charlotte. The Z-Max Dragway will host the Four-Wide Nationals this weekend. Car will be on track Friday afternoon with the final rounds on Sunday. Four top fuel dragsters or four funny cars adds up to a combined speed of 1200-mph and over 32,000 horsepower. Folks at Concord Mills Mall may feel the ground shaking when the green light releases the fastest drag racing cars in the world. 

ADDITION:

Correction, it was posted this morning, Tuesday 3/23/10, that David Roberts car failed post race inspection. The win was awarded to second place finisher, Toby Porter. Porter honed his skills on local kart tracks and had race in the Camping World Truck Series. Porter’s win, and a second place finish behind Randy Porter week one, gives Toby a great start to the 2010 season.