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RACE NEWS.

  • Cody Sealey

DR Champions like Conner Weddell, Kayla Surles, and Dan Rogers all moving up into the VA Racer Late Model, there was intrigue going into opening night...



Dominion Raceway pressed the START button on the Virginia Racer, Virginia Modified, Any Car, Mini Stock, and Mini Cup season with Galaxy Game Night at that track. With the Galaxy Rolling Video Game Trailer on the front stretch pre race, it was set to be a night of next level racing.


The Truckin Thunder Virginia Racers enter 2024 as one the most exciting divisions that will make left turns this season. With back-to-back division champion, Alex Brock, taking the year off and other DR champions like Conner Weddell, Kayla Surles, and Dan Rogers all moving up into the VA Racer Late Model Division there was intrigue going into the opening Twin 35 lap races. Reid Murphy won multiple races last year and enters this season as a championship hopeful.


His day got off to a great start as he won the pole with a 16.316, but started race number one in fourth after the redraw. Dan Rogers and Richard Storm would start on the front row, while Mike Ganoe would start beside the #21 in row two.


There was a lap two caution for a Peyton Lee and Christian Kesterman incident, but when the race resumed Rogers and Murphy would shoot to the top two spots. Conner Weddell would find himself in fourth early after starting sixth.


When Rogers would get loose in turn four with 32 to-go, Murphy would pull alongside and they would battle for two laps before Murphy cleared for the lead. Back in third, Ganoe would thwart the progress of Weddell until lap 18 when the Legends champion would get inside the quarter panel and nudge his way into third. After clearing the #82, C-Weed rocketed towards the two leaders.


Ganoe soon found himself under threat from Richard Storm and the #57 of Chase Johnson. For multiple laps the three cars were under a blanket. Storm made multiple attempts to get position on Ganoe, but one of them cost him as he got passed by Johnson, who then passed Ganoe.


As Conner Weddell passed Dan Rogers and charged towards Murphy, the Ganoe and Storm battle would heat up again, ultimately resulting in Storm being spun out in turn 1.

There would be a restart with five to-go and Murphy, Weddel, Johnson, and Rogers would make up the top-four spots. Weddell would pressure the #21 and with two laps left, they would be side by side. With Murphy on the outside, Weddell’s inside position made it look like he could ultimately win the race. The #57 of Johnson capitalized on their battle and took it three wide.


Murphy and the #8 would make contact and Weddell would cut a tire as they took the white flag. Sparks flew as Weddel sailed off into the turn one wall. Sadly, this would end the evening for C-Weed as he suffered significant damage, but it was a triumphant start for Murphy who, with the caution after the checkered flag, would got to Bugsy's Auto Repair Victory Lane.


“We were about six cars ahead of everyone and then the caution came out [with a few to-go],” said Murphy. “I’m glad we were able to hold on. We had a lot of success here last year and I am excited to start this one with even more.”


The Dominion Raceway 4/6 Cylinder Any Cars were up next, and defending champion John Andrews picked up where he left off, in first place. The #K9 led every lap in route to victory. To Ryan Pritt’s credit, he was able to keep some pressure on the Junkyard Dawg, but the K9

generated a lot of speed on the straights whereas Pritt was faster in the turns.


The Virginia Modifieds saw the return of Kayla Surles after her Virginia Racer event. She set a track record qualifying in her modified with a time of 16.078. She took her fast machine and paced the field much like she did last season. She got on top of her Ferry Farm Repair machine and Kayla-curtsied for the first time in 2024.


The Jabs Construction Mini Cups were on-deck and the race featured a ton of passing and

side-by-side action on the back, but the #12 of Tyler Warriner was too fast to catch and got his first win of the year.


After a track cleanup, the Virginia Racers were back on the High Banks. Surles led the field tothe green next to Ganoe. Chase Johnson started fifth, while Murphy started seventh. Three laps in, Ganoe was alongside Surles and passing for the lead. Dan Rogers would travel with Ganoe and move into second.


Chase Johnson, the teenager from Midloathian who is nicknamed Ketchup, found himself

passing Surles for third place on lap seven. With 22 to-go he was passing Rogers in turn 3.

Johnson would catch Ganoe on lap 18 and the #82 would fight to stay in front of the #57, but as they drag raced down the back stretch, Johnson would enter turn 3 with a dive. The #57 would get Ganoe out of the groove, and contact ensued as they were door-to-door out of turn 4. By the time they entered turn 1, it was the Carolina blue and orange car of Johnson who saw himself in P1.


Johnson would stay out front until the checkers flew. He climbed on top of his car in victory lane, and emphatically pumped his fists and waved the flag after his first win at DR.

“This thing was a bare chassis 6-weeks ago,” said Johnson. “I’m speechless.”


The Mini Stocks race featured a great battle between Kris Kurtz and Keith Riley. The Lightning Mcqueen-inspired machine of Riley would pass Kurtz for the lead in turn 1 with 13 to-go and then survive a restart to win the race.


The final race of the night was the 8 Cylinder Any Cars. Brian Maxey led a nice chunk of the

race, but when the #07 of Richard Storm applied pressure, Brian Maxey was almost sideways in turns 1 and 2. Storm was able to take away the lead and control the race until the final flag of the evening.


You can rewatch the action at https://dominionraceway.tv/ with a $9.99 monthly replay subscription or of course catch each race live with a Live Event Pass from https://dominionraceway.tv/ for $19.99 if you cant make it in the stands!


Next Saturday (4/20) the Virginia Racers and Virginia Modifieds will return. The Ucars, Legends, and Bandos will also be on track for Touch a Big Truck Night along with Jeremy Mayfield and the Grand National Super Series! Tickets https://drevents.ticketstobuy.com/event/200

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