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  • Cody Sealey

“That’s what Dominion Raceway short-track racing is all about,” said Ruggles

Dominion Raceway celebrated Ladies Night with Twin 50 lap Late Model races. INEX

Bandoleros and Legends also returned to action in week two, while Ucars and Dominion Stocks

made their 2024 debuts.

Dominion welcomed Legends driver Carsyn Gray Gilliken, who performed on-stage in the 118

Bar & Grill prior to racing festivities. After the music, the sweet melodies of engines firing filled

the cool April air.

The Bandos saw some new faces in the lineup to challenge last weeks winner, Bryson Nichols.

One of which was Landon Burbage, who qualified on the pole with a time of 20.025. Alongside

him was newcomer Jay Hemenway. When the green flag flew, Hemenway jumped to the lead

over Burbage. Hemenway would lead four laps before Burbage would pass for the lead; James

Manolo would follow into second place.

Burbage would hold onto the lead for the remainder of the race that went caution-free despite

some pressure from Manolo on the final corner.

The final top-5 would include Burnage, Manolo, Wyatt Coffey, Bryson Nichols, and Hemenway.

The first Late Model race would come next and Davey Callihan would qualify for the pole, but

due to the invert, he would start further back. On the front row, Chandler Sherman and Landon

Pembelton would take the green flag. Pembelton would get the better start from the outside

lane, and a train of himself, Aaron Donnelly, and Doug Barnes Jr would all pass Sherman for the

top three spots.

The most exciting action of the race would come on laps 12-13 when Barnes and Donnelly

would be side-by-side battling for second. Donnelly would hold on, while Barnes would sink

back to fifth with an issue. Dustin Storm would pass him for third, while Callihan took fourth


That would be the final running order for the top-5 as Pembelton would lead every lap of the

event that stayed green to the checkered flag.

The third race of the night featured a debut for the Ucars. Jimmy Parker started the year out

front in his new Neil Bonnet-inspired #28 and led the first 18 laps. Kason Howe spent most of

the day in second, but it was defending Ucars champion, Michael Frayser, that made the most

passes. Frayser was the top qualifier, but he started sixth with the invert. With 13 to-go he

passed Howe, and it looked like an almost certainty he would take the lead. He got into striking

distance of Parker, and with the help of a lap car, Frayer’s #1 was P1.

Jimmy Parker had the lead, and he wasn’t going to go down quietly to Frayser, because he

reloaded and got his lead back a lap later in Turn 3. Parker would pull away from Frayser in the

closing laps and cross the stripe with his first win of the year.

“I wanted to pick up where I left off,” said Parker. “Frayser is a hard one to beat; hopefully it

becomes a new thing for me!”

The Legends returned with 25 cars in the field for 25 laps of thunder around the High-Banks.

Conner Weddell returned after his win last week and his Dominion legends dominance

continued. He qualified fastest with a 17.201 and worked his way up from sixth.

Tommy Jackson led the start of the race with Miles Murray, Layton Harrison, and David Polenz

behind him. Weddell would pass for fourth and then third before a caution came out with 18

to-go for a single-car spin. Another caution would follow on the restart when Brett Todd got into Weedy Weddell.

With 14 to-go the Legends would restart and when Jackson bobbled in Turn-3, C-Weed would

take the lead. Polenz and Landon McKenzie would pass with this opportunity, while Weddell

continued to pace the field.

Weddell, Polenz, McKenzie, Jackson, and Murray would finish the race at the top-5.

“This is the hardest I’ve had to drive in a while now,” said Weddell in victory lane. “I really drove

as hard as I could after starting P6.”

Tommy Smith would start the race for the Dominion Stocks and he would be three-wide with

Todd Ruggles and Brian Maxey on lap 2 on the front stretch. Later in the lap, Maxey would

make a hard hit with the Turn-2 wall.

Smith and Ruggles would lead the restart with Ruggles snatching the lead. Mike Lowe would

pass for second, and with six to-go Lowe would take the lead from Ruggles with a kiss of the

back bumper. Ruggles would return the contact with a bump and run out-of-four, which would be the race-winning move.

When the Bandos returned for their second race, Tuggie Case, PJ Surles, and Jay Hemenway

would bunch it up on the start. James Manolo looked to improve on his second place finish, by

leading Burbage, Coffey, and Nichols. A late single-file restart would not stop Manolo in route to his first win.

“I feel awesome,” said Manolo. “Yes, I was just thinking positive the whole time.”

The Late Models closed out the evening with a second 50 lap shootout. Doug Barnes would not

race after breaking a right-front frame rail. Trenton Kilgore, Chase Burrow, Chandler Sherman,

and Dustin Storm would make up the first two rows.

Burrow and Storm would rocket out to the front from the outside, while Pembelton would follow them in third. With 37 to-go Aaron Donnelly would take 5th from Sherman. WIth 26 to-go Storm made a move for the lead, and Pembelton got into him going for first. Both cars would recover and be side-by-side after clearing Burrow. They barrelled through Turn-1 together, and as they shot out of 2, Storm would get the momentum on the outside and clear the #0.

With nine laps remaining, Storm approached lapped cars, but he would navigate well and hold

off the threat of Pembelton for an exciting win.

After an exceptional third-place run in the Dickie Boswell 200 and a win on Ladies Night, Storm

couldn’t help but be thankful for the improvement his team has been able to make early into the new season.

“Such a strong race car,” said Storm. “Scott Lang is the best car owner out here and gets me

what I need. We got it done, finally!”

On his race winning move, Storm said, “I stuck it in there on the outside and hoped it would

stick, and it stuck!”

Next Saturday, April 13, is Game Night at DR. The Truckin’ Thunder Virginia Racers will be

making their debut with the Virginia Modifieds, AnyCars, Mini Stocks, and Mini Cups.


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