Photo by Brandon Michael Racing Photography
Back to School Spirit Night at the Races was kicked off by a family trio in the winners circle as Stuart Walsh driver of the #24 UCAR, delivered the prayer and was followed up by cousin Leslie Lawrence who preformed a wonderful National Anthem before little sister Nadilyn delivered the "most famous words in motorsports." Still shaking from excitement, Leslie noted how much the opportunity to perform meant to her and although Stuart Walsh wouldn't be starting in his #24 machine later that night, he would later mention on social media "This family moment was a win for me last night at the track."
When the engines fired up and the green flag dropped it was all Mike Ganoe for the better part of the first 35 lap event for the Truckin Thunder Va Racers. About midway through the race the #51 of Jason Pittman would spin at the top of 3 and 4 bringing out the caution and the first restart of the night. It would be Alex Brock lined up on the outside for the restart however Ganoe would play the Alcova Mortgage restart zone perfectly catching Brock off the gas. Diving into the corner in front of the pack the #82 would hold off a fierce #9 until the pass for the lead came a few laps later. Brock would ride off to Victory, his 10th on the season.
Next up the Tru By Hilton INEX Legends took to the track with tight racing throughout the pack all the way up to leaders Conner Weddell #8c and David Polenz #33 who lost control of his machine on the outside of Weddell exiting turn 2 bringing out the only caution of the first Legends race. With 10 to go Polenz would battle his way back into 4th before passing Mike Weddell to snag a podium finish behind Alec Andrecs and race winner Conner Weddell. "Two races in a row, this is the first time I've ever done that which is really cool. Want to say thank you to David Polenz for racing me clean on that battle." Conner would draw a 1 out of the bag which would see him start P1 for race #2 of the night.
The Modified and Va Modified division saw another dominant performance by Kayla Surles and Shannon Marano. Kayla would be credited in victory lane for her 8th win of the season during which we saw the return of Mike Rudy in the #8 Modified who was no match for the #25 hotrod. Shannon Marano in victory lane for the Va Mods would detail his gratitude for his team, especially his sponsors who recently came on board and believing in him and for the track putting in the effort to grow the division hosting the events.
It was a good start for the Eagle Towing and Recovery UCARs before 3 laps in David Sebera would spin Kason Howe in 3 & 4, ending Kasen's night. Ryan Pritt in the #09 would go on to win a clean race #1 followed by Michael Frayser #1, James Garrett #97, Jimmy Parker #28, and Mike Chapman #51. Pritt would have fuel pump problems during the 5 minute break and was unable to start race #2. After starting 3rd David Rhoades #41 on lap 5 would make the pass for the lead and go on to win race #2 as he held off a hard charging Michael Frayser. "This is my first win on asphalt, this one really means a lot."
Carlisle III Home inspection and consulting Dinger Depot INEX Bandoleros took to the track for 15 laps with Tuggie Case #1Va starting from the pole. Tuggie would stay out front even after a caution from PJ Surles and Eli Van Patten would create a restart scenario. With a few laps remaining contact between the #21 Sarah Whitesell and #18 Tristan Brunelli lead to a scary crash in turn 1 & 2 also involving #11 Addison Schumann, #04 James Monolo and #28 Kaitlyn Stradley. Multiple drivers hit hard and were attended to by track safety officials, ultimately informing safety officials they were ok despite some soreness. The #11 of Addison Schumann was transported to nearby MWH where she was observed and released without any broken bones. and would later be credited on social media Thanking those who checked on her stating " I'm alright just sore. but I'll be back at Dominion Raceway in Spotsylvania Virginia next weekend for my birthday race and we will come back stronger than ever." (as of Sunday all drivers involved are doing well) Once racing resumed for the Bandos it was a tight battle to the end as Tuggie Case would eventually give up his lead to #88 Brian Rundstrom Jr with 3 to go. In victory lane Brian would taunt the ability for his machine to outperform such a motor for the win.
The second Tru by Hilton Legends race saw a similar scary crash at the top of turn 1 & 2 when Charlie Beals and Chris Fahed hooked bumpers and smacked the outside wall hard, almost sending Fahed onto his roof. Both drivers thankfully walked away from the incident and the race would resume after the red flag with Conner Weddell and David Polenz battling again for the lead. In a short lived tit-for-tat Polenz would take the lead then quickly give it back to Weddell who would go on to pull away from the #33 completing his first ever sweep of his career. "Ive never had such a great car where I was able to Pull away, at a drive in track" the win would mark Conners 4th of the season and 3rd in a row.
Finishing off the night was race #2 for the Truckin Thunder Va Racers. Christian Kestermann #1 would start on the inside of Josh Blankenship #4 as Kestermann would have a good start he enjoyed a few clean laps out front as Blankenship would have a few tough battles on the outside before getting shuffled back in the pack. Reid Murphy would make the pass on Kestermann some laps later and would go on to dominate race #2. Putting a full straightaway between him and 2nd Place Alex Brock. "To win 1 is great but to win 4 in one year, that's the first time I've ever done that and I just can't thank my team enough, this car was a bare frame a week ago and now here we are in victory lane, these guys worked their butts off."
Racing action at Dominion resumes next Saturday for Ladies Night at the Races with Twin 50 Lap LMSC's, Twin 25 Lap Dominion Stocks, 25 Lap Legends, 15 Lap Bandoleros, 25 Lap USAC, & 25 Lap Virginia Vintage.