The 2017 regular racing season has come to a close and the Champions were determined this past Saturday night at Auto City Speedway. It was a bittersweet ending of the season for some and an exciting ending for others. To add to the excitement, it was deemed a ‘double points night’.
The gates opened a bit early and the sun made it really nice for an evening of racing. The Herald Pure Stocks started the evening out with their qualifying. As the 18 Pure Stocks qualified one by one, you could tell they were all wanting that top spot. It was the very last car to qualify that ended up taking the #1 spot and that was the #54 of Randy Clayton Jr. with a 16.31 around the ¼ mile. Tony Williams in his #97 was next and Chad Lamson in the #888 qualified third.
The All American Truck Series drivers came out onto the track for their qualifying and when it was all said and done it was the #067 of Josh Delong in the top spot with an 18.11.
The Herald Pure Stock heat races were first on the schedule and with the fast heat starting the night out, it was the fast qualifier of Randy Clayton Jr. making his way to the front to take the checkered.
The second heat race was just as exciting but when the race was completed, it was the #5 of Andrea Baxter taking the win.
Then the All American Trucks were ready for their heat race and it was fast qualifier, Josh Delong taking the checkered.
So, the Kiddy Stocks were part of the show this evening and, as always a fun race. It is kids from the audience that get on Big Wheels to compete on going around two cones set up on the front stretch.
With that race over and done, it was time for the feature races for all classes. The 40 Lap Herald Pure Stock was up first. It started with the drivers “out of car” introductions for all 18 drivers. As they buckled up and got their game face on, you knew it was going to be a great race. On the front row was the #71 of Tom Logie and the #22 of Tim Shann to lead them to the green. Once the green flag flew, it was on. Tim Shann held his own up front for a few laps as the competitors shuffled behind him. They were racing two and three wide throughout the pack. As the drivers rubbed and bumped trying to get to the front, the #97 of Tony Williams, who was smoking his right rear coming off the turns, ended up with a flat tire and had to go to the pits to swap it out. When the racing started back up, it was again side by side action. As the laps wound down, it was the #54 of Randy Clayton Jr. leading the pack with three other drivers battling for second. But as the checkered flag flew, it surely was Randy Clayton Jr. taking the win over the very close second place finish by Chad Lamson in his #888 Silver Bullet and third went to the #067 of Josh Delong and right there as well finishing fourth was the #19 of Bruce Dunton Jr. As I mentioned earlier, this was a bittersweet night for many, but more so than for some, as this night was the last night Randy Clayton Jr. was going to be wheeling a race car. He is hanging up his helmet after 17 yrs. of racing, which includes the 2015 Pure Stock Championship and just last year, the 2016 Owners Championship. It was a perfect way for Randy to end his racing career as with a “clean sweep”: fast time, heat race win and the feature win. The race for second made it close in this year’s point’s battle, but in the end it was Chad Lamson taking the 2017 Championship in the Herald Pure Stocks. Chad is a multi-time Champion in this series and was totally on his game all year.
The All American Truck Series Feature race was next and at the last minute, it was determined by the track staff to run the 25 lap race clockwise (opposite of the normal way of running).
With the drivers trying to make it work turning right, it was a back and forth battle with the #067 of Josh Delong, the #422 of Anthony Richardson and the #116 of Jimmy Bass. As the laps counted down and the racing got fierce, Greg Long in his #21 truck tangled with another competitor and hit the wall pretty solid and bounced along the front stretch wall, then careening off into the infield signs. Greg did get out on his own power, but his truck was done for sure. As the racing started back up, it was Josh Delong up front and ended up taking the win, followed by Jimmy Bass and Anthony Richardson respectfully. With that feature win and numerous others this past year, it locked up the 2017 Championship for Josh in the All American Truck Series.
The Auto City Figure 8 Cars hit the big “X” track next and this race was full of thrills, chills and spills. Ten cars took the green for the 15 lap feature and as the field started to stretch out, on lap 4, the #21 Pure Stock of Greg Long (taking his second big hit of the night) and the #27 of Brent Mars met at the intersection with some brute, full throttle force. Needless to say, both cars were done for the night. The good news is both drivers got out under their own power and walked away. That goes to show how well these drivers and crews put these cars together. The race was red flagged to get both cars off the track and once the racing started back up, it was Tony “T-Bone” Williams leading the way, with Chad Lamson in his #888 about a straightway behind. The laps were counting down and on about lap 10, Tony got blocked by two lapped cars racing side by side which gave Chad the perfect chance to get to his back bumper. Chad did everything he could to get by Tony, but did not have enough laps to get it done. So it was Tony Williams taking the win and Chad coming home second, with the #22 of Tim Shann finishing third. Chad and Tony are both Veterans at the AC Figure 8 track so it was a good battle for sure. Chad did win the 2017 Auto City Figure 8 Championship for his 9th consecutive year.
There was an Enduro Figure 8 on the schedule too this night and as they all got the green flag, there was action all over the track. When the dust settled, it was the #067 truck of Josh Delong taking another win. Honorable mentions go out to the #948 of Justin Pepitone, the #422 of Anthony Richardson, the #44 of Cam King and the Team 80 car of Gerald Persails Jr. who ended up losing a wheel after getting up near the front to challenge.
The last race of the night was a “Mechanics Race”. Crew members getting in cars they have been working on all year. When the 8 laps were complete, it was Gary Williams in the #97 getting the win.
The Auto City Speedway “Breakfast of Champions” will be held on Sunday, Oct. 15th, 11:00am at Walli’s on Center Road. Call or come by the track and get your tickets now. Must be in by Oct 7th and please note there are no tickets available at the door. If you have any questions, contact Auto City Speedway during the week.
The Finale of the season will be a Maximum Destruction which will be held on September 30th and will include an autograph night as well, plus a “Halloween Theme”. Everyone is encouraged to dress in a costume and make sure to bring your candy bags. For more information go to www.autocityspeedway.com. And we’ll see you at the City!