This past Saturday was fun for all ages, from the beginning of the night to the very end, at Auto City Speedway for the Maximum Destruction presented by ELGA Credit Union. Even though there were scattered showers in the area, it was just Mother Nature trying to keep the dust down. It turned out to be a beautiful night for all the racing and destruction. The evening started with the Herald Pure Stock qualifying and when all the competitors were clocked in, it was Josh Delong, in his #067, turning a 16.21 for the fast time of the night. Auto City started the nights racing early with two Herald Pure Stock heat races before anything else happened. In the first heat race, it was the underdog of Hank Keenan, in his black #90, getting out to an early lead and kept it to take his first checkered flag of the season. It was well deserved, as he has had some bad luck throughout this season. The second heat race went to JT (James) Clayton, in the #55, who had no easy task of taking that win.
Then it was time for the on track autograph session, for the fans, with all the drivers on the front stretch. The sun was shining and the fans were enjoying meeting their favorite drivers and the kids getting goodies and autograph cards from them.
So it was time for the pre-race ceremonies, and as the National Anthem played, stopping short due to technical difficulty, the crowd of nearly 3,000 joined in harmony to sing the finishing portion of the anthem.
The Herald Pure Stocks were first up for their 25 lap feature, and as the green flag was dropped, it was Bryan Thompson in his brightly colored purple and white #66 taking the top spot. As the field all battled for position, it was the red, white and blue #12 of Michael Hayes making his way to the front. He was followed by a herd of competitors, with the likes of Josh Delong, Randy Clayton Jr. in his #54, James JT Clayton in the #55, Bruce Dunton’s #19 and Chad Lamson. When the checkered flag dropped, it was Chad Lamson taking another feature win and adding to his points lead in the Herald Pure Stock division.
The ladies were up next for the 8 lap Powder Puff race, with ten ladies out there vying for the win. When it was all said and done, it was Brandi Evans, in the #80, taking her first win and climbing out of the sunroof excited as could be.
The fan favorite boat race was on the schedule next and without any disappointment, the water was flying and the boats were being destroyed with the fourteen competitors going 10 laps. The #89 truck was leading most of the way until near the end losing his boat and giving the lead to the #17 who, in turn, lost his boat on the next lap giving the lead and win to Brent Mars in the #27. This was Brent’s second boat race win of the season.
So to dry up the track, it was the draggin race next. Thirty four drivers took to the track, dragging tires behind them in hopes of finishing first. This race seemed to be challenging to many, as the likes of the orange #3 , who was flying through the field leading. As he was passing some lapped cars, he ended up getting tangled in another drivers draggin tires and was stuck on the infield. While each of the vehicles lost tires or dropped out, the leader of Gerald Persails Jr. kept charging through. But he too ended up losing his tires and when the 10 laps were complete, it was Michael Novak in the #776 winning his first race of the year.
The action continued with the chain gang race and with twenty teams (forty vehicles on the track) you knew this was going to be wild. The battle for the twelve laps was between the #067 team of Josh Delong/Randy Clayton Jr. and the #948/#80 team of Justin Pepitone/Gerald Persails Jr. As the laps were counting down, the #21 truck of Greg Long and his tow vehicle had spun at the end of the straightaway. With Josh and Randy Jr flying down the front stretch, they tried to avoid Greg’s truck as he (Greg) was wanting to get to the infield. With the evasive action taken by Josh, it ended up sending Randy Jr. into Greg’s truck sideways at full speed. Randy Jr. slowly climbed out of his vehicle and a ‘red flag’ was thrown to make sure he was ok. He was shaken up with the wind knocked out of him, but was back in action later. When the race continued, it was the #948/#80 team taking the win.
This night had a special event that was planned and headed up by Randy Clayton Jr. and the Clayton family, as there was a BIKE GIVEAWAY for the kids. Drivers and some staff donated some 33 bikes to be given away from tikes to tween sizes. The folks who donated the bikes are as follows: Randy Clayton Jr., Randy Clayton Sr., Amanda Clayton, Jeff West, Josh Delong, James JT Clayton, Tom Logie, Michael Hayes, Rusty Daggettt, Bryan Thompson, Tim Shann, Chad Lamson, Dillon Eaton, Kenny and Joanne Phaff, JSK Motorsports and Auto City Speedway. The kids who won left with huge smiles on their faces and all trying to ride their bikes off the front stretch to the stands.
The push race was next and, with again, twenty teams (forty vehicles) ready to go. It was almost a repeat of the chain gang race only with the team of #80/#948 in opposite positions, Gerald Persails Jr and Justine Pepitone still taking the win.
The exciting fifty lap Enduro race was now up and with fifty three drivers going at it, the battle was going to be fierce. Halfway through, it was the #80 of Gerald Persails Jr. leading the way. He encountered a battle from the #231 of Scott Platz, creating excitement back and forth, but the #80 had some issue and ended up pulling off while leading with about 5 laps to go. The #231 had issues as well and that set it up for Justin Pepitone in that #948 to get the win.
Skid cars were ready to scrape their way around the ¼ mile for 6 laps and the ten drivers let the sparks fly as they battled for position. But it was veteran skid car driver Shane Fogarty coming from the last row to claim yet another win in the skid car race.
The Auto City figure eight series were the first ones to hit the figure eight track this night and with a lot of shuffling, Tony Williams (returning for the second time this year in his #97) was leading when series points leader, Chad Lamson got up to his bumper. Tony ended up getting sideways and Chad passed him for the lead. Tim Shann in his blue #22 was in the heat of the battle as well as the #27 of Brent Mars and the #71 of Tom Logie. Tony battled back to get past the competitors, but he did not have enough time to catch Chad. So it was Chad’s silver bullet getting his second win of the night and extending his points lead in this series as well.
Seven school buses took to the figure eight track for the 10 laps and as the huge metal monsters raced, it was American Airlines pilot Ben Fracken winning. He made some interesting moves going three wide at times, but it was all worth it. And on the last lap, the #75 bus driven by Dillon Eaton came out of the second to last turn and it landed on its side with a huge “boom” with the driver climbing out of the access door.
The last race on the schedule was the figure eight trailer race, with a huge field that connected at the intersection. It was a melee from the first lap, with trailers became detached as the 10 laps (which seemed like 20) counted down. There was a big hit in the intersection between the #810 and the #43 of Paul Rigda, which put the #43 truck on its side and created a red flag situation to get the drivers out of their vehicles. As the green flew for the restart, the racing was fast. But in the end, it was Josh Delong in his #067 truck getting the win. On a side note, as the last laps dissolved, the #948 took a big hit as well in his trailer causing another red flag to make sure Justin Pepitone was OK.
Racing returns to Auto City Speedway on Aug 26th with the Auto Value Bumper to Bumper Super Sprints, the Herald Pure Stocks, the All American Truck series, Auto City Figure 8’s, kiddy stocks and a “Fireworks Finale”. Check out the full calendar of events at www.autocityspeedway.com and we will “See You at the City”.