Auto City Speedway
2023 Final Results -Sept 23rd
Auto City Speedway Results 9/23/2023
Before we get into the results of this past Saturday, let’s recap the 2023 Champions from each division now that all tech has been completed and points tallied up. The champion in the Pro Street Stock division (raced on the half mile) was won by Casey Snover driver of the #32 who has raced at Auto City for many years in the past driving in the Street Stock division on the quarter mile (which is no longer a division at the track).
In the Herald Pure Stocks, it was veteran Auto City driver Nick Johnston in his #7 getting the top spot. The All-American Trucks saw Anthony Richardson in his #422 grab the title and he almost won the Auto City Figure 8 division, but on the last point’s night, Andrew Burton wheeling his #05 got enough points to get the championship over Richardson. In the Red Apple Fireworks Front Wheel Drive (FWD) “A” series it was Jason Jones in his screaming #11j becoming champion and in the “B” series, it was the #33 of Rod Nettleton with his first championship.
Now moving on to this past Saturday night, it was the final race event at Auto City Speedway for the 2023 season and it was a “Ghoul’s Night Out/Candy-rama Maximum Destruction” presented by, long time sponsor, ELGA Credit Union. It was a balmy autumn evening with many fans dressed in Halloween costumes to set the tone for the evening being the Candy-rama was a ‘trunk or treat’ event on the track with all the competitors handing out candy and autograph photos.
One notable mention, Barnalene Frost was in attendance and if some of you don’t know, she was the woman’s Powder-Puff champion in 1967/68 at Auto City Speedway and returned to enjoy a night of racing and I am sure she was reminiscing of her hey-days there at the track.
Even though it was a Maximum Destruction night, there was also racing, which in turn, included qualifying.
Starting out were the All-American Trucks and when it was all said and done, it was Dan Shamel in his #47 getting fast time with a 17.28 and second fast quick was Anthony Richardson in his purple #422 with a 17.35.
In the Red Apple Fireworks FWD division, it was the #11j of Jason Jones getting fast time with a 16.30 over newcomer to Auto City, Keith Hazel who had a 16.37.
So, after the invocation and national anthem, it was time for racing. First up was the thirty-lap feature for the All-American Trucks.
The #4 of Christopher Bush Jr. and the #77 of Jason Wolf led the field to green. When the green flew, it was Wolf who took the early lead and Zack Lopez jumping up to the second spot. But by lap two, it was the #224 of Jason Grissom getting to the lead. By lap five, Shamel had worked his way to second and within a lap was in the lead. Richardson was working his way to the front getting up to forth, but it appeared he started to have overheating issues and was black flagged. On lap ten, Brian Dougherty #22 had gotten up to battle for second with Grissom and getting by him while Lopez and the #J21 of Walt Dalrymple Jr. battled side by side even touching at times and by lap nineteen, Dalrymple Jr. did tag Lopez causing him to spin and bringing out a yellow. The #J21 was sent to the rear, and it was back to racing. On the restart, it was Shamel on the inside of Dougherty and when they went back to racing, Shamel jumped back out to the lead and never looked back giving him his second feature win in a row. Behind the third-generation driver was Dougherty, Grissom, Lopez and Dalrymple Jr. respectively.
The Red Apple Fireworks FWD twenty lap feature was now on tap, and it was “A” series drivers of Jason Jones and Keith Hazel leading them to green. When they went green, it was Jones followed closely by Hazel and about lap six, Jones appeared to have lost power and Hazel did tag him as Jones was trying to pull off. Another newcomer to Auto City that night was Chad Congdon #51 who was right behind Hazel. It pretty much stayed status quo throughout the race and when the checkered flew, it was Keith Hazel getting his first ever feature win. Congdon was second in the “A” series, then followed by “B” series driver, ‘the Ironman’, Gerald Persails Jr. driving the #96x (he usually drives the #80) which gave him the win for the “B” series.
Before any of the destruction races started, it was time for the Candy-rama on the track where the fans got to go out and meet with the drivers and gather up all the goodies they had to offer, from candy to autographed photos. Once that was completed, it was time for the action to commence.
The twelve lap Chain-gang race started the action and there was some good competition going on in this race. There were three teams going at it being the #948 team of Justin Pepitone and Persails Jr., the #57 team of Maverick Morrow and Shane Fogerty and the #422 team of Richardson and Paul Rigda all battling. On Lap three, team #422 got tangled up after losing a bit of control down the front stretch causing them to spin in turn one. The #948 team had the lead while others battled, but when it was all over, it was Pepitone/Persails Jr. getting the win over Morrow/Fogerty and Richardson/Rigda.
