SWANSBORO, NC — Saturday night’s races at Carteret County Speedway, billed as Budweiser Halloween Mayhem, lived up to the “Mayhem” title. At the end of the night, Chris Burns was celebrating his third career Late Model victory.
Burns inherited the lead on lap 26 when Connor Hall and Jeff Oakley got together racing for the lead. Hall spun off the front bumper of Oakley and race control sent Oakley to the rear of the field, handing the lead to Burns. The race ran caution free from there, with Burns scoring the win.
“The car was pretty consistent all night,” Burns said in victory lane. “We weren’t as good as we would have like to have been. I think if Oakley or Hall could’ve got stretched out, it might have been a different story. The car actually stayed pretty good throughout the whole race. We developed a vibration toward the end. It paid off.”
Oakley and Hall, who normally race in Virginia, recovered from their incident to finish second and third respectively. The second-place finish for Oakley was his second runner-up finish in his second start at Carteret County Speedway while Hall was making his first career Carteret County Speedway appearance.
“We got together with Connor,” Oakley said. “We certainly didn’t mean to. We were racing hard and our cars were pretty equal. It’s tough to pass on this racetrack.”
Eric Winslow, who had won in his two most recent Carteret County Speedway appearances, was taken out of the race in an early incident with Tyler Horne.
Brandon Clements looked destined for victory in the 100 lap Battlefield Tire Pros Mini Stock Mayhem but his run went sour on lap 35 when, while holding a big lead, his car came to a rest in turn three. From there, it came a battle between Michael Tucker and Chuck Wall.
Tucker got the advantage and pulled away in the second half of the race to score the win, becoming the third different Mini Stock winner at Carteret County Speedway.
“I would have loved to race with Brandon for the win,” Tucker said. “Hate that happened to him but we’ll take whatever win we can get. I’d like to thank all the fans for coming out and supporting us out here. It’s good to run against [Chuck Wall]. He always runs me clean and he knows I’ll do the same.”
Chuck Wall ended up finishing in second while A.J. Sanders, Brian Bryant and Kris Hetu rounded out the top-five in the 19 car field – the largest field of Mini Stocks in Carteret County Speedway history.
Jonathon Belfiore scored the victory, his fourth Carteret County Speedway win, in a wild Street Stock race that ended with hurt racecars and hurt feelings.
11 laps into the race, the caution came out when Billy Slater spun. During the caution, Belfiore and Horner lined up for the restart. The two cars made contact and, heading off into turn one on the restart lap, Horner’s car spun. Horner retaliated under the caution, driving over Belfiore’s car. Horner’s car was parked and, after removing sheet metal damage, Belfiore returned to the race and went on to score the win.
“He came down on me at the start, got into me and wanted to act like that about it,” Belfiore said after the race. “That’s a sorry sport is what that is. We do our best to come out here and do the best we can and have to deal with stuff like that.”
Horner said the initial contact with Belfiore damaged the tie-rod double on his car, which had already sustained damage in an early practice incident.
The Legends race also ended with bent emotions.
Coming to the checkered flag, race leader Billy Gomez spun off the front bumper of Brent Irving in a battle for the same real estate and a dash for the finish line. Irving went on to score the win while the spin relegated Gomez to a third place finish.
“To be able to outrun [Gomez] is a great accomplishment,” Irving said. “That man has won his fair share of races, I can tell you that.”
Ryan Shabram got around Gomez while Gomez’s car was spinning to pick up the second spot. Gomez took his third place finish in stride.
“If we had just a couple more laps, maybe,” Gomez said. “I don’t know. It’s just racing. Been there, done that.”
Travis Miller and Zac Reimer swapped the lead several times during the course of the Street Stock race. When the checkered flag flew, it was Miller once again celebrating in victory lane. Miller held off a late race charge from Reimer and pulled away on the last lap. Reimer settled for a second place finish while Jason Beck, a Speedway Illustrated columnist driving a car prepared by Travis Miller, finished third.
Johnnie Johnson scored the overall victory in the East Coast Flathead Ford Association feature race in his vintage Modified car while Wayne Lawson scored the Sportsman win.
Saturday night’s races were the final race of the 2016 regular season. Preparations are already being made for the 2017 season, including improvements at the facility to enhance the fan experience. The 2017 schedule and additional information about the upcoming season will be announced in the weeks ahead.
For more information about Carteret County Speedway, visit the track’s website at carteretspeedway.com.
1. Chris Burns
2. Jeff Oakley
3. Connor Hall
4. Kenneth Mercer
5. Jim Kelley
6. Zach Henshaw
7. Joshua Yeoman
8. Tyler Horne
9. Malik Koonce
10. Lynn Waller
11. Eric Winslow
Mini Stock Mayhem
1. Michael Tucker
2. Chuck Wall
3. AJ Sanders
4. Brian Bryant
5. Kris Hetu
6. Justin Fussell
7. Chris Burns
8. Michael Cooper
9. Robert Strmiska
10. Bailey Miles
11. Stephen Sanders
12. Gary Murphy
13. Randy Hewitt
14. Dusty Mullins
15. Brandon Clements
16. Tim Evans
17. Bobby Able
18. Travis Provost
19. Randy Canipe
-Carteret County Speedway Press Release
-Photo credit: Andy Marquis/Race22.com for Carteret County Speedway