The ever popular twenty lap I-75 race was next and had twenty-seven drivers going for the win. On a side note, tonight’s bus drivers were a husband-and-wife team of Joe Shamel and his wife Jimi, both driving the buses for the first time ever. The #18 of Zack Lopez got the early lead and was being followed by the #57 of Maverick Morrow with the likes of Richardson and Grissom trying to run them down. By lap twelve, Richardson and Morrow were battling back and forth as the buses displayed their emergency lights periodically. On the last lap, Morrow had the lead in his #57, 1957 Chevy, but coming out of turn four, developed a right front blowout coming across the line with sparks flying and then Richardson just got by him coming down the front stretch to get the win.
The twelve lap Push race was now up, and it was ‘Team Cudd’ (Jim Cudd #1/Ryan Cudd #11) getting the early lead. On about lap three, a red was displayed to get some disabled vehicles off the track that were in harm’s way. When they went back to green, Team Cudd was leading the way, but the team of Richardson/Rigda had the momentum on their side and on the last lap, made the pass for the lead and won.
Now it was time for the fifteen lap Auto City Figure 8 race. It was the #18 of Zack Lopez getting the early lead with Walt Dalrymple Jr. #J21 following. By lap five, the silver #422 of Richardson was working his way to the front. As the laps clicked down, Richardson did get by Lopez and when the checkered flew, it was Richardson, Lopez and Doug Hennessy in his #7 getting third.
The ten lap Flagpole race was next and the top contenders battling in this race were Lopez, Richardson and Morrow. When all the roundabout racing was completed, it was Zack Lopez in his #18 getting the victory.
The fifty lap Enduro was next on the schedule and twenty-four drivers were ready to go at it. Early leader was the #18 again of Lopez as they battled three wide in the pack following. The likes of Ryan Cudd #11k was trying to be a spoiler as he got to the lead and was bobbing and weaving his way through all traffic looking like he was going to lap the whole field (which he almost did). Richardson did make his presence known as well, but about lap thirty, the #422 pulled off with some issue. Then about lap thirty-five, just as R. Cudd was about to lap second place Lopez, he started slowing more and more and by lap thirty-seven, he retired his ride to the pits with a flat right front giving the lead back to Lopez. But this race is called the Enduro for a reason as right about lap forty-two, Lopez had a drive-shaft issue and had to head to the pits as well. This gave the lead to Maverick Morrow in his little green machine #57. When the fifty laps were completed, it was Morrow getting the win over Gerald Persails Jr. and Jason Grissom.
Next was the ten lap School Bus Figure 8 race. As the buses started to spread out, there were a few close calls and a few jeers from the crowd. There was some ‘bump drafting’ and ‘side drafting’ going on, well it could have been that…but it was one driver getting his bus to handle best and knowing how to figure 8 race probably helped, as it was Anthony Richardson getting the win over Jim Cudd and Ryan Cudd. Notable, on the very last pass by the checkered flag, Paul Rigda appeared to have had a flat and flipped his bus right at the start finish line with then oil pouring out of the motor compartment and a rear tire coming off the rim. It took a moment, but Rigda climbed out from one of the side windows to climb atop the side of the bus raising both arms giving approval he was ok and to big cheers from the crowd. Then, he actually walked over to the front stretch fence waving to the crowd who was still cheering, but then realizing there was still another race to go, the Figure 8 Trailer race that he was going to be in, he ‘jogged’ back to the pits with helmet in hand and waving to the crowd.
The very last race of the night and season was the ten lap Trailer Figure 8 race. It started with Anthony Richardson on the pole and with that, he never had to look back as he got the win over Rigda and Jason Grissom.
That concluded the 2023 season for Auto City Speedway which was an eventful year including a full-on three-day Rodeo, the Michigan Drift series, the ‘Night Lights’ event and even something new as well, Friday night racing. The season did seem to go by fast, but it sure was exciting.
We here at Auto City Speedway cannot thank all the fans, drivers, crews, staff and sponsors enough for keeping this track going since 1955. Without all y’all, we wouldn’t have a place to race and enjoy our racing family and friends.
With the conclusion of the season, the upcoming “Auto City Speedway Championship Banquet” will be on Sunday, December 3rd and is open to the public. Tickets are now available by contacting the speedway. You can get the contact information at www.autocityspeedway.com or look for the Auto City Speedway and Outdoor Events Facebook page for more details to be posted.
We look forward to seeing you all in 2024 as opening night is set for April 27th with a Maximum Destruction.
Article Credit: Randy Adam
Submitted By: Sharon Fischer